Neha Leela Ruch is a wife, mother and writer in the Flatiron neighborhood of New York. Mother Untitled is her lifestyle website for ambitious women making conscious choices to focus on family while finding ways to stay creative and connected.
I feel acutely aware that I need a moment. It’s like the holidays are designed to push people to their capacity for the year, to force a pause. As mothers and as women who are committed to staying connected and creative, it seems there are fascinating things going on at every corner of social media, events that we should go to and people we should try and get in touch with before the close of the year. Simultaneously, I think I can safely bet that we all agree that the friends, family, and the home front during the holiday season are joyful albeit sometimes overwhelming and overstimulating.
But beyond the frightful to-dos and mandatory mingling, a bit of heaviness for me feels intangible. Something about the immensity of a year passed feels subconsciously heavy. There’s a refrain at the back of my mind about what worked and what didn’t as a parent, a wife, a woman, a friend, a writer and a creative. The hyphens in my identity that I take pride in suddenly feel like categories to audit accomplishment. How did I do as a mother for the year? Did my site Mother Untitled meet goals I’d set?
Then there’s the networking and socializing on hyper drive. For even the most confident and comfortable person, there has got to be an interaction that stirs a bit of self-consciousness or doubt. Or maybe it’s just me - a classic over-thinker. I leave the series of family gatherings, office parties, and social shindigs feeling energized but contemplative. Are my relationships where they want to be? Where do I need to grow?
Just writing this out I realize how coconuts I sound. Speaking of coconuts, Dan and I are going to the Dominican Republic with Bodie for the last week in December. I haven’t quite figured out how much of the time I’ll allocate to creative thinking and how much I’ll allow myself just to be still and quiet. I do think our end of year vacations always allow me to re-set priorities and in the end motherhood’s best gift to me has been perspective and ruthless prioritization. I can get a bit shaky on both of those over the course of the year - especially during this last bit as the momentum of the year past builds up, and I get carried away with exciting ideas. Allowing myself the time to sit with my one clear, unwavering priority, my family, and anchor there for a week is stabilizing.
On Mother Untitled, we talk a lot about the pause for motherhood. In American culture, we haven’t given merit to pausing, but there’s something incredibly powerful in feeling grounded in what’s most important and real. From that place of clarity and warmth, I find myself much more able to be gentle on where I am and more focused on what I want to do.
Are you taking time off this holiday season? Wherever you are, I hope you have a peaceful end of the year and a meaningful pause. xo