A protest in Woy Woy over an alleged incident where a diner was asked to stop breastfeeding in the restaurant. Bruce and Ling Sands with baby Gabriella and Lactivitists representative and nurse-in organiser Victoria Brookman.
A protest in Woy Woy over an alleged incident where a diner was asked to stop breastfeeding in the restaurant. Bruce and Ling Sands with baby Gabriella and Lactivitists representative and nurse-in organiser Victoria Brookman.

Let’s call a truce in the tedious mummy wars

IT'S school holidays and you know what that means.

The mummy brigade will be out in force, ramming their queue-jumping entitlement down our throats and demanding we step aside while they steamroller their way into our parking spots, cinema seats and cafe tables.

Modern mums invented parenting so only they know how hard it really is. Note to self to remember that.

While your ankles are being clipped by another pram, consider this: when did motherhood become about privilege rather than enjoying said privilege of being a mum in the first place?

No longer is it about trying to demonstrate values to your kids but about getting so wound up over imagined slights that chapter and verse ends up on social media, often crucifying a small business in the process.

Every week I read of a mum complaining that she is being punished for being a mum.

Called out for changing a nappy on a restaurant table or breastfeeding in public ignites a battle about rights and self-importance which has very little to do with the critical person here - the child.

Then a woman who does not have kids criticises a mother for assuming special treatment.

This epidemic - call it "mum-titlement" - has reduced motherhood to tribes and entitlement, hardly the nurturing experience we like to believe raising children is.

Calm. Down.

Social media mobs were quick to flame this woman for her tongue-in-cheek sign. Picture: Instagram
Social media mobs were quick to flame this woman for her tongue-in-cheek sign. Picture: Instagram

Case in point this week is the woman who went viral after she posted an image of herself armed with a large latte and holding a tongue-in-cheek sign.

It read: "Moms should get a fast pass to the front of the line at the coffee shops. Honey, you're 22 & slept 10 hours last night? Get to the back of the line".

The reality is that many kind souls would allow a sleep-deprived mum armed with baby to go ahead in a queue, so apparent is her need for life-support caffeine.

So what do you think happened next?

"There's a level of entitlement emanating from these people," blasted one critic, "and from plenty of other 'frazzled mum' forums online - that grates on those who have no children.

"For me it's because I know that, for many in our society, having children is a choice. You conceived, you went to the scans, you decorated the nursery.

And then she stuck the boot in: "I wouldn't want to wait in line with little Tarquin eating Play-Doh and tugging at my jacket for a babyccino either. That's why I use birth control."

You can only have a true understanding of the life someone leads if you walk a mile in their shoes. Sometimes the most vibrant person in the room is suffering the most. And as women, shouldn't we be switched on to this, rather than blindly making assumptions based on stereotypes?

Elsewhere another woman said she was accused by a female fellow airline passenger of trying to "steal husbands" by breastfeeding in public. Drawing a long bow here, but anyway.

Reka Nyari from New York said: "She (the passenger) called me 'disgusting' followed by a litany of degrading swear words. Apparently she thought I was trying to steal her man by quietly breastfeeding my baby during the landing of the plane.

"Breastfeeding is natural, and our breasts were made for feeding our babies. Associating breastfeeding with sex or perversion is disturbing."

She then posed topless with a sultry expression while feeding her daughter.

What I think is disturbing is these mums and non-mums' dire need to go public and shame the shamers.

In the case of the woman who breastfed on the plane and was effectively slut-shamed for it, what does it say for her credibility that she would shamelessly use her baby girl to make a point - whatever that point is.

It is never about the kids and all about which tribe you belong to as a mother, not to mention the patronising indifference shown to men, many of whom find their significance as a parent reduced to the category of sperm donor.

A key parenting milestone used to be how important it was to demonstrate behaviour so your kids didn't morph into spoiled brats.

And yet by modelling motherly entitlement we are laying foundations for our children to have the same expectations.

So when those toddlers are entitled teenagers, will those same mothers accommodate or rail against it and send them to therapy? Who will they blame?

Certainly not themselves because they spent years in the trenches of motherhood, which absolves them of any responsibility.

We've all been to a nice brunch and had chicken schnitzel with a screaming child as extras. Some of us have sat stoically and ignored the reproachful glances of fellow diners; others have inhaled their meal to get out of there as quickly as possible.

Some have shamelessly bribed said screaming child with a muffin or an ice cream - just for 10 minutes of peace and no embarrassment. We have all survived it.

My favourite story about mum entitlement is the recent one from the US who asked a museum to reschedule an eclipse party because it was during school hours.

The Perot Museum in Texas was holding a free solar eclipse party from 12-2pm on the day of the event - as in when the eclipse was actually happening. But that didn't stop one entitled mum from ignoring the obvious and pestering the museum's Facebook page with a change the date request.

Alas, you can't reschedule eclipse because it's the sun.

Motherhood is not a get out of jail free card. Do yourself - and your child - a favour and show some basic good manners. Hold the line of solidarity.

This will get you much further than moaning and demanding.