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I Am Becoming: Kanika Chadda-Gupta: That’s Total Mom Sense
Most of our identities are based on what we have observed and internalized throughout our upbringing, culture, and life experience at large. Oftentimes, we assume that the construct of what we have experienced is who we are, and although that’s definitely a part of us, we are more than that. We are continually shifting and changing with every new awareness we discover and choose to apply in our lives. In essence, we become what we consciously—or unconsciously—identify with.
Kanika Chadda-Gupta, an inspirational speaker and a facilitator of tools for people to discover more of who we are beyond our physical identities, says, “I think that we feel rushed to put a label on who we are and try to fit ourselves into a box. A curious, giving, and passionate soul is in the essence of who I am. For me, it’s so important to live with purpose and to make an impact. To give you a little background on the meaning of my name, Kanika means gold or golden in Hindi. So perhaps I’m a golden child.”
Born in Bombay, India, Kanika immigrated to the United States with her parents at the age of two. As a young girl, aside from her regular American school, Kanika attended The India School every Sunday, where she learned Hindi and to read and write the Devanagari script. She also took Indian classical vocal music and dance classes, specifically in the Kuchipudi art form.
“I still remember when I was nine years old, I participated in a talent show at my elementary school, where my principal, students from all grade levels, the staff, and faculty, were all there. I chose to do an Indian classical dance performance on stage. I wore flowers in my hair, a bindi, ornate headpieces and necklaces, bangles, mehndi on my hands, and ghungroos (dancing bells) around my ankles. I felt so proud. Even when my peers asked me ‘Oh, what’s that dot on your head?’ I didn’t feel self-conscious; Instead, I educated them and in turn, they responded back to me, ‘Oh, that’s so pretty. That’s really cool.’ Moments like this made me feel confident enough to embrace my cultural roots and heritage. Growing up in a Maryland suburb, I was still going to homecoming and prom and the movies, and I loved having an American childhood, but I also had my Indian background which I loved sharing with everybody I met,” candidly reminisces Kanika.
It’s beautiful to embrace whatever our soul resonates with—the identities we are exposed to—and make them our home. Kanika reminds us, “Home is where the heart is. I feel like any place can be home, if you’re centered, and you know who you are, and you know who your people are. I think it’s important to embrace that; I feel that right now New Jersey is home. But if we happen to leave this area and be transient, I’m open to it. And India will always be a second home. When I go back to Bombay, I feel so connected. It’s just so palpable. As soon as I land there, I’d get this rush; a heightened stimulation of all five senses – the feeling of a warm hug from family members, people around you everywhere you look, the taste of pungent spices, the fragrance of flowers, the noise. It’s all in your face and it makes you feel so alive.”
Oftentimes we fear any kind of change. But change is the only constant that drives the expansion of the universe, which reconfigures itself with every new request we send, and therefore every new answer we create. We are the creators, creating the creation. We make our preferences through the observation of variety, and there is nothing more stimulating than having the opportunity to travel and explore new places, new cultures, and new people. Whether these experiences bring us more questions or more answers, they are all beneficial to our expansion and expression.
Kanika is now happily married to a wonderful husband with three beautiful kids. As with every love story, hers is also unique. Kanika met her husband at an Indian bridal photoshoot in New York; ironically, they were to model together as a married couple for the cover of a bridal magazine. Years later, they would meet again and eventually recreate the photo shoot—but this time, for their own genuine wedding photos.
When we discover the tools that make us happy and inspire us to lead a fulfilling life, we can’t help but want to share it and make an impact on others, too. As Kanika navigated the balance between being a wife, a mother, and an entrepreneur, she created a podcast, That’s Total Mom Sense, for anyone who is a parent, who wants to become a parent, or who resonates and wants to apply those tools in every important aspect of their lives.
“Time management is key. We have to be mindful that everyone only has 24 hours in a day. So what you prioritize versus choosing to outsource, and how you optimize makes all the difference. You also have to be clear about what your non-negotiables are. For me, my family comes first. So I make sure that I have dedicated one-on-one time with them. With my husband, we arrange date nights or go for outings when the kids are at their classes. And with my children, I have what I call “Magical Mama” time. I carve out an hour with each child and we can do whatever they wish. We could build with Legos, draw pictures, do math and brain teasers, read, or give each other back rubs. These special moments are memories in the making.
“My other non-negotiable is my job. I really pour my heart and soul into That’s Total Mom Sense, making sure that I have my time to record podcast interviews, plan my calendar, promote episodes and series, write for publications, and stay on top of social media and PR. And to that end, it’s so important to have a great team where each of you can stay in your lane and shine where you excel most.
“And the last and the most important is self-care. I know that term is overused, but it’s the philosophy of being 100% present and whole, before we give any of our energy and focus away. For me, it’s a five-minute meditation which can go longer on days I choose to, it’s journaling where I jot my inner most thoughts on paper, or doing yoga a few times a week to reset and recenter,” shares Kanika.
Being present now, regardless of the time we decide to give our attention to anything we do, will be the most efficient and satisfying process. Showing up for ourselves is of utmost importance because when we are feeling tired or down, there is not much we can offer to others. Taking small breaks to consciously breathe—and breathing is life—will soften our mind and create the space for fresh thoughts and new ideas to emerge.
We all look at life from our unique lenses. But we are not the lenses; we are the light behind them, expressing and imprinting through all the physical faculties and tools available to us.
This is what Kanika candidly says about her three children and her family’s unique expression, “You must trust your built-in sixth sense. I call it mom sense and dad sense because it’s an inner knowing when it comes to your kids. I have boy-girl twins and a younger son. With my twins, my husband and I were quick to recognize the bond that they share. It’s beautiful to watch. They have always been connected. Womb mates to roommates, we say! I remember when they were first born, our pediatrician told us to put them in separate cribs. I didn’t follow her advice. We kept them together. We swaddled them and kept them on opposite sides of one crib, positioned lengthwise. Somehow, during their naps and at night, they would wiggle over to the center and would be next to each other. It’s incredible that they managed to find their way back to each other even in their sleep. My twins have very distinct personalities and identities, but are forever connected, and will always be for the rest of their life. My son Krish is calm and introverted. He’s definitely animated and out there when he’s around family. But in public, he’s a rule-following, well-mannered, brilliant kid. He’s such a sweet, kind-hearted soul. My daughter Suhana, his twin sister, is a go-getter. She is fiery and knows what she wants. She’s my challenger, if you will. So, they are respectively the rule follower, and the challenger, and they’re both giving us something to learn along the way.
“My younger son, Shrey, is a ball of sunshine. When walks in, he lights up an entire room. He’s always been that way since he was a baby. He’s super talkative and chatty with anyone he meets. He’s our comic relief. Raising three young kids can be stressful and exhausting. But he brings the fun. I call him my shining star. So each one has their own lifeforce, pranna, and it’s so magical to see it unfold.”
No wonder children are considered intuitive, because they really are—and we as adults are intuitive, too. But we often adjust to certain societal constructs that block our sensitivity to our innate intuition. It’s not about eliminating our social structure, but embracing these innate tools and applying them to experience the life we consider is best for us.
“When you’re younger, there are no rules—you don’t really know how to navigate life and the world. And so you just trust yourself. There’s no one to guide you. Especially when you’re formulating your identity and thoughts. And of course, you have your parents and loved ones to help you. But so much of it is internal. And you really feel like your thoughts and opinions are real and valid and are 100% unapologetic about that….
Originally posted here on LookWithinMagazine.com