Rachel's Blog: Flexible work hours for parents.

Thu, 11 May 2006
The ability to work hours that allow them to still care for their own children is the single most important factor in women's participation in the paid workforce.

Can't do anything but agree with this.
Cathy Sherry in The Age.

Comment by Anna on Thu, 11 May 2006

Working from home is the best option and has not been discussed. Since the birth of my children I have continued my graphic designs career on a freelance basis. I earn on average 60 % of my previous wage every month without having to leave the house...there are many professionals who do the same...technology has given us that freedom

Comment by Rachel on Thu, 11 May 2006

You're right, Anna, working from home has not been discussed much through this recent childcare debate. It is the ideal for many people, but for others it is not attractive, or is not feasible.
You mention in your comment "professionals" and "technology", but thousands of parents would not relate to those terms. It's hardly likely that a machine operator could work from home, but shifts that allowed them to see their children to and from school would perhaps be desirable. Other people simply can't stand to work in the same place that they live, they need the human interaction as well as the income from paid work.
I'm glad that you have found a work practice that suits your family - it's one I'm working towards myself - but we need to remember that there are no blanket solutions. Families need choice in how they earn their incomes and how they care for their children.

Comment by Anna on Thu, 11 May 2006

Of course there's never been just one solutions for families that fits all; there always have been and will be choices.
For your information: 'Machine operators' have usually rotating shifts (early,late,night, cycles of 5 days on/ 5 off, etc) plus overtime and public holiday options, which they can choose to accomodate their lifestyle.
However, some people use the 'lack of child care choices'as an excuse to stay at home to watch TV, surf the net, read books and generally take it easy. These slackers often have a history of studying around a bit, with a few odd job along the way but no career before they settle into a 'lady of leisure' lifestyle which is financed by their partner.
Good luck in working towards getting work!

Comment by Rachel on Fri, 12 May 2006

I'm familiar, although not personally, with the rotating shift system that many factories employ, and I think it's one of the least family-friendly work practices in existence, particularly when young children often benefit from a fixed routine.
We also need to consider that public holidays and annual leave never add up to cover school holidays.
It appears that your criticism of stay at home mothers could describe many women I know on the surface (putting aside the idea of ever "taking it easy"), yet there's always more to the story than that. Always. Not to mention the disservice it does to the difficult, socially unrecognised job of parenting.

Comment by Anna on Fri, 12 May 2006

A particular shift can be locked in for up to a year providing plenty of stability.
Sure, mothers who abuse their child (ie. locking them out, being rough, denying their needs,...)always have reasons. Always.
I'm sorry to read that you find parenting difficulty. My two children are a pleasure and a joy. I count my blessings every day.
As for society, perhaps you're living in a different world than I am. People in my community welcome my kids, acknowledge my contribution as a parent and are generally very supportive. There are many heart-warming reactions to my children. I'm well aware that I enjoy many priviliges as a mother that I did not have as a single woman.
I feel sorry for your negative perceptions and hope that things will be better for you in the future.

Comment by Richard on Sat, 13 May 2006

Huh? Abuse?

Comment by Rachel on Sat, 13 May 2006

Yeah, I'm not sure where that abuse thing comes from either...

If child-rearing is not seen as difficult and socially unrecognised then why is this government trying to financially bribe people into breeding in an attempt to halt the declining birthrate?

I'm beginning to get the impression that Anna has no respect for parents who choose to stay at home and raise their children and not participate in the paid workforce. If she equates this with being a "slacker" and as being on par with child abuse then there is no point in continuing this discussion.

As for presuming to comment on my own experiences raising Abbey; don't. You don't know us.

Comment by Anna on Sat, 13 May 2006

Child abuse is significantly higher and lasts longer if the child is cared for soley at home. 24 children in 1000 suffer, half of that emotionally and a quarter of that physically.

This government wants to win the next election and tries to woe key interest groups (families, high-income earners and older Australians) with financial incentives.

I am a stay at home mum and participate in the paid workforce. We have control over our own lives and make choices all the time: that's who we are, that's what we have, that's how we live.

Have a happy 'socially unrecognised' [sic] Mother's Day!