Former Australian of the Year Dr Fiona Wood, AM, was once told by another mother, "I love my kids too much to work."
The pioneering surgeon and mother of six recounted the story on the eve of Internatianal Women's Day, to a crowd at a Perth function.
As The West Australian reports, Wood said that her harshest critics have always been other women.
"For the mum who 'loves her kids too much to work' that's her individual ethos," she said. "Fantastic for her. I wouldn't choose to criticise her in a fit, so don't criticise me.
"That is a really important point: facilitate each other rather than criticise." She old reporters that critics should think before speaking - and consider not saying anything at all.
"Just take two seconds to think before you open your mouth," she said. "Criticism is very valuable if it promotes robust debate. If you're just criticising and walking away then I don't engage.
"It's a question of, before you criticise, think what gain is going to come out of that criticism and sometimes maybe you keep it in the think bubble instead of a speech bubble."
Dr Wood emigrated to Australian from Britain with her Australian husband and two eldest children. Already a qualified doctor, she completed her training in plastic surgery while having four more children. She's best known for her pioneering "spray on skin" treatments for burn victims.
While she admits that there were times when she felt "trapped" between her work and family commitments, Wood assured attendees at the function that "the guilt is something you mature out of, but it takes a while".
To those doubting her ability to manage motherhood with successful career, Wood said, "I feel I have had it all, for me."
"The greatest achievement in my life is my kids. Both my husband and I have been strong on the fact that they are first . . . that's our personal philosophy and if that's not obvious to everyone else then it doesn't matter."
That sounds like advice worth listening to.
The story Facilitate rather than criticise: Dr Fiona Wood's message to other mums first appeared on Essential Baby.