Louis Walsh, pop’s answer to Supernanny, has hit out at singer Adele for having a baby and not going straight back to work immediately after the placenta’s removal.
In the January issue of Q (the music industry’s equivalent of Mother and Baby magazine) Louis Walsh, talking about how he manages his pop stars, said “If we had someone like Adele, no way would she not be working now.” After the interviewer reminds Louis that Adele has just had a baby, he continued “Fine. Have a baby. But then get back out there before they forget who you are! She’d be on every TV show and there’d be another album already. Work the room! That’s my philosophy.”
That “philosophy” being that Adele should just plonk her baby in its cot, chuck a blanket at it, and get her backside to the Royal Albert Hall.
Perhaps I’m being unfair to Louis? He did, after all, give birth to the Irish quintuplets that would later become known as Boyzone. He is a working father, co-judging on X Factor at the same time as fostering Jedward, who recently tweeted: ‘I blow my own Nose I Blow my own Nose! Can You Blow Ur Nose?’ That’s what happens when you home school, Louis.
Louis Walsh is clearly comparing his own experience as a working parent to Adele’s and finds her wanting. To be fair, managing pop and rock stars is not that different to rearing a small child. There’s dealing with the tantrums, the aggressive destruction of furniture, the inability to control their own bowels, a constant craving for the white stuff, the calm that descends upon them when they’re suckling at the breast, and that’s just the Rolling Stones.
I like to imagine Louis Walsh and Simon Cowell getting together once a week for cosy Pop Manager Mornings. There they are, flipping through the pages of Q (“Oh look at Justin Bieber, hasn’t he grown!”), drinking coffee, sharing homemade muffins, and bemoaning the behaviour of their offspring.
Simon: “Sinitta kept me up all night again. Wailing on and on about ‘Wah wah Toy Boy! Wah wah Toy Boy!‘ So I threw G I Joe at her and that shut her up.”
Louis: “Oh Simon, I feel for you, it’s so hard being a parent”.
Simon: “But Louis, you’ve got quintuplets and twins! How do you get them all to sleep throughout the night?”
Louis: “I put Calpol in their Baileys Irish Cream and they’re out like a light by 8pm.”
Simon: “You are such a brilliant dad.”
Louis: “I know”.
In the interview, Louis also publicly slammed his prodigal son Ronan Keating for becoming spoilt and having ‘no talent’. I appreciate that tough love can be an effective parenting technique, but I don’t think even Gina Ford would go quite that far. Don’t worry, Louis. Ronan will return to the fold eventually. The crap sons always do.
But Louis love, you really need to give Adele a break. She’s enjoying life with her newborn. She doesn’t have the energy to go swanning about on the Jonathan Ross Show going ‘Motherhood is feckin luverly babe!’ She’s probably not even got around to washing her hair yet.
What Louis Walsh doesn’t realise is that women have to be very careful about taking the right amount of maternity leave or risk damaging their image. Return to work quickly and you’re either an inspirational ‘supermum’ or the new hate figure for stay at home mums. Take a long maternity leave or decide not to return to work and you’re either a loving mother who’s put her child first, or you’ve destroyed your career and spoiled the idea that women can have it all. The former French minister Rachida Dati was criticised after she returned to work only five days after giving birth. Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer was criticised for only taking two weeks maternity leave, and saying that having her baby was ‘easy’. My feminist critique of their actions is this: whatever works for you, sisters. (But I’ll like you a little bit more if you don’t snap back into your size 8 jeans for at least another two months).
Eventually Adele will brave it out into the world again with the baby to do the first mother and baby supermarket shop (I’m having Tesco/Vietnam PTSD flashbacks as I write that), and she will undoubtedly be applauded as the quintessential slummy mummy. I mean that as a compliment. I like to think that every day she looks at her diary crossing off the days as they go by. She’s not crossing them off till the launch of her new album. She’s not crossing them off till she’s shed her pregnancy weight and got to the usual celeb post-baby goal of 3 stone 7 oz. No, not our Adele. She’s crossing off the days till she can have her first post-baby, post-breastfeeding bottle of red wine and packet of Silk Cut. Because in my experience of talking to other new mums like myself, that’s one of our top priorities, after ‘provide my newborn with a safe and loving environment’ and before ‘Do a hundred pelvic floor squeezes every time I queue for the bus’.
Even if Adele does spend most of her day slumped on the sofa in front of Cbeebies, what’s to say it’s not inspiring her third and possibly greatest album? Cbeebies is a rich source of musical inspiration about the intricacies of human nature. There’s Mike the Knight, for example, who screws up in every episode and only realises at the last minute. Aren’t we all guilty of that? And Balamory has the strangest love triangle I’ve ever seen. Or should that be ‘love octagon’? I mean, they’re always at each other houses....
And never mind the catchy tunes of Abba. I’ve been humming the song ‘Hand, foot and mouth disease’ from Get Well Soon for over two weeks now. I genuinely can’t get it out of my head.
“Mike the Knight.... come to me tonight...and do it right” might not sound quite as movingly lyrical as “Never mind, I'll find....someone like you......ooooohhhhh” but I bet she’ll sing it like an angel next time she’s performing at the Royal Albert Hall. After she’s returned from her maternity break, of course.