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Working Mum Interview Series: Lisa Roberts, AustralianSuper

We chat with Lisa Roberts, Manager in the Liquidity and Implementation Team at AustralianSuper, about managing the work/life balance whilst raising a child.

You’re a Manager in the Liquidity and Implementation team at AustralianSuper. How do you manage the work/life balance?

Since returning to work I no longer work on BAU activities, as that is pretty difficult to do on a part time basis. I work three full days a week and work on projects in the operational space, which helps me to manage my time and deliveries on a part-time basis. This means I can switch off on my days out of the office and there is only ever one day at a time I’m not at work. Most people I work with know when I’m not here and are happy to wait one day to have their concern addressed. I rarely do any work outside the office and try to keep my work life at work and not interfering with my home life. However it is difficult to keep work topics out of my mind when I have down time at home.

Why did you choose to go back to work after having your daughter?

I enjoy the balance of having something in my life other than my young daughter. She is wonderful but I don’t want to be identified as a mother only. I also enjoy working and contributing to a shared goal.

How has AustralianSuper supported your transition back to work?

AustralianSuper offers flexible working practices as a matter of course. I do pretty standard hours (three full days) but feel like I could tailor my hours to my requirements as much as I need to. As long as I perform well it is up to me when and how I get the work done. 

Do you suffer from ‘working mum guilt’? How do you alleviate this? 

Yes, of course. My daughter is lucky enough to be at home with her Dad when I’m at work, which means I don’t have the guilt associated with having her child in care. However, I get guilt for my partner as the longer I’m away from home the more he has to do! I didn’t really think much of ‘working mum guilt’ before I had a child but now I know it’s a real thing. And no matter what your arrangements are, you’ll have it for some reason or another.

What do you love about being a working mum?

Leaving each morning to a kiss, cuddle and wave and returning to a (hopefully) smiling face at the end of the day. I value the days I do have with my daughter more than I did before I came back to work. I also love that our family arrangements aren’t considered to be the ‘norm’ with Dad also staying home. I think this is great for kids to see and we have a healthy split of care and domestic duties.

What are the biggest challenges you face as a working mum?

Projects don’t stop on the days I’m not working so I need to keep up only working part-time. I don’t like to think I hold anything up so always try to make sure things can progress when I’m not here. This is difficult when I’m managing a project and I do feel that items could be closed out sooner if I was at work every day.

Has being a parent influenced the way you approach your job? 

Not really, I still get a high level of satisfaction from getting things done at work. I do find I’m more focused at work as I don’t have the flexibility of staying back an extra half hour to finish something off if someone comes around for a chat.

What advice can you offer mums looking to re-enter the workforce?

Take it slowly and don’t expect to fit back into your old job/working habits on day one. Coming back to the office can be quite overwhelming after being at home with a baby. Essentially not much has changed in the office but you have changed immensely!