"Is it okay for us working mums to stop hiding our babies now?"

Because having a baby can actually make you better at your job.

I’m lucky enough to have a job where I can work from home.

For the past eight years, I’ve able to write about the glamorous world of entertainment while embedded in the not-so-glamorous world of new motherhood.

I’ve raved about red carpet events while glancing down at my own carpet stained with yoghurt vomit. I’ve reviewed the most brilliant new TV dramas in between cleaning up poos that were absolute stinkers. I’ve written features on unbelievably cute men while trying to stop my own unbelievably cute little man from pressing the “delete” button.

Mostly it’s worked out well. When my children were babies and I had to do a phone interview for a story, I always tried to make it for a day when my husband, who also worked part-time, was home.

But celebrities have their own schedules, and there were times I found myself having to chat to someone on the phone while keeping an eye on a baby. I’d try to get them to fall asleep just before the interview (success rate: virtually nil), or have them snuggle into me in a sling as I stood holding the phone, or breastfeed them while I was talking (thankfully, no one ever suggested Skype).

"Now listen. You behave while I'm on the phone, or no more designer jeans for you."

I was so desperate to appear professional, to give the impression I was sitting in an office, wearing heels, surrounded by other journalists - not at home, wearing ugg boots, keeping a wary eye on a baby. Yet the weird thing was that on the odd occasion that my child let out a sound, it was never the disaster I feared it would be.


In fact, more often than not, the interview got better.

Once the person I was talking to realised I was a mother with a baby, I could feel them relax. I wasn't some evil journalist out to trap them. I was a human being. Often, they opened up and started talking about their own kids.

I remember US talk show host Jimmy Fallon stopping in the middle of a sentence when he heard my son, then five months old.

"You've got a baby there!" he said, sounding excited.

He immediately began asking questions about him. I managed to steer him back to the subject of himself, but he finished the interview by saying how much he'd like to come to Australia - where, he insisted, he wanted to meet my baby.

(I already loved Jimmy Fallon. It's not like I needed an extra reason.)

See Jimmy talk about becoming a father. Post continues after video. monologue

Becoming a mother has made me a better journalist in a lot of ways. I feel more empathy with people. I know how to talk to parents about children. Having kids helps me make a connection with other people who have kids (or who want to have kids), and journalism is one of those jobs where making a connection is really important.


It works both ways. When I deal with other women for work, I can feel myself relax when I know they have children. When a publicist answers her phone and tells me she's in the middle of picking up her kids from school, I feel like she's the kind of person who's going to be upfront with me. I feel a bond with her.

It seems like I'm having these kind of conversations more often. I hope so. If women with young kids are being encouraged to return to the workforce as soon as possible, then everyone needs to accept there will be times when those young kids are in the background. And if it doesn't affect the way someone does their job, then it shouldn't matter.

Over the years, friends have told me about locking themselves in the bedroom or bathroom when taking work-related calls at home, so that their children can't be heard and they will sound more professional. I totally get that. But it would be nice if no mum felt she had to do that. It would be nice if we didn't feel we had to hide our kids.

I mean, if Jimmy Fallon thinks it's cool that I can do my job with a baby in the house, then it must be cool. Right?

Have you ever felt you've had to hide your baby to seem more professional?

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There may be more Home And Away babies soon. Yes please.

Georgie Gardner: I wasn't done having children.