New mother should be applauded for decision to quit politics – Aust

Daily Telegraph 12 March 2017
Family First Comment: “Children flourish when their parents are around. The OECD may crap on, as it did this week, about how stay-at-home mums are an untapped resource of workers and therefore a drain on the economy, but the fact is some people still enjoy raising the babies they chose to have.”
Well said. Great decision, mum. You won’t ever regret it.

There’s been a picture of a little boy in the newspapers this week. He’s wearing a green T-shirt and his smile is so shiny and spontaneous that anyone seeing him couldn’t fail to smile back.

His name is Sam and he’s two and he’s made the news for the simple fact that his mum wants to take care of him.

She wants to be there when he learns to bat a ball and when he figures out how to tie his shoelaces and when he writes his name for the first time. In the words of Aerosmith, she doesn’t want to miss a thing.

The trouble is Sam’s mum is Kate Ellis and this week she quit politics after 13 years because she wants to be with her child.

Now my barometer for the national mood may be way off whack but my genuine response to the news was this: “Good on ya Kate. You won’t regret that decision.”

Others felt differently. Jamila Rizvi, a talented journalist and former ministerial staffer, said Ellis’s decision had left her in “floods of tears” and “seething with anger” because “motherhood and politics don’t mix”. Another writer said the announcement had “hit her hard” because in Ellis she’d come closer than ever “to having myself represented in parliament.”

It’s always tricky when a personal choice becomes political but on both counts Ellis should be applauded. Let’s start with the personal.

Children flourish when their parents are around. The OECD may crap on, as it did this week, about how stay-at-home mums are an untapped resource of workers and therefore a drain on the economy, but the fact is some people still enjoy raising the babies they chose to have. Ellis has spent more than a decade in parliament and now she wants to spend time with the child she loves. This doesn’t mean her skills and talent are going to be reduced to producing mashed pumpkin. She’ll use this time to broaden both her life and career. Perhaps there’ll be a corporate role in Adelaide. Maybe she’ll use her expertise in early childhood education to consult. I’m a huge advocate for women keeping a hand — or even just a fingernail — in the workplace when they have kids. Whatever Ellis chooses — even a return to parliament — will illustrate that work is no longer linear but characterised by agility, flexibility and change.

I’m championing Ellis’s decision because career dexterity is not just the future for women but men too.
READ MORE: http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/rendezview/kate-ellis-shoud-be-applauded-for-her-decision-to-quit-federal-politics/news-story/f1f60ba5b890b13f5944220d5c748c6f

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