‘S.I.T’ founder, Chhavi Mittal, tied the knot with the director, Mohit Hussein, in 2005. The couple is the parents of a baby girl, Areeza and Arhaam. Chhavi Mittal is a hands-on mom and is a true inspiration for all the new mothers. In an exclusive interview with TOTS magazine, she has shared all her secrets about how she does it all single-handedly.
Please Introduce Chhavi Mittal in your own words to our readers?
First of all, I am a working mother of 2 kids. Co-founder of shitty ideas trending & the founder of Being Woman. These are all our digital content creation platforms, and my whole endeavor in life is to create good content for people which is meaningful and can help everyone in their life. On SIT, we create light-hearted content, and on being a woman, I create informative content and talk about motherhood.
What inspired you to create shitty ideas trending?
Shitty ideas trending happened because Mohit and I became parents for the first time and realized that life could not be the same after becoming parents. As him being a television director and me as a television actor, the kind of lifestyle that we had made it impossible to follow that kind of a living. We wanted to create something where our daughter could be a part of it. So that is why we decided to do something on our own. The second reason was that we also wanted to do something of our own because, in television, one does get to do many things that are not possible in any other profession. We wanted to take it a notch higher and take a step ahead by creating content that we wanted to make and not just create content for somebody else or where somebody else would tell us what to do and how to do it. So, it was kind of exploring our independence a little better.
As your husband is the show’s director, do you guys have a couple of fights on set?
Oh yeah!! See, we live together, we parent together, work together, go to the office, and come back together. We are 24/7 together. So definitely, we are bound to have a lot of arguments about different things. If there are no arguments, then I feel the relationship is not healthy. We prefer to talk about it and get it over with it.
Who is easy to deal with, hubby or the director?
I think they both have their troubles. I will talk about the director first; he is very clear about what he wants, has a clear vision of things so much that sometimes it’s difficult to give him a suggestion on set. I think I am the same too. I am also very clear about what I want, so when our visions collide, we tend to have more arguments, and the best way to tackle that is to have a defined role for both of us in the company. We give each other suggestions, but we don’t enforce our recommendation on another person. Hubby, I think it is a little easier because I can throw my weight around a little more. I can always play the emotional card.
What made you fall in love with Mohit?
There are many things; the first reason that drew me towards him was how sensitive he is; he is compassionate towards everybody. He is never mean to people or not unnecessarily shouting out at people. It’s how he treats everybody around him equally, whether it is our staff or somebody very senior to us, friends, parents, everyone. He is a very genuine and hot person. I have never seen Mohit ever being moody and taking it out on somebody else for no reason.
The second reason was that he is extremely caring towards me. I never felt that he is looking at another girl instead of paying attention to me. By awareness, I don’t mean he unnecessarily looks at me 24/7 and tells me how pretty I am. Still, he knows how to care like for example, and if there is one Gulab jamun in the fridge and he wants to eat it, he will give it to me first without even thinking.
What is that one moment in life that you wished never happened?
I am not somebody who regrets things. I think every mistake that we make makes us stronger and makes us learn an important lesson. The bigger the error, the more influential the lesson is. Whatever I am, today is the byproduct of all the mistakes that I have collectively made; if I didn’t make those mistakes, I would not be the person that I am today, and I am proud of the person that I am, so I don’t want to change anything that I have done in the past.
How has marriage changed you? Or has it?
I think it’s not marriage but staying with the same person for so many years or just generally growing up and having a sense of maturity makes you grow rather than change. I would say marriage is not something that changed me a lot, but motherhood has changed me a lot. I have learned many things after becoming a mother, and I think patience is one of the most important learnings that I have learned. With the child, no matter how impatient you are, there is nothing you can do. After marriage, I think I was still the same. We still have those puppy fights we are still patched up in the young romance kind of away. We were married for seven years before we had our first baby, but by heart, we were still like boyfriend and girlfriend before we had Aliza.
Many couples divorce within a year of marriage; you and Mohit are married for 16 years. What is the secret behind your beautiful bond?
I think in relationships, it’s essential to understand your role in it. Relationships are not usually equal; it’s not about being 50-50 in everything. In particular, you have to be 60-40 or 20-80, in specific things you have to be 0-100 also and in particular things it has to be 50-50. You have to understand what is your role in specific scenarios. There is a lot been spoken about equal parenting right now, but it doesn’t mean that if the mother is bathing the child, why can’t a father bathe. If the mother is feeding the child but can’t a father do the same? It is not about both the parents doing the same things. It is about both the parents taking on roles; Duties have to be divided so that it’s not just one person doing all the work, but the other has their share of responsibility.
Secondly, what’s important is that I’ve realized we tend to expect something from the other person that we are willing to do for another person. If I can do this for you, why can’t you do it for me? That kind of expectation is very unfair because what you do for me may not be something that I can do for you, so you do what you can do for me, and I’ll do what I can do without expecting the same thing in return. We, as a partner, need to recognize that effort and appreciate it.
Does your daughter complain about her parents being so busy?
Oh yes, she does that. She complains about it all the time, but I think we are parents who are not that busy. I keep reminding her that you look at your friends’ parents who go to the office at 8:30/9 am and return at 8-9 pm. The child doesn’t get to see their parents’ faces for the whole day as they work so hard. We leave at 11 in the morning and come back by 6:30 in the evening, and we spend the mornings and nights with you. Dinner time is with you, and we play with you only thing in the middle of the few hours we go. So, I keep trying to explain to her that you should be thankful for what you have, and I hope I can teach her gratitude because she tends to compare us with parents who are at home, with mothers who are not working. I always tell her not to compare, and there is only so much we can explain to her; we both try to spend as much time with her. We do things that she wants us to do.
Both your kids are very young right now, so how do you manage work and kids?
I have a routine for both of them and myself, so work timings are permanently fixed, but the kid’s timings are fixed more than work timings. Everything, in my opinion, is time, and everything is a routine. If that gets sorted, everything is good. Especially if the sleep routine with children is set, you will never have a cranky baby at home. If the baby is not irritable, you can do anything and everything, even when the baby is awake and playing around you. I have learned how to work with Aram and Aliza, both in the room playing and making noise or shouting away to glory. It is just the way that I have tuned myself. Aleza is now eight years old, and Arham is going to turn 2.5. They play a lot together. Aleza being the elder one she takes care of him, and he listens to her. The bond that they have is unique.
Many celebrities are posting holiday videos these days. Do you guys plan for any holidays shortly once everything settles down?
We don’t have any plan for a holiday right now, but we are thinking of going somewhere around the beach and working there because the kids are getting a little impatient. Arham is so tiny, but he mentions the beach every day. He loves the beach and sand. He wants to play with the sand.
As working parents, one has to leave their kids with the caretakers and nannies; how safe do you feel when you are out, and kids are with them? Any precautions you guys take?
Yes, 100 percent. The first thing is I don’t keep anybody like that; I am very rigorous when it comes to the interview process, I don’t get desperate. I have noticed that so many mothers that I see who tend to get desperate, like looking for somebody and need it now desperately, tend to get blinded. I usually don’t take more than 4 minutes in an interview. I can tell if a person is lying or not looking correct to me or if the person is too eager, then I know something is wrong. I don’t go for that. Too good to be true also happens a lot. Right now, I have a very efficient nanny, and my kids are fond of her, and so am I.
I want to tell all the mothers that whenever you are hiring a caretaker, you must understand that that person is also a human. The only thing that matters is how happy your child is with her; that’s it. Your caretakers’ job is not to make you happy. Her job is not to serve you, and many mothers think that if I am with the baby, she can do other work in the house. If I am looking at her expertise in baby care, then I don’t expect her to be in the kitchen and do my dishes. She should know her baby care job very well, that’s what I hope. My only concentration is on how efficient she is with baby care.
What are your future plans as an Actor right now?
As an actor professionally, I don’t have any plans because that is not my primary profession anymore. All the planning revolves around content creation. We are also thinking of diversifying into other businesses, but it entirely depends upon how the lockdown goes and on how enterprises are generally performing.
You are a singer as well. You sing. Are any music videos or songs lined up where we can see you active?
I am a master’s in Indian classical music. I used to sing, but I am not planning on taking it professionally. Creating Music videos, I think it takes a lot of hard work and time. I don’t have that kind of time professionally.
What are your plans for your daughter? Is she inclined towards performing arts or academically?
In the philosophy that we follow, we don’t encourage Aliza to do anything unless she tells us she wants to do something. When the time is right for her, she will tell us what she wants to do, and we will help her pursue that. Performing Arts is a big no at this point as she is very young. I try to protect or shield her from social media precisely as much as I can as this is the age where kids start noticing how many likes and comments I am getting, then they start thinking about their looks and more. It is not her age to think about what strangers on these platforms think about her. This age and time are just for her to explore her mind and avenues, think about the things that she enjoys, and experiment with her interests. Sometimes we parents feel that we have so much experience and know what the future looks like; no, we need to let them explore and experiment to understand what their interests are in. We can’t enforce our interests on our kids.
Do you ever feel trapped with kids, work, and no time for yourself? How do you manage your stress?
There are some days that it happens when I feel overworked, but it’s not that frequent. I am a perfect planner, so I always plan my days to get time out. There must be just one odd day that I must have stressed, maybe because of lack of sleep that makes me cranky, but I always balance it out.
One piece of advice that you would want to give to all working mothers?
I want to tell all working mothers to stop feeling guilty that they leave their kids and work. Also, when you have your kids with grandparents or in-laws or Nannie. Just be thankful about it.
Would you like to share any message with your fans and real-life couples?
The only thing I can say is that the world is changing a lot, and so many people have lost their heads in this lockdown its primarily because people have forgotten how to spend time with themselves. We always want to be in the company of other people or phone, or television I think it’s essential for us to learn how to be with ourselves alone without doing or having anything just sitting and enjoying our own company. This is an excellent time to understand what we want and what we feel about everything we like and dislike.
I sometimes find this amusing that according to trends, things suddenly pick up in word of mouth, like if one restaurant has fantastic food, suddenly everyone will start going and having food there. How can one like the same kind of food? That is why I feel people have to start spending enough time with themselves to understand their own choices and preferences. It is high time that people recognize their own needs and prioritize, and for that, I think meditation is essential. I especially feel that we are so dependent on our electronic media that one needs to switch off everything and do nothing for 20mints. That’s meditation enough.