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‘My Children will look up to Me As Well’

A fashion designer by chance and a politician by choice, Shaina Chudasama Munot talks about juggling work and home. . ..

Not on a Platter
As the daughter of a social activist (Nana Chudasama) and one of the pioneers in the fashion industry (Munira Chudasama), it did not mean I had my career chalked out for me. Though I graduated with distinction in Political Science from Mumbai's St. Xavier's College, I always wanted to be a lawyer or get into politics.

However, the urge to pursue my inborn talent for fashion sent me to New York's Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), where I completed my associate's degree in fashion design.

No Fashion Statement
It was not very difficult for me to enter politics with the tag of a fashion designer on. People knew that I was out there to make some statement. I was there out of genuine concern. For me, glamour becomes meaningful when combined with a social cause. I have worked with several NGO's, organised charity shows for the physically disabled and actively supported the Cancer.

Family Affair
I come from a very cosmopolitan family. My father is a Rajput and my mother a Bohri Muslim. So my marriage to Manish, a Jain didn't create any issues. I was engaged at 22 and married at 23. Today, I have a six-year-old daughter, Shanaya and a two-month-old son, Ayan.

Multi-tasking All the Way
People think it is easy for me, being a designer-cum-politician and having such an illustrious lineage. However, towards the end of the day, I am a wife and a mother. It doesn't matter how many servants you have to take care of your kids; You don't feel complete till you have spent some time with them.

As a working mother, I have to be on my toes all the time and multi-tasking is downright exhausting.

We live by ourselves, not with my parents or in-laws. However, I do have two servants to take care of Shanaya's and Ayan's needs. Ayan is too young for me to leave him alone at home.

Fortunately for me, in my boutique there is a spare room where he can be taken care of. Shanaya, has her school to attend to and hence stays back with a maid.

Weight Matters
I did take a break of one month. It was a good and a bad move at the same time. It also depends on the way you look at it. After all the physical exhaustion, you need a good break to regain the lost strength and energy. However, in this competitive world, you cannot afford to cut yourself off for a longer period. Competition catches on.

I do not get time to go gymming or jogging. I keep a tab on my diet and having a treadmill at home helps as well.

Adjustment is the Key
I cannot take full credit for doing this juggling act with ease. Had it not been for Manish's support it would have been extremely difficult. At times, an important assignment deadline coincided with Shanaya's PTA meet. I didn't even have to ask Manish to do it as in my house jobs are not gender specific. Also, my staff has been extremely cooperative and we treat them as a family member.

Guilt over Compensation?
I tend to over indulge Shanaya at times. Often, when I am in the middle of a meeting, Shanaya calls up and asks for something. And because I don't have the time to sit down with her and make her understand, I tend to give in to her. On retrospect I feel I should not have done that but in that moment of guilt everything seems fair.

I have had a middle class upbringing and I want my kids to have the same. I want them to rough it up, travel by bus, not spend on unnecessary stuff and struggle the way I did. I do take them on holidays now and then. That is my way of balancing the guilt factor.

What is quality Time?
The amount of respect I have for my mother is beyond expression because of the way she handled her career as well as her home. I believe my children will look up to me as well, since they know their mother is not wasting her time on frivolous kitty parties or socialising.

Also, I believe that it is all about spending quality time with your kids. For me, being there when my child is taking the first step or cleaning up his potty is not the idea of spending quality time. I would rather be there when my child is upset and needs my help.