Mom blogger, influencer, content creator and not to forget a full-time mother, Kushali Gupta joins us and answers all our aching questions about ─ her life before blogging; her journey and struggles; and what techniques she uses as a mother of a 2-year-old to give her son, Harshiv the best childhood she possibly can.
Q. Please tell us something about yourself and your child.
Hello everyone! I am Kushali Gupta. I am a software developer by profession and I did my Bachelor's and Honours from Banasthali University, which is situated in Rajasthan. I worked for quite some time as a trainee and am also a Delhi State Yoga Champion.
Now I have chosen motherhood over everything. I am a housewife, mother, and influencer by choice and my goal is to encourage and influence all those women out there; whether they belong to rural or urban areas. I want to influence each woman to do something, no matter how big or small. You don't want to live with this guilt in your heart that I'm not doing anything. So just do something.
I'm raising my 28-months-old toddler, Harshiv Gupta. He is just my little life. He is very important to me. There’s nothing fancy about him. He is just an ordinary kid with extraordinary love. He means the world to me.
Q. What is your take on creativity?
Creativity is something that comes from within. You cannot force anyone to be creative. It depends on your thought process, your vision, and you putting your vision and your thoughts into some form of action. For example, in “Tare Zameen Par”, Ishaan always had something going on in his head about how he's alone and nobody's with him. So he transformed that thought process of his and showcased it in the form of his paintings. That's creativity.
Q. How can we incorporate different sets of skills in kids?
In the initial stages of childhood, their brains can do wonders. Their thought process is so wide that they can do anything. But we have to show them the right path on how to convert their thoughts into actions.
If we don't introduce them to new things then how are they supposed to convert their thoughts into action and do something creative? So I think we should give them free space and time and introduce them to new things. So that they can generate interest. Either they create a mess, either they play, they do something else. We have to just show them the right path.
Q. Since we are talking about how we as parents can introduce new things and help children explore; what according to you is the right age to help them with this?
I cannot say that this is the perfect age to do this particular thing. What I can say is that we moms have the magical powers to sense everything. We know that this is the perfect age for the child to do this thing. Every kid is different. Someone can catch something at year one, while others can’t do that even after year two. We moms usually know when the time is right. If we give a six-months-old child a paintbrush it doesn't make any sense. At that stage, we should read for them, and then we should introduce some musical and light toys and some block games after year 1. Those sorts of things.
Q. What activities do you prefer to engage your child in during the lockdown?
If I talk about the age group between 1-2.5 or 3, the best activities according to me are puzzle games, colouring, painting, and then pasta and macaroni sorting. That is something they really like. And then we have block games, some messy games which take place in water (which are my kid's favourite), alphabet sorting games, board games, etc. We also have some kitchen set games which fascinate children a lot. This is what I do. I don’t do any fancy stuff with my kiddo. These are some common things I do daily with him that I really enjoy too.
Q. Like every other parent out there, even you might have some dreams for your child. Would you support your child if he wants to pursue a creative career? Or would you want him to do something society thinks is normal?
Absolutely not! I will try to be the coolest mom ever! I will let him do whatever he wants.
Till we are in the 12th, I don't think we should force kids. If I take my example, till the 12th I didn't know what I wanted to do. So till 12th, I think we should guide kids a little and we should always support them no matter what. Because if we force them to do something, they won't be able to showcase their creativity.
Q. As a blogger, what do you want to say about the support which you have received from your family and especially from your husband?
I would like to tell you a short story about my blogging journey. The family I married into is very conservative. They are very nice people but still, they are kind of conservative. So when I started this blogging journey I had no idea it was such a massive hub. I just started doing it on a whim. I wanted to create memories; I wanted to put pictures of my kiddo and I just started for the sake of my amusement. And then I got to know that this is a such big world and that you can do it as a profession as well.
Nobody supported me. Nobody. Not even my husband. In this line of influencing, you'll spend your entire life explaining it to others but nobody will get it apart from a fellow influencer. I started taking part in giveaways and so many gifts started to come into the house. Everybody felt that she's doing it with a good motive and heart; she’s not doing anything wrong. Slowly my husband also started liking it and my followers rose and I worked really hard.
At the time, even my baby was small, he was just 15-20 days old when I started blogging. When I decided to make this my profession, I used to make content when my baby and my husband used to fall asleep at night. I couldn't find any time in the day. I cannot go to my mom-in-law and say that “I have to create content, you please do the housework”. That's not at all possible. After getting married, it is not possible in anyone's house. After that what happened was that I gradually started getting campaigns and pay-outs.
Then my husband started to understand. One day we sat down and I explained everything to him; that this is what I am doing, you should know this. Now he follows me and so does my brother-in-law.
Next, I started my own cash give-aways. This is my journey; from participating in giveaways to throwing my own give-aways. No one will support you, it’s only you. You have to show with your actions that you’re doing something and you want to do something and that you will not stop. You should have the determination. You have to show others with your actions. Initially, nobody will understand you. Nobody will come to you and say do whatever you want to do, I'm there to support you. Nobody will come. That only happens in the movies.
Q. Was it difficult to manage blogging and your child as well? How tough of a task was it for you?
It was very tough. Very, very tough. It still is. I can’t even express it properly. I get up at 6:30 AM in the morning. I have to give time to myself as well, and my body. The household responsibility I have is too much. My boy is a typical mama's boy. So it is quite difficult and challenging. But if you're interested in something like influencing or content creation, you will do that by getting up at 4 in the morning as well. You should have the determination and you can do wonders no matter how much responsibility you have. Even if you're able to sleep for only 4 hours. Everything happens, everything can be managed, you just need someone who can manage.
Q. Do you give in to your child’s demands easily or do you outright refuse him?
No, no, absolutely not. I never give in to his demands. This is what I believe: The more the toys the kid has, the more demanding they get. The toys become less engaging for them. They tend to get more easily distracted. If we give them all the toys in one go, kids get bored in one second. Give them a new toy, and in 10 minutes they put the toy aside. My child has 4 baskets of toys. What I do is that I ask him to pick a few toys, and I create a separate basket for it. We keep that in our room. We play for around a week with that basket.
Then he's bound to get bored. It is normal for every child. When he gets bored, what I do is that I keep that basket inside and take out the other basket and then he feels that it’s new. I will never suggest to give in to their demands; they will only get more demanding.
Q. Do you give your smartphone to your child?
I just allow him some screen time when he's eating. Other than that I don’t give him any screen time. He doesn’t even watch TV. But when it comes to eating I'm very satisfied that God has created a phone and YouTube, because otherwise, I feel that my kid would starve. I'm not against screen time, unlike many moms. I feel that you should just balance it properly.
Q. What suggestions do you have for parents whose children are between 4-6 years of age regarding screen time? Should we let them use as much as they want or what should the time limit be?
We should not ignore it completely, because it is a trend. Due to the lockdown, the academics have shifted online. Along with studies, some have a habit of watching while eating. So we should balance everything. Studies should not be neglected. 4-5-year-olds are very understanding and mature.
Colour sorting, animals, my kid has learned most of it from YouTube. I'm so happy about it and I have never been against YouTube videos. He started eating because of it. He used to be the fussiest eater and I was the most unhappy mom at that point in time. When he was 10-months-old, I introduced some screen time, and from then on whatever I try to feed him he eats. So I'm very thankful to YouTube.
Q. Any last message to all the parents from your side?
Just save money and create memories. Go traveling, make memories, live your life with your kids, and let them be free. Never ever compare your kids to others. I am the biggest example of this. My son right now is 28-months-old and he only says initials and nothing else. I have seen in my surroundings where kids learn everything: abcd, 123, day names, and all. What I believe is that it’s okay. He’ll learn to speak eventually. If not now, after 6 months he’ll learn. Everyone learns abcd, day names, and so on. Don't rush. Live. Live with your child. If they are making a mess, go in the mess; if they are in the pool and taking baths, join them, and create memories as much as you can. This is my only funda, that saves money and enjoys with your child. Live your childhood again.
Kushali Gupta is famous for her role as a nation-wide influencer and mother to one of the cutest kids ever, but she has made it her goal to take a stand for women everywhere, and continues to be an inspiration and constant source of motivation for them. She’s a role model and icon to many and we are glad to have had the opportunity to interact with her.
Make sure to follow her journey on Instagram @harshiv_kushali.