Mummy guilt and the work and life balance in focus

IT’S called ‘‘mummy guilt’’ and it’s a problem that afflicts many women.

These guilty feelings are connected to work-life balance, a topic to be discussed at an event in Charlestown on Wednesday night.

The free community event, called ‘‘Women and Work Life Balance’’, will be hosted by Charlestown Sustainable Neighbourhood Group.

Lake Macquarie mayor Jodie Harrison, doctor Christine Aus and businesswoman Maree McCarthy will share their stories.

The neighbourhood group’s chairwoman Chelsey Zuiderwyk said work-life balance was a topic close to her heart.

Ms Zuiderwyk, 33, is a mother of two young girls and works as a music teacher.

‘‘It’s such a balancing act to spend quality time with your children and have a life of your own,’’ Ms Zuiderwyk, of Whitebridge, said.

‘‘When I’m talking with my mum-friends, there’s always so much mummy guilt going on – it’s prolific.’’

This guilt revolves around questions of working too much, not working enough and children having too much or not enough daycare, preschool or educational playtime.

Quantity time over quality time was another concern.

‘‘I don’t think mothers are kind enough to themselves and I don’t think society is appreciative enough of mothers in a meaningful way,’’ Ms Zuiderwyk said.

She said the event aimed to start a conversation on the topic, but it would have a ‘‘feelgood factor’’.

Ms Aus, who is aged 63 with two grown-up daughters, said ‘‘women need to feel free to make their own choices and live the life that’s best for themselves and their families’’.

‘‘We all go through times when certain things may not be working so well,’’ Ms Aus said.

At times like this, evaluation was needed to ‘‘work out what’s best for yourself and your children’’, Ms Aus said.

‘‘Sometimes it means giving yourself permission to change direction or do things differently.’’

Raising a family was ‘‘a moveable feast’’.

‘‘What works when your kids are four, may not work when they’re 10 or 14,’’ she said.

The latest Australian Work and Life Index said the ‘‘male breadwinner and female caregiver model of the 20th century is alive and well in 21st century Australia’’.

‘‘Australia is one of the most unequal countries, with respect to men’s and women’s sharing of domestic and care work,’’ it said. 

Despite profound social change, many workplace cultures were ‘‘made in the image of the full-time male worker unencumbered by care responsibilities’’.

The index, which the University of South Australia produces, said most workers were unaware of their right to request flexible work arrangements.

This right was embodied in national employment standards, it said.

Wednesday’s event is the first of a series planned under the label ‘‘Charlestown Talks’’, which will involve locals sharing their stories on a theme or topic.

The event will be held at Central Charlestown Leagues Club at 7.30pm.

Headline

IT’S called ‘‘mummy guilt’’ and it’s a problem that afflicts many women.

These guilty feelings are connected to work-life balance, a topic to be discussed at an event in Charlestown on Wednesday night.

The free community event, called ‘‘Women and Work Life Balance’’, will be hosted by Charlestown Sustainable Neighbourhood Group.

Lake Macquarie mayor Jodie Harrison, doctor Christine Aus and businesswoman Maree McCarthy will share their stories.

The neighbourhood group’s chairwoman Chelsey Zuiderwyk said work-life balance was a topic close to her heart.

Ms Zuiderwyk, 33, is a mother of two young girls and works as a music teacher.

‘‘It’s such a balancing act to spend quality time with your children and have a life of your own,’’ Ms Zuiderwyk, of Whitebridge, said.

‘‘When I’m talking with my mum-friends, there’s always so much mummy guilt going on – it’s prolific.’’

This guilt revolves around questions of working too much, not working enough and children having too much or not enough daycare, preschool or educational playtime.

Quantity time over quality time was another concern.

‘‘I don’t think mothers are kind enough to themselves and I don’t think society is appreciative enough of mothers in a meaningful way,’’ Ms Zuiderwyk said.

She said the event aimed to start a conversation on the topic, but it would have a ‘‘feelgood factor’’.

Ms Aus, who is aged 63 with two grown-up daughters, said ‘‘women need to feel free to make their own choices and live the life that’s best for themselves and their families’’.

‘‘We all go through times when certain things may not be working so well,’’ Ms Aus said.

At times like this, evaluation was needed to ‘‘work out what’s best for yourself and your children’’, Ms Aus said.

‘‘Sometimes it means giving yourself permission to change direction or do things differently.’’

Raising a family was ‘‘a moveable feast’’.

‘‘What works when your kids are four, may not work when they’re 10 or 14,’’ she said.

The latest Australian Work and Life Index said the ‘‘male breadwinner and female caregiver model of the 20th century is alive and well in 21st century Australia’’.

‘‘Australia is one of the most unequal countries, with respect to men’s and women’s sharing of domestic and care work,’’ it said. 

Despite profound social change, many workplace cultures were ‘‘made in the image of the full-time male worker unencumbered by care responsibilities’’.

The index, which the University of South Australia produces, said most workers were unaware of their right to request flexible work arrangements.

This right was embodied in national employment standards, it said.

Wednesday’s event is the first of a series planned under the label ‘‘Charlestown Talks’’, which will involve locals sharing their stories on a theme or topic.

The event will be held at Central Charlestown Leagues Club at 7.30pm.

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