I missed my son’s first unaided steps and it broke my heart
IT WAS the nine-second video that broke my heart.
There was my little boy taking his first wobbly steps on his own with the biggest grin on his face. He'd been trying for weeks - side-shuffling along furniture, pushing his walker, holding on to my or his dad's hand.
He'd finally gotten the courage to go it on his own - just two weeks after his first birthday.
But it wasn't my outstretched arms he was reaching for or me hoisting him up in the air with a hearty "Yay"! It was his daycare educator.
My son took his first unaided steps three days after I returned to full-time work after a year of maternity leave. And I wasn't there for them.
I was there for his first smile, his first giggle, his first words "mum mum mummma".
But as grateful as I am to his carers for capturing his first precious steps, I couldn't help but be overcome with an overwhelming sense of sadness.
I knew returning to work was going to be hard. I waited a long time for my little boy.
A first-time mum at 40, I had been in full-time work for 20 years.
So I cherished that one year I had at home - swimming lessons, gymbaroo, play dates and even countless laps of Kmart.
But reality soon dawned and the time came to sort out daycare. It took weeks of research before my mind and heart knew we had found the right centre for us - a place where the educators genuinely care for the children and are truly invested in their wellbeing and development.
Their daily updates of what the children get up to are what get me through my day.
So I was shocked to read that childcare workers with a certificate III are paid a lowly hourly rate of $21.29. Most people spend more than that on their lunch.
There are some jobs in life that truly are a calling.
Who can honestly say they can handle up to 16 under twos for up to 11 hours a day - changing nappies, feeding, chasing after them, comforting them?
If anyone deserves a pay rise, these selfless people do.