Tanya Starikova is one of the main representatives of the modern Youtube party and co-host of the show “Girlfriends”. She makes cool videos for Skyeng, talks about popular artists on her personal channel, and appears in various popular shows. And she also brings up her seven-year-old son Leo. We talked with Tanya about the impact of parenthood on publicity, the trauma of a new generation and sexual education.
Your personal Youtube channel started with videos about motherhood. Why?
Because when I found out about the pregnancy and opened the Internet in search of information, I could not find anything. And if there was something, it was very boring, hard to read. And then I wanted to create a portal with information and communication, thanks to which young parents would understand that family and life with a child are fun. That life with a child is not limited to sitting and sorting out diapers all day long.
I don’t consider myself an expert in parenting or someone to look up to. I am one of the private stories. But my videos have responded to many and respond so far. And I’m glad if it turns out to bring down the pressure of responsibility and pressure that society places on parents. It’s great if with my videos a person can relax a little and understand that he is not the only such strange parent.
Didn’t people run into the comments who said that you were doing everything wrong?
They ran. This is one of the reasons why I started to shift my focus away from motherhood. One of my most popular videos (unexpectedly) is about a baby falling asleep on its own. A portal to hell has opened in the comments. They wrote to me that I was mocking the child, putting him away from me, because nature created us as one. On the one hand, we are all different: someone lives completely in an embrace with a child, someone builds a distance. Great – that’s how different people appear. But on the other hand, why should I write this?
There are two types of people on the Internet that I don’t understand: haters and those who teach something through aggression.
Why can’t you say something nicer? Every day reading “poor child”, “poor child”, even if you are a super-conscious person, is hard. Personal boundaries should be as clear as possible.
Therefore, I tried to reduce the number of “mom” topics so that they would not give me advice. I don’t give you, and you don’t give me. Some kind of agreement.
Nevertheless, the blog has become more popular, you have become more popular, many new projects have appeared. How do you manage to combine everything with motherhood?
I prioritize and create circumstances. It all works like this: if you like being completely devoted to the family, then you don’t need nannies and helpers. And if you want to do something else, you need to look for opportunities.
I understand that there are difficult periods in life when you cannot afford a nanny. We also had one. I then just started creating a blog, the money was minus 50 rubles a day. There were no real helpers, only parents, and that was part-time. But I managed to get out. There was, of course, the feeling that I could not afford to do anything other than my family. But I wanted to work and develop. We turned to friends for help. And we are still in touch.
For example, tonight I want to go to a concert, but I don’t have anyone at home with whom I can leave the child: my husband and mother are in Nizhny Novgorod, I don’t have a nanny either. I’m calling a friend. She can come collect Lego with my son and stay overnight with us. Why not?
You can always find a way out. The main thing is to understand the priorities. And understand that other people may have different priorities. If someone does not give his children to anyone in the evening and sits with them himself, this does not mean that you should do the same if there is a desire to do something else.
Thoughts do not creep in: “I am a bad mother, because I spend little time with my son”?
There are some consequences of the fact that large-scale feminism has appeared in our lives. Every woman has the right to live the way she wants. And from this, women are “born” who are very successful in their careers, very successful in sports, very successful in the family … And as a rule, this is not the same person. But society expects you to meet all the criteria. And that doesn’t happen.
I have a sister who is completely dedicated to her family. She is an amazing mom. I’m proud of her. But I will never be a mother like her, simply because I cannot invest myself in it that much. If you rate me on the scale of motherhood, where my sister is ten, then I’m somewhere around five. But I am engaged in other areas: social life, work, interesting events. They are also somewhat pumped for me. Could have been pumped more, but I have a family.
What if your son wants to spend more time with you?
I look back at his emotional state all the time. But here is an important point: when you grow up in certain conditions, you form the concept of the norm. For example, for children who grow up in the village, it is normal to sit with their grandmother, with their aunt, with their sister. Because it’s just the way it is. Their parents do not worry that in some book about education in Bali it is written that the mother should devote herself completely to the child.
It is normal for Lyova to live in a large environment of people. He trusts many adults and is not afraid to stay with my friends. He quite calmly says goodbye to me if I leave somewhere, and knows that he stays with the people he loves.
Here, by the way, more difficulties arise with adults who stay with him. Many people worry that they might do something wrong. Therefore, we always praise our “adults”, how cool they are at sitting with him.
How does motherhood affect your publicity?
I wouldn’t say very strong. I make content that I myself would not be ashamed to watch, and this is a very high bar. As for other shows I go to…
There was a generation of bloggers who had children. And this is an unprecedented case for humanity when the youth of your parents is fully available in good resolution.
We couldn’t look at the life of our parents like that, although it’s clear that they also had cool parties. I know a lot about my dad, how he hung, and it does not bother me at all. Probably because for me a parent is first of all a friend, and not just a teacher.
Naturally, it happens, I sometimes drink in the frame. Sometimes I mother. But so what? It does not bother me, because this is part of our life, why try to hide it? Lyova himself asked me the other day what a “bitch” is? He said he heard at the Casta. And we began to discuss words that are considered obscene and taboo. I understand that he will recognize and hear them anyway, so why not discuss them with him. So that he understands why they are considered “bad”, and that if a person accidentally said them, then he did not become worse from this.
Don’t you think that your publicity and what you broadcast reflects on him?
When you live in a family, your personal boundaries are in close contact with the boundaries of another person. If Leva says that he does not want to act somewhere, then he will not act in film. But if I want to shoot somewhere, I will. And I will say what I think is necessary. Naturally, plus or minus looking back at his comfort. I will not completely consider all my desires from the point of view: what if Leo suddenly looks, what will he say? These issues can be addressed as they come up.
In the end, when he grows up, he will have something to discuss with Vasilisa Kukoyaka: what a difficult fate they have. On the one hand, yes, everything is there. On the other hand, classmates know something about the personal life of their parents. These are new generation traumas that they will discuss with a psychologist.
Don’t the current generation that goes to a psychologist want to raise their children so that they don’t have to go to him?
That doesn’t happen. Of course, we try to do more than our parents did. For example, if my parents didn’t tell me that they were divorced, then the three of us sat down with Leo at a family council, discussed his feelings, our feelings, the reasons for the divorce and the future after him.
But you can’t live in tension all your life: just don’t make mistakes! It can drive you crazy. It’s easier to allow yourself to be a person who can mess up and then think about how to fix it. I don’t suffer before going to bed: “Lord, I drank with Eldar Dzharakhov at the Bar in the Big City, how will my son grow up?”
It seems to me that he, on the contrary, will be proud that his mother is in this whole party. Meet his favorite singers. Largely due to the fact that she allowed herself to make bold career decisions and do something interesting, strange or embarrassing in the frame. So maybe I’m not a very good mom, but I’m an awesome mom!
Does Leo even watch the videos you make?
He rarely watches YouTube. He doesn’t have an iPad, we don’t even have a TV at home. He is mainly engaged in offline life. On the Internet, he watches some clips, music and sometimes cartoons. He’s not interested in this yet.
When you were invited to the show “Girlfriends”, did you think about how your open attitude to such topics would affect your son?
To be honest, we didn’t say anything embarrassing. We discussed the part of life that each of us has. We discussed the body, sex, relationships. It’s all there in the life of every person, it can not be ashamed. On the contrary, this needs to be discussed. Especially with children.
It seems to me that the current generation of children will grow up more knowledgeable in this topic than we are. Leo is already more advanced than I was at his age. He can already call a penis a penis. He knows a lot about his anatomy. Knows the rule “No! Get away! Tell!”. At his age, it’s too early to watch the show “Girlfriends” – he’s just not interested yet. But, I think, while he grows up, our conversations with the girls will be such a babble for him.
I didn’t face condemnation that, they say, how can you raise a child like that and talk about sex all over the country?
It seems to me that sex has ceased to be a taboo topic. And the only ones who can condemn are the older generation, simply because they didn’t accept all this. When I was called to “Girlfriends”, I told my mother that I would be acting in a rather explicit female show like “Sex and the City”. We agreed that she would not watch it. Our grandparents don’t know how to open YouTube. Other people’s opinions just don’t interest me.
You said you were doing sex education for Leo. How did you come to this?
In this sense, we have a very modern dad. He burned with all aspects of education, in particular sexual. We agreed that since Leo is a boy, it will be more comfortable for them to conduct a dialogue, they understand each other’s anatomy more. I can keep up the conversation, but the base itself was given to him by dad.
Do you think that the upbringing of boys and girls is different in this regard?
I will not say that I am a straight person who has completely erased the boundaries of genders. Obviously not. I have a lot of classic patterns in me. And it was difficult for me to talk about sex myself, even in “Girlfriends”. And Misha, my ex-husband, is more open and easy in this regard. This is partly why he is still engaged in sexual education of his son.
Now Leo does not have questions regarding intimate relationships. There I could explain to him that if a girl says no, it means no. While he has questions regarding hygiene and acceptance of the body. And it’s easier to discuss it with Misha.
But I am sure that I will be very happy to give advice in terms of relationships. We are already slowly discussing his communication with friends and girlfriends, because when you are seven, you still don’t understand a lot of things. But here is the golden rule: Leo should have a question. I won’t go to him myself with advice he didn’t ask for. It is very important for me that Leo trusts us and can share his problems with us. And while there are no difficulties with this.
You support gender equality and women’s rights. Does it have any effect on education?
Oh yeah! Recently we were driving a car and I was driving. The lion told me: “Well, women, they drive worse.” And we discussed for a long time that gender does not make sense, that the one who has studied and practiced a lot drives better. I was so proud of this conversation then! It seemed to me that I just cut this mossy stereotype in the child’s head in the bud. But! A week later, Misha tells me: “I was driving here recently with Lev, and in front of us the bus changed lanes very ugly. And Leo was like: “One hundred percent a man is driving!” “I realized that we have not yet closed this issue.
The older generation and people around may even unconsciously broadcast the stereotypes “what are you crying like a girl” or “you are a boy, you must protect”. How do you work with it?
I think that when it comes to loved ones, then, of course, you can have educational conversations with grandparents, but just a little bit – you can’t change the character globally. And then, you can work out one of your grandmothers, but other people will not go anywhere.
Therefore, the child must be able to work with the information that he receives. And he needs help with this. Children are very categorical, they think in terms of “boy-girl”, “good-bad”, “good-evil”. I try to expand the boundaries of Leo.
For example, he says: “Women don’t drive well.” He heard it from someone. And I propose to think about where this installation came from. We start to rewind: when cars appeared, what rights women had at that time, why men started doing this earlier. Then we discuss what is happening now and why this stereotype does not work.
I try, at least in some important things (on the issue of race, skin color, orientation), to give a more detailed picture. Then he will understand which opinion is close to him and which is not, and weed out the unnecessary.
As if there is already a conviction that the current generation of children with this approach to education will grow up more progressive. This has high expectations.
I want my family to develop in some kind of progression: my mother was able to give me more than her parents could give her, and I try to give my child even more. It seems to me that Leo will have a lot of knowledge, a lot of opportunities, a lot of visas, visited countries, friends. He is gentle and doesn’t try to offend anyone. He’s already cooler than us.
But at the same time, I adhere to a step by step approach to life. Because otherwise you can go crazy. If, when entering the first grade, you worry about how you will finish the fifth year, these are extra nerves. We still do not know, given the current agenda, what will happen in a year. All I know is what we’re going to do this week: stay up late for school, do our homework, and play in our free time while also making ourselves happy.