opinion

OPINION: Gladys, here’s what NSW parents want you to know about our “need” for childcare.

Dear Gladys,

Up until last week, I was a big fan of yours. Up until last week, you had my full support. But then this email landed in my inbox…

“There have been a significant number of cases in Early Childhood Education and Care Services, so parents and carers across the state are strongly encouraged to keep their children at home, unless they need to be at those services.”

Gladys, please clarify a few things for us now panic-stricken parents of toddlers:

“Significant.”

“Strongly encouraged.”

“Need.”

Side note: The things you never say in 2021. Post continues below.


Video via Mamamia

What number is a “significant” number? Is it more or less significant than the number of cases being transmitted across all the construction sites / department stores / gardening centres / fast food restaurants in NSW that seem to be more essential than childcare? 

Is the number as significant in, say, Bega on the far south coast (currently no active COVID cases) as it is in Merrylands in Sydney’s west (a hot spot)? 

How strongly are you encouraging us to keep our children at home?

Strongly enough that you will pay our amazing childcare workers Job Keeper? 

Strongly enough that you’ll guarantee our centres can financially survive this and will be available to our children once we open up again? 

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Find me one parent who sends their kid to childcare that doesn’t need to.

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You might need to send your child so you can work, study or look for paid employment, or care for another baby, or home school older children, or provide your child socialisation or learning opportunities that you’re unable to provide at home, or for the sake of your mental health or for any number of reasons.

Paid employment is not the only reason parents need to send their children to childcare. 

So Gladys, please make it black and white. A once in a lifetime pandemic is not the time to leave anything open to interpretation. 

Are childcare centres safe or not?

If they aren’t, close them. But don’t keep them open then make us feel incredibly guilty for using them. 

Please don’t put the burden of the decision making on parents who aren’t privy to all the data the health experts are.

We ALL want our children to be safe and happy. 

We ALL want the amazing carers at our childcare centres to be safe and happy. 

We are ALL awake in the middle of the night worrying if we are making the right and safe choices for our children, our childcare workers, our childcare centres, our employers, our communities, our marriages and partnerships, and maybe even ourselves.

No-one is being selfish by sending their kids to childcare. We are sending them because they are open and we need to send them to survive this.

Yours sincerely,

A mum of two under two, with an essential worker husband who needs childcare.

Feature Image: Getty.