I feel being a perfect mom is utopian, I consider myself to be a real mom. I also make mistakes while dealing with my children but the positive part is that I’ve learned from these mistakes in the past and made amends.
That’s Ghazala Yasmin for you. She is the Assistant Professor in Kolkata. She has two sons Arhan and Hamadan aged 14 years and 11 years respectively. I’m a working mother…She has consciously decided to work as a Freelancer on an assignment basis so that she can juggle smoothly between work and spend some quality time with her boys. She eventually shifted to academics from a hard paced media industry schedule as she felt that it suited her family and ‘me’ time. This gradual move also gave her enough time to keep a tab on the growing years of her kids, taking care of their education and fulfilling all their other needs, for which they always looked up to her!
How do you plan your day?
My day starts at 6:00 AM in the morning and doesn’t end before 1:00 AM on Weekdays. It begins with a glass of warm water with apple cider vinegar drops thrown into it, followed by packing my kids off to school and then getting ready for work, packing lunch for myself and my husband and having a hurried breakfast. On weekends though, I rise up a little late and have the liberty to laze around a bit during the first half of the day. We indulge in a more elaborate Indian breakfast replete with poori sabzi, halwa, dosa, pav bhaji, etc and of course a lot of fruits.
I am an Assistant Professor at the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication, Aliah University, Kolkata. I am also impaneled with the Ministry of Information and Cultural Affairs, Government of West Bengal as an Independent Filmmaker. I am a regular television panelist, writer, poet and radio jockey who has been anchoring Western Music Programs on All India Radio FM Rainbow and Gold for the last 16 years.
My University timings are between 10:00 AM and 5:00 PM. My day’s schedule pans out with Postgraduate classes at the University, a quick lunch and then practical class sessions as well as some of my own research work for my Ph.D. An intermittent checking of my social media networks is the small breaks I take in between. I also travel frequently to deliver talks and lectures and to attend workshops, symposiums, and conferences.
My kids study in La Martiniere for Boys in the 6th grade and the 10th grades respectively. They come back from school around 3:00 PM and are on their own for a couple of hours, they change, have lunch and either go off to sleep or play games on the Playstation till around 5-6 PM in the evening.
What do you think about our Indian education system?
I feel that there is much to be desired if we look at the Indian Education System. Too much pressure, extreme competition and a bookish approach rather than the development of analytical abilities and reasoning faculty is a big bane. Most of the times the rat race for being successful mars the thirst for true knowledge. I think that outlook needs to change-making learning fun and inclusive and more pragmatic.
What is the most challenging part of being a mother?
Well! The most challenging part of being a working mom is fighting guilt and the constant fear that your kids are missing out on your time and attention. But I feel this makes the children more independent and adjusting and adaptable in the long run.
I try to overcome my guilt by devoting quality time to kids over weekends, going out for movies and dinner or even a long drive for some street-side food and ice-cream. I spend an hour with them during the night when they hit the bed, we discuss the day’s events, what happened in school, their friends or anything of their interest. I also help them with their studies, projects, assignments etcetera. Most importantly, I cook for them on a regular basis, which they absolutely love.
How do you spend time with your kids on weekends?
Well! Finding my ‘me-time’ is indeed very difficult, though occasionally I visit the spa or a salon for rejuvenating myself. Shopping is also very therapeutic for me. I had started having health concerns due to my extremely taxing schedule and so have joined the gym to work-out and relax.
Any special parenting tips that have worked for you or those which were advised to you but didn’t work?
Parenting is a very unique ability that does not really have a universal blanket format. It has to be tailor-made for every individual child. One needs to learn to deal with the child’s weaknesses and strengths. In fact, parenting is as much a learning process through trial and error method as growing up for a child is. The biggest challenge is the digital interference, internet accessibility, and social media intrusion. Mobile phone fad and addiction which has affected almost each and every child of this age. Learning to balance gadgets with real-time social activities, outdoor playtime I feel is one of the biggest challenges of the current times.
At present mine is a warm, cozy nest, a family which loves one another to the hilt and cares for each other too. My biggest takeaway in my investment in family is the fact that whenever there is a shade of sadness or an iota of worry, or perhaps a tear in my eyes, both my children run up to me, get worried and try to bring that smile back on my face, in their own little ways- maybe filling the fridge water bottles, massaging my head, or simply cuddling up to me to express their infinite love. I feel blessed to have such a beautiful and loving family.
Most importantly, my biggest strength is my husband whose unconditional love, rock support and prudent advises has made parenting and family life so lovely and fun-filled for me.
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