Children are not vessels to be filled: Juhi Chawla

I think it was Mahatma Gandhiji who said that a mother doesn't give birth to a child; it’s a child who gives birth to a mother. I can vouch for this from my own experience. From the moment your child is born your whole focus shifts. It’s no longer about you, everything that you do, every moment of your day you are thinking and trying for the well-being of your child. You could be playing football or watching a film with them, these are little things dedicated to the child. You earn money just so that your child can have a good home, a good school, good clothes to wear and a car to send him to school. Every action of yours is devoted to your child.

If both the parents are working is that a minus for the children? I can speak from my experience – both my parents were working. Poor fathers are expected to work so nobody asks if a father should stay at home. Yes, maybe my mum could have stayed at home and spent a little more time with me. But she was working because she wanted to supplement the family's income. She wanted us to have a better home; and she thought if she chips in, things will be better for us. And did I love her any less for it? No, I loved her more! I loved her because she was respected at work for doing her best, she was always elegantly dressed. Everybody around her always thought the world of her so she was a Goddess for me. And you know what? I wanted to be just like her. Sometimes when my mother went out of town on work, I missed her terribly. But then she came back with a gift for me, may be some comic books ... and just the joy of seeing her again and running to her and hugging her made up for everything. When I was a child, I didn't realise how tiring it must have been for her to manage work, home and kids. Today I am a mother and I do the balancing act as best as I can and there are times when I am just exhausted. At such times, I think back and say, ‘Gosh, I wish I could have done something more for my mother at that time.’ Would I change anything about my childhood? No! She managed to come to PTA meetings, my school annual days and to any event I was participating in. We went for short holidays. It all fell into place just fine.

Juhi Chawla

The filmmaker also has advice for parents-to-be... “Just because it is a social obligation one should not opt for a child. Only if you are completely prepared and wish to give enough time to your child should you bring them into this world. When we had our son Partho for two years we managed our work so that we could be around him most of the time. Later I got a job in his school and I could spend a good amount of time with him. I used to cook for him. We had divided our responsibilities as well. Today he is studying in Los Angeles and I am happy that he has got there on his own. We are proud of the kind of son we have raised today. He has already acted and made films and he conducts himself well, has empathy and has always dealt well with all physical and mental challenges.”