A well-known face in Vancouver’s South Asian entertainment scene, Omni TV’s Entertainment Reporter, Tarannum Thind is ‘In The Spotlight’ this week. Tarannum has been at the pulse of the local South Asian community as the host of the television shows Jawani, Fusion Fare, Chai Time and now the entertainment reporter for the Omni News Team. You may also have seen her as an MC at big events around the city, including the recent TOIFA Awards.
Nowadays she adds the role of mother to two adorable munchkins, five-year old Ziya and two-year old Cayzan. As busy as she is, Tarannum still manages to spend quality time with her kids, catch the latest movies with her husband Riz, be on each evening Omni newscast and still make time to chat with me for this interview. I really wanted to find out her secrets to finding ‘The Right Balance.’
You’re a busy working mom, so how do you manage to balance everything?
What really helps is having all the support at home. Riz’s parent’s help out a lot. (Her in-laws live with her.) Riz is a very hands-on dad himself, so that makes a big difference as well. I think for any working woman, it’s very hard to balance. We can’t do it all, initially I used to think you can do it all but you can’t. You need all the help available. In Indian families it’s a real blessing that everyone kind of steps up and supports without expecting anything in return.
With Ziya I took about 5 months off so I was back at work right away. From day one I’ve never had to call home and check on the kids ever. I’ve never made that call to say, are the kids okay, have the kids eaten, they’ve always spent time at home with their grandparents who I trust more than even myself sometimes.
How does being in the spotlight affect you and your family?
My journey has been very public. People have been with me through every single thing… If anything, they’ve been extremely warm, sweet and kind. There’s never been anything negative that I can think of.
The kids love all the attention they get. (laughs) Riz loves all the attention. Initially it was hard for (the kids) to understand why mommy is on TV and why she’s home at the same time. But now Ziya imitates me. She grabs the mic and pretends she’s on TV and on stage.
What is your favorite thing about your job?
Meeting people…I’m a creative person, so for me to come in contact with all these creative people is the most exhilarating experience. No matter who I meet, I learn something new every time I walk away…When I see people screaming for celebrities, for example, Shah Rukh Khan…For me what is intriguing is him. What is it about him? He’s not a good looking guy. He’s not extraordinarily talented. So I look at him and wonder, what makes you, you? It fascinates me.
How did you feel when you first found out you were going to be a mother?
Oh my gosh, it was nerve racking. We were planning, both times, we wanted a three-year gap and it was one of those rare things that worked the way we planned it. With Ziya, Riz was driving me to work, we were on Oak Street Bridge, I had a weird moment and I turn and say to Riz, “I think I’m pregnant.” I couldn’t wait until I got home to find out, so literally on the way to work I picked up a pregnancy test and when I found out, I was like “Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god!” It’s a mixed bag of emotions because you’re excited but you don’t know what to expect because it’s totally unknown territory.
What’s the best thing about being a mom?
I think it’s the most rewarding experience ever! You’re learning from them…their innocence, the unconditional love, not judging other people, these are the things Riz and I always talked about…As grown-ups we become so cynical and judgmental and here you’re raising these kids who are embracing every moment of every day and learning something new. There’s nothing I don’t love about being a mom.
What’s challenging about being a parent?
Time management. There are late shoots, work commitments, late work hours and I think that’s the most challenging thing…By the time I get home from work, which is in Vancouver, it’s usually 7 o’clock. At 9 o’clock the kids are ready for bed so you don’t get much time to spend with them. I just wish there were 48 hours in a day and I wish I had more time to spend with them.
How would you describe your parenting?
I’ve never been a clingy mom. I’ve tried the same method my father taught me and that’s making them independent at a very young age. I’ve been working from day one, they’re used to not seeing me a couple times a week during the nights. I’ve never been controlling. It’s never been, you have to sleep with me or you have to sleep a certain way and you have to wake up at a certain time. Riz and I both had a very relaxed upbringing and I think we turned out okay. I don’t have a North American structured schedule where you have to eat at a certain time, drink at a certain time and sleep at a certain time.
What do you like to do together as a family?
We’re very spontaneous, we love the outdoors, going for walks, watching movies… As crazy as it sounds, if I’ve had a really hectic day, one thing we really love to do is put on music, blast it and just dance! The four of us love music, so we will just dance non-stop…The main thing is just being together, that’s always a priority.
You and Riz have been married for 9 years and you have busy lives with work and kids, how do you keep the spark alive?
Just taking time away from the kids a couple times a month really helps with that. Both of us love movies so there are days we put the kids to bed and then we say to mom and dad that we’re going to catch a movie. That’s our time…Spending time together, just the two of us, is really important.
What advice to do you have for other parents?
I think, especially for mothers, there is that guilt we carry. That weighs you down…There’s no right and wrong, everyone has a different style of parenting and I find that the more you hold on to them, the more you’re hurting yourself. After two years of having a child, not being able to work and focus on your work, (the guilt) drains you more, you’re just calling home and constantly checking on the kids which I’ve never been able to understand because I know they’re okay and fine. That’s guilt. Learning to let go of that guilt is very important.
Sometimes along the way people forget that they’re individuals. Your only definition becomes a parent. It’s very important to remember it’s also you, don’t lose that along the way. As much as I love them and they’re my kids and my responsibility, It’s also my responsibility that I have this life that was given to me by god and that I need to spend time on myself too.
You can watch Tarannum weeknights on OMNI. You can also follow her on Twitter @Tarannum Thind.