On May 9 in a National Day of Action “A Day Without Child Care,” hundreds of child care centers closed to prove that our economy truly can not run a day without child care. They are demanding federal, state, and local investment in child care that will make it affordable and accessible for parents while increasing the wages of providers in this field.
There are many mothers that are forced to balance caring for their kids and working from home because they can not afford child care. Working from home is a privilege not afforded to everyone, but it’s not as simple as it sounds for mothers, with the urgent needs of newborn and toddlers competing with endless virtual meetings.
Victoria Lopez, a mother of two — a five month old and a four year old — works remotely. She was granted just 16 weeks of paid maternity leave. “My four months went by rather quickly, even more so because I was breastfeeding and worried about child care when it was time to return,” she said.
She and her husband moved cross country to Nevada from New York seven years ago. They have no local family and are struggling with who can care for their four month old baby for ten hours a day since she’s returned to work. This is the challenge that so many working mothers face. Victoria returned to work remotely and on her third day back, she had to call out of work. Her four month old is teething and is needing more attention than ever.
“My daughter’s crying is pretty unbearable sometimes for both me and my husband. It’s hard to not give in when I’m hearing her in the next room and I know all she wants is me. So I go on a quick break, put on my baby carrier, turn off the video in the Webex meeting, and step out to soothe her. Once she’s strapped in, I walk back to my work desk and swiftly rock her up and down and from side to side,” she said. This would be a good day for Victoria, but it doesn’t always work out like this and I can relate from personal experience.
I’m a mother of three: An 11 year old, a one year old, and expecting with another due in a few weeks. Since the pandemic I too had to work from home. The nonprofit I was working full time for permanently shut its doors due to the pandemic and I had a preteen going to school remotely. It was supposed to be a temporary thing, but with the birth of our one year old, my husband and I decided it was in our families best interest for me to be home caring for the children.
Child care has not been an option for us due to the high costs of quality child care. Working from home without childcare brings daily challenges. It’s a constant struggle to balance work, caring for my children, and balancing housework.
This is why as a parent I am a major supporter of the National Day of Action “A Day Without Childcare.” I believe that all mothers should have the opportunity to afford quality childcare for their children and that those who provide this vital care so we can get fully back into the workforce are paid a living wage.