In response to Carmel Tebbutt's resignation yesterday, News Limited's Anita Quigley argued,
"By her own actions Ms Tebbutt is demonstrating you cannot have a career and motherhood."
Meanwhile, Anne Patty of the Herald asked Tebbutt if her decision could not be construed that way, and Tebbutt rightly said,
"I hope it sends a message to women that you can combine a career and being a mother. But there is nothing wrong with then taking some time out or to shifting down a gear or two while you focus on your family."
This is not a conflict between motherhood and career. This is conflict between work and family. There is a difference.
It has everything to do with the fact that Tebbutt and her husband both have full-on jobs. And when both parents work--especially in such high pressure, time-consuming jobs--inevitably they’ll be concerned about whether it is better to spend more time on family than on work. In other marriages the husband might’ve taken the time off work. This is something to be individually negotiated between parents.
It’s just a shame in Howard’s Australia that there is so much pressure on both parents to work (aka "aspire") in families where children are youngsters, and there isn’t much political encouragement of fathers taking a greater role in the raising of their kids. I mean, look at the Government’s low level of interest in genuinely improving the childcare sector. (This seems to have fallen right off the radar again. Where are we at with that one again?)
Curiously, above this story about Tebbutt in the Herald was an odd photo of Pru Goward the hausfrau stooping over to put a load of washing on. What the...? Can you imagine a similar shot of John Howard hunched over shoving his smalls into the machine? I wonder if he's ever used one before.