Meet a mum who inspires every single day many other mums to take fitness as a lifetime commitment. She also insists on fitness being part of our daily routine, much that is ignored by many mums.
Aarti Rao Viswavasu is a fitness enthusiast, co-owner of a fitness studio, mum to a 25 year old, someone who took up entrepreneurship long after being a stay at home individual and someone with varied interests.
She shares with Mums and Stories, “I am the eldest of three siblings, a sister and a brother being the other. My best memories involve spending time with my Dad, who was a Doctor. I spent most of my childhood in a small town in UP and looking back, I believe that those simple times were some of my best years. Visiting my grandparents and my extended family, uncles, aunts and cousins, during our vacations, also form an extensive part of my childhood memories.
I have always been a stay at home individual and parent until I took up entrepreneurship recently. In fact as my husband was in Merchant Navy, I had to don the role of a single parent for many months in a year and of course this continued for many years.
(Aarti with her family)
I have to admit that single parenting for a major portion of my son’s life was a challenge and a shift from the traditional parenting style of most families. I had no peers with similar experience or expertise, nor was I part of a joint family structure. I learnt as I went along, making a few mistakes, but my husband’s implicit faith in my abilities and never second-guessing my decisions, and his unconditional support , made my efforts worthwhile.
Fortunately, our son has been an easygoing and non-demanding soul, and that made my parenting a bit easier. I have been fortunate to be surrounded by sincere, caring and selflessly helpful friends, who made my life less stressful and lonely while my husband was overseas.
The privilege of sailing on various types of ships, experiencing the beauty of untamed nature, our share of stormy weather and of course, the opportunity to visit various countries across the globe, however fleeting the visits were, influenced our attitudes and approach to life in general.
My son and I, we definitely evolved differently due to this exposure, probably more aware than most of our contemporaries.”
Talking about fitness becoming a part of her life, Aarti shares, “ I would attribute my interest in fitness in general, to my husband’s lifelong focus on staying fit. He has been a self-motivated fitness enthusiast, finding various methods to keep himself fit, both, on board ships and while at home. I took up aerobics as a method to regain my fitness after the birth of my son, and I have not stopped after that.
As my son grew older, he needed less involvement from me in his day to day activities, I decided to acquire a professional qualification in the fitness field so as to make good use of the spare time that I was fortunate to have, by default, being a stay-at-home person.
The entrepreneur bit came as a natural progression of my foray into the fitness field. I was always very clear that I would not want a full-time job or involvement in any enterprise, ensuring that I would have the option of taking time off to spend quality time with my son and my husband, when he was at home in between his tours.
My son is now 25, and has grown/evolved into an interesting adult, and the parent-child relationship has also evolved accordingly. We have realized that he has some very clear, well defined opinions about different topics, sometimes totally divergent from our own views, but, that has not affected our respect or care for each other.
I also believe that sons tend to find it a bit awkward to confide in their mothers, in fact in their parents, in general, probably some generic/stereotypical sense of ‘male behaviour’.
I have nieces and also daughters of friends, who also look up to me as an indulgent aunt and they clearly find it much easier and probably necessary to confide in their mothers/aunts. so, it’s not a ‘myth’. I believe that it is a rule, a few exceptions notwithstanding.”
Aarti has a few fitness tips for others. She mentions, “ I sincerely believe that most women/mums do not prioritize fitness, and take it up sporadically to lose a few inches/kilos, only to abandon it on achieving their temporary goals. This lopsided view of ‘fitness’ needs to change. Fitness should be a lifetime commitment in order to ensure an uninterrupted lifestyle caring for themselves and for their dependents.
As women age with menopause and it’s an inherent issues, they ought to focus on finding the right combination of diet and exercise to manage the various changes that their bodies experience during this stretch. the typical ‘sedentary’ lifestyle of most women from middle-class backgrounds or higher, throws up these numerous challenges, effectively limiting their ability to really enjoy their years ahead.
Also when the responsibilities towards their children are tapering off and leaving them extra ‘spare time’, the erroneous perception in most peoples’ minds, of fitness equaling trim figures or the dress sizes that one can fit into, needs to be changed.”
According to Aarti,” The best part of being a mum is a choice that I made and irrespective of what I expected from motherhood or from my son. I believe that just the thought, of having nurtured and cared for the evolution of this 1 human into a well-rounded individual, with his own personality, not a clone of either parent, is immensely rewarding in itself.
As an entrepreneur I have had the good fortune of experiencing the aspect of creating from scratch and managing an enterprise, learning along the way, experiencing the ups-downs of business, of managing people with their own strengths & skills. This has changed, irrevocably, my attitude towards life & humans and my expectations in general.”
( Photographs are subject to copyright).