When you decide to become a mother no one tells you that you’re also signing up to be an unpaid administrator. We’re talking endless forms, online systems, scheduling appointments and more. So if you’re having a baby take a deep breath because here’s a rundown of all the key admin you’re about to face.
1. Medicare set up
This is crucial and pretty much the first baby admin task you’ll face – they will literally give you the form in hospital. Talk about confronting! But I guess how else are you going to claim for any health and medical expenses for your new child? Of course you’ll need to have chosen their name before you go ahead with any paperwork here though – see next point!
2. Birth registration and certificate
By law you have to register any children you have – I know, hassle right? You get 60 days to do it after they’re born and it’s free to register (you’ll also get this form in hospital because your doctor has to sign it for proof of birth). Plus you’re also going to need a birth certificate (at the sum of $56) for a lot of different things down the track so it’s best to get this bad boy off the to-do list ASAP too. TIP: things are definitely a lot easier if you don’t wait too long to decide on a name!
3. Centrelink number
This one sucks. You need to phone Centrelink and stay on hold for a short lifetime in order to get your own CRN (customer reference number) and one for your child. The reason you need this is so you can claim child care benefits, rebates, government maternity pay and more. Let’s face it, if there’s a handout involved they’re going to make you work for it. So just make sure you have a phone that has a speaker function and get prepared to wait it out (or front up to a branch and grow a beard in the queue). They also now have an app and online system (linked with Medicare via the MyGov website), so make sure you get jiggy with all that stuff and write your passwords down for faster claiming.
Sigh. This is not a one-off task, it requires multiple attempts and you may lose your sanity in the process.
Of course you only need this if you think you might need to leave the country at any point with your child (we can all dream about a Hawaii vacation right?), so some of you may be spared from this time sucking process. Basically it involves the impossible task of getting their photo taken (with eyes open, head straight, mouth closed and not smiling – have you ever tried to take a photo of a small child like that?!), filling out the form, getting a guarantor to sign the photo and form, and then lodging it all at the post office along with their birth certificate.
There are a zillion ways for you to fail this process – form not printed correctly, photo too big, signature outside of the box, looking at the post office person the wrong way – so even if you’re super careful you’ve just got to go in and pray. It costs $139 (not including pics) but the real cost is in your loss of time and sanity. Plus child passports only last 5 years – so if you travel frequently you’ll have to do this all over again before you know it.
Vaccinating your child against deadly diseases and viruses is really important and has to be done, but the numerous immunisations are also a bit of a pain in the bum to remember. The ones at birth are easy because let’s face it, you’re out of it and someone else takes care of it for you. But then it’s up to you to drag your sleep-deprived self and your child to the doctors when they’re two months, four months, six months, 12 months, 18 months and four years old.
And heaven forbid you forget the all important BLUE BOOK (your baby’s birth, growth and medical history book they give you in hospital). You can still get the immunisations later if you forget to do them on time, but it’s not recommended as it puts your child and others at risk. So I suggest making your doctor appointments in one giant swoop at the same time in advance and then plug the dates in your phone so you won’t forget.
6. Childcare and school
If you’re going back to work or need your child looked after, then you’re going to need childcare. Some daycares and preschools have massive wait lists so it pays to get your name down early. Then once they’re in it’s FORM CITY HERE WE COME. Everything from your mother-in-law’s mobile number to your child’s favourite food is required, seriously. And if you’re planning to send your child to private school, well hold on to your boater hat and pretty little gloves because in most cases if you haven’t slapped their name down along with a pretty fee and SOME MORE FORMS then it’s goodbye fancy education, hello public system.
Only the beginning
Then they start school! Settle yourself in for the long haul because this baby and child related admin is here to stay. At least for the next 18 years if you play your parenting cards right and raise them up to be independent. Add all of this on top of organising appointments and other stuff for yourself and the rest of the family, and it’s enough to make you want to hire a PA – seriously.
What’s your least favourite baby admin task?