It’s as I’m making the most of my semi-regular six hour block of child-free time per week – by writing like a demon – that I get a text from Dana of Creative Jack Management.

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Hey RD. Some potential work raising awareness on the Child Care Rebate. Do you receive it?

Even though I only dropped Maki off to family day care a few hours ago – and even have some vague memories of childcare worker Wendy putting financial-looking forms into Maki’s bag – I am consumed by another writing project and therefore unable to come up with the answer to Dana’s question on my own and so stumble through a polite rejection of the offer.

A few minutes later it occurs to me that the work might actually be relevant to me and of benefit to others. So, I ring my daytime financial advisor and night-time lover, Reservoir Mum.

‘Hey,’ I say. ‘How’s work?’

‘Good,’ she says. ‘How’s yours?’

‘Well, I just got some potential work but I knocked it back. Are we eligible for the Child Care Rebate?’

‘What?’ she says, as I hear her tapping away at her keyboard, working on a project that is obviously temporarily more important than me. ‘Yeah… most families who get child care are eligible for the Child Care Rebate. It’s not means tested.’

‘What?’ I say, tapping indiscriminately at the letters on my keyboard to sound just as busy and important as RM. ‘Dana just asked me if we are eligible…’

‘She might mean the childcare benefit that’s for low income earners, which is means tested.’

Because I have the financial mindset of a toilet-soap munching dullard, and retain money-related information as effectively as a dying jellyfish retains its mushroom cloud shape on a pier, I go to my phone to check the text again.

‘Oh,’ I say, sheepishly. ‘She actually asks if we get the rebate, not if we are eligible…’

‘Uh-huh,’ RM says, smugly. ‘I can’t believe you knocked that back.’

‘So… do we get it?’

‘Of course we get it,’ she says. ‘You really know nothing about our finances do you?’

‘I know some things,’ I say, before guessing, ‘So we get it every fortnight?’

‘We’re getting it annually but you can choose to get it more regularly or as a reduction in child care fees.’

I feel an intensity of frustration akin to a thousand old truck tires on fire. ‘Well, I can’t really write a post about it if I have no idea what the frick’s going on,’ I say.

‘Yes, you can. You can write about anything,’ she says, putting out the fire with a few words and using her sexy low tone to start another kind of fire, one that makes me feel all smiley and compliant.

‘You are correct,’ I say.

‘There’re probably heaps of people as confused by this sort of stuff as you. It’ll be great! They’ll be able to relate to how hopeless you are…’

‘That’s true…’ I say, as I fiddle with Google and find this handy Child Care Estimator

‘Okay. Thanks. I’ll get on to Dana now and get back to work. Love you…’ I say.

‘Yep… seeya,’ she semi-whispers.

‘Hang on…’ I retort, mocking up some real-sounding hurt. ‘I say love you and you say yep??’

‘Um…’

‘You’re surrounded by lots of your professional suit-wearing, mint-chewing, leg-crossing colleagues right now, aren’t you?’

‘Maybe,’ she says.

‘Say you love me!’

A period of time passes, where RM says um and ahh a lot, before finally and quickly muttering, ‘Love you.’

Ka-ching!

I’m smiling all the loved-up smugness I can muster as I ring Dana to tell her that the work is relevant and that although I have managed to avoid becoming astute with anything mathsy or financy over the course of my entire life, I have managed to gather a support network of friends and family around me who act as my skill-surrogates…

I can do it.

~~~

Some families using approved childcare who may be eligible are not receiving Government childcare assistance.

Yours could be one of them. Find out if your family is eligible and how to register here – Child Care Rebate.

Did you know the Child Care Rebate is not means tested? Some eligible families are currently missing out on receiving up to 50 per cent of out-of-pocket costs, up to $7,500 per child, per year.