If you happen to live in the the geographical region of Mumbai – you may take umbrage to trying to define a ‘Mumbai Mom’. There is so much diversity in the 603 sq kms that constitutes Mumbai, that one may assert that there cannot really be one type that defines us. Yet, fascinatingly enough – I do believe that there are certain things that do distinguish a Mahanagar Mumbai Mom from others.
Resilient : the city and the mother
One of the adjectives that is used very often to describe a Mumbaikar is : Resilient. And it is true. Mumbai as a city has been subjected to more than its fair share of terrorist attacks, natural disasters and general disturbances to daily life. Living in a place like this puts an added antenna, to an already overcrowded control tower in a Mumbai parent’s head. Though, sadly most of us do not have back up plans in case of unforeseen contingencies – we all know that someone will surely help and there is absolutely no choice but to get back on one’s feet. Therefore, we are a motherhood of very few excuses.
Bole toh ‘Whatsapp it’
There are very few Indians who do not understand the unlimited benefits of the WhatsApp messenger. But one peek into the number of WhatsApp groups that any Mumbai parent has, will make even Mark Zuckerberg rethink his marketing strategy. There are groups and sub groups for everything from school notices and projects, building playdates, birthday parties, carpools, social functions and endless other things that need more than two people to get together.
In a city defined by its numbers, social media is a very handy and oft used tool. There are dozens of Facebook and WhatsApp groups formed within the city precincts that cater to various interests and concerns pertaining to mothers. One can never be a lonely parent in Mumbai - all it takes is a Facebook message and help is almost always at hand.
Middle name : Multitasker
One may have been the most laid back and chilled out person on earth, but once you become a mother living in the bustling megapolis of Mumbai, multitasking becomes the name of the game. It is true that motherhood does that to all of us. But in a big city where time is of essence and everybody is in a hurry – multitasking becomes a fine art. Between managing work, domestic helpers, schools which operate like autocracies, travel and work schedules of varying family members, social commitments – Mumbai Moms are wont to be the best users of every minute of time given to them.
Ain’t no distance far enough
If the previous point underlined the importance of managing time in a Mumbai mother’s life – here’s her biggest challenge : travel. Very few lucky Mumbaikars live close to their place of work/school/other important daily engagements. And travelling in the city – requires the skill to navigate carpools, peak hour traffic, find parking space, sudden transport strikes and even uber pricing surges. Getting self and one’s wards to destinations on time is a skill many a Mumbai mother has mastered. Google maps can be put to shame with the precision with which Moms can predict which route to take, at which given hour to ensure least time is taken to reach the destination.
Mothers of Enterprise
According to a 2012 census by the National sample survey office, 34% of women in Maharashtra are self employed. Mumbai is a city of enterprise and entrepreneurship – and its women are strong participants in running the city’s economy. From the mothers who run home, hearth and corporate boardrooms with equal vigour to the so called ‘housewife’ in Borivali who runs a thriving boutique solely via social media and e-commerce - Mumbai Moms are not an idle sort.
And speaking of not being idle: increasing numbers of mothers participate in the Mumbai Marathon every year. You see, for people who are literally running throughout the day to ensure that everything around them runs as smoothly – a marathon really is no big deal!
And that indeed is what a Mumbai Mom is all about.
Nidhi D. Bruce is the founder editor of www.mumbaimom.com. Writer, mother and entrepreneur – she can be found on twitter as @TypeWriterMom and on Instagram as mumbaimom.