Indian mums are under a lot of pressure to breastfeed: Renuka Shahane

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Motherhood is a life changing experience because you don’t forget that you are a mother for even a single second of your life after you become one, says actress Renuka Shahane.

She conquered the hearts of millions as the sweet bhabhi in the blockbuster hit Hum Aapke Hai Kaun. While the world still remembers her for that role, Renuka Shahane has managed to hold her stead in Bollywood and has given a number of power-packed performances. Very active in the Marathi theatre and film scene now, the actress also does a few reality shows every now and then. She was last seen as a participant in Jhalak Dhikla Jaa.

Married to popular Bollywood actor Ashutosh Rana for more than a decade now, Renuka Shahane is mum to two grownup kids, Shauryaman(13) and Satyendra(11) and the actress proudly says that her life revolves around them now. Not many people know that Renuka is the daughter of famous writer and theatre critic Shanta Gokhale. Renuka says that her mother gave her a couple of very simple and basic values, which she still adheres to.

theindusparent caught up with the actress in an exclusive tete-a-tete. Excerpts from the conversation.

Motherhood is a life-changing experience

"Motherhood is a life changing experience because you don’t forget that you are a mother for even a single second of your life after you become one. Pre-kids you can afford to live life just thinking of yourself and not thinking much of other adults that are living with you as they responsible for their own well-being and make their own decisions."

"But when a child comes into your life, you are responsible for the decisions for a very long time. Children need a lot of protection and you have to make decisions for them and, whether good and bad or ugly, you have to face the consequences in an indirect way as well. So your life changes drastically, the word worry comes into your life along with the  word happiness. They go hand in hand."

It was a conscious decision to take a sabbatical

"For six years I was not doing anything and it was a conscious decision to take a sabbatical after my kids were born. I had the privilege of having my mother around for a very long time. She started working when I was eight and those initial years of my childhood were very precious for me. My mom always used to be around and there is a certain security that you have when one of the parent is around you. It made a big difference to my sense of security, to my sense of being loved and protected and I wanted to give the same to my children."

renuka with kids

"So there was no way that I was going back to work immediately and even now I don’t work that much. That’s the reason why I don’t do television as it requires a lot of time, especially if you are working in a daily soap format. I don't mind excepting reality show offers that are over in a fixed period of time. "

"That’s the way I balance my professional and personal life. I feel that these are the years that I are not going to come back ever as far as the kids are concerned. It’s a trial for me also and I would say that it’s not an easy thing to do, but it has given me immense joy and pleasure over these years. I can see that my kids are growing up with a certain value system which is mine rather than being of my maid or my elders. It is my value system that I am passing on to my kids as the people that they spend the most time with are the people who they imbibe things from."

The best value that my mother gave me was honesty

"The first and foremost value that my mother gave me was honesty. My mother always said that there should be no compromise with honesty in your personal life as well as your professional life. Besides, that hard-work and discipline always help. My mom was an awesome cook and she was very good at stitching. In fact, most of my clothes were stitched by her and I used to wear them till the time I went to college."

"I have grown up having the best of both worlds, I would say. Because it is also important that the children accept a working mother and see that their mother has a different role to play as well besides being their mom. My mother was there when I needed her the most and we also understood the importance of a working woman later on and that it is not just the prerogative of men to do outside work and earn for the family."

ashutosh kids

"That is also something that my children are slowly and steadily learning about. They do turn around to me and say that why do you need to work and I say that work is not only related to need it is something that has got to do with self-respect and everybody should have a sense of self-respect. This is another thing that my mother taught me that unless you respect yourself nobody else is going to. These are a few basic things that that have helped me and I base my life on those principles and values. And I try my best to pass them down to my kids."

"Of course we were from a middle-class background and my kids are much more privileged than we were. They get everything that they ask for, but slowly and steadily am trying to teach them about money and also the fact that they should appreciate people from all classes and understand the struggles they go through."

Continued reading to know how Renuka and Ashutosh make their marriage work.

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