Nishi Tibrewala Khetan is an event planner and her expertise lies in creating beautiful weddings and events of different types. She has overcome personal struggles, learnt to build her career and above all, created a family that she cherishes immesnsely. In conversation with WOW’s Ankita Jain, Nishi tells you about the trials and triumphs of her journey as a parent.
As a working woman, a leading event planner and a mother of two, what’s a busy day in your life looks like?
Busy days mean being away from home for three-four days at a stretch. When we have a day event, I leave by 7-8 in the morning and I am back very late.
A working woman’s life is all about finding balance. How do you manage it?
In our society, it is a woman’s choice whether she wants to work or not. I always knew I had to work for my self-respect. Managing family, kids and work is tough as you are expected to prioritise your family over work. It was difficult for my family also to accept that I want to work but I made sure they understand how important this was for me. My kids have grown up seeing me work from day one and so it’s been a part of our regular life. There are times when I am unable to attend family functions, not stay home when my kids are sick, miss important school events, but at the end of the day everyone understands and I make sure that I make up for the lost time.
Share your experiences of being a mother and competent professional…
Being a competent professional is easier than being a good mother. To succeed in a profession, we kind of know the mantra but being a good mother is a new challenge every day. The regret of letting your kids down is way stronger than not succeeding professionally. At work, I can still delegate but when my child needs me, there is no substitute. An understanding of what is important, prioritising, hard work, dedication and honesty have been my mantra in life and these assets have helped me a lot.
What role does ‘adapting to changes’ play in your life and career?
When I was young, I was very aggressive, short tempered and arrogant. When I got married, I learnt to adjust in a family of 18 people. When I had a daughter, I learnt patience. When we went through a major financial downhill, I learnt resilience. When Silverlining Events took off, I learnt gratitude. Changes do take a toll on our mental well-being but we need to learn to accept whatever comes our way and have to be flexible enough to incorporate that change in our lives.
Children acquire habits, lifestyle, morals and values from their parents. What have your children learnt from you?
Honesty is very important for me and I think no matter what they are quite honest. Staying grounded and adjusting in a given situation is crucial to staying happy in life. Failure does not discourage them and no matter what, they know, we have their back. I believe in open communication and from the beginning, I have encouraged them to talk things out. I have a very friendly approach towards them. It gives me so much relief and confidence that my kids don’t hide things from me and we can have an open conversation on any given topic.
Does a working mother earn more respect from her children?
I do not agree to this. I feel that a stay-at-home mom has a lot of responsibilities and can be smart and confident. It is more about how you are as an individual and how you raise your children. When a mother is there to listen to her children when they need her the most, when a mother knows what she wants in life, and when her expectations from her children are clear, she will automatically gain respect.
How do you cope with the life problems that come with parenthood?
There was a phase in our life when we went through a major financial downhill and were extremely stressed. I used to work for 14-16 hours every day trying to meet ends. This is when I realised that when there is love and understanding within the family, we can deal with any problem. The happy faces of the children was our major driving force. To be able to come back to my children at the end of the day would make me forget everything and would be a big motivator to keep going on. Children are very adjusting and resilient and that’s what I learnt from them most during our hard times.
What is your parenting approach?
I am a very easy parent. I could never pester them to eat or study. If we pester them for anything, they tend to lose interest and won’t be happy doing that. They need to understand their priorities in life themselves and work towards that. If we pester them too much, they become dependent on us.
When kids are left to take care of themselves in the absence of their parents, it indirectly promotes independence and self reliance. Do you agree?
I totally agree to this. I could never be a helicopter parent and my kids have grown up pretty much independently. It was okay for me if they would fall and cry. That’s how they would learn, isn’t it? I always believed that if I get an hour to spend with my kids, let it be quality time where my complete attention is with them. I hate it when mothers sit beside their children but are busy talking on the phone all day. I am very confident that my kids are independent enough to handle any situation life may bring upon them and no matter what, they also know that we are there for them, always. If as a parent you are able to build this bond with your children and make them independent, I think you have done your job right.
How do you bridge the generation gap?
My kids call me a “Boomer”. This generation gap will always prevail and I am absolutely fine to accept that I don’t understand and accept a lot of things. It is very important to change with times. When I was growing up, I had a lot of issues with my parents because they would not understand my perspective. I try to listen and understand my children’s perspectives. There are times I don’t agree, I explain my thoughts, but I never impose it on them. Living in a joint family, there are times when my kids don’t agree to their grand-parents’ perspectives too, but then they also have to surrender to their elders sometimes. Growth is all about adjustments and a lot of open communication.
A family trip you cherish the most…
Our trip to Bali in 2018 has been our most fun trip. We are all beach lovers and get a different type of energy when we see the ocean. We had hired a car and would explore different hidden beaches there and spend our entire day enjoying at the beach. Ticking off things-to-do from everyone’s wish list is what gets the family together. We were there for 11 days and it was still not enough.
How do you want your children to remember you?
I would definitely want them to miss me and always know that I have loved them the most. I would want them to remember all the fun moments we have had together. They should always remember that I never gave up and they shouldn’t too. Nobody is perfect and neither am I, so I would want them to remember all the good things I have taught them and implement them in their lives.