"Tough" and "challenging" are words that could easily apply to being a parliamentarian but add in the dual role as a parent and life becomes much more of a struggle.
That's the message of four of Australia's leaders who are combining politics with family.
While 71 per cent of public service employees were satisfied with their work-life balance according to the most recent State of the Service report, and Canberra was previously billed as one of the best areas for it, politicians are having to choose between time with their loved ones and getting on with the job.
But Deputy Labor leader Tanya Plibersek, Liberal MP and minister for women Kelly O'Dwyer, deputy Greens leader Adam Bandt and Member for Fenner Andrew Leigh all agreed on one thing - work is needed to make workplaces more flexible for parents and carers.
Ms Plibersek said finding the right work-life balance was a challenge, but her children didn't know any other life, as they were born after she was elected to Parliament.
"Like most working parents, I do struggle to make sure that I'm doing my job as well as I can and looking after my family as well as I can," she said.
"Parliament is absolutely not a great working environment for anyone. The hours are long, there's a lot of time away from home; even when we're back in the electorate there's a lot of night time functions and weekends. But it is an incredibly rewarding job in other ways."
Ms Plibersek acknowledged it was an issue that affected all working parents, not just those in the house on the hill.
"Very few workplaces are as flexible as they should be for people who have got caring responsibilities," she said.
"Those responsibilities might be for children or they might be for a sick partner or older parents, and workplaces should recognise that people have responsibilities outside the workplace.
"That means trusting staff to get work done rather than just measuring the hours in the office, making sure we're measuring output because I reckon a working parent focused on getting to childcare before 6 to pick their kids up gets through a lot of work in a day, while someone who's hanging around for hours chit-chatting to their colleagues until 7.30 or 8pm at night isn't necessarily more productive."
She said for her family, it takes a village - and some incredible organisation skills - to cope. When she's away it's having a supportive partner and help from family - even the neighbours, and when at home it's about cooking meals in bulk and prioritising fun and family over housework.
"When I am home I switch the phone off and actually just focus on my family, spend really quality time with them," Ms Plibersek said.
"I made a decision very early on that I love my family and I love my job, so I try and manage to do both together, and I really do feel like by doing my job I am leaving a better country for my kids to grow up in and if I didn't feel that I don't think I could stand the time away from home."
The sentiment was shared by Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Public Service and Minister for Women Kelly O'Dwyer, who was the first cabinet minister to give birth while in office, a feat achieved just last year. Ms O'Dwyer said even when she's in Canberra she spends as much time, albeit virtually, with her family as she can.
"I FaceTime my children every night to catch up on their day and read them a bedtime story," Ms O'Dwyer said.
"I also take the time, more often than not it's pretty late at night, to chat with my husband as well.
"It's obviously a great privilege to do this job, but obviously it does come with sacrifices."
Ms O'Dwyer said she knew her situation was not unique for parents who work away from home.
"It's a juggling act faced by many working families," she said.
"They travelled with me when I was breastfeeding, it's pretty hard to do that if they're not with you. But I recognise I obviously had a lot of support in order to do that."
Ms O'Dwyer said Parliament House as a flexible working environment had improved over the years to become more welcoming for working parents.
"There's childcare available now at Parliament, and flexibility in procedures so that if you're in the middle of breastfeeding or expressing and the bells ring, you no longer need to rush into the chamber, you can be paired and your vote can count."
Ms O'Dwyer said it was flexibility like this that she hoped, as minister assisting, she could help implement more broadly in the public service.
She said as more men and women were trying to balance work with caring for their childrenpractical solutions needed to be found to assist them.
Deputy Greens leader Adam Bandt agreed, saying there needed to be laws set out to give people enforceable rights to demand a better work-life balance.
"People who have caring responsibilities should have the right to change their working hours and arrangements unless it seriously impacts on their employer's business, as is the case in some other countries," Mr Bandt said.
He said MPs don't deserve special compensations, but their partners and those in similar situations "deserve some kind of medal".
"The toughest thing about this job isn't the media scrutiny or the bear-pit of the Parliamentary chamber, it's being a fly-in fly-out worker who can't spend enough time with their family," Mr Bandt said.
"Claudia is effectively a single parent for half a year and that's a harder job than what I do, to be honest."
Mr Bandt said when he's at home in Melbourne, he sets aside time to go out with his partner Claudia "so she can remember what it's like to be human", although he admits it's "not really enough".
"The two of us don't get anywhere near as much down time as we'd like, but no doubt that's just what most parents of young kids feel."
It was a sentiment shared by Canberran Andrew Leigh, who has it marginally easier than other members of Parliament because he lives and works in the same city rather than being a fly-in fly-out worker.
"Like all working parents, it's challenging to juggle being present for your children, and doing the best at your job," Dr Leigh said.
"I try to put as much focus and intensity into what I'm doing at any given moment. If I'm working, I want to work hard. If I'm playing backyard soccer with my children, I want to be entirely present for them. Less multitasking."
Dr Leigh said sitting weeks could be tough on families.
"Australia is unusual among advanced democracies in that there's a stigma against senior politicians living in Canberra and travelling back to campaign in their electorates," he said.
"If you look at London, Washington DC or Ottawa, you'll see senior people on both sides who've chosen to give their families more stability by living in the capital city. But as I recall, Paul Keating as Treasurer was the last senior Australian politician – who wasn't Prime Minister – to move his family to Canberra."
Dr Leigh said he manages the balance because "politics is an amazing privilege".
He said Parliament had gotten better, but there was still a long way to go.