Being a mother and wife doesn't mean being one or the other
If you've had a child, then you know that a big part of your personality doesn't just switch off because you've given birth. That's why the criticism copped by a National Rugby League wife at the weekend's grand final has me shaking my head.
In the latest case of public mum-bashing, Kayla Boyd, wife of Brisbane Broncos star Darius Boyd, has unnecessarily had to defend her choice to turn up to the grand final against the Cowboys in Sydney, having given birth two weeks before.
On Sunday before kick-off, the 28-year-old excitedly shared this pic of her with her husband on Instagram, saying, "Good luck to the huzzy, so happy to be here supporting him. Thanks to my parents for looking after our baby girl."
You could imagine she was on a pretty big high to be at her husband's biggest game of his career, but that bubble was sharply burst by keyboard warriors dishing out nasty comments about her parenting choices.
According to news.com.au, the comments — which have since been deleted by Boyd — "... labelled Ms Boyd a 'horrible mother' who was 'happy to throw' her daughter 'to the side, leave her and go out'."
As any new mum would know, it's highly likely that Boyd was already twinged with guilt. It's hard leaving your baby behind for the first time and, yes, to some extent, doing that is particularly difficult when they're a newborn. But can you imagine how big this moment was for her and her husband?
An achievement like playing in a grand final isn't just about the individual, but also the support network behind them. For a partner, your significant other's achievement is also your moment to enjoy and acknowledge all of the sacrifices you've had to make to allow them to reach their goal.
I have a husband whose job is demanding and has required over 12 years of training and study. When he finally becomes a qualified anaesthetist next year, you can bet that I will be at his graduation ceremony, having a glass of champagne, and we've already decided that we're leaving our young son behind with a carer so that we can fully enjoy the night.
That's why I was cheering when Boyd posted this perfect response to the haters:
But it seems like no matter what a mother choses to do after the birth of a child — be it in the first few weeks or as they grow up — we will always be criticised.
Remember the headlines when Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer went back to work a few short weeks after giving birth to her son? And she plans on doing it again after the upcoming birth of her twin daughters.
While I could say it's important for the critics to realise that women need to do things other than mother, I think it's more important that we focus our energy on new mothers. If you have a new baby, it's okay to keep your interests, it's okay to pay attention to your relationship with your husband and it's okay to do your own thing outside of the home. Isn't that what makes us interesting?