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Murtoa mother of three, Mikaela Reading, is performing regional Australia's greatest juggling act

Mikaela Reading is confronted by the daily prospect of working a busy job, supporting her husband on the farm and trying to find a way to have her children supervised in the midst of what is being described as regional Victoria's childcare desert.


Image credit: Supplied

The Murtoa-based mum, who is also the liaison officer for the Respectful Relationships Program - a family violence prevention program in the Department of Education, appeared on the Country Viewpoint program this week to detail her family's daily struggles.


"I've got three young boys, a five-year-old, a four-year-old and a one-and-a-half-year-old...we have my two children at the Murtoa Kindergarten, the youngest one is in daycare, so it is quite the juggle managing that with work, farm life and a lot of kilometers in the car," Reading said.


Reading says she has been working to shine a light on the lack of daycare options in her region for years alongside other working mothers who are grappling with similar circumstances.


"We have really been doing a lot of campaigning particularly over the last five to six years, a lot of politicians - we're trying to get them both on board with both sides to really understand our issue and just a lot of the policies and things that come out, come from the cities and they don't really understand the rural complexities that we face day to day," Reading said.


Image credit: Supplied

"My job is with family violence prevention, so I go to schools and I cover a wide geographical area...we cover over 110 schools in the education department and my job is two and a half days a week, which is really limiting but I do my best.


"Obviously, if I had the ability to work more hours, I would be able to probably do a bit of a better job."


Reading went on to emphasise that she is not only hamstrung through a lack of childcare options in her residential area which impact on her ability to maintain a career, but also that it may be taking a toll on the health of her children.


"There's been extra stress with my husband having to have kids on the tractor and maybe out in the sprayer and you question whether that's an appropriate environment for a four-year-old, exposure to chemical, that sort of thing," Reading said.



Image credit: Mikaela Reading Facebook page


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