She’s one of the most loved actresses of our time. She’s a Padma Shri. Coming from great filmi stock, she’s got more Filmfare Awards for Best Actress under her belt than all of her contemporaries. She’s a star. She’s also a star wife to actor Ajay Devgn. She’s mum to two kids, Nysa, 10 years, and Yug, three. She’s a brand ambassador for several kiddy brands. In a candid interview with M&B, the multi-faceted Kajol shares her insights into the magic of motherhood…
DID MOTHERING COME NATURALLY TO YOU?
Mothering is a learnt skill – most mothers learn on the job and I was also one of them.
When I first found out I was pregnant, I was very scared and nervous and I wasn’t sure what was in store for me. But now I cannot even imagine what my life would have been without Nysa and Yug. Motherhood is a truly beautiful feeling and I am enjoying each and every moment of this amazing experience that God has gifted me with. Before becoming a mother, I was a very impatient person. I feel that motherhood has helped me in many ways to become a better person today. Though a little intolerant of certain things, my patience levels have gone up significantly as far as other things are concerned.
DO YOU FIND YOURSELF DOING THINGS THE WAY YOUR MUM DID?
Yes, absolutely! Most of the times people say that I am exactly like my mum. The only difference is that today there are a number of convenient options available in the market, which were not there during my mother’s time. Therefore, my mother had to go through so much when I was young but for me things are way simpler. I have a variety of options and I will settle for nothing less when it comes to my kids. Their skin is so delicate that I would want everything in their life to be as soft and gentle as possible – be it their diapers, clothes and even their linen! A mother understands the needs of a child like no one else does.
IN THE EARLY DAYS WITH NYSA, WERE YOU AT ALL BEWILDERED BY ALL THE SLEEPLESS NIGHTS AND THE DIAPERCHANGING? WAS AJAY A HANDS-ON DAD WHO HELPED YOU WITH THESE TASKS?
You need good support from your family to be a working mother. My mother, sister and Ajay are like my support system. I have never felt the need to handle things single-handedly. I am lucky to get a husband like Ajay who has helped me out throughout, whether it is taking a shot at changing diapers or helping me in my day-to-day work! And with products like Huggies Wonder- Pants, our job becomes so much easier! I would definitely vouch for such products. They make the parenting experience more precious, enjoyable and worryfree at the same time. And I speak from experience when I say that a child’s first few years are truly treasurable, so I would urge all young parents to go out and make the most of them! Happy parenting!
WHAT KIND OF DIET DID YOU FOLLOW DURING BOTH YOUR PREGNANCIES? HOW DID YOU LOSE THE WEIGHT AFTER DELIVERING NYSA AND YUG? WAS GETTING BACK IN SHAPE VERY IMPORTANT TO YOU?
Yes! It was important for me to get back in shape but not at the cost of putting my health at stake. And there’s no magic pill to help you lose weight. After both my pregnancies, I have made sure to concentrate on my diet and exercise regularly. This is key, as the longer you wait to begin exercising and balancing your diet after delivery, the harder it becomes to shed the extra kilos that you put on during pregnancy. I would advise young mothers to find an activity that they enjoy — jogging, yoga, cycling, swimming, even walking works — and plan it into your week. Taking care of a newborn child anyway keeps you on your toes and you’ll get in shape even faster if you squeeze even a little extra activity into your daily routine. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, make time for breakfast in the morning, go easy on fatty and sugary foods, takeaways, fast food, sweets, cakes, biscuits, pastries and fizzy drinks. These are the simple yet effective means that I have followed to get back in shape and stay healthy at the same time.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE MUMS WHO HAVE A SECOND CHILD AFTER THE FIRST ONE HAS GROWN UP A BIT?
These are a few tips that I would like to share from my own experience:
* Sleep when your newborn sleeps otherwise it will be impossible to catch up on the sleep you need with both your kids around.
* Even if you don’t use diapers in the day, I would highly recommend doing so at night so that both you and your baby can enjoy a good night’s sleep. Use diapers which provide benefi ts like softness and baby skin health, over and above basic dryness. Settle for the best and softest solutions for your baby’s delicate skin and always go for good and trusted products from reliable brands.
* Take the extra efforts to show your first kid that he/she is equally loved. Spend quality time with them, console, listen, express and talk to them and they are sure to grow up as more secure and responsible adults.
WHEN YOU CHOOSE A PRODUCT TO ENDORSE, HOW MUCH THOUGHT AND RESEARCH DO YOU PUT INTO IT AS A CONSCIOUS MUM WHO WIELDS A LOT OF INFLUENCE ON MUMS ACROSS THE COUNTRY?
I only endorse products and brands that I trust and can relate to personally. As for Huggies, it is a trusted brand from Kimberly Clark Limited and they are the diaper experts as far as I’m concerned. The company understands the special nurturing that a baby’s delicate skin requires and they have continuously innovated to cater to the evolving needs of consumers like myself. I am proud to say that I have used Huggies diapers for both my children and they really do hold in the messes better than the other brands that we’ve tried. Diaper rash is another very common problem when it comes to young babies, but I find that Huggies diapers are made of a much more breathable material that not only prevent diaper rash but also keep a baby’s skin dry and healthy for longer. I love the new Huggies Wonder-Pants, as they have a special Soft-Hug Design which provide allround- softness and complete comfort for a baby’s fragile skin. These new pant style diapers are also very convenient to use and make parenting a much more enjoyable experience.
COULD YOU DESCRIBE THE DIFFERENCE IN TEMPERAMENTS BETWEEN NYSA AND YUG AND HOW YOU HANDLE THEM BOTH?
Nysa is a special child. The way her mind works is amazing. In this matter, she’s like Ajay, thinking from every side of a situation. She’s not friendly and won’t say ‘Hi’. She’ll wait a day or so, while all the information is processing through her mind. Personalitywise, she’s different from Yug, who’s very friendly and will ‘hello’ to even strangers in the lift! The good part is they handle and understand each other so well that there is no need for me to interrupt. Nysa’s very protective of Yug.
2010 WAS A BUSY YEAR FOR YOU, WITH THE BIRTH OF YUG AND THREE FULL-FLEDGED FILMS. HOW DID YOU MANAGE BEING A NEW MUM, HANDLING SEVEN-YEAR-OLD NYSA, TIME WITH AJAY AND FAMILY AND THE PUBLICITY AROUND THE FILMS?
I believe it’s all about the balancing act. Setting priorities, making schedules, coordinating calendars and, most importantly, taking time out for myself and my family has always been a part of my life. We all juggle between our professional and personal lives, some of us keep complaining and then there are others who manage it beautifully. It’s all about learning to plan ahead to get the perfect balance. Also in my case, I have had great help and support from my family and Ajay in bringing up both my kids. I am immensely thankful to them for everything they have done to help me strike a beautiful balance between my life and work.
NYSA JUST TURNED 10. IN TODAY’S TIMES, TWEENS ARE RATHER INDEPENDENT AND EXPOSED TO A LOT OF VIOLENCE AND SEXUAL INNUENDO ON TV AND IN CINEMA. HOW DO YOU PLAN TO PROTECT HER FROM ITS ILL EFFECTS?
TV, cinema and advertising appeals to emotions, not to intellect, and it affects children even more profoundly than it does adults. Because children are unable to differentiate between what’s wrong
and right, they are more vulnerable to violence and sexual innuendo on TV and in cinema. As the mother of a teenager whose growing up has coincided with an increasing intensity and various campaigns targeted at children, I struggle on a personal level to cope with its harmful effects. As of now, I can only be hopeful that I continue to be a guiding light in Nysa’s life and help her make the right judgments.
DO YOU ENCOURAGE YOUR CHILDREN TO ACT, SING, DANCE? ARE THEIR INTERESTS INFLUENCED BY AJAY AND YOUR CAREERS? WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE PARENTS ABOUT HONING THEIR CHILD’S CREATIVITY?
Defi nitely! Both Nysa and Yug participate in a lot of extra-curricular activities. As far as their interests being infl uenced by Ajay and my careers, I think it’s too early to comment on that. I tell my daughter Nysa every now and then, ‘You should respect my work and I will also respect yours when you grow up’. ‘Work is worship’ is what I have told her. I would like to advise parents that they should let their kids free instead of imposing their own ideas, likes and dislikes on their kids. It’s better to let them decide what they want and also allow them to explore and learn for themselves. You should always be around when they need you but do not suffocate them by questioning them constantly. Also allow them to have a ‘say’ in the decisions taken for them and treat them like equals. They will surely grow as more confi dent adults and also respect you more for allowing them their own space. M&B
Words Priya Pathiyan