Tony blog post #3- 25.03.13

“Chocolate makes the childcare world go ‘round.”

When I first started in childcare over ten years ago I wish someone had of pulled me aside and told me this. This is one of the best kept secrets in the world. Of course it is no secret that people love chocolate. I recently learned that chocolate is recession-proof (like condoms, nail polish and lottery tickets apparently). But I learned the hard way that chocolate makes the childcare world go around.

I know from personal experience that men have their own sweet beer economy. In the past few years Australian beer makers have cashed into this through some of their funny and clever advertising campaigns. One of my best mates once explained to me that offering your friend’s cash to come around to help with a DIY job at home is completely offensive but to offer free beer is not (a carton should do). It is common courtesy for some tradesmen and surfboat rowers to put up a carton of the boss or coaches favourite beer at the start of a job or rowing season.

Unfortunately however it took me a fair amount of time to understand the value of chocolate to the average childcare worker. It shouldn’t have taken so long. I have seen women do some amazing things for chocolate. I once knew a girl who could eat a block of chocolate each day for lunch and not put on weight (She was a God at that childcare centre, envied and worshipped by all). At another centre I worked at the staff would go through 1.5 kg tins of Milo (chocolate powder) faster than the milk it was supposed to be consumed with! Apparently some cannot live without it. Chocolate is a cure for CRT (“Class Room Tension”), headaches and is used to heal rifts and personal feuds between childcare workers.

I cannot remember any particular one day that this chocolate economy became apparent. It happened over several years of sweeping up chocolate wrappers in the staff room or filling up the chocolate box I guess. But once I realized its significance I immediately saw the chance to finally fit in. I had always struggled to fit in properly in the staff room. I could never join conversations about shoes or shopping or Tupperware. It didn’t matter how hard I worked with the kids or in the office (programming) or cleaning rooms. I just couldn’t quite fit. But the day I brought a box of chocolates in to share with the staff at work I was suddenly loved.

The centre I work at now understand the childcare workers need for chocolate and provide it in the staff room with all funds raised going towards Relay for Life (Cancer charity walk). This year they raised an enormous amount of money!

So to all the men and women starting in childcare please remember this. Chocolate could be the difference between you struggling through day to day or being cherished by your co-workers so give generously! Be worth your weight in chocolate!

PS. Chocolate also works wonders at home (men already know this).

PPS. Thank you to my awesome nieces (and sister) for the photos!

PPPS. Alana’s belly continues to grow. It is full of baby not chocolate she assures me! She looks as beautiful as ever and we are both very excited to meet baby Kee in the near future!