I’M SO OVER THE “MUMMY WARS”
In the future, conversations with new mums will sound like this.
“So, how’s it going?”
“Oh, well, just really, average, you know? Erm, normal parenting stuff. She does a bit of – ah – sleeping – and em – feeding. Makes baby type noises.”
“So is she an easy baby? Is she sleeping through yet? Doing controlled crying? What about her appetite? Are you breastfeeding?”
“You know, every day is – er – different. Feeding – well – I’m mixing it up. Settling – gee – I don’t want to put a label on it. Hubby and I are experimenting with a few things to see what works.”
“And schooling. Do you have her on a list yet? Or are you going public?”
“Ahem. I should be going now – ah – I think I can hear her making those – erm – baby noises again.” (Runs away.)
It’s no wonder women won’t speak frankly about motherhood.
Every word is analysed, categorised, and packed into boxes marked Not Good Enough.
The latest skirmish in the so-called “Mummy Wars” (I hate that expression) was sparked by an interview with Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer (pictured right, with her child).
The superstar of Silicon Valley said her baby was “way easier than everyone made it out to be” while being honoured as one of Fortune’s most powerful women. This online assault follows the same trajectory as that following her shortened maternity leave.
It makes me want to scream, “Enough!”
Where’s the outcry about men who are back at work “too soon” after the birth of their kids?
Certainly, women need time to recover from the birth, establish breastfeeding, and bond with their babies. But every woman is different; every baby is different.
Some women need weeks; for others it’s years.
Of course money makes it easier. Marissa Mayer is among the one percent. She does not represent the average mother.
According to one blogger, “She’s showing great disrespect to women who don’t have it as easy as she does, and are certainly working harder to raise their families. She stuck her silver plated foot in her mouth, now she has to deal with the blowback like a grownup.”
But she hasn’t criticised other women; she’s simply spoken of her own experience. Imagine the backlash if she’d said it was “hard”.
“Women can’t have it all,” the headline would have read.
On the other side of the coin, Mitt Romney’s wife Ann – a stay at home mum – copped abuse for tweeting about how tough it was to raise five boys.
(If I had five boys, I’d be rocking in a corner with pencils stuck up my nose. But that’s another story.)
This a war in which no one wins.
One of my colleagues at Sky News, Jacinta Tynan, was shocked by the response to her article about baby bliss after the birth of her son, Jasper. She received hundreds of angry emails, comments and tweets.
Later, she wrote about the challenges of juggling two kids.
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