Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post in which I was compensated financially to publish
Let’s take some time to discuss something that plays a huge role in almost all our lives: childcare. Did you know that more than 20% of American families are going into debt to pay for childcare and preschool? I’m going to be honest; we are one of those families.
Last year was one of the hardest years of our marriage. In March of 2019, we took a hard look at our finances and assessed if my husband’s temporary job was worth the additional costs we were accruing. We had to pay for before and aftercare due to our hours. This is an additional $275 in addition to our tuition and daycare costs. Our childcare costs surpassed the costs of our mortgage. Can you believe that? Affordable childcare should cost less than 10% of a household’s income, yet many families are spending 30-50% of their take home pay just on childcare. So, we decided it’d be better for him to quit his job. There are many families that simply can’t afford quality childcare. It’s not that some parents are choosing to stay at home with their kids because they want to. Sometimes, they have no choice!
This left us with another decision. Do we pull the girls out of school and daycare while he searches for a decent paying job? Do we risk losing their spots at a facility that is deemed to have “good” childcare? We all know how hard it is to find a facility that you love and trust. So, we opted to keep them both in while he searched for a job.
We had no luck with the job search, so we decided it’d be best that our oldest daughter stayed home for the summer instead of continuing into summer camp with all her friends. She didn’t understand why she couldn’t go to “school” everyday anymore. A 4-year-old shouldn’t have to worry about her parents’ finances, but we did tell her the truth. Mommy and daddy just can’t afford it right now.
While this was a good idea for us financially, it limited us in terms of his job hunt. He had to schedule job interviews around my schedule. We even had to pay a babysitter a few times so that he could go to interviews. We still had no luck on him finding a job in an over-saturated human resource market. Then comes August, do we let our daughters continue at their school? Let him home school? No decision feels like the right decision. We concede that they’ll continue on but apply for financial assistance at their school. This may not have been what some people would have done, but it was the right decision for my kids’ education.
An early education is so important. A growing body of research shows that access to quality care and learning in the first years of life is crucial for building a strong foundation that allows children to succeed. Investing in early childhood education and care can help close the education gap, the income gap, and the gender gap. So, we made payment arrangements, continued to cut costs at home in any way possible, took out loans, and made it work.
But why do families have to do all of this to pay for childcare? Why do we pay upwards of $150+ a week for daycare? That’s just for one child! Every child deserves access to high quality and affordable childcare. It’s time politicians cared as much as parents do. Parents across the country were scrambling for quality, affordable childcare before the COVID-19 pandemic, and now that the fragile childcare system is significantly strained, it will be far more challenging.
Now is the time to encourage discussions so that we can ensure that America’s childcare industry comes out of this pandemic stronger than before. During this unprecedented time for families, CareForAllChildren vows to continue working relentlessly to ensure parents’ childcare affordability challenges are front and center in the Presidential campaign.
So, what can we do? First, sign the petition and demand that we find a way to make childcare more affordable. After you sign it, share it! Spread the word about how CareForAllChildren is working to elevate the voices of parents in America. They also want to hear your story. They want to hear how this issue is impacting your life. Join the #CareForAllChildren campaign by sharing your story. Great stories have the power to have a massive effect on politicians. You can also send a letter. CareForAllChildren has a pre-written letter than you can send to the presidential candidate of your choice. Let them know how important quality, affordable childcare is to you and your family. The #1 thing you can do is vote. Become a strong supporter of raising up the childcare affordability crisis and vote for a presidential candidate that commits to addressing early childhood care and education inequities today.
See the links below to learn more about CareForAllChildren and follow their journey!