Child’s Play: Jacqui’s story

Child’s Play: Jacqui’s story

It could happen to anyone… Suddenly you’ve gone from financial security to single parenthood. You have no job, no car and no home of your own. You realise you need to work full time job to support your child, but what do you do when all the daycare centres are full? This is the position Jacqui* found herself in.

Recently separated from my partner and now a single mother I found myself in deep water.

How was I going to survive on one wage? How was I going to pay rent? How would I afford food and clothes for my daughter? All those questions most single parents ask themselves in this situation.

My whole world as I knew it had turned upside down. I had no car, no job and I was living back with my mother and stepfather. Not only grieving over the separation of my little family, I now had to stand tall, be strong and show my daughter that giving up isn’t an option.

I figured I wont survive on a part time job, so it was best to look for full time work – this then become difficult when I needed to attend interviews as I had no one to watch my daughter (both my mother and stepfather were at work, and my daughter’s father lived in QLD) and I also had no vehicle to attend my interviews.

Thankfully, most of the employers were willing to work with me around this and pushed my interviews to days and times where I could depend on someone to take me. It feels quite belittling – at the age of 30-odd – depending so heavily on your parents.

Eventually I thought I’d better start looking for daycare in case I do get employment in the coming weeks.

To my horror all the daycare centres were full. What now?

“Not only grieving over the separation of my little family, I now had to stand tall, be strong and show my daughter that giving up isn’t an option.”

Luckily one daycare center had an opening and offered me two days. As appreciative as I was for this, I was also at a loss. Taking the two days at the daycare I was able to attend interviews a little easier – and eventually I was offered full time employment.

I felt hopeless, I would be missing out on this job because I couldn’t find full time daycare.

I asked the daycare centre almost every day if anyone was leaving or if they could squeeze us in there somewhere. The answer was always no. Thankfully the employer agreed to start me on part time and I could increase once the daycare opened up more spaces.

It took another four weeks before I was on three days a week at daycare – this matched perfectly with when I commenced my part time work but I still needed two more days if I was to survive on my own. It took another three months before I was given the fourth day of daycare and another five weeks after that to obtain the fifth day.

Meanwhile, through this process I had to come up with bond, move into my own home and purchase a car – but this is a whole other story!

This is just one of the issues we face living in a small town. Lack of service providers, such as daycare, have a knock on effect. Fortunately, even through that long hard battle, I’m one of the lucky ones.

“There is not enough support out there for single parents who are trying to make ends meet, more importantly trying to provide the best they can for their children.

What if I had two or three children? My chances at daycare would have been even more limited.”

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