With the federal election just around the corner, it’s refreshing to see some of the major parties finally shining some light on the very pressing issue of childcare.
As a mum looking to eventually return to work full-time, the current childcare situation doesn’t exactly provide much incentive to do just that, with the likelihood of close to half of my wage going to childcare fees alone.
Those kinds of figures make you question whether or not it really is worth sending your little ones into full-time care, especially when after having two children, you ultimately would be in a similar situation financially if you were to just go part-time or not return to work at all.
The importance of childcare
No matter where you sit on the childcare spectrum (or if you sit on it at all), for me personally, childcare has played a very important role in my family’s ability to have two working parents and for us to be able to provide our children with a lifestyle that is relatively comfortable.
Our eldest daughter, Audrey, was in childcare from around six months of age and this was because financially, at the time, we just could not afford for me not to return to work.
While it was heartbreaking to “institutionalise” her from such an early age, I know that six months is a relatively long time compared to many other women who have had to return to work much earlier in order to survive.
The positive influence of childcare
Fortunately for us (and for many other families I know) attending childcare has actually been fantastic for Audrey’s development and I honestly think her time in care has been better than any education that I could have provided her at home on my own.
It’s meant that she is confident being around other children and adults, she has learned to socialise well and without the tireless efforts and toilet training practices that they have in place, I’m not sure we would have been as successful (or quick) to train Audrey in the toilet department.
A shout out for the childcare workers
I’ve also witnessed a genuine love and care for my daughter from the teachers at her childcare, and to know your child is in the hands of people who genuinely care for your child when you yourself cannot be there, well there just isn’t anything better.
I therefore hope that the issue of providing more affordable and accessible childcare for all families will become one of the major policy changes for all of the major parties moving forward.
I would also hope to see more respect and value placed on the childcare workers themselves, who, not only work tirelessly to support and nurture our children, but without them, the cogs of the Australian working wheel simply would not function.