• Dharma Nemani

Meet my mom friend: Pooja Mohan

Updated: Jul 25, 2019

Our first “Mom Friend” is my very own sister-in-law, Pooja Mohan. Pooja is a wonderful mom to my two nieces and lives in Houston. I got on the phone to talk to her about mom guilt, fav products as well as how she answered the question, “Mom, why am I brown?”...

Can you tell us a little about yourself:

I’m a mom of two beautiful girls, 2.5 and 4.5. I work as a genetic counselor, which means I help people decipher their prenatal genetic testing results.

Let me first establish the baseline that all moms are amazing and we do everything in our power to ensure our toddlers are safe, healthy and happy. But there’s always the inevitable and seemingly endless pit of “mom guilt.” I think if moms see that other moms feel the same way they do, it will help them reposition the guilt in their minds...that the “guilt” is simply strong emotions that stem from a place of extreme love. We’re all doing the best we can! SO, what are some things about which you find yourself “guilty?”

I definitely have the “working mom guilt.” I work from home and don’t have to commute. But when I’m working, my doors are closed and it’s as if I’m at a regular office. I’m envious of friends who can drop their kids off and pick them up from school. I only get to see my girls in the evenings. At the same time, I love and value my work and feel like I have a bigger purpose I’m pursuing.

I also feel guilty that I don’t spend nearly enough time engaging with my younger daughter as I did my older one. With my older one we did lots of quizzes, puzzles and crafting. But now that there’s two of them, I don’t have as much time. We also keep thinking of my younger one as the baby, and figure we still have a lot of time to do things with her!

I feel like even this question is too taboo to ask, but if I may, what do you miss most about your pre-mom self?

Great question! I think shopping, particularly aimless shopping. I just don’t have the luxury of time to do that anymore. If I find myself shopping, there’s always the voice that tells me I have more important things I should be doing at home. So every year on my birthday, I take the day off and wander the mall and shop leisurely.

What is one self-care indulgence (product or practice) that you love for yourself?

I have been using Thayer witch hazel as a toner after I cleanse. I never used a toner before and I use it now before sleep - it helps me keep my skin even and breakout-free

What are some products you love for your girls?

After a recent lice scare at their school, we’ve been loving the Fairy Tales Rosemary Repel spray for their hair. It goes on like a detangling spray and it makes me feel good about proactively deterring lice… if that’s even possible.

Do you have any beauty or wellness rituals you do with the girls?

Not to go back to the topic of lice, but after the incident at their school, we learned from a delousing expert - yes there’s such a thing - that dousing your hair in coconut oil helps get rid of active lice. So we’ve been deep conditioning the girls’ hair with coconut oil once a week. Also makes me realize that our Indian tradition of a weekly oil bath is rooted in some practical purpose.

Are there things you’re doing to teach your girls to embrace and love themselves for who they are?

My older daughter recently came home from school and asked me earnestly, “Mom, why am I brown? I want to have white skin.” I took a second to take in the question and explained to her that it’s the melanin in her skin that keeps her skin from burning in the sun. And that it almost functions as a protective layer around her. She then skipped away saying, “OK! I’ll be brown then!” So I think just being open to our girls' honest questions has been helpful. I also gravitate towards books with more diverse characters. There’s this amazing book called “Girls Can Do Anything” and there’s a line, “Girls come in all different colors and sizes. They delight and amaze us.” I love books like that to make sure my girls know to love and embrace themselves for who they are.

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