Friday, April 15, 2011

Have a baby ... and let the running commentary on your life begin

Last week there was a big fuss over Jackie O, a Sydney radio DJ, feeding her 3 month old baby crossing the street.  It was the comments by Pru Goward, the former sex discrimination commissioner and current families minister for NSW, that caused the most problems.  Pru Goward's comments implied that Jackie O was being a negligent mother by feeding her baby like this - and it was related to her going back to work when her baby was 2 months old.  You can read the whole article here.

I'm not a great fan of the whole going back to work when your baby is tiny (I don't think it's great for the baby, but I think it terribly hard for the mum), but in Jackie O's case her husband is home full-time and she doesn't work a full day - just the morning shift (just, I say, after being up during the night with a small baby - wow!).

However, what it did make me think of was the time that I answered the front door while breastfeeding my number 3 child.  I must been in such a crazy head space that I didn't even notice that I was feeding her.  Poor delivery man - I don't even remember feeling worried about it!  I also remember half feeding her, getting interrupted (usually by the tantruming almost 2yo) and then forgetting to finish the feed - only to find myself with a whingey baby half an hour later.  I've fed babies in all kinds of random places - school playground, the car, a park on the side of the road - it's an endless list.

So I totally get why Jackie O was doing what she was doing.  You've just got to do the best you can.  Maybe it wasn't the most perfect thing to be doing - but hey, she's only had the baby for 3 months - and it takes time to work it all out.  I remember getting in trouble from the early childhood clinic nurse when my oldest child was three weeks old - she saw us crossing the road with him - and, wait for it, he wasn't wearing a hat.  Until then I thought I was doing OK.  Well, it's rare as a new (or even an old) mum to feel like you're going OK - there's always something in the media or a 'helpful' comment by a well-meaning person that keeps reminding you that it's quite possible that you're not getting it 'right'.

Have a baby - let the running commentary on your life begin.

6 comments:

parentwin said...

I really enjoyed your take on this, and I love your last line! (made for a perfect title, too!) I'd love to share it on my FB fan page if you don't mind. If you prefer not, though, just contact me and I'll take it down right away!

Sarah said...

That's why I'm hesitant about having kids. I have enough rude people giving me 'advice' already.

Jenny said...

@ parent twin - if it's helpful for other - go for it.

@ Sarah - oh dear! I didn't want to turn you off completely! It does get easier and you do get tougher!

Sarah said...

It's ok, Jenny, I'm all tough ;)

I just had a very 'interesting' convo with my in-laws regarding Christian schools the other day (they strongly believe all Christian parents should send their kids to Christian schools if there is one available). I was reminded of your blog and agree with you that those sorts of comments are not helpful.

anna said...

i'm with Sarah. I don't have kids and i'm not married. people feel the need to give a running commentary on my life as if i'm somehow in need of their advice as a consequence. I'm all for listening to those in my life who've earned the right to be heard... I expect better from Pru Goward frankly.

Taara said...

Interesting post, and it totally resonates with me here in Brazil with two small kids. Complete strangers have no qualms about doling out child rearing advice. It used to be that I could say, 'I don't understand portuguese," and now I just pretend I don't :).