Because parenting is an adventure and the learning never stops!

On Mother’s Day, actor Sameera Reddy and chef Maria Goretti chat with us about challenges and joys of motherhood. 

First the Fun Part... 
Reddy
: Working in the entertainment business can make one very self-centred but motherhood has made me humble. It is a beautiful, life-changing experience. The best thing about this journey, so far, is watching my son evolve into this little man and I look forward to all the changes that lie ahead.


Goretti: For me, it’s been more of an adventurous journey. It has made me bolder, braver and given me the courage to take risks. Despite playing multiple roles, it is the role of being a mother that best defines me. Motherhood to me is a noble, consuming, incredible role. This feeling, that I am first and foremost a mom, is not only something that’s natural to me but also empowering. It gives me pride and fulfillment. 


On Things They Told you About Motherhood that Aren’t True
Reddy
: During my first pregnancy, I received many 'expert tips'. One was that pregnancy is easy—it clearly wasn’t and even the myth that you drop the baby weight when the baby is out is well, a myth. I was also told that my relationship with my husband would change. The truth is I’ve worked very hard to communicate with my husband and evolve in our marriage. And it has made us a stronger couple. pregnancy is a natural phenomenon, follow a simple, healthy lifestyle has been my learning, something I abide by even now (during my second pregnancy). There is nothing to fear. 


Goretti: They all said it would be lovely, and while it definitely was, and continues to be, motherhood comes with its own challenges which nobody warns you about. People even said that when my kids grow older, it’ll all be fine. But I think parenting older kids can get even more challenging. I am now a mother to a teen and pre-teen, and if I’m not supposed to be pulling out my eyebrows right now, I don’t know what else am I supposed to do.

On Striking a Balance for Better
Reddy
: My mantra is to not fall into the postpartum trap, which I fell into after Hans, my four-year-old son was born. I wasted time being upset and it impacted my self-worth negatively for a long time. But now I live life to the fullest. I am enjoying my second pregnancy and making the most of my time with Hans and my husband. Today, I celebrate my body, big or slim, and I choose happiness over falling prey to my personal demons. That’s my sense of balance.


Goretti: Parenting is an incredibly demanding experience. While at times I felt motherhood overrides all else, I am always intentional in my efforts to uphold other elements of my identity. In that pursuit, I set off to Paris last year to take up an intensive patisserie course at Le Cordon Bleu. It didn’t just end there. I then went on to pursue my love for baking, and this time in London. Even when it comes to parenting, while going halfsies seems like a good plan, it’s not always possible. When Arshad is away, it’s not possible to expect an equal contribution or even divvy up responsibilities equally. At such times, I play both mom and dad. When he’s back, there’s this internal struggle where I have to keep reminding myself that the dad in me can now take a break.


On Making Smarter Nutritional Choices
Reddy
: I just make smart choices for us as a family. Hans does not have a separate diet, he eats what we eat, so there is always a balance of fun and healthy foods. I bake cakes with honey and almond flour instead white sugar and maida. I grill a lot instead of frying. We always eat fruits through the day, and early dinners are a must. I don’t believe in distracting a child during meal times, so no TV or iPad while eating. He needs to understand what he is eating and know when he is full.

Goretti: Considering that I’m dealing with a teen and pre-teen, keeping them on track to ensure they eat healthy is a challenge. And with Zeke being able to cook on his own, it gets a bit tricky as I have no say in what goes into his tummy. We’ve come to a compromise where they're allowed to eat whatever they want on Sundays, while Mondays to Saturdays are healthy eating days. When it comes to caring for all our nutritional needs, our secret is ghar ka khana. We are a dal-sabzi-roti-eating family. There are days when we do throw in some meat, but its' always freshly cooked homemade meals that keeps us going.


Learning with Kids 
Reddy:
Oh yes, it has been a learning experience! My child has taught me to be selfless and humble, no matter what. I want him to value equality, respect all genders and communicate with compassion. 


Goretti: I always try to inculcate good values in them—parents are a child's first teachers and role models. I am what I call a bipolar mom. At times I’ve got to be strict, but then there are also times I give in and get as lenient as a parent could possibly get. Arshad and I believe in flexible parenting, we don’t have any defined rules at home, it all depends on the situation. The two ground rules that we’ve established are the need to be respectful and kind towards everyone. That said, my kids too have taught me a lot. From Zene, I’ve learned the art of kindness and the importance of letting go. When it comes to Zeke, he helps me look at the lighter side to things. It’s their innocence and untainted view of the world that gives us fresh eyes to tackle our days.


What They'd Tell New Moms 
Reddy: All I want to say is don’t get too caught up trying to be the perfect mother. Learn to let go. You are perfect in your own right and that’s good enough. Be yourself and trust your instincts.

Goretti: Take each day as it comes and learn as much as you can from it. Nobody else’s way of raising a family is the only or the rightest way. What may work for others, may not necessarily work for you. There is no rulebook on parenting or on being a mom. As a mom, you can have your own way with your kids, because according to you, it feels right.  

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