From setting boundaries to tackling the tough questions, momfluencer Roshni Chopra (@roshnichopra) shares how she and her husband have been holding fort with their two boys in lockdown.
“It’s been tough… for us all. This second time around especially so. When the news broke out of a second wave and with it, another lockdown, my two boys, Jaivir (8) and Reyaan (4), just put their hands up and went “What? Not again!!”... They live in the moment and I love that they have such unfiltered reactions. This lockdown has been far more intense for sure. I think the first time around, we were all still exploring just being at home and learning to be creative with our routines. But this time around, we have personally known so many people who have been affected, including both Sid’s father, and my father. Luckily, everyone is now recovered.
Working from home has its challenges, but the biggest upside is the amount of time we’re getting to spend with our children. Sid and I are both very hands-on parents. While I’m in charge of the more creative, freeplay, discussions and chats, Sid does a gym hour in the evening which helps them expend their physical energy. We’ve found ways to keep things functioning and “normal”. Since Sid’s a filmmaker, he enjoys spinning and telling stories to the kids on the weekends. We also do a weekly movie night where we darken the room, get on the sofa bed, and have popcorn. There’s a no screen rule - so no phones at that time which allows everyone to be present in the moment.
My advice to anyone navigating these stranger-than-fiction times, is to have rules that help everyone know their boundaries. We have non-negotiable rules and our separate spaces in the house. However, the kids kind of trespass meetings and interactions all the time. The one big thing we all stick by is the concept of me-time. I encourage the kids to take time alone, and to respect when mummy and daddy are doing the same. This doesn’t have to be time that you’re working, this is time that you’re just reading a book, watching Netflix, meditating, or in my case - putting on a facemask and listening to music. That's the one non-negotiable rule, that if someone’s taking me-time, we don't disturb them.
Of course, the experience has also come with its challenges. The pandemic has been an eye-opener in terms of household chores. Earlier, the children would spend a lot of their time outside at school, and then in extra curricular classes, football, and just come home, eat, and go to bed. They never really had the time to kind of realise the amount of work that happens to keep a home running. They see the amount of effort that goes into cooking a meal for instance and like to potter about the kitchen, interacting with the cook and me when I’m cooking as well.
One way to keep the stressors away is by leaving the door open for discussing them. In our home, we don’t make feeling negative or sad a bad thing. We’ve been spending a lot of time discussing our emotions with each other. Everyone talks about their favourite and the worst part of their day during our nightly meeting or ‘cuddle time’ as we like to call it. We acknowledge there are good and bad parts of each day; luckily, none of it is permanent and everything will pass. It’s an idea that’s helping both the kids, and us get through this pandemic, one day at a time.
It’s okay for you, as a parent, to not always have the answer. One of the recent genius questions to come from my little one was - “Mum, why did god create corona?” We all just laughed and said, “That’s a very intelligent question,” because none of us had the answer. Sometimes we just don’t have the answer, and we don’t know everything. It gives the kids the sense that you are not the be all and end all, no one is. And in this sort of crazy universe, it’s more important to focus on the questions that you’re asking rather than the answers that you’re getting.
In the content I put out on Instagram, I am frequently asked the question: ‘How do you keep your kids busy?’ My standard answer for this is: They don’t need to be busy. No one needs to be busy, we don’t either. When my kids tell me that they’re bored, I tell them that it’s good to be bored - because some creative idea will spring out of this boredom. Parents have this habit of jumping to the rescue immediately and setting up an online class or an organised activity. We don’t do so much of the organised stuff and let them know that it’s okay to be in your room and do something creative. We facilitate them with craft supplies and ideas and let it flow freely. I let them watch YouTube if they want to make something. They made these beautiful stuffed toys out of socks, which I think has been my most successful project so far.
Usually content creators are in the business of creating happy images and content, but this is a time for transparency. Sharing your anxieties, challenges, and struggles brings you closer to people that are part of your online community. No one has the time for very concocted images or highly stylised content. People want to see what’s real - how you’re tackling the same challenges as them and relate to you.”
- As told to Le Mill