Friday, April 08, 2011

Taking the mommy wars too far?

Over in SA's 10th province (otherwise known as Australia ;) ), there's a war brewing between moms and their government representative, Pru Goward (Aussie NSW's Family Minister). She found it necessary to attack a mom for bad parenting based on a photograph published in a newspaper of the woman walking across a road at a crossing holding her 3 month old baby and feeding her...with a bottle (if it had been a bared breast I would hate to imagine the further outcry there would have been).

The Family Minister accused this woman of endangering her baby by feeding her on the go, comparing her to Michael Jackson's famous lets-hang-the-baby-off-the-balcony incident back in 2002 in Berlin. She further stated (and I think this was even more of an insult) that she didn't think there was any woman or mother, even a hardened feminist, anywhere in the country, who would condone this woman's action. How wrong she is. Media personalities and others have come out against the Minister for her insensitive words.

The mother in question is a media personality who hosts her own radio show. To add insult to injury, Ms Goward also feels that the mother should never have returned to work 2 months after her baby's birth...working from home in a studio built specially for her.

Really? How antiquated a pov Ms Goward has.

I don't know about you, but life as a new mother with a brand new life is scary, fraught with indecision at every little thing you do. If Ms Goward had been a fly on the wall the first few months of J's life, she'd have locked me up for child endangerment and child abuse almost every single day.

His first night home from the hospital 4 days after his birth I managed to burn his entire mouth with the sterilising fluid I used to clean the breast shields I was using to breastfeed him. (No one had explained to me that I should dilute the liquid with water before cleaning them and I was too damn tired to read the instructions on the bottle.) Poor kid screamed until he couldn't anymore. Then he screamed some more. For an hour. I felt like an utter failure from the get go.

I breastfed him too many times to count in public toilets because the places I was at didn't have a baby room and I wasn't confident enough to breastfeed in public.

I changed his nappy countless times on the floor with just a baby blanket under him because the places we were at once again didn't feel the need to cater to their clientele who had babies.

He was born in February, the hottest time of the year. Countless times I let him sleep in just a nappy because it was so hot. I even took him out with just a nappy and tshirt sometimes if I needed to make a run to the shop for bread or milk in those first few months.

Oh the horror of it all! I should be locked up forever for endangering my child so.

Instead of berating a new parent how about we take a new tack on it? How about we support instead of rip the supoort out from under someone's feet? How about we give moms the chance to stay at home long enough without fear of losing their jobs? How about we work with moms instead of declaring war? How about we just leave other people alone long enough to get comfortable in their new roles instead of bashing them at every turn? How about we keep our opinions to ourselves instead of blundering in where we are clearly not needed...or wanted?

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