January 18, 2021

Vrunda Bansode on establishing the right network for mums

Here’s an interesting story on Mums and stories from Vrunda Bansode on ma and ma-si’s, more importantly of all the strong women who have influenced her in her life.

Vrunda is a mum, an author, a blogger, and also the co-founder of Cloud Mentor an experiential education platform fostering inventiveness and entrepreneurship among children.She is a back-to-work mom, having taken a 10-year long break to raise her children. Prior to that she has worked in a corporate where she managed varied assignments on media and marketing related projects. She was also at one point of time a news reader on All India Radio, Pune. A striking factor she does mention on her official profile as a home maker which she does count as part of learning process over the years.

At present, she divides her time between being a mum, at cloud mentor, consulting and writing pieces on women to get inspired among a variety of subjects.

“ The story I would like to share is not about me, but about what I call a “Ma-si” (mother-like) network around me!

Imagine being pampered by no less than a dozen (no exaggeration!) doting aunts! That’s what my early childhood was like – being a centre of all affection in my mother’s large joint family.

I never saw my grandmother because she passed away just after my mother’s wedding. My mother had all her sisters and cousins – 12 of them in the house – to support her when I was born a few months after my grandmother’s untimely demise. Together they formed a great support network around my young mother. I fondly remember my childhood days with frequent visits to this bustling household and all the love and affection showered on me by my aunts. Each of my aunts was special in her own way and I learnt so much from each one of them – kindness, warmth, humility, courage and above all – a great sense of humor even in bleak circumstances. And I kept learning from them throughout life – not to give up on passions, work hard to achieve goals, be generous and never ever to let go of sisterhood!

After my marriage, I entered another family of supportive and inspiring women – women of great substance! A lot of what I have been able to do till now – in my various avatars as a corporate professional, entrepreneur and an occasional writer – has been through the support, confidence and encouragement that I received from my Mom and quasi-moms in my life. Quasi-moms of mine include my aunts, mother-in-law, aunts-in-law and my friends.

Today I live far away from family and when I see young mothers struggling with stress, I remember how this aunt network supported my mother and me throughout life. I was the first niece they had. Later my aunts got married, had their own children, they and their families went through ups and downs of life. And they continued to support each other and their nieces and nephews through marriages that fell apart, businesses that went bust and other dreams that shattered. The safety net was always this loving circle around them.

Today, I am inspired every day by ordinary women who lead by extraordinary qualities – my mother, Jyothi who still plays badminton and swims every day at the young age of 60, by mother-in-law who never lets go of her sweet smile and her music riyaaz for 2 hours a day at the age of 70, by aunt-in-law who walked 4000 kms in less than 4 months in her 70s!

If I ever feel lost, I have my friends who continue to excel in their fields of work – programming, running corporations, being doctors, teachers, counselors – and manage to nurture good citizens of tomorrow in their homes! If I ever feel grumpy, I remember my loving aunts who never lost their sense of humor. If I struggle at work, I look up to my icons who continue to be highly successful startup entrepreneurs and VCs while refusing to be bogged down by the challenges women face at workplace!

I have always tried my best to support women around me – by helping my working-mom friends when I was a stay-at-home mom myself and later as an entrepreneur by hiring more mothers and creating supportive work environment for them. My advice to anyone reading this would be to create and support a quasi-mum network around you.

Lastly as a mum I can say my biggest learning has been – It takes a village to raise a child! So never stay cooped up inside your 4 walls with your child, be part of a community.”

Mums and stories wishes this enterprising mum all the best in life.


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