'The biggest reward is to relax with the kids'

Mother, actor and TV show host Tara Sharma tells us how she manages home, work, family and fun.

Do you have a parenting rule you never break?

That's a difficult one actually because parenting, as I've realised, is a process of constant discovery. You keep changing and growing every day. So there are certain things that my husband Roopak (producer Roopak Saluja) and I insist on. But most often there always is a little bit of give and take. I don't think we have any staunch rules; it's just something that keeps developing as we go along.

Do you have a parenting rule you always break?

We have a child psychiatrist on our show ("The Tara Sharma Show" see box with details of the show overleaf) who talks about the benef its of routines; we insist on the kids having specific routines. They (sons Kai, 2 and Zen, 4) wake up at a certain time, have their breakfast, go to school, come back, have their lunch and then there is playtime, they have their nap -just basic stuff. Rule breaking happens when they sleep a little later than normal or if they're allowed to watch a little bit more TV. n What is your biggest guilty pleasure? My biggest guilty pleasure, if you like, is that I've come up with the concept of a show that includes my kids.

For me it's actually been a fantastic way of being able to spend time with them and still be working. Children grow up so quickly that before you know it they will be saying goodbye? A lot of people say they never let the kids sleep in their room. As much as they do sleep in their own room once in a while, we do let our boys sleep in our room and even in our bed. n Three words that describe you as a mom? Hands on, for sure. I hope I'm fun. I'm pretty balanced I think, and I'd like to say that I'm a friend to my children as well as being a mother. We do a lot of stuff together. I'm quite active. I enjoy doing outdoor stuff. n What are the three things you always have with you? My Blackberry -a lot of my show is possible because of technology. My iMac would be another. With the kids I'll always have their things such as water, baby wipes, a little snack. Something to entertain them -which nowadays is an iPad. n Your hardest parenting moment so far? Sometimes there are moments when you end up pulling your hair out and you think "I'm so bad and I haven't done it right". But honestly, I think the best reflection is when you look at the kids and what they're like. And we've turned out okay and that is a ref lection on our parents. Similarly I observe how my kids behave in their schools or interact with their friends or with adults and I feel that if they are fun, outgoing, polite and nice then maybe we're doing something right. And if they're not, then maybe we are not.

What's the best part of your day?

I guess the end of a good productive workday when we're unwinding and we have family time. That's a ritual -"cuddy-cuddy" time as the kids call it. Roopak gets back from work by then and the kids are ready to get to bed and everyone has had a good day.

Do you and your husband do date nights out?

The biggest reward is to relax with the kids. I think when you're going to have kids it's really important to be ready. We have done enough of going out and partying with friends. And though we love it once in a while, I think we're both happy to just be in with the kids. We're not the type of people who say, "Oh my God it is Saturday we must do something".

What are five things that are always in your fridge?

Water, fresh fruit and vegetables -all of us are healthy eaters. Of course we do indulge in junk every now and then, but generally we eat healthy. Also there is always something sweet. And whatever is being made at home -just basic stuff.

Do you read to your sons?
Yes, all the time. They love stories and fairy tales. We're lucky to have a lot of original content from my Dad's books as well. (Partap Sharma was a child author and playwright.)

How do you keep fit?

Even if it is just for 15-20 minutes, even if it is just around the garden, or the gym or the racecourse, I run every day. I've also been practicing yoga for the past 10 years. So that is probably what has kept me in shape. I was in my jeans the day I delivered my sons; I was home the next day, both times. If you've been exercising consistently for a long time, your metabolism is high; which is why I don't have a weight problem. If anything, I'd like to put on a little weight. I've stayed in shape by being consistent as opposed to doing a lot.

How do you keep your energy levels up during a busy day?

The kids are a huge energy booster and I'm grateful I've always been active. I am someone who thrives on being busy. So sometimes I might say, "Oh it is so hectic", but I know that that is exactly how I like it.

What's on your nightstand?

One of our boys sleeps with us often, so we have his water bottle; diapers in case he makes a mess. I always have a book; it's just that I haven't managed to get cover-to-cover. I'm re-reading Days Of The Turban, my Dad's book, but by the time it's bed-time, it's been quite a long day.

What wisdom from your parents will you pass on to your children?

A lot of what I am is thanks to my parents. My Dad especially because he was a creator of content. He always told us you must be the product. And I love that advice because now that I have created my own show, I really understand the value of that. I've also really understood the value of being your own boss and creating your own content -it 's an extremely rewarding experience. Daddy also used to say and I totally believe it-you must keep reinventing yourself. You can't ever stagnate. And that is very important for someone in my profession. A lot of people tell actresses, "Oh now you have kids, no work." But I actually took my situation and turned it into a huge advantage. I never spent a day saying I don't have a film role or I don't have this, I don't have that. I created it.

Reproduced From Good Housekeeping. © 2013. LMIL. All rights reserved.

I guess the end of a good productive workday when we're unwinding and we have family time. That's a ritual -"cuddy-cuddy" time as the kids call it. Roopak gets back from work by then and the kids are ... more 
I guess the end of a good productive workday when we're unwinding and we have family time. That's a ritual -"cuddy-cuddy" time as the kids call it. Roopak gets back from work by then and the kids are ready to get to bed and everyone has had a good day. less 
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Good Housekeeping India
Thu 9 May, 2013 12:30 PM IST

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