Growing up, my mum was always there. She drove us around. She was at home after school and before school and on weekends. She made us costumes and dishes for International Food Day. She took us to playgroup when we were little and to university when we were older (until we could drive).
She often described herself as a ‘stay-at-home-mum’, and so did I. She did work though, on and off, throughout our childhood. But she always worked around us in part-time or casual roles; around my dad’s work. He was the breadwinner. And when a particular role stopped fitting in, she’d stop working until she found something else that did fit in — with everything and everyone else.
This never seemed unusual or wrong to me. Our family functioned well. We were happy. My parents were a team. Their marriage was strong. It still is. But what if it wasn’t?
Watch: Full year of paid parental leave recommended. Post continues after the video.
Marriage breakdowns aren’t something that occur to you until they happen — to your parents, your friends, or to yourself. It wasn’t something I thought about. In fact, it wasn’t until my mum pursued a career in real estate — and thrived — when I was in my teens, that it occurred to me just how much my mum had given up. But even then, I didn't consider her decision risky or unwise, just selfless.