Parenting is not always about the doing, it is about knowing when to ask.
When I chose to use childcare, the Government of the time supported me. I was not afraid to make decisions about a gradual return to the workforce.
It's time to ask. When you first become a parent, the challenge is just in the doing. The midnight feeds and nappy changes, the washing of many tiny clothes. Then it's the packing of a nappy bag so you can survive when you finally brave the mysteries of buckling a baby car seat and negotiating a shopping centre with your pram.
From baby to toddler to pre-schooler to preppy to oops! Suddenly the children are in high school and yes, so much still to do. In amongst all the doing, there has to be time to ask. To ask "How do I do this? " To ask "How do YOU do it?"
Sometimes you just need to ask for help. 'Cause parenting is not something we can do on our own. Or should have to do on our own. So when parents put their children in childcare, the Government needs to listen, because parents are asking for help.
My children are all in school now, but when I see the latest Government press release on how wonderful their latest package of Childcare payments for families are, I read the fine print. Are they listening?
Parenting is a not just the doing, it's a conversation. And so many parents feel as though there is no one there to hear their questions, to answer their queries. Can I afford to go back to work? Can I find a centre suitable for my child? Can I give my child some time to socialise with others? Can someone help me so my child is ready for school? Can I do some training or some study? Can I just have one day a week to myself... Why does the Government approach to Childcare and parental payments have to be so narrow-minded?
I needed childcare for different reasons at different times and always, always was so grateful that the payments I received made it possible to afford to do so. I didn't always work. Sometimes it was more about me than them and I didn't always find it easy to drop my children off. But I had the option.
When I chose to use childcare, the Government of the time supported me. I was not afraid to make decisions about a gradual return to the workforce
As a parent you soon know the weight of judgement. From those who stare a little too long as your child screams in the lolly aisle of the supermarket - and those who raise their eyebrows at too many coloured wrappers in your child's lunchbox. And yourself; the harshest judgement coming most often at the end of what was once referred to as 'the end of your tether'. "Perhaps a quiet moment for yourself on the 'naughty spot'?" says the Super Nanny within.
No parent needs the extra weight that comes with feeling judged before you even take that difficult step and place your child in childcare. If parents felt supported in doing so, for whatever reason then so much benefit would flow into the community.
A parent who feels heard, who feels as though the wider community and yes, politicians are listening to them, is a parent who can act with confidence.
When I chose to use childcare, the Government of the time supported me. I was not afraid to make decisions about a gradual return to the workforce, my children got to catch the bus with their dad in the mornings to their centre and I got to wave them off and know that someone listened. When I asked for help, someone listened.
So, if you are a parent who needs childcare and does not see how the new Government package is going to help you, ask. Call up and ask your Federal Government member, brave the social security hotlines, ask other parents, get online and ask. Let your voice be heard and let it be heard in support of all parents who need support to make use of childcare.
When you see the incredible initiatives in Finland around parental leave, childcare, even a gift box the day your baby arrives home, we know Australia has a long way to go. Let's start by refusing to judge other parents who are asking for help. And ask our Government for help instead. Because parenting is not always about the doing, it is about knowing when to ask.
This blog was written by Nicole Kapernick, a Parenthood Contributor. She is a teacher, writer, pilates devotee and mum of three.
The Parenthood is looking for more PAID contributors like Nicole. Do you have something you want to say? Go to www.theparenthood.org.au/bloggers and find out how to become a Parenthood Contributor!