Television actress Smita Bansal, who rose to popularity as Sumitra in Balika Vadhu, opened up on her relationship with her daughters and revealed how she has always managed to strike a balance between work and motherhood.
On the occasion of Mother's Day, Smita told the Free Press Journal that guilt is a part and parcel of being a working mother. However, she believes that one can always be a working woman and a fantastic mom.
"It is important for a woman to be independent and have an identity of her own. It is definitely more time-consuming and at times, you will not have that 'me time.' But at the end of the day, you will feel content that you have worked for yourself because eventually your happiness always matters. I strongly believe that what you do and how you deal with life, always has an impact on your children. So if your work-related decisions make you happy, I'm sure it will reflect on your children, and eventually, you will be able to have happy kids and you will be able to give them better quality time and happiness," Smita said.
Further explaining how she maintained a balance between her professional life and motherhood, the actress said that initially, it wasn't easy for her to step out for work, leaving her kids at home. Smita maintains that family support actually helped her deal with it.
"To leave your kids and step out to work has always made mothers feel guilty. We learn to live with this feeling and deal with it. The guilt never left me and it is still there with me," she stated.
When my elder daughter was born, I didn't work for four to five years, and finally, when I did, it was one of the most difficult moments of my life to take that step of working againSmita Bansal
The Aladdin - Naam Toh Suna Hoga actress said that even though she is convinced that she has been a good parent, at times, she feels that she has not done enough for her daughters. "My children are grown up now and they are very supportive. They completely love the fact that I work and I have always tried to do the shows that my children can happily watch and so my decisions, where my work is also concerned, what projects I take up or don't take up has been focused on what my children like and what they don't like," she added.
Smita averred that the best advice to maintain a balance between work and motherhood is to trust family members. "We are a joint family and I trust my mother-in-law to take care of my children in my absence. I trust my sister-in-law that if there's a certain kind of discipline I expect from my children, then she will not pamper them to the extent that they will not be disciplined anymore," the actress said.
She further said, "Whatever time you spend with children it should be quality time. I absolutely believe in 'no gadget time' for the children. You have to have that period in the house, especially in today's time, when everyone will be off gadgets for some time. I have a 17-year-old daughter and if I don't give her time and never listen to what she says then I can never become her friend. But today, I can very happily say that I am more a friend to her than a mother because she comes and discusses and tells me everything. To maintain the balance, I have made sure, I give my children quality time and trust my family in my absence to take care of my children well."
When asked if the actress ever felt that being a celebrity mom was difficult, Smita said, "At times, yes! There have been times in the past when I and my family were out and having our little time and sometimes people didn't respect that. I am not complaining but at times, people do not respect your space and want to barge into it. And that's the time when it becomes a bit difficult and also it is extremely difficult sometimes to explain it to kids. When my daughters were younger, it was difficult to make them understand that the other person wants to click a picture with you or talk to you is because they see you on TV. But the child feels that why is someone talking to my mother or clicking a picture with my mother. That's the feeling they get when they are young but eventually they start understanding. But yes, I have gone through these phases and it has been difficult at times to explain things to them."
"My younger daughter had stopped going out with me at one point in time. She didn't like when fans clicked pictures with me. But these are phases that we overcome and things become fine once they start understanding things," she added.
Smita, who is blessed with two daughters Stasha and Anaagha with husband Ankush Mohla, is presently at her mother's place in Jaipur. She is quite active on social media and often posts fun videos on Instagram with her daughters. During the interaction, Smita also said that both her daughters have taken it from her to be extremely disciplined, loving and caring.
On spending quality time with her kids and family amid the lockdown, Smita said, "Both my daughters are inclined towards cooking. They have online classes so on weekends we try to bake. We made jelly custard the other day and chocolate ice cream one day. So they love being a part of the process of cooking and be involved in the whole thing. It's completely mother and daughter's time and we love it and enjoy it. And now since I'm in Jaipur because of the lockdown so my mother is also a part of it so all four of us get together and make something."
"When my kids don't have online classes, we play board games, do some art and craft, sing, dance, watch movies... actually 2020 ka lockdown has taught us how to spend time together so this is just like an extended period of that."
"My children know exactly what is happening around the world right now as because of social media and everything nothing can be hidden from children. Still, we should try to give them a positive environment at home, spend quality time with them, play games with them. Online studies have become too much to cope with," Smita said.
"Online education is taking a toll on all the kids and I strongly believe that this is not the healthiest thing happening to kids these days. I see my children have become so much dependent on gadgets but I still can't take it away from them because this is how life is processing. There is always a constant pressure of studies and I believe it should be relaxed at least from the parents' side. Especially at these times. It's ok if they don't come first in their class for a year but what's important right now is their mental state and their happiness. This state of mind is going on to go for a very long time. This is the time when the mothers and their family members should give time to them and strike a correct balance," Smita maintained.