20 episodes

A podcast that is people telling the story of their families and the diverse ways that they tackle the dual responsibilities of paid work and caring for children. We talk about what works and what doesn’t (for each individual family) and we think about what would improve each family’s work-life balance.

Head of a Codfish: A podcast about modern working families Head of a Codfish: A podcast about modern working families

    • Kids & Family

A podcast that is people telling the story of their families and the diverse ways that they tackle the dual responsibilities of paid work and caring for children. We talk about what works and what doesn’t (for each individual family) and we think about what would improve each family’s work-life balance.

    Episode 20: Katie

    Episode 20: Katie

    In Episode 20, we talk to Katie who has 4 primary school aged children and works as an art teacher. We talk about the realities of a 2 teacher family, learning to say no as an act of self care and which parent the school rings when a child is sick.

    The Lowdown

    - Family of 6

    - 1 parent working full-time

    - 1 parent working part-time

    - 4 school-aged children

    1:45 How much sleep are you getting?

    9:46 You handled a bad sleeper, let’s see what else you can handle

    10:26 Away from family when having young children

    10:50 Who are the members of your family?

    11:20 Setting the mum bar high

    12:00 Maybe we were really good when we growing up?

    12:30 Paid workload

    13:40 2 teachers, ideal or harder?

    14:00 3 different schools

    14:46 Kids schools hours are always shorter than parents hours

    19:04 Parent teacher interviews with children and parent’s schools

    16:12 Husband travelled for work when children young

    17:04 Took more family-friendly teaching jobs

    17:36 Kids not doing sport have too much energy

    17:52 Parenting superpowers? – Death stares!

    18:12 Multitasking

    18:20 Saying no

    20:30 Husband’s parenting superpowers?

    20:38 Discipline

    21:26 The rock

    22:00 Setting standards

    22:22 Setting the standard when another parent is doing the leg work.

    23:00 Standards slipping

    24:10 What standards are achievable?

    24:36 Expectations for parents these days

    28:00 Children starting to get more freedom.

    31:44 Having a day when you don’t need to rush off

    33:155 Moving to Australia

    33:44 Going back to work earlier than expected

    34:05 The year of 3 drops offs

    34:22 So much energy

    35:10 Getting an ironing board into the car

    36:22 Being able to get to own children's events in school hours

    37:10 Husband encouraged to apply for high-level jobs

    37:36 Women told to stay in their lane and not expect much career-wise

    39:10 Go for the job!

    41:00 Only half the population has to consider being away from your family more to work full time

    41:42 Know my limits

    41:48 Priorities

    42:40 What works well?

    42:52 Husband working full time but can still do some pickups and dropoffs

    43:28 Need to renegotiate hours every year

    44:06 Found a decent balance now

    :04 Maxed out

    45:26 Downsides?

    45:40 Crazy messy house

    45:52 One-on-one time with kids

    46:25 Most of the downsides relate to home life

    47:00 Next steps

    47:05 Eligible for long service leave soon

    48:00 Would like husband to want to slow down and work less hours at some stage

    48:12 Another career, won’t necessarily be teaching anymore

    49:22 Being creative and being a parent

    50:16 Doing art at school all day and kids then want to do art at home after school

    51:00 Having a creative mindset 51:54 Birthday cakes are a blind spot in the creative department

    52:40 Time and freedom to be creative is hard

    54:54 Are your family responsibilities catered for?

    54:26 Part-time grey zone

    55:24 There are opportunities to negotiate

    56:04 Working part-time as a teacher, can’t necessarily be 4 days a week

    57:10 Don’t have the ability to rearrange your work day, need to be in front of the classroom

    57:44 Husbands work environment

    58:02 Expectation that mothers are required when kids are sick

    58:44 Is the pressure on the husband more because he is a dad and working full time?

    58:58 Full-time workers have a greater capacity to take a bit of time out during the working week

    • 1 hr 11 min
    Episode 19: Abi

    Episode 19: Abi

    In Episode 19, we talk to Abi who has 2 primary school aged children and words 4 days a week. We talk about being open to different possibilities with childcare and sharing the load of school pick up and drop offs.

    The Lowdown

    - Family of 4

    - 1 parent working 4 days

    - 1 parent working full-time

    - 2 school-aged children

    3:26 How much sleep

    3:34 Enough!

    3:50 Who is in your family

    4:18 Parenting superpowers

    4:22 The organiser

    4:50 Minister for social engagements

    5:10 The online calendar

    6:18 Child pick up appointment in work calendar

    6:36 Calendar blocked out so meetings can't be scheduled

    7:00 Husbands parenting superpowers

    7:06 Fun, handy, practical

    7:30 Challenges children more

    8:30 Children and safety/risk

    9:30 Feeling comfortable to say no

    10:24 Children making you brave

    10:56 Don't want them to see your fear

    12:00 Flying

    14:00 This is a bloomin small plane

    15:08 How is childcare managed

    15:30 School holidays

    16:00 Have you been able to choose your path?

    16:16 Fairly in control

    16:26 Childcare availability brought things forward

    16:50 Working 1 day a week initially

    17:20 More flexibility once you are part of the childcare system

    17:54 Been able to get the amount of care we needed

    18:10 1 day a week was a bit weird

    19:00 Building up days of work

    21:04 What works well

    21:12 Sharing pick ups and drop offs

    21:28 Kids getting older and being more independent

    22:32 Downsides?

    22:38 Tight time budget at work

    22:50 Not much wiggle room

    23:56 Dump them at the school gate

    25:12 Watching the clock and doing the minimum hours

    26:30 Staying late then doing the after-hours activity pick up

    28:08 Any other combinations?

    28:44 Kindy hours

    29:04 Shared pick up with a friend, each picking up both kids on one day while the other worked.

    29:48 Later a paid arrange with same friend for a full day

    30:10 Made the difference between doing kindy and doing childcare that year

    31:10 Friend more flexible with hours than chilcare

    31:40 Had arrangements for sick days

    32:22 What worked best?

    32:30 Childcare is so straightforward

    34:54 Next step?

    35:24 High School with no OSHC

    35:42 Back to 2 different schools and no longer walking together

    37:54 Are you families paid work environments supportive?

    38:06 Flexibility

    40:00 Value and support employees so they stick around

    40:30 Funny or disasterous moments?

    41:02 Travel/sleep/clock fail

    44:42 Is family what you thought it would look like?

    45:14 Parents on the same page with parenting

    46:06 Any advice?

    46:12 Be flexible, ask for help

    46:30 Be aware of your workplace culture around flexible work

    46:48 Be open to ideas

    47:00 Don't be afraid to make changes

    Let me know what you thought of this episode!

    Leave a comment below, leave a review on iTunes or Stitcher, contact me via Facebook, Twitter or email.

    Or even better join the Codfish Squad and talk to me there.

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    • 48 min
    Episode 18: Jo Part 2

    Episode 18: Jo Part 2

    In Episode 18, we have Part 2 of my interview with Jo who is balancing a high-level career and being a single parent to twin girls. We talk about the structure of organisations that do not work for employees or the company, how commitment and good work in the workplace is measured and the scope of Carers Leave.

    The Lowdown

    - Family of 3

    - 1 working parent (0.8)

    - 2 school-aged children

    - Grandparents providing after-school care

    3:44 Do you feel like you have had a choice in your path?

    4:00 Many contraints, very finely tuned and any small change will have a large impact

    4:30 Financially really need to be working full time

    4:40 Work 0.8 for sanity

    5:20 Would love to work from home - to do full time hours or do school pick up

    5:42 Work flexibility to do more work

    6:00 Assumption is always that people looking for flexible work options are trying to do less work

    6:28 Inflexible hours don't allow you to make up time

    7:00 Working from home with sick kids would actually allow me to work more

    7:48 Assess work on output not hours at work

    8:08 Part time staff feel guilty and over deliver

    8:18 Being present doesn't mean you are working

    9:00 Rules or culture?

    10:12 The advantages of offering flexible work

    10:52 It's not doing less work, it's a better fit for the same work

    11:00 Individualised work structures

    12:12 Very hierarchical institution that has single point of failure built it

    12:40 Actually puts individuals under more pressure because they can't be away on x day

    13:18 Leadership potential but hard to break through to leadership

    10:02 The funnel is blocked

    14:20 Change the was we structure organisations

    15:20 Mining companies with women in the executive teams make more money (Source: http://www.miningglobal.com/operations/study-mining-companies-need-more-women-board-room)

    16:20 My work less about profit but all about return on investment and doing a good job

    16:54 Sought out current employer due to robust EBA and strong focus on women's workforce participation

    17:34 Referee who made a point of candidate being a single mother

    18:40 Berated for not disclosing single parent status.....wonder why anyone would not disclose that!!

    19:00 Why disclose and give them the opportunity to discriminate against me?

    19:14 Always apply for full time roles and negotiate your way down

    20:24 You do know this is a full time role?

    21:22 Can a project based contract role be done differently - part-time over a longer time period.

    22:00 Need to have the conversations to challenge and change mindsets

    22:20 Why are we locked into this view about when an where work happens?

    23:44 Sports person allowed time to participate in sporting events

    24:48 Acceptable reasons for flexible work

    25:52 Number of hours at work is not an indicator of work commitment, you could be at work full time and not give a toss about the workplace

    26:34 The placenta switches off career ambitions doesn't it

    27:06 The mummy bucket

    28:08 Request to work full time but work from home 1 day. It was a NO.

    29:28 If we give you work flexibility we would have to allow others to do so also (shock horror!)

    30:10 We all become each others time keepers, pitting staff against each other

    32:10 Carers Leave - only for emergency sickness and injury

    32:56 There is caring of children we have to do that is not emergency related

    33:10 Applied for Carers Leave for school holidays

    34:34 Carers leave balance (12 days a year) would allow for more p...

    • 38 min
    Episode 17: Jo Part 1

    Episode 17: Jo Part 1

    In Episode 17, I interview Jo who is balancing a high-level career and being a single parent to twin girls. We talk about life as a single parent, the real cost of work travel for a parent, and the double-edged guilt sword of carer's leave.

    The Lowdown

    - Family of 3

    - 1 working parent (0.8)

    - 2 school-aged children

    - Grandparents providing after-school care

    3:23 Sleep!

    4:20 Focusing on children when they are awake

    4:38 Buffer at the end of the day before sleep

    5:02 Decompressing before sleep

    7:18 Important things (like podcast interviews!) done after kids bedtime

    7:51 Morning routines

    8:16 Pocket money for getting ready on time in the morning

    10:40 Rewards that can apply to just one child

    11:12 Who are the people in your family

    11:22 Single parent with twin 10-year-old daughters

    11:40 Current workload - paid and unpaid

    12:22 School drops offs

    12:54 Grandparents cover school pickup and after-school activities

    13:16 The 'good' kind of after-school activity

    14:02 Autopilot pickup fails

    14:46 Grandparent/grandchild relationship

    16:19 Having other authority figures involved

    17:00 Always have to be the bad cop, grandpa can be the good cop

    18:14 Parenting superpower

    18:16 Knowing my kids and what drives them

    19:33 The 'hangry' child

    20: 01 Sense of justice

    20:50 Looking at things a different way

    22:04 Not just doing everything really slowly

    23:50 Can drive you mad but at the same time you don't want them to lose their childlike ways

    24:04 Balance between developing a useful adult and breaking them

    25:26 Being a twin mum requires you to be more task focused and not always enjoying the moment

    26:38 Random supermarket twin mum encounter

    27:42 Different stages with twins - separation, getting mobile

    28:06 Twin mum a mothers group with mums of singles

    29:24 STOP!

    30:10 What works well?

    30:22 Children on the same page

    31:50 Grandparents support

    32:18 Side steps the 'management' of OSHC

    33:02 Having a manager who has a single mum

    33:39 The mummy button

    33:52 Attending a work conference as a single parent

    34:10 Travel allowance including childcare costs?

    35:45 The real cost of work travel to a family

    37:36 Is the extra load OK for partners and families

    37:48 Be organised

    38:36 What doesn't work well

    38:44 Doesn't take much to throw things off kilter

    39:28 The two types of guilt, maternal guilt and employee guilt

    39:56 Employee guilt 'wins' often due to working 0.8

    40:50 You don't get a medal either way

    41:56 The difficulty of being the driver for change in a workplace

    42:26 What is the next step for your family?

    42:34 Working full time

    42:30 Children looking at future employment options

    43:56 Making children aware of finances and implications of choices

    44:22 Entitlement in children

    45:16 Entitlement in monetary and non-monetary terms

    46:36 Pocket money for doing chores around the house?

    47:12 That's what our family does

    48:16 Life is an adventure

    48:58 Is family life what you thought it would be?

    49:08 NO!

    50:18 Modelling healthy relationships to children problematic

    52:12 Having twins

    53:27 There are 2 heartbeats!

    55:28 Wish people were more honest about life with a newborn

    56:24 It is not all a nappy commercial

    57:20 Different personality types deal with it better

    58:08 Away from all family when having small babies

    • 1 hr 7 min
    Episode 16: Workplace Flexibility

    Episode 16: Workplace Flexibility

    In this episode, I want to take a bit of a deeper look at one of the things that I think is really key for working families, and that is workplace flexibility.

    There are several fronts where flexible work can make working parents lives easier. On a day to day level it can help parents work around school or pre-school operating hours, or work at a time of day that fits in with family responsibilities and allows for better productivity, allows for out of the ordinary appointments or events to be taken care of without a major hassle and also just make the dual responsibilities of work and family co-exist more harmoniously. Stepping back and taking a broader view, it can help parents of school-aged children work around the many many weeks of school holidays, help parents to feel less overloaded with responsibilities and allow parents to take a more active role in things like their children's sports team or activities.

    More and more often I am seeing workplaces offer flexible work arrangements, and increasingly in job adverts, I am seeing flexibility listed as an attribute of the workplace and an option that will be available to the successful applicant. This is great to see and to very honest the more I see this the more chance I have of finding a job that I can give my best to!

    But what we don't want to fall into is the trap of seeing flexible work as doing less, working less or achieving less. Overwhelmingly when people talk about flexibility at work, it is their work being assessed as a 'number of hours at work', When we focus on that aspect, it encourages a correlation between the number of hours worked and how 'good' an employee is. The more hours worked the more valuable the employee. Just think of the scenario of the last one to leave the office being praised by management, and the person leaving in time to do the school pickup being seen as 'slacking off' or 'taking advantage'.

    This metric (which is known as presenteeism) means that when an employee arranges their days and weeks so they can get to school pick up or go to children's appointments or events, they are seen as achieving less, being less committed and therefore less valuable to the workplace. To look at it a different way, this metric means that employees who are seen as more valuable and are more likely to advance are going to be those that are not toeing the childcare line.....and statistically, we know that currently that is mostly men.

    But a different metric to assess value is how productive we are, what we are achieving in our work and how effective we are in the time we do work. Research is showing that employees (both men and women) that are at work fewer hours have a greater sense of balance in their lives and a greater ability to look after all their life responsibilities. As a result, they are more content, more productive at work and easier to retain in the workplace.

    Some suggest that in reality, people working 4 days get more done than those working 5 days, that fewer hours leads to higher efficiency and productivity within those hours as opposed to long passages of time that are easily wasted.

    We all need to challenge our perception of flexible work as 'working less' and think of it more as 'a better fit for the same work'.

    We need to view those working full-time hours but in a more flexible way as having the same value as those who work 9-5 in the office. Instead of part-time work being seen as a less productive 'cop out' option, it is time to get acquainted with the idea of the 'power part-timer' - a highly productive person who is sharply focused on their work and get's in, gets the job done and gets out - the model of ultimate efficiency.

    We also need to challenge our perception of flexible work being only for women who have young children. When fathers negotiate work flexibility in their career,

    • 18 min
    Episode 15: Helena

    Episode 15: Helena

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    In this episode, I interview Helena who is about to complete 3 years of study to start a new career. She is a mother of twins and we talk about how that has influenced her path, the education system and working in a female-dominated industry.

    The Lowdown

    - Family of 4

    - 1 working parent (full time)

    - 1 parent doing study and placements

    - 2 school-aged children

    1:46 Sleep on a scale of student to not student

    2:30 Good sleepers

    3:00 Who are the people in your family

    3:16 Work travel and study

    3:38 Mum and Dad close by

    3:58 Studying full time and placements

    4:50 Overnight help with children for shift work

    5:40 No other students have kids so can be more flexible and can swap shifts

    6:40 Watching study happening from a distance

    7:18 Not a lot of belief in myself as a student

    7:40 Education systems failing students

    8:16 Valuing traditional subjects more highly, creative subjects ranked lower

    8:50 Linking up students on the Autism spectrum and businesses that value those skills (The work I was talking about here is the Dandelion Program as talked about in this article and video https://itspmagazine.com/itsp-chronicles/cybersecurity-and-autism-the-values-are-obvious)

    10:30 Schools not designed for good educational outcomes and life skills

    12:12 Overvaluing university education

    12:50 Don't all need to strive for the same thing

    13:36 Parenting superpowers

    14:20 Independence in children

    14:50 Independence Day at school

    16:38 Confidence and being out of your comfort zone

    17:08 Going into situations with confidence

    18:10 Not looking like the one who feels like they shouldn't be there

    19:00 Raising a child with the kind of adult you are producing in mind

    19:44 Looking for things beyond being 'mum'

    20:10 Twin mum experience

    20:58 Intense and compressed parenting of pre-school aged kids

    21:10 Twins always have someone else to take new steps with

    22:20 Parent of first child at school

    23:18 Sending kids out with set instructions for acceptable behaviour

    24:12 Husband's superpower

    24:16 Patience

    25:04 Mothers watching sons become parents

    26:30 Men growing in the emotional intelligence department when becoming fathers

    27:20 How are school drop offs and pick ups organised

    28:08 Big effort from mum!

    29:08 School holidays don't match up with uni holidays

    29:42 Holiday at the grandparents!

    30:04 OSHC cost prohibitive on one income

    30:50 School holidays are hard work!

    31:46 Swap kids with other parents

    32:04 School activities that work for all ages/genders

    33:26 After school activities

    34:02 Spending a whole day at kid sports

    34:24 Do you have a choice in your path?

    34:44 Uni hours not flexible

    35:30 Flexibility to contribute to own rosters

    36:08 University study was a choice you could make

    36:58 If I am doing this study then we are REALLY doing this

    37:50 We are all in this

    38:22 Adjustment of going back into work for men and women

    39:38 Wife buffer

    40:20 Doing study that costs money and not bringing in any money

    41:44 Achieve more when on placement and I have less time

    41:58 Semi-procrastinator

    42:08 Downsides?

    42:44 Not spending time with the children

    43:04 Bigger picture looks better once study has finished and at work

    44:12 Shift work and night shift means more tiredness

    44:20 Next step for family?

    44:46 Working, a new unknown environment, transitioning to doing instead of learning

    • 1 hr 8 min

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