“I am a failed domestic goddess!”- Anuja Chauhan uncensored!

I think every woman who has had successful career knows she can’t have it all, no matter what the books tell you. Someone as successful and busy as Indira Nooyi to women who have regular jobs (just as hard but without the fame) know that the only way to stay sane and be successful at whatever you pursue is to make hard choices. “Forget me: no man, woman or child can have it all,” admits Anuja Chauhan. “You have to make your choices.”

In her case, she was very clear right from the beginning having picked creative integrity over everything else. Having creative control of whatever she does was paramount to her. “And for that I have sacrificed promotions; for that, I picked writing over advertising.”  It doesn’t just end at career. Even with her family, Anuja has had to make firm choices. “I, very slightly, picked time with my kids over time with my husband..”

Her final choice, so far, was picking her professional goals over her role as a … ahem… domestic goddess. “I have ceded that territory to my housekeeper 23 years ago. Yet, I feel cheated – because I know I could be domestic goddess if I had put the time into it… but I just can’t find the time to!” she says disarmingly.

Having worked with JWT India for over 17 years, Anuja chose to pursue a full-time literary career in 2010. Her first novel, The Zoya Factor, won the Cosmopolitan Magazine-India’s Fun Fearless Female award for literature and the India Today Woman award for Woman as Storyteller.  Now she spends her time promoting her fifth novel Baaz, a passionate tale of love and war set in 1971. The rumour mill was running overtime saying she doesn’t have the mettle to handle a topic as heavy as the IAF, but the sales for the book are through the roof. Possibly the best kind of validation a writer could get.

At home, Anuja is mother to Niharika, Nayantara and Daivik aged 21, 19 and 16. So there was a time when all three kids were in their teenage together! And here’s what saw her through as a parent. Maybe try them?

1. Consistency is most important: You can’t change your rules in the middle. If you lay down a rule,  then you are going to have to stick with it. If you make rules, then you have to have the stamina to enforce them. You can’t just make a rule and then one day you are feeling weak and you say chuck it… thik hai, jaane do. Consistency is the key to children respecting you. That’s how they know that she says it and she means it.

2. Communication is very important: You have to talk to your kid. We have to make time to talk with 100 percent attention, and demand it. Communication includes sharing of experiences too.

3. Honesty: Please don’t lie to your children, or pretend that you never made any mistakes or did anything stupid when you were young yourself. They learn more from your mistakes than from your successes – it comforts them to know you are fallible too. So be honest with them, and don’t try and project a fake, doodh ka dhula notion of yourself. Also, lead by example. If you don’t want them to smoke, swear, drink, watch porn or drive fast, don’t do it yourself either.

But there are some things that Anuja has decided to simply let go of

1. Religion: Children choose their own spiritual path. You can’t own that territory in someone’s head, for one. My husband has a very fierce Christian belief, the children don’t. In that theirs is a more inclusive, more secular outlook and it’s a function of what they are and we’re fine with it. And my husband and I have had endless arguments about this.

2. Sexuality: They are much fiercer in defence of their right to make a preference of the sex they want. Multiple partners or gender issues – they are much more open to the kind of things where our initial reaction is ‘hai hai, what are you saying”. Dining table arguments will be about homosexuality, hetro sexuality, bisexuality. So, on those we have agreed to disagree ke bhaiya tumhara system alag hai, hum thode old school hain.

If you haven’t fallen in love with her already, read one of her books!

There are no perfect parents, only real ones.
Anmol Tum : Real parents’ journeys from all walks of life, Brought to you by Teddyy’s Diapers. Made for Indian Moms

Feature Image Source: Hindustan Times

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