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We wrote an open letter to The Real Housewives of Sydney. They've responded.

The second episode of The Real Housewives of Sydney got mums (and women) everywhere talking in response to a divisive argument that unfolded about working mothers. 

During the chat, Caroline Gaultier and Nicole O'Neil both spoke about their views on modern motherhood. The conversation sprung from Nicole admitting she didn't let her kids have social media until they turned 18, prompting other women in the group to question why she couldn't just monitor their accounts.

The topic of how much time working mothers have came up, to which Caroline replied, "Unless you have the time, don't have a child."

This debate prompted a lot of online discourse, including from us (hello!) as we published 'An open letter to the Real Housewives of Sydney, from a working mother', as penned by working mum-of-two, Annaliese Dent. 

In the piece, Annaliese shared her experience raising two boys as a single mum working in a variety of environments, and questioned The Real Housewives of Sydney scene's place in today's society. 

"Why and how are we even here in 2023?" she asked.

We caught up with both Caroline and Nicole to discuss their views on working mums and what the episode didn't show. 

"I haven't slept since [the episode aired]," Caroline told us.  

"I have read the article. First and foremost, I wholeheartedly agree with the letter that was written," she said.

"It was not my intention to undermine or criticise working mums in any way. They actually are the unsung superheroes of the world. I am truly sorry to any mother that I have undermined in any way. I just want to start off with that. That was not my intention."


Sally Obermeder and Caroline Gaultier reflect on the dinner convo. Image: Binge.

Caroline said that the part of the scene where she inferred that women who were too busy shouldn't have children was part of a larger conversation. 

"It was a four-hour conversation so we need to keep that in mind, which was then reduced down to 10 minutes. There was a lot of context around that particular topic, but unfortunately, they couldn't fit that into one episode," she said. 


"When I made that comment, I was particularly referencing my own experience watching my mum struggle as a single mum, who couldn't afford to have a babysitter, she didn't have a support system. And yes, she did it all. But she was functioning from an empty bucket and in absolute survival mode... I wasn't referencing all mothers in different situations." 

Nicole also wanted to elaborate on some of her opinions in the episode. 

"What I was trying to say was that it's your choice to work or not to work. Whatever type of parent you are, you need to be a present parent. That's the crux of what I was trying to get across," she said.

Nicole qualified her statement by adding that whether a parent is working or not doesn't mean they're present with their children. 

"I have friends who don't work, mums or dads who don't work, but they're on the phone when they're picking up the kids from school or chatting with someone while they're cooking dinner, or having the TV on while they're sitting with their kids. And I have other friends who work full-time and are there for their children all the time."  

Caroline added that ultimately, the decision to work from home is a privilege that only few can afford. 

"I feel that in the current climate 99 per cent of women no longer have the choice. They have bills to pay, they have to put food on the table. And so the operative word here is that we're no longer given the 'choice'. Most women have to work," she said.


"If you're given a choice, and you decide, yes, I want to stay at home – great. If you're given a choice and decide I want to work and raise my children – that's also great. But it seems like unless you're in a privileged position, you are no longer given the choice."  

Nicole has had moments in her life where she's been in and out of the workforce. "I've worked and I've also not worked and spent time with my kids. When I wasn't working, I was giving time to the school, the parents association, or helping make costumes for a school play – there's always something to do as a parent."  

She worked in the earlier years of her children's lives but stopped working through her kids' teen years. "I was much happier as a person when I was working. I had weekends away from my kids and long nights away. But when I was there, I was much happier because I was feeling satisfied with my day."

Both women agree that whatever way women decide to raise their children, it should be their choice. 

"Women are very quick to drag other women down," Nicole said. 

"I think having lived both sides of the coin, I feel very passionate about it because I can see both sides." 

The Real Housewives of Sydney streams every Tuesday on Binge.

Feature image: Binge. 

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