This week’s guest posting is from the Australian Fair Work Ombudsmen. In Australia tens of thousands of pregnant women and working mums report discrimination in the workplace each year. Make sure you know your rights.
It is not surprising that parents sometimes struggle to handle their work responsibilities and be with their child the way that that want to be; especially in the early years.
Managing the needs of your toddler is a demanding task. A day at work might be more structured and predictable than a day with your family. Or it could be the other way around. Every family and workplace is different and it is good to think creatively about how you might balance the two.
The Fair Work Ombudsman’s working parents campaign is all about making sure parents and their employers understand their rights and responsibilities. If you’re unsure of where to start, visit fairwork.gov.au/workingparents to access information and resources including helpful checklists and templates.
Working parents in Australia have entitlements such as the right to safe work during pregnancy and parental leave to be with their new baby. They can also request flexible working arrangements that will help them accommodate work and family life.
The National Employment Standards provide the right to ask for flexible working arrangements. Flexible working arrangements can include things like changing your hours or patterns of work or working from home. These requests can only be refused for certain reasons.
Follow these steps when negotiating an arrangement to suit you and your workplace
Think about a solution that suits the business as well as your own needs. You might find it helpful to discuss your ideas with your employer before making a request. A conversation can give you both enough lead time to make suitable arrangements for you and your workplace.
Write to your employer (via email is a good idea). Outline the arrangement you think can work and offer reasons for the change. There are request templates available at fairwork.gov.au/workingparents to help you get started.
Once you have sent the request, your employer must respond in writing within 21 days saying whether they accept or refuse the request. If they refuse, they need to explain why.
Whether your employer agrees or disagrees with your request, flexibility arrangements will require ongoing negotiation. If the initial arrangement is not suitable, follow the process again and see if you can find something that works for everyone.
After 2 babies I decided to give myself an overhaul. While doing this it has made me think of the imprints we leave on our babies/children. One of the things that I have kicked off my overhaul with is joining a group training session.
Now, unlike most group sessions this one is targeted at mothers with babies/children and we all generally bring a baby/child (unless we are lucky enough for a loved one to take care of them).The trainer, Charlotte Hay from SOLMAMAS Slice of Life Fitness www.solfitness.com.au, understands what it is like being a mother and trying to squeeze in time for You. While we might be willing to find a sitter to go out to dinner every now and then, it’s not on a high priority to find yourself a sitter/carer on a weekly biases to look after your baby/child while you workout.
The more time you spend around kids the less you can remember what you used to think about the things babies and toddlers do. Were you once more grossed-out by vomit? Was baby-babble cute or frustrating? Did you wonder why a parent would let their kid wear pyjamas to the supermarket?
It’s hard to tell whether others see your kid as the cutest, sweetest thing in the world, or mostly just a gross, creepy little weirdo.
One of the top items on many new parents’ to-buy list is a nappy or diaper bag. It can shine like a beacon of hope against the fear that having a baby will mean you can never leave the house again. With a nappy or diaper bag you can hit the streets, hit the road, hit the town! Most people with whom I’ve worked nappy bags three or four times the size of their baby and filled to the brim.
I’ve already written about paring down your nappy bag so you don’t carry around more than you need. If you lessen the amount of stuff you bring with you on baby outings, then do you still need an expensive and large specialised nappy bag or just….you know… a bag?
#7 piece of baby gear you probably don’t really need: A specialised nappy or diaper bag
What makes a actual ‘nappy or diaper bag’ different from a regular bag?
Size: Most nappy or diaper bags are over-sized like a swollen tote or satchel. There’s a sense the nappy bag should be big enough to carry everything you might possibly need, but what actually seems to happen is that you carry everything it can possibly fit, regardless of whether you need it.
Aesthetics: The nappy or diaper bag often falls into one of two camps; super babyish or super stylish. Rather than chose whether to use a bag that announces your parenthood or one that defies it, why not use a regular bag that suits your style and budget that happens to have baby things in it?
Pockets: Nappy or diaper bags should have lots of pockets and sections to divide (and conquer!) all of baby’s bits and bobs. This is undoubtedly a boon, but there are many and varied regular bags that have just as many pockets and compartments.
Insulation: Some nappy or diaper bags have a layer of insulation, to keep milk and food warm or cool. This is a function that most people seem to use rarely and when you do, I think you’d be better off using a smaller – and more portable – insulated bottle bag or pouch.
Cost: A nappy or diaper bag will cost you more than a regular bag because it is called a ‘nappy or diaper bag’. Like many designer items, giving something a desirable label boosts its perceived value. A messenger bag or satchel, backpack, tote, or any other regular bag may do just as well as a nappy bag without costing as much.
Benefits of using a plain old regular bag instead of the nappy or diaper bag
For me, it comes down to cost, usefulness both in the short and long term, and personal taste. I think a nappy or diaper bag is likely to be overly expensive, less useful than it seems in the short term and in the long term potentially useless (will you keep using the baby patterned bag when your own baby is no longer in need of it? Will you use the posh bag that hides plastic lined pockets when you go out with friends?), and I find them cumbersomely large.
When I put the question of nappy or diaper bags or regular bags to some readers of a baby forum, several said they had used one initially but soon realised it was more of a burden than a help. Some suggested using adult bags like I’ve mentioned, and others embraced the baby style but at much less expense by buying children’s backpacks. For my money, I’d prefer to keep a nappy or diaper wallet – which is just what it sounds like, a large wallet that fits a few nappies or diapers and wipes – along with a few other small essentials in a casual bag I can use both with children and without. There are lots of choices out there and they almost always cost less than the specialised nappy or diaper bags!
As soon as you have kids, the focus immediately changes from your relationship to focusing on your children.
This is inevitable as your children soon become the most important things in your life and caring for them takes the priority. It’s human nature to ensure the health and happiness of your children are met before your own.
But to have a healthy and happy family life, it’s important that your relationship is healthy and strong as well.
Life is all about balance. If a relationship doesn’t have any time put into it, it can become unhealthy and weak. Continue reading →