Kissing a baby while holding a beer is “multitasking” – at least if you’re the Prime Minister of Australia.
Anyone who’s ever had custody of a child would have looked nervously at the photo of Malcolm Turnbull holding granddaughter Alice and an alcoholic drink.
He shared the image on social media, leading to criticism.
Many people defended him, including, notably, the leader of the country’s opposition.
It’s clear that the little one was never at risk, so the reaction, which included 1,700 Facebook comments, was more about the example being set.
There’s also no suggestion Turnbull was incapable of looking after a baby, or even alone with Alice at the time, so the controversy was about perception, not reality. And booze. Everybody gets awfully judgmental when drink is involved.
I confess I felt uncomfortable looking at the picture. I wouldn’t have tweeted it. I’ve had a drink while looking after a baby, rarely and moderately, but it just doesn’t feel right.
Also, I know that many times I’ve avoided alcohol while in charge of children, for good reasons. What if there’s an emergency and you have to drive? What if your judgment is impaired and you don’t realise it? What if you’re unexpectedly clumsy? It’s scary.
Which is the point. When you become a parent, you get uninvited advice on everything from broccoli to bank accounts, but nobody tells you about the fear.
Being in charge of a child includes unrelenting, fundamental, inescapable terror that something bad is going to happen, and that is programmed into us as a signal boost for common sense, because nothing is more important than keeping a child safe.
So, for possibly the first time ever, I find myself siding with the haters on social media. Usually I say that we shouldn’t judge, especially when childcare is involved, because everybody’s just doing their best.
But, this time, I agree that it’s a bad example for a Prime Minister to hold a baby and a beer at the same time. It’s not OK, and we shouldn’t pretend that it is.
Just get a babysitter. Then you can get good and wasted!