Dr. Aparna is on a mission to help parents create peaceful family connections in their homes through mindful organising strategies.
We love entrepreneurs and small business owners at Honeycombers, which is why we’ve created Launchpad, a comprehensive digital networking platform (with IRL benefits, too) that encourages connection, business support and community. It’s a privilege and pleasure to learn from so many talented and inspiring folks, so we’ve decided to share the love by interviewing some of the lovely Launchpad members. Looking for inspiration? Check out how Dr. Aparna Chari Sundar, doctor-turned-KonMari consultant and Montessori parenting coach, gets it done like a boss.
How I get it done: Dr. Aparna Chari Sundar
What is your backstory and why did you decide to launch your business?
I was always passionate about organising ever since I was little. I had the tidiest room at home throughout my childhood and all the way through medical school. However, becoming a mother brought along completely new challenges in keeping my home organised. I was frustrated but knew there was a simpler way to manage my expectations in a healthy way. So when I stumbled upon a Montessori homeschooling group a decade ago after a friend introduced me to Marie Kondo’s books, I was hooked!
I was drawn to integrating the Montessori philosophies in my parenting journey and observed parallels with the KonMari Method of tidying. I wanted to raise my children to be independent and self-reliant from a young age. In 2020, I got certified as a Montessori assistant as well as a KonMari consultant trained by Marie Kondo. I wanted to help parents find joy in living in calm and clutter-free spaces at home without resorting to threats, bribes, punishments, or yelling to get them to put away their things.
I discovered that clutter need not come in the way of building strong and secure relationships with children. Also, I saw the benefits of working in collaboration ‘with’ them (rather than ‘for’ them) in organising their spaces to build trust, mutual respect, and positive connection.
On a typical morning
I’m an early riser and love having some time for myself before my children wake up. I usually incorporate some stretches, say a few words of gratitude for the people and opportunities in my life, and read out an affirmation for the day. If I have time before a client session, I do yoga for 20 to 30 minutes. These rituals really help me stay grounded and set the tone for a positive start to the day.
On dealing with self-doubt and criticism
It wasn’t easy for me to start my own business four years ago. I grew up in India in a protective home (for very good reasons, to be honest). And I went to all-girls schools where I wish I was empowered to speak up and not fear rules or discipline. When I was working with my business coach, issues from my past kept cropping up as my limiting beliefs. That I wasn’t good enough (hello imposter syndrome!) and that I needed to seek external validation constantly to feel valued, and give back to my family, clients and others without first taking care of myself.
I believe that doing the inner work daily with practices like meditation, reflective journaling, and holding myself accountable with a coach who is my personal cheerleader, is finally paying off dividends. I show up with authenticity for myself, my clients, and my loved ones.
On keeping stress levels low
I strongly believe in taking time for myself – even if for a few minutes sprinkled throughout the day (quality over quantity) – which helps keep my stress levels low. Taking five-minute breaks between 25-minute work cycles (I recently learnt about the Pomodoro technique) helps me stay focused on the task at hand. (I use a timer sometimes so I don’t get distracted and stressed.)
I also like taking a walk early in the morning (with my mum if she’s in town). The time out in nature truly rejuvenates my soul. We have a puppy at home now, and spending time together as a family with him during my breaks makes me super happy and content.
On staying motivated and energised
Before understanding how best to stay motivated, I highly recommend reading Gretchen Rubin’s book “The Four Tendencies”. In it, she describes four different human personalities which determine how we manage ourselves, stay motivated, and be more effective at work and in our personal lives.
I’m personally quite motivated intrinsically to get work done (one of the traits of being an entrepreneur!). But I do need help from a coach to work on my spiritual growth (I’m an upholder but have small obliger tendencies). I’m unapologetic in seeking out the best support I need to grow holistically as a business owner.
On the advice you’d give your younger self
I’m a recovering perfectionist. I was a straight-A student, never received complaints from my teachers or co-workers, and had high expectations of myself and those around me. This quality didn’t really help after I had children. In my initial parenting years, I was stressed out and resentful. I couldn’t understand why things weren’t going the way I’d planned. I knew this couldn’t continue if I wanted to build a strong relationship with my children based on trust, positive connection, and mutual respect.
If I had to rewind and go back in time, I’d tell my younger self to embrace imperfections, let go of unreasonable expectations, make mistakes and learn from them. I’d tell her to love herself as much as she loves the rest of the world and accept who she is wholeheartedly. I’d assure her that there are beautiful things in store for her in her future and advise her to be more present while enjoying simple moments with her children.
On winding down in the evening
I like switching off completely from all my devices when my children are back from school for a few hours. I absolutely love spending time with them when I let them take the lead with what they’d like to do. We usually play board games, pretend-play, and head out to the playground (and now with our pup in tow) before dinner. I believe they’ll remember their childhoods with fondness knowing they had experiences that didn’t centre around the latest toys or gadgets but rather around joy-filled moments with their friends and family.
After the children go to bed, I spend an hour with my husband catching up on the news of the day before keeping my phone away in the living room and tucking into one of my favourite books.
Get in touch with Dr. Aparna online.
Launchpad is a comprehensive digital networking platform (with IRL benefits, too) that encourages connection, business support and community. It is designed to make the entrepreneurial journey not only easier, and more successful, but also a whole lot more fun. We offer almost daily activities for members to connect, along with weekly masterclasses, member networking roulette, small-business mentoring and media profiles on Honeycombers. Check it out and join us!