There was a story in the paper on Sunday about how the NSW premier isn’t working hard enough. Talk back radio this morning was overflowing with people wanting to comment and I was thisclose to ringing up myself to vent. Then I remembered I have this blog on which to do just that. Wheeee!
I’ll keep it brief because it is Monday and politics are fairly dull. But to me, this story is not about politics. It’s much bigger and more important than that. The gist of the article was that some MPs were grumbling about the premier’s commitment to his family and his attempt to wrestle with that modern cliche: work/family balance.
Mr Iemma, 45, and wife Santina have four children – Clara, 8, Matthew,
6, and twins Joshua and Luca, 3. And according to the paper:
A senior NSW Labor MP, who did not wish to be named, said Mr Iemma
insisted he was home by 6pm most nights to spend time with his young
children.”He’s trying to be a suburban house-husband, but he’s got to realise he’s the Premier,” the MP said.
It then went on to showcase some finger-wagging comments from former politicians, all of whom said that politics is a 24/7 job and that they had all made huge family sacrifices when they were in the chair so why shouldn’t Iemma. Former opposition leader John Hewson said: “I probably gave too much time to my job and not enough to my children.
They’d say that. Often when they need you most, you’re not there.”
Former NSW premier Nick Greiner admitted “Work-life balance was not an issue in my day … so I have to say that
my family suffered, which is probably why I’m a better grandparent than
I was a parent,”
And former Victorian premier Jeff Kennett noted that his wife had left
him for six months because he put work first for too many years.
Despite admitting that politics had damaged their family lives,
their message was clear: if you want a big job, you have to give it
100% and put your family second. Chose or lose.
What a crock. Have these people not heard of internet? It’s possible
to get home at a decent hour, spend time with your family and then hop
back on the computer to work for a few more hours before bed. It is.
The idea of ‘whoever is in the office the longest is working the
hardest” is sooooo old school and ridiculous. What a surprise that
young people are not interested in a career in politics. Try telling
Gen Y that they can’t have balance. That they have to choose or lose.
We need high profile people to be speaking out and walking the talk
about work/life balance. Our leaders in politics and buissness need to
lead by example. When I got pregnant three months after landing my
dream job as editor of Cosmopolitan, my female boss told me it would
make me a better editor because I would have perspective. She was
right. The one who does the most visible hours on the job is not
the one who is working hardest. If the boss is still there at 8pm,
everyone else will feel like they have to stay too, so more families
The martyr mentality of “we had to do it so why shouldn’t everyone
else!” that I’ve heard some former politicians (and their wives!)
sprout in the media this past 48 hours is a shocker. I am a Libra so I
know a thing or two about trying to find balance. Working outside the
home when you have kids is a constant juggling act and I don’t know if
you ever master it. But for the sake of our families and our sanity, we
should never stop trying.