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Sarah Sadowski's picture

Recently I had an opportunity to share my family’s story with the talented writer, Judith Warner. Judith is a New York Times bestselling author who wrote the book Perfect Madness: Motherhood in the Age of Anxiety. A version of my family’s story is included in her recent report for the Center for American Progress: Jumping Through Hoops and Set Up to Fail: Parents Speak Out About the Stresses of Seeking and Keeping Good Childcare.

I am a State Moms Force member for MomsRising here in New Hampshire and work as a community organizer at the Campaign for a Family Friendly Economy. Professionally, I have witnessed the value of sharing our stories and joining together to make lasting social change. So when a colleague recommended me to share my experiences with such an accomplished writer, I should have been overjoyed.

But I wasn’t.

The thing is, even though I’m committed to promoting better family policies, it all still feels extremely personal. I can’t get very far into conversations about the need for quality, affordable child care without thinking of my daughter who experiences a significant disability that requires intensive supports. Without owning the fact that my children have not had continuity in childcare, because we aren’t always able to afford the best quality care. Without risking criticism, including from within my own family.

I also know the reality of our life - we spend a third of our monthly income on childcare.

And… it’s NOT ENOUGH.

I understand that caregivers need to care for their families too, and here in New Hampshire the high cost of housing means households with one working parent need to earn more than $23 an hour to provide for a single child. Most childcare providers are not earning anywhere near that amount.

I ask myself why is this so difficult? In 2014, Congress reauthorized the Child Care and Development Block Grant, which is supposed to make it easier for families to get and keep high quality child care assistance. But the law has no guarantee of federal funds or state compliance. What’s a well-intentioned law without a commitment to implement in a way that actual helps families?   

In the end, I shared our story. Check it out, or view coverage of the report from Glamour here. I know it is hard, but please join me in sharing YOUR childcare story. All families deserve access to quality, affordable, childcare, and the stories of real lives make a difference as we work for change.

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