parents

Jackie O and the twisted politics of being a Bad Mother.

The Sunday Telegraph

Oh Pru Goward, you’ve pissed a lot of women off today. My hand is raised. BOTH my hands are raised, in fact. And possibly my feet as well.

This is a huge Sydney story these past few days so for those not across it, the basics are this:

Jackie O co-hosts Sydney’s most popular FM radio breakfast shift with Kyle Sandilands. She had a baby late last year and came back to work in February, working from a studio that her employers set up in the home she shares with her husband Lee in the country.

Last week, she was filmed crossing a road (on a pedestrian crossing) while feeding her baby a bottle. The photo was published in the Daily Tele with some snide remarks about how it was not the ideal way to feed a baby. There were also some pointed remarks made about how it was ‘surprising’ that she returned to work after only a couple of months.

Cue: insanity.

Today, a new Families Minister was sworn in as part of the new coalition government in NSW. Her name is Pru Goward and her pedigree in terms of women’s rights is fairly impressive.

Under the Howard Government (she and her husband are good friends of the John Howard and co-authored his biography), she was  Executive Director of the Office of the Status of Women. In this position, she criticised the business community for the “primitive attitudes” that kept women out of senior executive ranks and boardrooms.

She went on to serve as Australian Federal Sex Discrimination Commissioner.

She has two grown up daughters, one of whom is Kate Fisher who used to be a model. I’m not sure what she does now.

Anyway, Pru is not happy with Jackie O. And as a result, many of us are not happy with Pru.

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News Ltd. papers report:

12 stories above concrete
Pru Goward MP

New South Wales Families Minister Pru Goward claims Jackie O “endangered her baby” by feeding her while crossing the road earlier this week.

“We all were horrified when Michael Jackson dangled his baby out the window and this woman is crossing the road not just holding a baby but feeding a baby and I think it was unnecessarily cavalier,” Ms Goward told  The Sunday Telegraph.

“There would be no mother, no parent probably, or even a hardened feminist, in the country who would think that was a good way of feeding a baby, particularly a little tiny baby,” she said.

No, you’re kidding right?

PLEASE do not speak for me Pru Goward. I am a mother, a parent and a feminist and I think you’re talking bollocks. The places I’ve fed my babies? The ways? Too scandalous to count.

And this is the same Pru Goward who wants to reduce the number of children that DOCS remove from dangerous situations due to budgets. Children and babies who are being abused, beaten, sexually assaulted and neglected. THOSE are the babies and kids that need your help Pru.

THOSE are the parents that deserve your condemnation. Not Jackie O and the rest of us who may have (gasp) fed our baby while not seated in a nursing chair. Who has time to sit down when you’re a new mother? Or any kind of mother?

Meshel Laurie, who also anchors an FM breakfast radio show (in Brisbane) and who has twin babies, reckons that if Pru Goward is worried about Jackie O’s baby Kitty, she should spend a Sunday morning with Meshel Laurie’s family.  Their shenanigans would make her head spin:

news.com.au

I listen to my own dear mother’s unsolicited advice wondering if she realises I was actually there when it was her go.  I have to listen to her, because she is my mother and she wields her unelected power like Gaddafi.

What I won’t cop, is Pru Goward speaking about Jackie O’s parenting and purporting to speak for me no less, when she says, “There would be no mother, no parent probably, or even a hardened feminist, in the country who would think that was a good way of feeding a baby, particularly a little tiny baby.”

Well you are about to hear from one love.

What’s a “good” way of feeding a baby Pru?  When my twins were little Kitty’s age I spent my life at the kitchen table feeding one baby by balancing the bottle between her cherubic lips and my cheek so I’d have a free hand with which to express some milk for her brother.  I’d be rocking him in his vibro chair with my foot, and with the other foot gently nudging the dogs away from his face which you’d swear I’d smeared in Chum it was so irresistibly lickable.  If that’s not shocking enough, I put them onto formula not long after.  Now they eat oven fries with their dinner most nights, and one of them ate a grape off the floor just last Saturday.  Aaaaahhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!  Can you even stand it?

Whether my feeding techniques are “good” is certainly debatable, but I get the job done.  They have prospered in every way they are supposed to and bare no visible scars of my many failings.

As far as Jackie’s infamous outing with Miss Kitty goes, I’m genuinely impressed by any woman who can get out of the house with a newborn, let alone co ordinate their outfits.  In my opinion Jackie’s ability to walk and feed and frown at the photographer distracting her while she’s crossing the road, all at the same time speaks volumes about her mothering skills.  In fact, as the mother of a daughter she sets an excellent example of a woman “having it all” as they used to say in Pru’s heyday.

Which leads me to my second suspicion.  I suspect that Kitty will grow up happy and healthy, knowing that she can reach the heights of professional fulfilment without sacrificing love and family, and in the end, isn’t that what’s “good” for any kid.

 

Meshel Laurie is a comedian and is on the breakfast program on Nova 106.9 Brisbane with Tim Blackwell and Marty Sheargold.  She is also sometimes on television, on  Spicks and Specks and  GNW. She also blogs here and tweets here, I strongly recommended you check out both.

So. Just to recap. With all the children around the world living in dire conditions with not enough food or love, THIS is the best we can come up with for someone to bully about their ‘bad’ parenting? Give me a f$%ing break.

Imagine being Jackie O and how paranoid and self-conscious she will now be whenever she appears in public with her baby. Nice one Pru.

The fabulous Em Rusciano who tweeted:

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Lisa Wilkinson shared her point of view on The Today Show this morning:

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