Baby got my tongue

HOW is it that I have nothing to say? In a playground surrounded by other mums I hardly shut up – talking about something funny/cute/amazing the kids did, how little sleep I got, how much laundry I got done before the rain started…

But take me out of that scenario. Put me with friends who have no kids and I’ve nothing to say.

I’m horribly conscious of Excessive Baby Talk. I’ve listened to a lot of it over the years and though I was very polite and even interested, partly, it’s not the most attractive feature in the Mummy species. Particularly when said mum has no edit button and ends up discussing her monthly cycle and poor bladder control as though she was discussing the weather.

But I doubt this tendency towards verbosity is specific to being a mum. I work on newspapers and I know that during my time in the newsroom, I talked a hell of a lot about ridiculous deadlines, cantankerous politicians, obtuse editors, AWOL dummies, one-col legs, idiot cadets… the list goes on.

The difference was, I felt privileged to wax lyrical on all things print. You should have been so lucky to have me twist your ear about who I interviewed, who got the front page, what happened ‘between the lines’ of a certain story.

But I don’t feel quite the same about my motherhood tales. Yes, I write this blog semi-religiously (though I’m not the zealot that some others can be!), I definitely love my children more than a 50,000 readership, and I seem to spend as much time looking for AWOL dummies now as I did in the newsroom.

But there is this sense of monopolising the conversation with talk of my babies’ first steps or my son’s latest trick.

Some months ago, visiting a friend at the office, my son dashed for the nearest door – to a VIPs private quarters. I yanked him back, dealt out a quick lecture, restrained him and looked back at said editor.

I could feel it bubbling up – this overwhelming desire to talk of his behaviour and the disclaimer that “he’s usually so good” (and he is… see? I can’t help it!) But I knew this person cared not for the developmental stage of my two-year old.

So how come I can restrain myself now, when I used to gush unabashed about newspapers without fear of reprisal? Surely, motherhood is a far more valid topic of conversation than office politics?

And it occured to me, that sometimes motherhood isn’t the hallowed topic of conversation that I would like it to be. Others out in the world are talking of immigration policies, of bloodless coups in the Australian government, of mining super taxes, of soldiers flying back home in coffins.

Sure, some are gossiping about who is sleeping with who and what happened on Grey’s. But there are plenty of important conversations being had, and I was once amongst that. I once wrote about stuff like that.

I hardly know what’s going on in the world, let alone form an opinion and write a column about it like I once did.

So here’s my attempt at including a broader social context and not boring you all with what items of laundry currently grace my clothesline….

I think it’s downright abhorrent that a man can murder his wife, lie to police, publicly appeal for help, be sent to jail for manslaughter and then be out in under five years, be given custody of his children and return to live in the same house he murdered her in.

I’m disappointed that Gillard has resorted to a fear-mongering rhetoric in the issue of boat people instead of providing a more enlightened, compassionate stance of improving our attitudes and policies on asylum seekers.

It is sad that a) K-Rudd was ousted so dramatically but more sad that b) our first female Prime Minister wasn’t elected by the people.

I don’t care if Tamara Someone and Kyle Sandilands have broken up. And neither should you.


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