Skip to main content

A woman forced to choose: job or family

In my area, affordable childcare does not exist. There is expensive childcare that is not high quality, and there is high quality childcare that is not affordable. I have been working as a teacher, and I quickly learned that the teachers I work with have family members who take care of their children. I imagine this is the only way they can "afford" high quality childcare. It's an ideal situation, too. Unfortunately, my husband and I don't live near our family, so we faced a difficult decision. We're both educators, and we make a modest living. We examined our budget and determined that we could both take on extra roles and responsibilities at our schools (and have less time at home) so that we could place our newborn daughter in a high quality childcare situation, or I would have to resign from my job and we would need to tighten our budget severely. We couldn't imagine losing anymore time away from our little girl than the demanding hours we already spend at our schools, so I resigned from my job as a teacher last week. I will miss my students and fellow staff greatly, and I know they will miss me--staff has told me and students emailed me while I was on leave to tell me how excited they were to have me as their teacher this fall. It's going to be very difficult for us to survive on one income, especially a public educator's income. We're terrified. Unfortunately, we didn't have a choice in the end. We didn't want to be absent from our daughter's life and all the unique and exciting moments she will experience each day. Hopefully, our country recognizes soon that in order to be a strong and healthy nation, we have to support our families, all families regardless of their socio-economic standing. I am a different person after going through pregnancy, labor, and postpartum/maternity leave, and my eyes have been opened to the dangerous lack of support mothers and children receive from our government. The current system is not only unsustainable if we intend on growing and developing the minds and hearts of our citizens, creative and innovative industries, and solutions to the daunting challenges we face, the current system is destructive. It hurts mothers, it hurts fathers, it hurts children, it hurts families, it hurts communities, and it hurts our country. It's a pain we all feel in some facet even if we don't recognize the source. Establishing high quality care for all children is one step towards alleviating the ill. A humane society takes excellent care of its young and reaps endless rewards as a result, an improved quality of life, greater happiness, what we all seek in order to have fulfilling lives. Policies like this serve everyone's best interest.