Full-time mummy and family: how does that work?

May I introduce you to Michelle Cooper, National Manager, People & Performance for Peoplebank. Michelle is a working mum who works full-time and manages the work/life balance with her small son. Read how she makes it work for her.

I have been working for Peoplebank Australia Limited since 2001. My role of National Manager, People & Performance, means I am responsible for all people programs and HR support for our 6 interstate branches. We have approximately 220 employees and 3,000 contractors.

I consider myself very fortunate in that I absolutely love my job. The challenge this created was that I would lose track of time and be in the office into the evenings, and continue once I got home. So my role was very much more than a 38 hour week!

Now, I work in the office Monday, Tuesday and Wednesdays, and I work from home on Thursdays and Fridays. On the days I am in the office, I leave at 4pm which allows me to spend some quality time with my 2.5 year son of an evening. I am so much more organised in planning my days, deliverables for the week, and I ensure my team know that I am available.

The experience of requesting a flexible work arrangement with my manager, the CEO of Peoplebank (Peter Acheson), was pleasantly surprising. I prepared my discussion thoroughly, called Peter before returning, put my needs across to him and reasons why. Peter’s response was 100% supportive. He didn’t mind how my days were structured, or where I performed my work, as long as I meet my deliverables. Without realising, we set a precedent for the company – as I was the first executive leadership team member, with direct reports, to work flexible hours and work from home.

The juggle? I truly believe every working mum would understand the complexities of juggling work and family. I am one of those mums that believed I could do everything and put myself last. My husband is also trying to start his own business which comes with its own challenges.


I have had to tweak my ‘juggle’ constantly, and I continue to do so.  However there are some non negotiables, for example:

·    No work meetings are scheduled beyond 4pm, and I am out of the office by 4.10pm

·    I am home of an evening to have dinner with the family and bath my son

·    I always spend one day of the weekend with my son – it’s our ‘mum-son’ day. We go for train rides, bowling, feed ducks, zoos etc

My husband and I aim for ‘date night’ once a month – which simply consists of dinner and a movie.

Michelle Cooper
National Manager, People & Performance
Published by mums@work, leading providers in family friendly flexible tools for employers, mums and dads


  1. Anonymous on 03/08/2012 at 12:44 am

    yes well that’s fantastic, can you imagine doing it as a single mother? No one asks us how we manage.We are the forgotten working mothers.

  2. Thanks for your comment. I can imagine how difficult it would be to raise children on your own. My own mother did it, worked full-time and I am forever in awe.

    There are some helpful resources and networks for single mums, with the unique challenges you face. You might find it useful to checkout: http://singlemum.com.au/
    They have a great newsletter you can subscribe to.

  3. futbol.run UEFA Europa League - Draws on 05/12/2018 at 2:06 am

    Joey Barton has finally met his match, according to QPR boss Neil Warnock. The Rangers boss claims Barton has been on his best behaviour since arriving at Loftus Road. Don’t believe the hype, Barton is much smarter than people think, says Warnock

Leave a Comment