Thou Shall Not Judge Baby on Leash


There has been a recent story in the media proven to be perfect fodder for mums around the proverbial water cooler. The “story” is simply an image of child, fastened to a pole using a child restraint while her mother ventures into an establishment to run an “errand”. The story is particularly emotive as said errand turned out to actually be a TAB equivalent where the mother is placing a bet on probably her lucky horse.

If we take away the fact that the mother was gambling (it’s probably not fair to criticise someone who so clearly needs intervention quickly), we are left with a mother who pretty much tied her child to a pole like a cute puppy. “Child restraint” is a politically correct term for it. Lets face it ladies, it’s a leash; we may as well put horse blinkers on our kids while we’re at it. And what about those feeding bags they tie on horses too? That’d be handy.

It was at mothers group today after bringing up this topic, that I was getting myself into a froth of judgement when one dear friend simply said, “Let’s just wait a year and see what happens”. She kindly reminded us that while we may judge now, we too might be pulling on the lead getting our kids to heel in less than a year (sorry, last dig I swear).

Driving home I felt like a super bitch. I so often preach about supporting all mothers in their choices, etc, etc. but I’m just talk. I do judge the child restraint but I don’t even have a child old enough to find that I too may want to use one. Whether or not I will use it and whether or not I agree with their use in the first place really isn’t the issue here. It’s the fact that I am all too happy to judge when it is the very thing I have committed not to do. By the time I got home I almost wanted to put Bella in one in support of those mothers who clearly feel they have no other way of getting around a shopping centre without one.

It got me thinking about my dirty little secrets….you know those moments that you’d rather not have on camera?

I told the mothers at mothers group today about the time my husband came home and found me at the computer up one end of the house and Bella down the other, watching T.V., sitting in a dirty nappy with spit up down her front. I was answering some emails and had managed, within the space of about three minutes to look neglectful. Let me not even get onto how I sat in judgement while pregnant about how much television children watch these days. My daughter isn’t even one and she knows how to turn the television on and off….with the remote….the right way up!

Oh and then there’s the famous nappies. The $600, yes SIX HUNDRED dollar cloth nappies which were NEVER used. The breast feeding which turned to bottle feeding. The wooden toys that turned electronic. The homemade muffins that turned into Kraft cheese slices as a snack…it goes on and on.

When Bella was born, I resisted giving her a pacifier/dummy because my husband and I felt that it was a form of censorship; that it would silence her emotions, therefore stifling her psychological development. I am not even joking about the last bit. Eleven months on and I can say one of the best days of my life was when she worked out how to stuff the dummy back in her own mouth.

These are our dirty little secrets. The ones we’re all too scared to lay on the table. To say that some days, we’re just too tired, too fed up or too bored with the cheese muffins to give a damn. And it doesn’t mean we don’t adore, no dote on our children; it just means we’re trying to get by.

My Aunty used to always tease me that she was going to call “DOCS” (the Australian protection body for children) when she found Bella had cold feet or a runny nose. It was an ongoing joke. That was until I found a photo of my cousin asleep in a car, sunburnt with no hat, covered in chicken pox and a snotty nose. I cannot tell you the delight experienced in finding this photo. I had caught her red handed! What was wrong with me?

Perhaps as mothers we would all be better served if we wore placards around our neck, displaying our mothering secrets for all to see. “I give my child Panadol when they won’t sleep”. “I leave my child in a wet nappy while I cook dinner”. “I put my one year old in front of a Disney movie while I check facebook”….they’re dirty aren’t they?

I challenge you today to tell one of your mother friends one of your dirty little secrets, to exchange placards.

Because whilst I may be anti-restraint, I am pro-mother. And I have my friend from mothers group to thank for reminding me of that.






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