July 19, 2020 2:59:32 pm
Actor Soha Ali Khan is a hands-on mom, who is keeping extra busy these days, raising her two-and-a-half-year old daughter Inaaya, managing the house and also striving towards finding the balance between work, personal life and healthy eating. In a quick chat with Express Parenting, the actor speaks about how she is managing it all amid the raging pandemic, the role of fathers in parenting, and how she feels she is slowly turning into her mother, veteran actor Sharmila Tagore.
Her lockdown schedule
“My days are the same, because I have a two-and-a-half-year old at home,” she says about her time in lockdown. “It is very much about schedule, routine and repetition. My day starts at 7.30 am, when my daughter wakes up, barges in and says ‘wake up’. And it ends around 10.30 or 11 pm, when I collapse into bed and go to sleep. In the morning, I spend time with her and try to recreate a semblance of school, because she had started going to school before the lockdown. I don’t want her to miss out on a few key things, whether sensory like arts and crafts, or learning some numbers and reading books. We try to create some kind of intellectual environment for her,” the actor shares.
It is when her daughter is busy doing some physical activities with her father, actor Kunal Kemmu, that Soha says she can wash her face and change her clothes. “That is when I eat something and look after myself a little bit — attend to some calls and return emails. Then, it is lunch time and I feed her and she goes for a nap… Inaaya loves to read, so we read together, we role-play stories. Six-thirty is dinner time for her, 8 pm is lights out and we are singing songs till about 9 pm, when I finally tell her to go to sleep!” she laughs and says that is when she can do some grown-up things like read books, watch some television and eat chocolates.
Inaaya’s lockdown temperament
Soha says her daughter has no single temperament, because she is so young. “She is tempestuous,” says her mother, “One moment calm, and one moment yelling ‘I will never speak with you again!’ I think she takes after Kunal,” Soha quips. She says Inaaya’s physical energies are not being expended, and had she been in a park or a play gym, running around with children her age, her energies would have found a better outlet.
“Children have boundless energy, and I am not as young as I used to be, but we are managing… For most part, she has been content, and she has enjoyed having family to herself. She has been understanding of the situation.”
On finding a balance at home
Soha says families need to create a balance. Physical space is important, but more than that, people need to mentally take out time for themselves. Exercise and yoga are important, along with good nutrition, and a good night’s sleep, she suggests. “Lean on people when you are having a bad day. Talk about it and accept it, because it is all right to have a bad day, and to be in a bad mood.”
Husband Kunal Kemmu’s participation at home
“If you have a supportive husband, it really makes a huge difference. They understand now that there’s no such division of labour; fathers are understanding that play-dates and schools are not where only mothers have to go. Perhaps the earlier generation was not so involved in parenting, as fathers today are.”
Health and nutrition
Eating at home can give you a lot of control. With children staying at home and not going to birthday parties and restaurants, Soha says parents can now achieve their nutrition goals in a more disciplined manner. “I feel more in control right now. Since we are cooking at home, I know exactly what’s going into Inaaya’s meals. She is eating of our plates and we are also setting a good example for her. This is the time to introduce them to healthy foods and mindful snacking. A handful of almonds is really the perfect snack for a toddler, and for someone of my age.”
The role of mothers
While mothers have a lot more to do, especially in the few first months of a child’s life, they need to take care of themselves physically, too. “Women tend to put themselves at the bottom of a long list. We have always done that — looked after our mother, husband, children — forgotten to eat, to exercise, put our dreams on hold, etc. We are conditioned to do that, but if someone wants to do that there’s nothing wrong with that. But don’t put your well-being on hold,” the actor advises.
Speaking about her own experience, the actor says: “I did suffer in the beginning when I was coming to terms with being a mother. It was daunting and overwhelming, I was not sleeping enough, I was forgetting to eat, and I was not looking after myself. My mother was the one to told me to eat healthy, rebuild and recover.”
Soha believes she is turning into her mother, actor Sharmila Tagore. “I can hear my mother’s voice coming out of me. Even in the way I talk to Inaaya, in the way I am guiding her, teaching her, or feeding her. My mother was always a little bit strict, and when I become strict, I almost sound like her. But, my mother was perhaps not as controlling as I am. I want to do everything, whereas she was happy to delegate…”
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