I’ve had some fairly eye-watering things written about me in my time. Once it was ‘reported’ that my life was so low, I was drinking wine at 4pm in my pyjamas – ignoring the fact that: a) when I’m not with child, that’s just a regular weekday activity, and b) it was a photo that I had shared on Instagram myself. Ground-breaking journalism, guys.
However. An article came out over the weekend that upset me so much, I need to put it into words.
I’m not going to link to the article as it was written by a woman I actually admire (which only compounds my disappointment) and I don’t want to send any ill will her way. I think her heart was in the right place and a lot of what she wrote was spot on. But she imposed her own theories onto my motivation for leaving my radio job, which were quite simply a complete load of bullshit. A quick perusal of this very blog would have given her all the facts she needed, but I fear that perhaps the facts may have gotten in the way of her already fixed narrative, so she didn’t bother.
The article was about how working mothers still don’t have enough support on the home and work fronts (agreed). As an example, she used me leaving my job, along with Jessica Rowe leaving Studio 10 and Maddi Wright leaving her job as a breakfast radio host.
“If working motherhood is too big an ask for polished pros like Jessica Rowe, Em Rusciano and Queensland breakfast host and former House Rules star Maddi Wright, who quit her job this week, then surely it raises the alarm that even after decades of employers talking about supporting mothers to come back to stimulating work, and stay, we are still failing women.”
Deep breaths, Em.
First of all, working motherhood is not ‘too big of an ask’ for me. I can’t speak for Jess or Maddi, but what the actual fuck? Sure it’s hard, but it’s also awesome. I LOVE that my daughters get to see me going after my professional dreams. I’ve always been completely transparent about my struggles and vulnerabilities in trying to find a balance between work and family life – I do that so that none of you are ever under the impression that I find it easy, because I don’t. But make no mistake: I’m not a victim here! My decision to leave was NOT a retreat, and I’m not quitting the role of ‘working mother’ by any stretch of the imagination. When I fell pregnant, it simply clarified what I actually wanted to focus on (making great shit for you lot to enjoy) which I wasn’t doing enough of because early morning radio made me a shell of a person.
“When three, enviably successful and vibrant working mothers with the kind of profiles many would kill for “throw it all away” for stay-at-home mothering, within the space of months, you’re left wondering what’s up.”
Throw it all away?! I have chosen to invest my time and money into my own business. I have a book coming out, a national tour, a podcast, a maternity line and a bajillion other projects in the works. I was just sick of making other people rich from my content. Why is it so hard to believe that I would leave a job in breakfast radio because I wanted to back my own shit in?! Is that such a stretch? Of course family played a part in my decision. I was sick of being tired all the time and as I’ve stated before: that job and I were no longer right for each other. I wasn’t doing what made me happy, and the breakfast radio environment brought out the worst in me.
Obviously it goes without saying that this is not an attack on stay-at-home mums. I’ve been you, I feel you, and I see you, sisters. Your job is tough, exhausting and under-appreciated. You deserve so much credit, and if you would prefer to be working but your work place isn’t supporting you enough, then I wish I could go and secretly poison each and every one of your bosses. But it wasn’t the case for me, so I feel like my name doesn’t belong in this article.
My husband asked me why I was so upset when the article was obviously written in support of me. I had to sit with that for 24 hours and this is where I landed: it felt like she was saying that leaving a high paying job in the media was some kind of a failure on my behalf. Like I was defined by that one role, and since I was no longer doing it, then I must be disappearing into oblivion. I’ve worked bloody hard over the past fifteen years, and despite commercial TV not wanting a bar of me, radio finding me hard to handle, the comedy world not accepting me and mainstream media wanting to find new and interesting ways to punish me for being a driven and ‘opinionated’ woman – I’ve pushed on and made my own magic. I don’t say that because I think I’m a hero, I say that because I want you all to know that nothing will stop this glittering, emotional, work-a-holic train wreck from doing what she loves! Look, she’ll be resting at the station for a bit come Jan 2019 when the prodigal son is born, but then she’ll be launching her new stand-up tour complete with breastfeeding-friendly leotard!
In conclusion: I didn’t feel defeated when I stepped away from my “enviable” job. I actually felt the exact opposite. I felt empowered and strong and like I was taking control of my life once more. Now excuse me while I go and do a million things.
Have a great week,
P.S We sold out of the Em Rusciano community pins in 24 hours! The first batch will be sent off today and we’re hoping to have more in stock next week. I’m touched that so many of you wanted to join my cult!
P.P.S If you’d like to know when my blog goes up, when new merch hits the site or when anything exciting is going on BEFORE ANYONE ELSE does, you can sign up to my pen-pal program here (it’s a mailing list guys but that sounds so corporate, just scroll to the bottom of the page and subscribe.)