• First, apply for family assistance ridiculously early in order to get the government’s paid parental leave
  • Receive a customer reference number, along with a note to tell you you’re not eligible for family assistance, which you already knew before you applied
  • Receive paid parental leave through your work (no dealing with the government, yay!)
  • Next, wait a ridiculous amount of time to get into a childcare centre before you realise that the centralised waiting list means nothing and going in and nagging gives you a place almost immediately
  • Fill out paperwork for said childcare centre, which asks for you and the baby’s customer reference number
  • Get confused. You only have one customer reference number! Insert the same number on the form
  • Get the form back with a frustrated eye-roll and an instruction that your customer reference number can’t be the same as your daughter’s
  • Rifle through all Centrelink paperwork, only to realise you didn’t get sent your daughter’s CRN – after all, she’s a baby, why on earth would you get a letter on her behalf?
  • Next, spend hours trawling through Centrelink online in a confused state, deciding to apply directly for the childcare rebate, only to realise that to apply for the childcare rebate, you need to apply for childcare benefit, which you’re not eligible for. This involves once again applying for family assistance
  • Log in to your convenient MyGov online account and apply for family assistance
  • Then, realise that you can access your daughter’s CRN via your online profile. Winning! No, wait, for some reason you don’t have access to your online profile. That’s OK, follow the instructions and go to self-service to set that up
  • Go to self-service, fill out required personal details and passwords, click “next”, receive fail message. The service is not available
  • Download Centrelink’s Express app – apparently you can access what you need from there
  • Log in to Express app – receive message telling you that your log in is unsuccessful
  • Log in via Centrelink, just in case that works. Fail
  • Spend 56 minutes listening to classical music to waste a Centrelink employee’s time just to get a number that could have easily be sent to you
  • Receive number
  • Get told that they don’t know what’s wrong with your online account. They reset it and say you should be good to go
  • Realise with dismay that you will need to update Centrelink with your return to work details for the family tax benefit in a week’s time
  • Sob quietly to yourself for 15 minutes

Related: My first childcare experience

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