Have you seen the photo that has sparked amusement in some corners and outrage in others? Brace yourself:

Even if you didn’t breastfeed or switched to bottles earlier on, I’m sure that every parent has had a moment like this with a little one who must be close to you at the very moment you must poop. It happens. Little people don’t really have a sense of appropriateness or timing; they’re very single-minded creatures. When my youngest was an infant, I could barely put her down (Thank goodness for slings!). At one point, she would breastfeed for an hour at a time, every second hour. That’s a long time to wait between bathroom breaks, especially while chugging water at a rapid rate (as you do in those early months of feeding) so if I needed to go…she sometimes came with… #mumlife

Now that she’s 2.5, there’s no way I can keep her out of the bathroom. She’s been out of nappies for several weeks now (WOOHOO!) and doing really well. In part, because she was always so curious about what goes on in the bathroom. It’s been a learning experience. She still claps and cheers herself for most successful toilet visits. A side benefit, now, is that we also get cheers. It’s very encouraging and appears super effective, because I have no desire to return to nappies, myself.

breastfeeding bathroom

So with this little window into my reality, I’m sure you could guess at my reaction to the photo. I laughed, nodded and got on with my day. It wasn’t until a day or so later that I realised people were actually horrified and slamming this mum online. The comments section were exploding as people around the world yanked on their judgy pants and cut loose. I should have known they would. I just still have this hopeful part of me that firmly believes that most people reserve real outrage for things that deserve it. You know, big issues. For example, the 34 Australian women dead by violence this year alone, climate change, countries that whip rape victims or execute children, the appalling actions of our own government towards asylum seekers and indigenous communities. Real stuff. Nope, there’s plenty of vitriol left over for this mum.

Her name is Elisha and she said herself that she didn’t post this picture to send the web into a frenzy- she was just sharing her truth, as a mum, on her own Instagram account.  Don’t we all do that? Share a pic of a lounge room where a toy box has seemingly exploded, a crayon scribble on a wall, a spaghetti covered tot in a highchair, a brelfie?

As a mum, you can’t win. You breastfeed in public and people want to insist you do so in the public bathroom to make them more comfortable. Someone breastfeeding in their own bathroom, they internet goes crazy, because HYGIENE! In fact, I think every single argument about public breastfeeding, breastfeeding photos and breastfeeding a child that is no longer an infant got trotted out for the occasion. The kid is too old  to be breastfed anyway, Mum is just an attention seeker, I’m uncomfortable so people shouldn’t breastfeed….blah blah blah… Anyone horrified by this photo has a really easy fix- they can just keep scrolling. The rest of us can have a chuckle and a nod, because we’ve all been there, or close enough, to understand.

Being a mum isn’t especially glamourous for most of us. If you dare to show a glam side, you’ll get slammed for that as well, like the models and celebs criticised for sharing breastfeeding shots or amazing post- baby bodies or bottle feeding or not being a size 6 a week after giving birth. You literally cannot win, no matter what you do, so the only thing left is to just withdraw from the competition and get on with being the best parent you can while making a conscious choice to not be an arse to other parents who might do something differently to you. If it doesn’t affect you or hurt anyone else, don’t worry about it. Save your energy for the stuff that does!

#FYBF @ With Some Grace

#Weekend Rewind @ Maxabella Loves

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