It's the second time this week that I wanted to turn around and throw a punch at someone's face, but I had to stop myself because both of them were women. I know that we no longer belong in the 16th century when women were only supposed to stay at home and look after the kids, but that doesn't mean that if a woman chooses to do it now, her life is "lame".
Anyone who has a mustard seed's worth of decency wouldn't make it their business to tell my wife why she should not be a stay-at-home mom. But, you know, they think they have the right to judge our decisions.
Earlier this week, I bumped into my over friendly neighbour in the colony at the grocery store. Her first question was "Hi Kaushik, how is the baby?". A "Fine, thank you" is never suffice.
"Has Radhika gone back to work?" she asked next. I replied in the negative and told her that she was working hard at home and taking care of the baby. To which, the response was- "Oh, fun! She must be enjoying her break!". That's when I wanted to punch her in the face.
My wife works hard at home to keep things running and in order. Besides that, she has been an amazing mother to my daughter. I'd like to see how many women would be able to finish wedding shopping for their younger sister with a teething infant in their arms without batting an eyelid. Calling it "fun" is f***ing condescending!
The next woman I wanted to punch was my wife's ex-boss. The woman who made Radhika's life miserable for as long as she worked under her. Her question was even more in my face- "Is she planning on staying at home permanently?". It was a very uncomfortable question to answer because no matter what I was going to say, it would never get through her thick head that my wife was choosing to do the best thing she could.
In my confusion, I blurted "For the foreseeable future she will be at home. Yes.". But I really didn't want to hear about how her own son was now 16, and she never took a break from her job to raise him. Needless to say, she had plenty of help.
My wife and I had a baby while fully being aware of the responsibilities that follow. We don't believe in treating our parents as ready-made caretakers for the child we decided to have. We don't want to be those busy corporate types who feel a false sense of entitlement because of their jobs. The baby needs to be taken care of and my wife chose to do it.
I especially hate those snobs, who, during our coffee break or smoke break, walk up to me and ask me "What DOES she do all day?". I'll tell you what she's not doing. She's not taking a coffee break that she deserves.
I don't care what people with "real jobs" think about my wife's choice. She doesn't have to work to have a productive life or even to supplement my income. I can't understand why people cannot respect her choice. Having a job should not grant a holier-than-thou attitude to people. And just because my wife chooses to stay at home, it doesn't mean she's incapable or lazy. She's strong, sensible, powerful, and capable. And it's because of her that I never have to worry about keeping my life in order.
I shouldn't be sitting here and explaining why it's okay for my wife to stay at home.
I shouldn't be answering the questions that people ask me. It disgusts me that we've become so incredibly shallow that we don't acknowledge the beauty of motherhood at all. Why are we looking at it like its an inconvenience or an imprisonment?
I especially don't understand the attitude of other working mothers towards my wife. I know that some of them ran from temple to temple, praying at the feet of every deity to please, please give them a child. And now that they had kids and happily off-loaded them to their parents, they're being Devil Wears Prada.
My wife often tells me that raising our daughter is the most important thing she does.
She has her heart set on it no matter how thankless her job is. It scares us to see children who are all of ten years old experimenting with the opposite sex. We know it happens, and you know it happens. My wife is doing something profound, challenging and essential. She has taken it upon herself to mold our daughter into an excellent human being.
Mothers who choose to do this need to be put on a pedestal, and not the other way around. When did we stop remembering that our children are responsible for a better future? Buying them a Happy Meal on a Friday night just won't cut it to be good parenting. How many full-time career women have jobs that have as many unseen, uncountable and immeasurable consequences of being a full-time mother?
A mother can take many roles. She can be a career woman, no doubt. But anybody with a "job", at the end of the day, is after all an employee ID and an expense to their company. Anybody with a job is replaceable by somebody else. I can't think of one person who can replace my wife as my daughter's mother.
So, for those of you pricks who call her "just a mother", I'd like to see you not chilling around even during the weekends because hey, it's "just Sunday", or maybe not add salt in your sambhar because hey, it's "just salt"! Let me tell you that a mother who takes her job seriously is more precious than Sunday and more influential than salt. I don't know how to stretch your tiny imaginations to make you understand that mothers need to spend as much time as possible with their children. I know many mothers who spend every free minute with their children, my wife just made more time to do the exact same thing.
If you are still not convinced that you shouldn't be condescending towards my wife and other women like her, please sit down and have a heart-to-heart chat with your own mother. Recount the days of your childhood- our childhood that wasn't cluttered with the internet and the urge to buy everything in sight, and ask yourself what is it that your mother did that had a "make or break" impact on you.
And kindly stay the f*** away from my family.