Entire Country Weighs In On Radio Host's Parenting

Australia's "high-profile media identities" are coming out in support of radio host Jackie O, who was recently seen feeding her baby while crossing the road.

Since this is a public issue that everyone is more than welcome to weigh in on, New South Wales Families Minister Pru Goward thought she may as well speak first:

"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.

So you see? Even some nutty feminist would agree that she clearly "endangered her baby". (It's pretty common knowledge that if one person sees it that way, it's practically a fact).

Strangely, not everyone agreed with Goward's point of view, despite its obvious inability to be refuted.

Federal Women's Minister Kate Ellis said:

"Perhaps it would be better if people like Pru Goward spent less time judging other women and the choices they've made, and more time working for supportive and flexible arrangements which assist parents to make the best decisions," Ms Ellis said.

Goward has also come under fire for telling her successor, Elizabeth Broderick, that women were returning to work too soon after giving birth and should remember "nobody is indispensable" in the office (related note: Jackie O returned to work two months after giving birth. Her husband is a stay-at-home dad). Goward said it was "tough for mums to decide when to return to work but insisted there were sound medical reasons not to do so too soon".

Again, people, you can't argue with what Goward claims are facts! You just cannot!

"There is such a thing as coming back to work too soon and that is what the whole paid maternity campaign was and is about," she said.

Ms Goward did not want to criticise Jackie O for going back to work two months after giving birth, saying: "She is in a very difficult position, she has a career unlike most people. I understand that."

"It is very disappointing when a woman like Jackie O doesn't feel she can take advantage of [paid maternity leave] because she is paid so much money to be on air that presumably the management have said to her: 'Look if you take three months off, sorry you don't have your spot'."

"That is a judgment call for Jackie O about what she thinks is more important."

Broderick also said that other women have no right to comment on another woman's parenting decisions:

"We have to support mothers to make the right choice for their family," she said. "Why do we feel we can judge women? It's a shame."

When Jackie O was finally asked what she thought about the matter, she said, "If I could have taken a year off, it would be great, but I can't: I have to keep this job," adding that the on-going debate made her feel like a "second-rate mum".

Fortunately, it seems Jackie O has received an overwhelming outpouring of support, not only from "high profile" sources, but from mothers who have experienced similar pressures to return to work shortly after giving birth.

Nine newsreader Georgie Gardner was so angered by the attack on Jackie O that she revealed she had also felt pressured by her then-employer to return to work after giving birth. "This whole sorry episode has brought to the surface my own experience of feeling monumental pressure in our industry to return to work before I felt ready," she said.

"My first-born was no more than six weeks old when I received a phone call from a senior executive where I was employed at the time.

"After me stating quite clearly that I wasn't ready, and, indeed wasn't obliged, to return to work at that point, I was asked what my husband did for a living. When I replied that he worked in a bank, his response floored me and is etched in my memory: 'Tell your penny-pinching husband to pay for a f****** nanny.' "

Kerri-Anne Kennerley was also livid at the attack, saying: "If you are going to whack someone, go on a professional angle. There is a line to be drawn with deeply personal issues and motherhood and babies are among those issues."

Somewhere in Australia, Goward is likely eating a blueberry scone and wondering why these women are blindly ignoring her facts.

Row erupts over Jackie O's baby feeding furore [News.com.au]