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Sydney, Australia
My musings and meanderings on childhood - mine juxtaposed with that of my kids'. Everyday incidents and images from our life in Sydney turn my thoughts towards my own wonder years growing up in Bandra, Bombay, India.

04 April 2011

Mother Knows Best

If you’ve been following the news, you’re probably up-to-date on the Jackie O hullabaloo. Here's a recap:
Celebrity FM radio host Jackie O was caught on camera bottle-feeding her baby while crossing a road. There’s nothing like a 'mummy misdemeanour' to cause an uproar here in Sydney. State Families Minister Pru Goward declared that Jackie “endangered her baby” by doing this and likened it to “when Michael Jackson dangled his baby out the window... I think it was unnecessarily cavalier," she said.

“Unnecessarily cavalier”. Hmm... Let’s review the situation. The baby was bawling. What was mum to do? Feed her, of course! Wouldn't that be your natural reaction? Maybe the place or method wasn’t ideal, but I’m guessing the mum just did what she had to. Perhaps it was necessary. Would I have done it? No. I would have found a place to sit down first. But that’s just me. Then again, if I could manage to feed my baby while walking across a street, I’d demand a medal!

I was a first-time mum not so long ago. I remember being too nervous to leave the house – what if the pram ‘ran away’ on a slope? What if my baby made a Number 3 (a poo explosion) and I didn’t have enough wipes? What if I couldn’t find a feeding room and the whole world saw my boobs? So every outing was planned with precision – wheelchair-accessible bus time-tables were downloaded, ramps and lifts were duly noted in every public building, the nappy bag was packed the night before – and even then, things ran amuck at times.

When you have a newborn, those first couple of months are fraught with tension and tears – and I’m not talking about the bub! You haven’t had some serious shut-eye in weeks, your hormones are a whirling dervish, your breasts are the size of melons. And then comes the pressure to be the Perfect Mum. To make the right choices: disposable vs. cloth nappies, rigid routines vs. go with the flow, breast vs. bottle...

So let’s just cut all new mothers some slack. Enough criticism, enough snide comments, enough suggestions on how mums should do their jobs. Enough! As the saying goes: “Mother knows best!”

What eye-opening experiences did you have as a first-time mum? Did you have to deal with unwanted advice from family, pressure at work, an unsettled baby? How did you cope?


  1. I wholeheartedly agree, Alison! Give Mums a break. By the way, I have very fond memories of our wheelchair accessible bus rides to Mums group together. Gosh, we were such newbies! x

  2. Why can't we give each other more support rather than tearing Mum's down? Like we all haven't done/said inappropriate things at times with our kids. We're only human and we're not everything and all things to everyone. It starts in hospital getting conflicting advice from midwives/nurses, some making you feel guilty and inadequate (a common story). Lets be there for each other and stop judging, so maybe a few more new mum's (or old hands) won't be afraid to ask for help when they need it. I'll get off my soap box now.


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