Sunday, May 09, 2004

A model Mum?

The Melbourne Age newspaper decided to highlight in its Mother's Day edition a woman called Donna Muller.

Donna Muller is an officer in the Australian Navy. This year she is serving in the Solomon Islands, though she is based in Cairns. Her young daughter lives thousands of kilometres away in Canberra.

You wouldn't think this was the ideal arrangement for a mother and her young child. But Donna Muller and the Age reporter are quite upbeat about the situation. We are told that,

Commander Muller says visits to Cairns, where she is based, every few months, frequent phone calls back home and email correspondence have kept the disturbances to family life to a minimum" and that "Her maternal instincts have been put to use elsewhere, in charge of the crew aboard the HMAS Labuan" and that "Commander Muller says she is a good example to other women that it is possible to be a mother and hold a highly demanding job.

I don't buy this. For a young child to only visit her mother every few months is not a minimum disturbance to family life; running a ship is not putting maternal instincts to use at all; and Donna Muller's situation is not a good example of successfully combining motherhood and a career.

Donna Muller says her daughter is resilient, and you can only hope that this is so.

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