Her name is Sally, she is a New York Times bestselling author and is Mum to three children. This is Motherhood Her Way.

Can you tell us about your current work and family situation, and how you manage to balance the two?

As of a few years ago, I'm what you'd traditionally call the 'breadwinner' in our household. I'm a full-time writer (my tenth novel is coming out in September 2023) and my husband left his job in finance to become CEO of the home (aka to run the household and be the lead parent of our three school-aged kids). We've worked hard over the years to come up with a strategy that works for us in terms of who is responsible for which aspects of our lives, but now we've found a pretty good balance that means we both feel supported.

How do you ensure that you still have quality time with your children despite your busy work schedule?

Unfortunately I don’t have any wisdom here. As the full-time working parent, I have to settle for non-quality time most days - like shouting at the kids to eat breakfast or telling them to brush their teeth again, or driving them to a friend's house or netball training. I grab quality time where I can - and it often shows up in wonderful unexpected moments, like a meaningful chat in the car, or a spontaneous walk with the dog - and the rest of the time I remind myself how lucky my kids are to have had one parent devoted full-time to their care (me when they were little, and now their dad).

How do you and your partner divide household and parenting responsibilities, and how has this arrangement worked for your family?

This has been an ever-changing beast that has grown with our family. When we had little babies, I was the stay-at-home parent who took responsibility for the kids during the day, and we split the domestic and kid responsibilities when he was home. When I went back to work, we split the parenting and the domestic duties down the middle. Now, Christian is the full-time parent, the kids are all in school full-time, so he manages the lion’s share of the domestic work during school hours. This arrangement works for as long as it works - when it stops working we try something else! I’m looking forward to the day that the kids start looking after us

What are some of the joys and rewards of being a working mum?

The joys are endless. I am incredibly proud to be able to support my family through my writing (something I never expected would be the case ten years ago). I love that my kids saw me at the beginning - striving to get a book published, getting rejected, trying again. As the daughter of a working mother, I know how inspiring it can be to see a parent go for what they want, fail, and keep trying. A few weeks ago, when my new book landed on the NYT bestseller list my 13 year old son called my in America and we squealed over the phone. I’ll never forget that moment. But I think my favourite things about being a working mum is that, as a family, we value caregiving and the ability to generate an income equally, and I see this in my kids' attitudes. They use the words “mum” and “dad” interchangeably and they understand and respect the roles we play in the family equally.

Have you faced any criticism or judgement for your approach to motherhood? If so, how have you dealt with it?

I occasionally get women who tell me how lucky I am to have such a supportive husband which makes me (and my husband) laugh. Not because he’s not supportive, but because the double standard is eye-watering. When I was the full-time parent of three pre-school aged kids, trying to write books while they napped, no one ever told Christian how lucky he was to have such a supportive wife. Now Christian is a stay-at-home dad with three kids at school and no need to bring in an income, and he’s a hero! And while he is our hero, I hope the day comes that the woman with school-aged children who doesn't work outside the home receives the same accolades that Christian does.
May 05, 2023 — Emma Mazur

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