Mum Wavealee Laird wants childcare to be "more affordable for your average family".
Ms Laird said the family lives "pretty much pay cheque to pay cheque" and she knows they're not alone.
The Garvoc woman is calling for change ahead of the upcoming election, after being disappointed by last week's federal budget.
She said the family was forced to reduce the number of days Kaedan, 13 months, attended daycare due to the cost.
"We've got two full-time incomes," Ms Laird said. "We don't have a huge mortgage but we have a mortgage. We don't live huge, lavish lifestyles but we pretty much live pay cheque to pay cheque and the big pinch is childcare. The only thing that's changed really is childcare. I think it's quite common.
"We worked it out that if he was going to attend childcare at all I was going to have to work full time to afford it, even part time," she said.
For eight months, Kaedan attended daycare at three different locations, the furthest was in Hamilton, more than 110 kilometres from home, as well as in Timboon and The Sisters due to a shortage of places in Warrnambool.
When the couple got their first childcare bill they had to rethink the number of days Kaedan attended, reducing it from five days to four.
"We thought 'we'd get a better childcare subsidy than this. Why is the bill so high?' and they explained to us we'd gone two hours over our allowance so it went from being $500 to $700 a fortnight."
She said the childcare subsidy relief for families with two children in care, which the government brought forward in March - four months earlier than expected, didn't apply to them.
She commended the overhaul to paid parental leave in the budget and the Dad and Partner pay becoming more flexible for working parents who will decide how to split the 20 weeks leave, but said it needed to be at a higher pay rate to be viable.
While she was happy to see funding for education and libraries in the budget, Ms Laird said there was nothing that would "take any strain off my household".
"There was some good stuff in there for education, but in terms of what is going to suit me right here, right now there wasn't really anything that's going to be immediately helpful to my current situation," Ms Laird said.
She said in the lead up to the election, political parties needed to have "specific solutions for specific problems" the childcare industry was facing such as the lack of affordable care, the lack of places, especially in rural and regional area as highlighted in the study - Deserts and Oases: How Accessible is Childcare in Australia, and the severe shortage of suitably qualified educators.
She wants government funding to be distributed to the areas of most need. "If they divided it into metro, regional and rural they might be able to address the problem a bit more specifically to the region."
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If care was more affordable "women and men wouldn't have to be making choices between pursuing a career or childcare" taking five years or more out of their career to care for them, she said.
As of February 2021, there were about 140,000 Australians who wanted to work, but didn't because they couldn't access suitable or affordable childcare.
Thrive by Five Director Jay Weatherill said out of pocket early learning costs had gone up by nearly 10 per cent over the past two years and "yet this budget fails to make childcare more affordable."
Thrive by Five is a national campaign for high-quality, universally accessible and affordable early learning.
Mr Weatherill said the budget was a missed opportunity to invest properly in high-quality early childhood education as a key driver for easing cost of living pressures and supporting women and children.
"The cost of childcare places pressure on household budgets, makes work unaffordable for too many parents - especially women - and leaves too many children without access to learning in the crucial early years.
"The sector was looking to the government to recognise this with improved wages, conditions, training and professional support. But that hasn't happened, which will mean longer waiting lists for families as centres struggle to attract and retain sufficient educators," Mr Weatherill said.
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