“Would much rather be looking at my newborn baby than a laptop.”
“How sad that she only takes three hours off work after giving birth. Not something to brag about.”
Last week Celebrity Apprentice star Roxy Jacenko, 33, gave birth to her second child, a boy named Hunter Curtis.
Less than one hour later, Jacenko was back at work sending emails and updating her Instagram account.
You read that right — Jacenko’s micro maternity leave lasted mere minutes.
Jacenko famously took three hours’ maternity leave with her now two-year-old daughter Pixie and at the time, the reaction from the community was swift and scathing.
This time round, the vocal criticism is missing (if you don’t count Instagram comments like the ones above) but the collective eye rolling and silent judgment is palpable.
Even Jacenko can feel it.
“I don’t doubt there’s several people out there with their opinions on [it] being right or wrong,” she said.
Her swift return has brought up the age-old debate on how soon is too soon to go back to work. The general community sentiment on maternity leave goes something like this:
Twelve months: acceptable.
Six months: well, if you have to.
Six days: not enough.
One hour: are you serious?
As became apparent after Marissa Mayer’s decision to go back to work two weeks after giving birth and France’s justice minister Rachida Dati’s return less than five days after giving birth, our culture expect mothers to spend this time bonding with baby. Rarely is the issue of whether Dad is emailing from the maternity ward or returning to work after the birth ever brought up.
Interestingly, I noticed the people within my circle who reacted with a wince to Jacenko’s swift maternity leave were the ones who don’t have children. Because as most mothers know, the hours following the birth don’t turn out like they appear in the movies. You think you’ll be basking in the afterglow, babe in arms, staring adoringly at this new bundle of joy. And sure, for a time you do that. But the reality (for me, at least) is once your baby falls asleep, you’re left thinking now what?