“How does she do it?” is a question we frequently ask ourselves every time we see a parent effortlessly juggle it all. A home, kids, a career, and even time to unwind and follow the heart! As parents, curious to find out the best tips and tricks, we decided to simply ask them! That’s how this series was born! #HowShe/HeDoesIt throws the spotlight on men and women, dads and moms — who seem like they have it all. We ask them for their secrets, their tips, their place of zen, and ultimately, what keeps them motivated to keep going – in the hope that we can use them along the way in our parenting journey.
This week we meet with Natasha Badhwar, Author of ‘My Daughters’ Mum’, film-maker and mom of three girls.
Natasha Badhwar creates beautiful pictures both with her camera and with her words but in the midst of capturing her family in all their essence, we want to knowÂ how do you strike the right balance between work and home?
I donâ€™t! I strive for balance, but thereâ€™s too much work and too much home in my life, so when I am lucky I allow sleep to win and rescue me from both for a while.
Natasha is a mom to three adorable girls and her work often reflects the amount of influence her family has had on her. So we want to know, what was your career like before kids and how much has it changed after kids?
Before I had kids, I was perfectly happy to work within an organization and felt satisfied by how I was valued by those that I worked with. After becoming a parent and maturing for some years, I have sought a non-linear growth and movement in life.
Raising children is a messy, emotional terrain and it demands a surrendering of oneâ€™s controlling, perfectionist self. With my writing, it seems I have created a career out of just acknowledging this bare-bones, basic truth!
The main difference in my career after children is that I have sought and won more autonomy as a professional. I gave up a secure full-time job and became an independent professional, ready to explore a wide range talents and abilities. There is a real growing up and I owe it to my children for holding my hands and loving me through this transition.
I have worked hard to create my own definition of what it means to be at work. It doesn’t need to be something I do for others or for money. Iâ€™m doing my own work when I am resting, reading, admiring a leaf or framing a beam of light with my camera.
It isn’t easy wearing so many hats and oftentimes we hesitate to ask for help, but we know just how much we depend on our support system! Who do you count as your support system?Â
It took me time to learn to ask for help and to receive help. It was a real challenge for me to allow others to support me. I learn every day to be gracious instead of running myself into the ground and becoming useless for everyone around me. I regularly need to reset my own expectations, so I can find balance and satisfaction.
My biggest support system is my immediate family, Kanta and Ashok who work for us, my parents, brothers and in-laws.
Take us through a typical dilemma you face and the steps you take to make a choice.Â
We have 3 school-going children, my husband travels a lot and then there is our work. Because everything is fluid, so is the (non)balance between work, life and my self.
How do you find your zen in all of this? What do you do to escape and unwind?Â
I answer questionnaires. I invest in friends. Crack jokes. Laugh loudly, sleep soundly.
We love talking kids and work and weÂ often tend to leave out the spouse. How do you and your husband maintain a healthy relationship despite such busy lives?
All this healthy business is hard work. Sometimes it means we need a good fight to restore our balance, sometimes it means we need quiet time or run-away time.
It is time to get down to some labelling! Tell us how is Natasha the mom, different from Natasha the woman, and Natasha at work?
Natasha the mom:Â Is a bit of a khadoos and sometimes overwhelmed
Natasha the woman: Has a spring in her step
Natasha at work: Often wears her daughtersâ€™ hair clips for inspiration.
What is your advice to women who are looking to start a family but keep postponing because they are busy building their career?
I endorse the postponing of parenthood. It is very important to be a confident, independent, experienced adult to be able to be a parent who takes efficient decisions and is able to love freely.
Just speak the truth! Is Mom Guilt real?Â
Yes, mom guilt is real, therefore it needs a real beating back.
There is so much we have learnt from just following you on Instagram! What is the one lesson you want your girls to grow up learning?
That they own the world, they can define their environment and they have more choices than have been revealed to them. (That sounds like 3 lessons, but it is all the same.)
At the end of the day, what do you and your family do together as part of family bonding time?
We listen to the childrenâ€™s playlists in the car. They are my lullabies.
Your response to Women Canâ€™t Have It All?
Who wants it all? It is too much clutter. I just want enough. And the wisdom to know that I have reached there.
If you had more time you would…
I would read more, walk more, hang out with my parents more.
I wish people would not…
Disturb children all the time! Let them be, watch them from a distance, donâ€™t feel compelled to comment, praise, berate them.
Moms, who think working moms are not good enough/selfish?
Should think less and sleep more.
Activities in school that involve parents?
Are wonderful once in a while. I love dressing up for them. Children need to see some integration between their life at home and that in school. Parents need to be less bratty.
My mom as a grandmother â€“ we should all be cool grandparents to our children instead of being wound-up parents.
The one thing you wish you could do better
Cook! I wish I was more of an effortless cook because I do love to eat.
Natasha Badhwar’s book My Daughters’ Mum is a collection of essays knit together from her very popular column in Mint LoungeÂ and a lot of new writing that deals with parenting, growing up, marriage and everything in between. Get your copy here!
You may also like: #HowSheDoesIt with Maya Hari, MD, APAC, Twitter
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