Chrissie Swan should never have had to justify this decision.

Mother of three, Chrissie Swan just penned 500 words in an Australian newspaper to tell us something that should be patently bloody obvious: she loves her kids.

500 words to justify the fact that – though she loves them really really truly – Chrissie left her little ones with their father, for a few weeks so she could work. You know, a job.

Just in case anyone had a problem with that…. because sadly, a lot of people no doubt will.

Read more: Is this Chrissie Swan’s next major TV gig?

Reading Chrissie’s column was even more mundane than what went down in Canberra this morning. Oh, not what she wrote – I adore Chrissie and eagerly soak up anything she has to say – but the fact that she had to write such a defence of her own actions at all.

Chrissie Swan is currently appearing in the Network Ten new reality show “I’m a Celebrity Get me out of here” which is set in Africa and her article in The Herald Sun today was a surefire pre-emptive strike on the mummy mafia. She is also a devoted mother of three whose gorgeous smiley faces lights up even brighter when she talks about her children.

And yet in her column, Chrissie was clearly pre-empting the judging; pre-empting the tut tuts that she would dare to be away from her kids while filming the show.

Chrissie seems a little worried the mummy mafia is going to judge her.

In her column Chrissie explained how she wrestled with her decision to join the show, to the point she had to seek out counselling.

She explained how she provided for her kids lovingly before she abandoned them and how she thinks about them daily from her far-away adventure while her children pine for their mum and are fed junk food by their father alone in the wilds of Melbourne. (Yes folks sarcasm galore..)

Chrissie justified and painstakingly detailed just how her children will survive without her. She told us of how she baked lasagna and homemade flathead fillet fish fingers, how she organised for their school shoes to polish themselves and their beds to lickety split magically re-make themselves each morning.

And she revealed her secret weapon in making sure we all didn’t crown her bad-mum of the year – Grandma.

“But what to do with the Mum-shaped hole that would be left when I went? Easy. Grandma! My mother has essentially moved into my house. She will do all the things I did, like allow the children to use her as a giant beanbag, read Flat Stanley at bedtime. Six times. And stroke my three-year-old’s head until he falls asleep.”

The sentiment was all packaged up in a neat article titled “Chrissie Swan on why she left her kids to go into the jungle for I’m a Celebrity … Get Me Out of Here!”

You can read Chrissie’s desperation between the lines: Please don’t judge me for God’s sake. Of course I bloody well love my kids. Why do you think I work in the first place? To give them the wonderful life they deserve.

Chrissie with her daughter Peg.

It’s a tedious debate this one, and it crops up way too often. You know how it goes: Working woman seeks out a career, achieves success, is applauded wifely until someone pipes up “What about the children? Why doesn’t she spend more time with them? It must be so difficult for those kids…. doesn’t she love them enough to stay home?”

The world stops and we all engage in the well-trodden path of back–and-forthing about whether a mother’s primary role is to slave away her days for her offspring or whether it is acceptable to actually have a life of her own.


If you’ve had a child you would know this scrutiny well, and not just those mothers who work.

We question mothers taking time out for themselves on a daily basis. From TV stars to female politicians to the mum nipping out to a bar with some friends for a quick drink or to pilates for a break.

We mothers have all felt the gaze of contempt and the silent disapproval.

We have have wrestled with and moved backwards and forwards on the decision.

We analyse, we justify. We explain. We dither.

But what I am beginning to wonder is: who exactly we are justifying things to?

Chrissie with her toddler Kit.

The fact mothers are even still having this conversation in 2015 has drives me past anger and resentment, past frustration and horror, all the way to boredom.

As Australia watched those celebrities fish maggots out of their undergarments last night on Chrissie’s Swan, do you think there an overwhelming groundswell of concern for Andrew Daddo’s kids too? Has anyone considered how on earth his three are surviving? Has Grandma moved into his abode as well? (Gosh grandma is a busy woman.)

But I will let you in on a little secret: the worst culprits in this particular judgement game are other mothers.

We are pushing ourselves deeper and deeper into the hole from, which we are all desperately trying to escape. The perfect reality here is a society where we don’t even question the ability for women to perform two roles – that of a worker and a mother. And yet, us mums? We do it to to ourselves – and others – every single day.

We know that no one asks the same of working fathers. We know that Chrissie deserves three bloody weeks in a six-star day spa after raising three kids; she got seriously jipped with instead being covered in bugs and slime in the South African jungle. Yet at each and every turn, we undermine each other.

Chrissie wrote that column out of fear. Fear that she would be judged by her fellow mums. Something she should never have had to write and something she should never have had to fear.

We can do better. All of us. We can rise above the judgement, rise above our own fear and think: she’s doing her best, just like me.

And in the meantime we can all breathe a sigh of relief cause it’s only three weeks, plus Chrissie’s kids do have Grandma.

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