“Leaving my daughter behind when she is ill doesn’t mean I don’t love her”

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"I’m on the World’s top 50 women on the business list but that doesn’t make me any less of a homemaker"

When we usually hear stories from working mothers, they talk about their challenges and how sometimes they feel guilty of leaving their kids at home. But should they feel guilty at all? Do men feel the same way?

The answer to both these questions is perhaps a big 'NO!'

Why is it that society has different rules for different people based only on their gender? Isn't it the responsibility of the fathers to take on the roles that are so harshly and predominantly set for mothers? Well, perhaps its time they should, or so shares this working mother who is setting the gold standard for working mothers across the globe.

As the current Chief Executive Officer of UBS, this Mumbai mum defines the word 'power' in every sense and her story is not only relatable but also truly inspiring. Featured on the popular Humans of Bombay page, this mum just gave the world a big reality check.

Humble beginnings of a strong foundation

Sharing her life story this mum says that her life began just as normally and humbly as any other middle class child but hard work, education and financial independence were the primary influencers.

"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," she begins.

She adds that what others thought never stopped her and that she strived for the best at every chance.

"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," she says.

She adds that even during her pregnancy she managed to balance her work with her personal life.

Balancing pregnancy and kids with a career

She shares, "Even when I was pregnant, believe it or not I was working right ‘till the day of my delivery — I finished my meeting and left straight from office for my surgery! 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 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."

It wasn't just that she was a working woman, but also that she didn't attend all parent-teacher meetings diligently.

"I remember, I was traveling for work once and couldn’t attend her parent-teacher meet, so my husband took her instead 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," she shares.

"Why does society place men on a higher pedestal?"

"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?" she questions.

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?

She also shared that her professional achievements and the urgent need for gender equality so that working mothers such as herself do not feel guilty all the time.

"Gender equality should be on top of the list"

"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 her science project. I’m on the World’s top 50 women on the business list, we set up Moelis from scratch and I still have 20 hour days but that doesn’t make me any less of a homemaker," she shares adding the values that our society needs today include gender equality.

"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," she shares.

More power to her and all such working women!

Read: Why should working mothers feel guilty all the time?

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[All images courtesy: Instagram]

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