Yes, that is right, SHOCKER. In capital letters, because I am SHOCKED.
This woman has taken her baby into the House of Commons, because she wanted to hear the debate, and –
What was the story again…..?
– Oh! That’s it. The woman took the baby in, the baby slept in its sling, the woman did what she had to do and went home.
She wanted to hear the debate, you see. It was about proxy voting (allowing someone else to vote on your behalf because of being on maternity or paternity leave), so you could say that it might have held relevance for her.
Although of course, that’s not the SHOCK. What’s shocking – if not surprising – is the narrowness of the negativity coming up on Facebook. Here goes:
– this is not very normal.
Yes! Multiple people actually bothered to type a reply to the news story pointing this out. With no other comment. As though, in a group of 650 people (the MPs) where only 208 are female and the average age is 50, anyone expects it to be normal to take your sleeping baby into parliament. It’s not statistically normal to have diabetes, or to look like Boris Johnson – so what?
– the baby might have cried or disturbed the speaker
….thereby ruining the debate. Because of course these highly capable, professional public speakers couldn’t possibly have coped with waiting a moment for the pair to leave the room in this event.
– Are doctors now going to start bringing their babies into the operating theatre, or firefighters taking babies into burning buildings?
Wait a minute, I’ve got to think about this one. Er – er – er……. *screwing forehead up, thinking* ….. er well, they might. They might think ‘I know, I’ll take my baby into that extremely dangerous / sensitive situation and it’ll be fine, because that politician was allowed to bring her baby to work, so I should be.’
Or – not. Let’s hope that most firefighters and surgeons are probably up to assessing their own work environments for baby-wearing appropriateness, eh? Meanwhile I can’t see that this has anything to do with Jo Swinson.
I can’t take my baby to work so why should she?
Because you don’t happen to work in a job that is relatively do-able with a baby strapped to your body? Or because you DO work in a job where this would also be fine, but for some reason it isn’t allowed – in which case why aren’t you challenging it?
She can’t have been doing her job properly.
Listening to the speakers in parliamentary debate is optional for MPs – meaning, that she would not have been breaching any contract or expectation by neglecting to show up at all. I’ll bet that there were plenty empty seats in parliament today – but where are the posts criticising the non baby-wearing MPs who didn’t bother to attend? Where are the hundreds of Facebook posts accusing them of not doing their jobs properly? Swinson turned up, so even if she had had to pay extra attention to her baby for a few seconds during one of the speeches – she would have seen more of the debate than the missing ones did.
She couldn’t have been looking after the baby properly
Right! Because you’re not a proper Mum unless you’re staring lovingly at your baby, doing nothing else. Because that’s what baby Mums at home do all day, right? They don’t send text messages or watch TV or go for coffee or exercise or cook dinner or check Facebook or go to mother-and-baby-chat-about-our-children groups or go shopping or try to catch up on CPD, because they’re ‘too busy looking after their babies.’ And here is a reckless woman with the audacity to walk into a parliamentary debate and listen to it for a couple of hours! What a terrible mother! – or not.
I had baby–brain when my baby was that age so I couldn’t have worked.
Well good for you. I agree that it’s a risk that Jo Swinson might be too addled with baby-brain at this time to understand the issue of Mums of babies potentially needing to vote by proxy while on maternity leave, but…. I think I’ll give her the benefit of the doubt.
Other women might feel pressure to go back to work early because she did!
What, with that backlash? I don’t think so!
I hope not, anyway. I hope that women have more sense. I hope that women with babies everywhere are reading the news on social media and all of them realising the truth.
The truth is, that whatever they do, in this enlightened, social-media age, the full throttle of somebody else’s judgement will be upon them, and that it’s better to ignore it and do things the way that best suits them and their families.
Picture: stolen from BBC News website