Meet Neha Ruch, the creative, insightful and charismatic founder of Mother Untitled. After 10 years at an ad agency, then running brand at a start up, with an MBA at Stanford squeezed in between, Neha gave birth to her son Bodie. She decided to pause her career trajectory to create space in her life to focus on family. This pause led to the creation of Mother Untitled, a beloved lifestyle site that is a space for women to have candid conversations about finding the balance in womanhood and motherhood. From managing relationships to making career decisions to offering style tips, Mother Untitled offers a wealth of resources and a point connection for modern women who are embracing motherhood in their own way.
Mother Untitled is an inspiring resource and we love the community that you are building through your site. Tell us a little bit about your background and how Mother Untitled came to be.
I spent ten years, between advertising, business school and start-ups, very committed to growing my career. Two years ago, I chose to pause to create the space to focus on growing my family and raising my son, Bodie.
I heard a lot of genuine concerns about how I would spend my days or find fulfillment which stung but more so gave me a clear understanding of America’s stigmas about women who lean into motherhood.
In contrast to the perception, that first year of motherhood was the greatest personal growth I’ve experienced and the women I met making similar choices were smart, connected and creative.
I wanted to create a narrative and movement in Mother Untitled that celebrated the experience of ambitious women who make choices to prioritize family so we can begin to culturally shift the conversation to be more positive, empowering and respectful of the choices women make to embrace motherhood.
Congratulations on celebrating a year of MU! What have you found most rewarding about the journey?
Ah, thank you! By far and away the personal notes and comments I received from women at various stages in their motherhood experience saying that our honesty and community of women has offered them more confidence and comfort in their respective choices.
You talk about rebranding motherhood. What does that mean to you?
At some point, there developed rhetoric around motherhood hand in hand with martyrdom - furthering the idea that you give up on yourself to serve your kids. That is so disempowering.
There are absolutely real sacrifices (choice points) that come with parenting and caring for another human(s). But I think motherhood across generations offers so much room for growth - in our capacity for resilience, patience, and empathy. Add to that, our generation of women are much more likely to care for themselves, invest in female relationships and continued learning or projects.
I believe that if we can respect the role of the mother but also recognize the growth that can occur in this chapter of our lives, we can create a culture where women can openly embrace this part of their life without fear that they’ll be isolated from opportunities down the line.
What are some of the common misconceptions of motherhood that bother you most?
There’s a misconception that motherhood can be isolating and mundane. There are lonely, challenging, tedious moments. As there are with everything!
But again, there are empowering elements of these early years - namely, experiencing life with more openness and curiosity through our kids’ eyes and building deeper relationships with women through the shared experience. The relationships, time to observe and natural break to reset priorities can unlock an incredible amount of camaraderie, reflection, and creative potential.
You and I are both fans of a good quote. What are words you live by?
“The secret to having it all is knowing you already do.”
To me, that’s confidence and gratitude for where I am and something I hope to offer all the women I love. My parenting philosophy is guided by Brooke Hampton’s gorgeous words, “Speak to your children as if they are the wisest, kindest, most beautiful and magical humans in the world, for what they believe is what they will become.”
We know you have big plans for MU in 2018. What are you most looking forward to this year?
So much of the first year for us was about nailing the voice and ethos of the Mother Untitled brand. I wanted to be crystal clear that the message and content resonated with women before expanding reach. This year, it’s about putting our perspective further out in the universe. To me, the best way to do that is through partnerships with brands that share a respect for mothers and family - looking at you, Team Rose & Rex! In this category, that happens to be partnerships with a lot of smart and kind women which is even better.
Let’s talk about your adorable son Bodie for a second. What have been the surprises—both terrific and trying—about raising a toddler?
The incredible part of parenting a two-year-old is their depth of understanding. We subscribed to the belief very early on that babies know more than we give them credit for. Toddlers are that times ten. His ability to understand nuances of relationships, consequences, and environments is such a game changer in our days. It’s a whole different level of companionship and conversation. Most challenging is the realization that no matter what you do as a teacher, kids come to things on their own terms. I was so committed to reading and talking to Bodie (excessively, some might say) starting in my pregnancy and yet his confidence in language is slow to come relative to his peers. It can be hard to watch him feel frustrated when he feels limited in communicating his needs but it’s a lesson in giving them the room to grow independently of expectations and trusting the process.
What surprised you most about life as a mom?
How much it would change my relationships, specifically my marriage. Mother Untitled to me was an exploration of everything that comes with the shifts we make to be involved mothers.
One of the dimensions I like to talk about is marriage because I think the complexity isn’t discussed enough. I never expected that my husband would feel displaced in our new equation. Finding our way back to a place that everyone could feel cared for equally was at least a 9 month process but one I’m so glad we focused on it because Dan pushed us to make it a priority. We have a standing date night that we instituted when Bodie turned six months and it really helped!
If you had an additional day between Saturday and Sunday, how would you spend it?
Oh my goodness, I love that question and when is this going to happen in real life? Right now, our two days get pretty committed to seeing family and friends in the city. I would love a day to be just the three of us - to pick one neighborhood we don’t know and go for a long walk and have a picnic with loads of sancerre and cheese spreads from the Bedford Cheese Shop. When I feel overwhelmed, I go inward to the three of us and get so much energy from our cocoon.
What are your favorite Rose & Rex toys?
I love watching Bodie use his hands with such intention and then tell stories in his own way about what he’s made. It always reminds me that kids are magic. Every bit of the Rose & Rex collection does that for us but the Kukkia Oekaki Drawing House, the Eco-Dough and the Felt Grow Set are favorites. Probably the last because I’m overcompensating for raising Bodie in the city!
Okay, lightening-speed round! Ready, set go:
Chocolate or vanilla ice cream? Vanila. With rainbow sprinkles.
Early bird or night owl? Early bird - even before I had a baby.
Heels or sneakers? Sneakers (for now).
Books or movies? Books. And they have to be hardcover - I’m old school.
Favorite color? Periwinkle.
The super power you would want to have is _____Flying____?
You have an open plane ticket—where will you go? Morocco. I was just reading about this wellness retreat that includes days browsing the flea markets. Who’s in??