I was able to access paid parental leave, however, due to it only being reflective of the national minimum income I had to save ahead to ensure I was able to pay all expenses. When I found out I was pregnant, I budgeted to make sure we were able to pay our mortgage and other bills.
Accessing an early learning service proved to be incredibly difficult. Most services we toured weren't able to take on my son as they were short staffed. This was because a lot of educators were leaving and there were no candidates applying to fill these positions.
We found a local service that was able to take our son, however, we had to wait until a position was available which was two months after the date we took the tour.
We currently attend three days. The service has a lot of educators leaving. This isn't a reflection on the organisation as much as it is a reflection on the sector and other issues I have seen educators struggling with, such as short staffing, loss of motivation, and fatigue from working multiple jobs. Having a background in early childhood education, I know how important it is that my child has great relationships with consistent educators to support his learning and development.
I'm still learning how to balance work and family life, but I make sure to share the parenting role as much as possible in my relationship and try to communicate as much as possible.
I have stretched out my working days to work more hours per day to ensure I can have one day off a week to spend with my son. The workdays can be long but are necessary to be able to afford all expenses and to cater for the current increase of prices.