The biggest challenge of a single parent is not getting to spend enough time with their child, says television actor Juhi Parmar.
Last year, the news of popular television couple Juhi Parmar and Sachin Shroff’s divorce shocked the world of showbiz. The actors were married for eight years and with major compatibility issues cropping up, the two stayed separately for a year, before filing for a divorce. Their daughter Samairra had been staying with Juhi, and post the official separation, the child’s custody remained with her mother.
After the divorce, Juhi, who is still fondly remembered as television’s Kumkum, has thrown herself back into work to provide her little one the best of everything. Speaking exclusively to Express Parenting, Juhi opened up on the challenges of bringing up a child after a recent divorce, inculcating the right values and not spoiling the child to overcome the guilt of not giving enough time.
There was no breaking the news about our divorce to her, but yes, she would ask why her parents no longer stay together. I had to sit down one day and explain things to her in a manner that a five-year-old would understand. I just kept it very light and matter-of-fact, relating it through a little fairytale. I told her that Mom and Dad are no more husband and wife, they don’t stay together in one house, but they will always be her mumma-papa. I told her that we will always be a family and after that she has never asked me this question again.
I think the biggest challenge of being a single parent is dealing with the guilt of not being able to be with your child as much as you would want to. Because you are handling the responsibility of both parents, you need to work extra hard. While doing Shani (which required her to stay away from Mumbai), I would often feel guilty about not being there for her. But one has to understand that I am not doing it out of choice, but because I have to. So, instead of spending quantity time, I started spending more quality time even after being so busy working for the show. I would take her out on vacations, make exciting plans which made her happy, and look forward to time together again.
I was also able to handle the tough times thanks to my parents. They took complete care of Samairra in my absence like parents do. I am not comfortable with the idea of leaving behind my child with a maid. And if they weren’t around, I wouldn’t have been able to step out to work. The credit of being able to go to work again peacefully goes completely to my parents. I just cannot thank them enough.
There’s a very thin line between pampering and spoiling. Being a doting parent, it becomes really difficult to keep that line intact. I definitely do pamper her to the extent of spoiling her (smiles). But I make sure that I don’t spoil her as a human being. As a child and my daughter, I only do what’s best for her.
Don’t forget to inculcate good habits and most importantly, good characteristics in your child. I pamper Samairra by getting everything for her but I make sure to tell her how to value things, feel blessed and be thankful for everything. I want her to know the value of hard work. She needs to know that Mom works really hard to be able to earn this kind of money, to be able to do everything that she wants. I don’t want her growing up and taking money, things, people and relationships for granted.
Samairra is indeed my strength. She is the reason I am able to look forward to life every day. I do everything for her. Recently, while I was going through a tough phase, looking at her gave me the courage to fight. I knew I couldn’t afford to break or quit. She gives me the reason to keep going and be strong. She gives me the reason to keep my head high. I want to set an example for her. So that when she grows up, she can confidently say that she is proud of her mother.