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In a candid chat with ParentCircle, Bollywood actress Bhumika Chawla shares her journey as a parent, her equation with her own mother and choosing film roles post motherhood
A popular actress in Indian cinema, Bhumika Chawla made her presence felt with the Bollywood blockbuster Tere Naam. This was back in the year 2003. She has several hit regional movies to her name such as Badri, Kushi, Okkadu, Missamma, Sillunu Oru Kaadhal, 'Gandhi My Father,' Anasuya and Buddy. Having played many roles in her life, we were keen to find out about another role of hers — not as a reel-life mother but a real-life one. Her son Yash, is the light of her world. Read on to know more about her parenting style.
A. A lot of things change once you become a parent. Every single day brings with it a new lesson to learn for any mother. As your child grows, you also grow as a mother. If I have to really point it out, sleep patterns for one change considerably after you become a mother. You also learn to balance things a lot better than before.
A. I have always looked up to my mother for the way she keeps things together. As a parent, she was strict but inculcated in us the right values. Another quality that I immensely admire about her is that she never judges people and never ever makes fun of anyone. Her undying faith in God and steely determination, have been an inspiration for me throughout my life.
When it comes to parenting, I continue to learn from my mom even today. During my last visit home, when my son threw a tantrum, I was about to lose my temper. But then my mom stepped in, calmed me down and told me that when it comes to children, sometimes silence and patience works way better than shouting and punishing. So, I remained silent. True to her words, it worked wonders! My mother always finds a nicer way to explain things and inspires everyone around her to be a better person.
The few values from her that I wish to pass on to my son are her compassion towards animals and of course like I just mentioned her non-judgmental nature.
A. Fortunately for me, all my movies are family-oriented – ones I can watch with my son. So, I don’t have to worry about my films embarrassing him.
A. Limiting gadget use when it comes to children is no easy task for parents today. However, we must strive to keep a fixed time for children to use gadgets. As parents, we must learn to divert their attention and get them involved and interested in other meaningful activities. There are so many things you can do other than watching TV and videos. Yash and I for one, do a lot of things together.
A. When we are in Bombay, I make sure I take him for a swim. He also helps me cook. Both of us love to spend time together in the kitchen. These days, he is pretty much capable of doing several chores on his own. He peels vegetables, stirs food while it cooks, adds the masalas and does just about anything a little boy his age can do. Both of us indulge in some baking too. Together, we bake cakes.
Besides cooking, we do a lot of reading. Reading to him before bedtime is like a ritual for us. Every night, I read to him a book covering different genres. Since I am fond of reading and want my son to pick this habit from me, I keep buying lots of books. I want him to explore the world through the world of books. We have plenty of books on galaxies, stars, space, etc. We also have books on bullying as I want him to understand bullying as a concept. He must learn that there are two situations, getting bullied and being a bully, and both are not right.
A. Growing up, gender sensitivity was never a topic of discussion, it was simply a way of life. I was never told that I can or cannot do certain things. I was the one in my family who would change the light bulbs, buy groceries or cook meals. I never faced any discrimination at home growing up. So, I try to raise my son too without any bias. Once, while picking some toys from the store, he came back to me saying I don't want pink ones as it is a girly color. I explained to him that there is nothing like a boy's color or a girl's color, all that matters is what color you like.
I will do my bit to raise him to respect women and treat them as equal. On a lighter note, when he has a girlfriend, I will make sure that he helps her around, divides the chores and that they treat each other with respect.
A. Today, with so much going on around us, we tend to be confused as parents. Like any parent, I am also learning the art of parenting every day. Parenting is a long journey and we all learn along the way. When it comes to young parents, I would like to draw your attention to one point. Sometimes, parents give in too easily to the demands of their children. Do not do that even if you want to please or calm down your child. You may have money and resources, and can afford to buy any fancy stuff your child wants, but do not buy it just because your child demands for it. Try not to give in to instant gratification. Always keep in mind that sometimes it is okay if they feel bad. Do not give in to their materialistic demands easily.
If you think buying gifts can help you develop a connect with them, you are quite mistaken. And if you really want to share a bond with your children spend time with them, play with them, read to them, and teach them the core values of humanity.
As parents, talk to your children about the ups and downs of life, and teach them how to handle failure like dealing with heartbreaks and so forth. Yes, equip your child with life skills that will help him face the world.
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