It’s not simply millennial parents being shamed in Michael Leunig’s latest cartoon depicting a baby laying “unseen and alone” on a path because “Mummy was busy on Instagram”… it’s mothers.
And not just any mother, but mothers of young children and babies — possibly the easiest cohort of people to pass judgment on, given you can see their daily struggles trying to figure out how to be a parent in the open, along with how they handle (or don’t or can’t) the unpredictable tantrums that come from their tiny but vocal offspring.
The type of mothers who certain people deem ‘good’ or ‘bad’, because of the snippet of time they see them with their child in public.
Those doing the judging have no understanding of the personal circumstances of these mums. They have no insight into the fact they were woken repeatedly last night by tears and nightmares, or a relentlessly hungry baby.
Perhaps those doing the judging have stepped out from a peaceful home office for a coffee at a local cafe when they discover a baby with a mother who is — shock horror — taking a look at her phone.
As one of these guilty mums, you’re either giving your kids too much attention or not enough. It’s the guilty mums of today that have made kids fat, have killed independence and resilience by insisting their kids come in off the streets at night (‘In my day it was different’), and the guilty mums who have created internet and gaming addictions.
These same guilty mums dare to check in on their phones while being out and about with their babies. Possibly regarding something to do with work, or perhaps it’s because she’s desperate for some kind of interaction with another adult or, worst of all, because she’s actually bored.
These guilty mums made their choice to have kids, surely they should just push though the daily isolation, fatigue and oftentimes boredom, just like Leunig no doubt did when his kids were young?
Leunig’s now got a reputation for targeting young mothers for their ‘choices’ over parenting — like the time he shared his “thoughts of a baby lying in childcare” or the way he depicted a bunch of flying syringes heading for a baby in an attempt to put up an anti-vax argument.
Young mothers, an easy target to shame. Try something else Leunig.
Young parents have enough anxiety without this boomer bullshit. pic.twitter.com/GXshI5uizU
— Matt Burke (@matttburke) October 22, 2019
Dear Mr Leunig,
Your cartoon yesterday really hurt my feelings.
Here’s one for you.
The best thing about Michael Leunig’s most recent stupidity is that I discovered his sister Mary. She says, “I don’t understand this thing he’s got about gentleness because he can be just as brutal as anyone. Maybe that’s why he’s all gentle in his work.” https://t.co/iPqzxndCig
— Lisa Wheildon (@wheeliebinit) October 23, 2019
— Nelly Thomas (@NellyThomas16) October 23, 2019
One more thing… I have seen a number of mothers talk about how the Leunig cartoon really upset them as they struggle with young babies. It isn’t harmless. It is hurting vulnerable people, and Fairfax should be ashamed of publishing it.
— Erin Riley (@erinrileyau) October 23, 2019