Emma Husar is running for Labor in one of the most marginal seats in the country, the federal electorate of Lindsay. She also happens to be a single mum with three kids, one of whom is autistic. This is her account of a day on the campaign trail.
I’m uber quiet as I roll out of bed. At some point a tiny human joined me in the night. No mother wants to wake a sleeping child. And every mother secretly enjoys several early hours of quiet solitude.
As I enjoy the first hit of coffee for the day, I unpack the dishwasher, make school lunches, throw on a load of laundry and take something from the freezer for dinner.
Hair and makeup is done as the iPad balances precariously on the vanity, streaming the morning news. I’m headed to Emu Plains train station to meet voters and the last thing I want is to be stumped on the news of the day.
Madeleine West is also a busy mum. Here are some tips she has given to working mums. (Post continues after video.)
As I dash out the door, my two youngest children have woken and we catch a quick snuggle. It’s hard to shake off maternal guilt – something I regularly discuss with other working mums around Penrith. I call them the Wonder Women; the single and married mums who have to balance guilt with the need to earn an income. I am lucky to have terrific support from family and friends.
At Emu Plains railway station at 6am, it’s dark, two degrees and people are cranky. The trains are delayed and commuters are lined up, freezing and waiting in the dark for updates. A would-be pollie, thrusting campaign brochures, is the last thing they want. So I let them know their train is late and strike up conversation about public transport.
Next stop is the local primary school to talk to mums and dads at the school gates. I recognise the weariness in their eyes – their morning has been an epic battle of hair brushes, negotiations about lunch boxes, reminders – the oh-so-constant-reminders – homework, books, library bags, hats on and the “have you brushed your teeth?” Today the principal pops down to say hi and have a chat about the additional funding Labor is allocating with the needs based funding model.
My own kids arrive shortly after 8:30. I kiss my daughter and then leave with my son, Mitch. We are off to Wahroonga to see the paediatrician. Mitch has a range of other conditions as well as his autism. He has managed to overcome some of these conditions, but others remain. As we drive, we sing Army by Ellie Golding and he replaces "army" with "mummy”. Music is a huge part of his therapy and is helpful when stuff gets really tough. Kitchen dancing in our socks and music up loud is a regular feature.