22-year-old Mira clarified her choice of being a homemaker on Women's Day but ended up making a controversial remark, which hurt the sentiments of working women.
"I wouldn't want to spend one hour a day with my child and then rush off to work. Why did I have her then? She is not a puppy. I want to be there for her as a mother. Seeing her grow up can not be quantified."
This obviously raged anger amongst all working mothers who at all times are fighting a constant battle between career and home, and decided to write an open letter to Mira.
Here's what they wrote:
The letter published by Humans of Bombay reads:
"I was raised in a middle-class family that placed the most importance on education and being financially independent. I was one of the 50 students hired by Grindlays Bank right after graduating from DSE and I started at the bottom. My first few stints included delivering pizza to my bosses, labelling 15,000 chairs and keeping stock of stationery, but I loved it! It was a male-dominated work environment, and most people thought I would get married and quit…no one really took me seriously. But I did everything to excel — I would study long hours after work, I would be the first one to enter and last one to leave. In fact, I met my husband at this company and even though I was married at the age of 24 — my passion, to make it never died.
Even when I was pregnant, believe it or not, I was working right 'till the day of my delivery — I was in a meeting when my water broke and that's when I left for the hospital! Back then, the maternity leave was just 3 short months and there were no creches at work — so I would bundle my daughter up with the nanny, keep her in a hotel nearby and rush to her in between work to feed her. While my daughter was growing up, I realised that the stereotypes are created by society and on so many occasions by women. I remember, I was traveling for work once and couldn't attend her parent-teacher meet, so my husband took her and all the mother's there applauded him for being so 'involved'— he came back feeling on top of the world but for mothers it's considered a part of their duty and that's where the problem lies. I was termed, a 'bad mother' because I couldn't make it and this is 1 of a 100 incidents. Once when he took her to a birthday party, everyone there praised him and said, 'your wife is so lucky — you're a great husband'. He is the best man I could have ever asked for, but why does society place men on a higher pedestal? Isn't he as responsible for her school and extra-curricular activities as I am? Aren't we equals?
When she was 2 years old and had 104 fever, I had a road show the next day — so my husband stayed at home and asked me not to worry. Leaving my daughter behind when she was ill doesn't mean I don't love her– on any other day, I would have taken that day off…but my husband did it instead…so does that make me a bad mother?
My fight is not about my work, it's about not having gender equality. As a working woman, I've been so disciplined and made my way to being the CEO of UBS, I've cracked billion dollar deals and gone home after to help my daughter with my science project. I'm on the World's top 50 women on the business list and I still have 20 hour days but that doesn't make me any less of a homemaker. If we really want to progress, gender equality should be on top of the list — where men and women are equals, where a woman's career is deemed as important as a man's and where a man isn't treated like God for being involved at school or in the house. Just basic equality."
Below is the letter written by three working mothers which first appeared on The Huffington Post
We are three working mothers, very busy and pressed for time. Nevertheless, we decided to take some time out and share a different perspective — pro bono since one of us is a lawyer.
We have worked pretty much since the day we got our hands on our shiny degrees and we have enjoyed working and success at the workplace.
So to put it in black and white — we choose to work! Cue the offended gasps and muttered aside.— you unnatural mother!
So, why do we work?
Independence: We like having our own identity in the broader adult world. We like being a consultant, a manager, a lawyer. We are proud of our titles. They are part of our identity. Also let's not forget financial independence, we haven't asked anyone for money since the day we turned 21 and we aren't about to start now. Also, we don't have any diamond encrusted nest eggs and platinum spoons in our mouths.
Our brain needs food: Our brains hunger for challenges and the need to acquire new skills. We thrive on solving that knotty problem, the one — our male bosses couldn't solve.
It's our passion, we have studied and worked hard to get here and we enjoy using this brilliant tool! The challenge of child-rearing while pursing and excelling at our passion is our every day struggle.
To be a better role model: As our daughters grow up, they will see mothers who are engaged and happy and productive. They will see mothers who are dealing with the challenges of everyday life, who come home and cry when their day at office has been bad and still wipe their tears, polish their smiles and go off to work the next day.
Our daughters will realise that the world is a much bigger and complex place and that they aren't the centre of the universe. They will understand that sometimes you may need to choose between priorities. Children learn a lot through observation. We hope our daughters observe us failing and succeeding — they need to learn, it's ok to fail sometimes, just do better the next time.
The Cling Cling in the bank: All three of us are privileged and let's acknowledge that. We have double degrees from top universities and working with the best companies in the country. Can we manage without the money? Probably, yes. Will we need to cut corners? Definitely, yes. Do we want to cut corners? Maybe not. So, in part, we work to give our children a better lifestyle, to afford that international vacation to Florence so that we can introduce our children to the brilliant work of Bernini, Michelangelo and Caravaggio.
But there is a whole spectrum of women who are not so lucky. They have to work to pay the bills. We speak with them in the train, we empathise because they left their three-month-old at a crèche since maternity leave was only 12 weeks.
We help them clean spilled milk off their clothes because their breasts are still producing milk to feed the baby. We offer to lend them our breast pump since they cannot afford one.
We don't judge. We help. We are all trying our best. Whether that translates to staying up all night with a sick child and rushing for a critical meeting in the morning because you have made a commitment that needs to be honoured or catching a nap in the train/car because the baby was cluster feeding all night or going to office when you are ill so that you would have leave available when your child needs you.
We are thankful for the stay at home mothers in our playschool groups who keep us abreast of what's happening in school and remind us that we need to dress the kid in blue on Friday because it's "Blue Day" (we forgot to when it was "Red Day").
We have tremendous respect for them, it's not easy dealing with a toddler and managing a household. Some of them may have sacrificed their ambitions and aspirations because they felt that this was the best choice for their child and their family. Some of them may not have been given a choice at all. We are lucky to have our supportive husbands who ensure that we have a choice.
So, let's come to the fundamental point here: Don't judge. You have been on the receiving end of a lot of judgement because of your choices. So, you know what it feels like. Whether a stay-at-home or working or an entrepreneur or a freelancer or single, we are all women and mothers.
Let's acknowledge that we are all doing the best we can and thriving in or despite our circumstances.
We all do whatever it takes to make our children happy. We read the same book again and again till we know it by heart, we make the same funny faces to hear them laugh, we all plead with them to eat some vegetables.
So, let's all pat each other on our backs, and be each other's cheerleaders. Let's stop judging and instead build each other up. They say it takes a village to bring up a child. So, let's be a tribe with pride in our choices.
Lots of love and positive vibes,
Amrita, Deepti and Rohini.
Where most working mothers expressed hatred through their open letters, this particular one, posted by TheHealthSite.com touched our hearts.
"I understand you, Mira Rajput. But you need to read this letter, written by me, a working mother, to realise why.
Despite being a working mother, I feel no resentment towards Mira Rajput.
First, let me tell you Mira Rajput, I was angered, raged and stunned to read your comment that made you the centre of attraction right after we widely celebrated International Woman's Day. Now my resentment has subsided. I realise we can have a different point of views on feminism and parenting and still co-exist amicably. You know what; we have been doing this for aeons now.
Today morning I read an article where three working mothers wrote an open letter to you explaining why 'The Working Mothers' need to step out and work – Independence, financial stability and to prevent premature brain death. Needless to say, I do agree with them as they echo my sentiments like millions of women from whom you have received backlash. But that was before I sat to write this. Girl, I am with you.
I am much older to you (more than ten years and mother to two kids). I step out every morning to work leaving my kids at home who are taken care of by my family. But when I was mere 22 or 23 years old despite having degrees and a well-paying media job, I shamelessly admit all I wanted was family and kids. I blame the fairy tales and Mills & Boons reading that I did during those days to fuel such dreams, a reason why I am vehemently against my daughter reading fairy tales.
But the drive to move forward, be independent got the better of me when I saw success coming my way, when pay cheques made me take a journey inward that made me grow outward. I got married much later (at 29 years) when I became a senior writer in the organisation I worked for and was in no mood to give up my job for anything else in life. I realised to give something to my loved ones I had first to have my cup full, the satisfaction of which came only through my work.
So I can understand that at your age when you say being a proud homemaker and hands-on mother makes you happy, I get it. I hope this is what you can say ten years down the line too. Because like working mothers you don't have the privilege to shift jobs, challenge authorities to voice your opinion or do things differently when the male counterparts are suspicious about your capabilities and triumph. In my opinion, disappointment strikes most homemakers, and they have to make peace with what they have, hope you sail through it.
Talking about feminism, it took me years to realise that unlike male chauvinism, hypocrisy, patriarchy, feminism doesn't have a straightforward definition. I do realise that in broader sense feminism does mean the right to choose what you want and express them without fear (we still have a long way to go, though). But Mira, the wave of new age feminism isn't destructive. Just that we are much more vocal and our collective voices are making noise, and we are seeing the changes (though marginally) happening on so many levels. If this disturbs some, we cannot be sorry. Even Emma Watson recently said, 'Feminism is not a stick with which to beat other women with. It's about freedom, it's about liberation, it's about equality.' You chose your feminism and we judged you. But I choose to believe you were not judging other's feminism but expressing yours. And, yes feminism is not just a battle of sexes.
And yes, there have been people before you who had said the same thing and subtly judged working mothers, 'How can she leave the kids behind?' echoing in their statements, my neighbourhood aunties (who are much older than me), homemakers, members of the senior citizen groups whose daughter-in-laws are ideal bahus have judged us. But we let them go because our energies are focused on making ourselves better than correcting their wrongs. And now that you are being shamed for expressing yourself you too have to let it go. The tussle between stay-at-home mothers and working mothers is eternal. Our feminism will win when both kinds of mothers can live life without being judged and embrace each other irrespective of our choices and I look forward for that day."
Shahid Kapoor defends wife Mira Rajput's recent stay-at-home mom comment
Shahid said at a recent event: "When Mira started the conversation, she said those were her personal comments. I don't think she meant to comment at anybody or any category of women. I think she was talking from a very personal standpoint. I think Mira is speaking for a section of women who aren't being represented. There are times when those women feel like they should not be celebrated..by that I mean the women who may not be doing a job outside, women who might choose to be at home, have a baby, take care of that baby and consider that something important enough to do. This is at a certain stage in their lives. At a different stage, they might choose to do something else. Like I took five months off when I was having Misha because I felt it was important for me to be with my wife and my child. So that's a choice you make out of a certain sense of independence."
He added that public figures getting trolled for their views has become a trend now. "We are in a time where everybody is getting hurt about everything. We are also in a time when somebody important says something, a lot of people want to gain importance by saying something against them. We just live in those times. I personally find what Mira is saying is relevant. What she is saying is that women should have that choice. [You] want to go to work, men should respect that. Want to stay at home and be a housewife, men should learn to respect housewives as well. Home runs when all factors are balanced out," said Shahid.
This is definitely a wake up call for celebs to think before they speak. The statement did hurt a lot of working mothers as well as their children who are proud of them for managing work and home.