Tamara Thompson is a mum of two kids under 8, who about a year ago, jumped at the opportunity to swap roles with her hubby after several years at home with babies.
“We knew that things would be tight financially but at the same time, (my husband) was in between jobs, and we had to do it.
“On the positive side, we thought having him at home would be great for the kids and that it would even give him a chance to do lots of home renovation stuff that we seemed to be spending a lot of money on.
“But now in hindsight those renovations have been a false economy because we would have been better off financially had he been working and paying a tradesman.
Tamara’s decision to return to work has been one big compromise and much of the time she feels; damned if she does and damned if she doesn’t.
“As far as our kids are concerned, to be honest I don’t feel that me being back at work full-time has been a positive thing for them, at least not yet.
“I hope that one day I will see the benefits of me working in their own work ethic and ambition.”
Tamara is certainly not the only one suffering from what has been recently dubbed ‘time poverty’. The modern phenomenon identified in a soon-to-be published researchby Griffith University explains how many women are juggling the demands of being a mother with the demands of being an employee.
Through a series of long interviews, the study discovered multitasking is often used by mothers to solve their time poverty however it can be a futile exercise as it just makes women more stressed and busy.
According to the research seventy per cent of mothers feel rushed or pressed for time while 11 per cent of working fathers do.
Similarly mothers spend approximately 15.7 hours a week engaged in two or more forms of unpaid work. For fathers it’s four hours a week.
Merging work duties with home chores is another way many working mothers try to juggle the dual roles, like for instance, replying to emails while the kids are having dinner. However many admitted this too wasn’t a great solution as it negatively impacted the quality of the family time.
But when you’re a Mum, work is not always a choice, rather it becomes a necessity; you work to eat, you eat to survive.
Either way the Mummy guilt that creeps up on you when you’re not spending as much time as you used to with the kids can be painful, even soul destroying.
Finding a solution
Tamara has since been able to adjust her work hours to part-time and is in the office three-and-half days a week. But the work calls keep coming even when it’s her days off.
“Those days at home are just a juggle between work calls, housework, and trying to spend quality time with my kids when they’re not school.
“I try to squeeze a lot in, especially when it comes to after school activities or doing homework or household admin.
“On top of that, there are expectations on parents, working or not, such as helping out at school, assemblies, fund raising and excursions. It all needs to get rammed in on my days off. But these things are not obligatory, it is a personal choice.
“Right now my time with the kids is just so restricted and I feel like my work compromises my time with them, so I have to work a bit harder on my relationships with them.
While her husband has now returned to work, Tamara is still very much in the driver’s seat because of the commissions in her role.
And of course the irony is that while father’s guilt does exist, it is nowhere near as common as mother’s guilt. But that’s another story.
This Financy article was first provided to and published on whimn.com.au.