It was a dark and stormy night, and all across America, working parents were struggling with child care...
This Halloween, forget the scary movies and tune into these true stories from working parents who struggled to find, secure, and afford child care! You’ll read tales of horror about ghost providers, the infinite abyss of child care openings, and care that annually costs as much as college tuition!
Enter into this terrifying nightmare if you dare—because when it comes to being a working parent, there’s nothing more frightening than child care.
The tale of the ghost providers
Miranda had built a career she was proud of, sacrificing much of her 20s to accomplish the lofty goals she couldn’t help but set for herself. She worked hard for what she wanted and felt, at last, that she was in a position to start the family she desired. Seeing the positive pregnancy test ushered in a beautiful season as her life unfolded into new possibilities—but Miranda was blissfully unaware of what she would encounter when it came time to find child care.
Miranda was a professional, with hard-earned confidence that she had the skills to solve any problem. “How hard could it be?” she thought, sitting down at her laptop to find child care. Anyone could use Google to find businesses and services near them—this was nothing new. But a strange thing happened in that browser window. There weren’t that many hits. Living in a large metro area had to mean there were more child care providers than this, right?
The search results were scarce, confusing, and downright discouraging—turning up ghosts and goblins instead of solid information. She found providers that may or may not still be in business, websites that hadn’t been updated since 2013, and worst of all: bad reviews. There weren’t even enough reviews to know whether the horror stories she was reading about were real issues or just people letting off steam. And where was the licensing information?! How did these places do on their regulatory reviews? The answers lurked somewhere in the ever-increasing darkness.
Miranda’s head started to spin. Her heart was beating harder than the baby’s kicks against her bladder, and she started to sweat—not from the hormones this time. All she wanted to know was which providers were open, safe, and had spots for her little one—but there was no source of truth for child care inventory!
“There has to be a better way to find child care!” she cried out in existential agony.
Do you dare enter into the doom?
The mystery of the infinite abyss of child care openings
Craig was excited to grow his family through adoption, and he had finally reached the point where he was speaking less with his lawyer and more with child care providers. He managed to find providers close to his home and made a list of numbers to call. There were voicemails and repeated calls and more often than he expected, short conversations that led him to cross options off the list.
Like a crepuscular fog rolling into his purview, the open spots that Craig imagined were disappearing with every call. Some providers had no openings—only dark, cavernous waitlists. Others had open spots, but the provider’s hours overlapped exactly with the working hours of Craig and his partner: 9:00 am-5:00 pm.
Craig grasped his throbbing head with a newfound urgency. “What was this madness?” he exclaimed. “Where are the open spots that fit my schedule?! How can I drop off and pick up my child during the work day?!”
He had signed up for nearly a dozen waitlists, desperately shelling out $50-$100 dollars with every signature on the dotted line. Craig almost couldn’t give away his money fast enough—he would have made it rain loads of dollar bills if it meant finally securing child care that fit his family’s schedule. “If only I could find the care we need!” he cried, collapsing into a pile of child care center brochures.
Are you brave enough to peer into the abyss?
The legend of child care that costs as much as college tuition
As an HR professional, Tanya had a lot of experience helping employees understand parental leave policies and transition back to work after adding a child to their families. And now it was Tanya’s turn! As she awaited the arrival of her baby, she began to put together plans for her own leave and started looking into child care for when she returned to work.
From Tanya’s perspective, it all seemed pretty straightforward. She put together her to-do list and began her child care search with the expectation that she’d do what her colleagues had done: secure a spot with a child care provider and find her new normal as a working parent. But oh, was Tanya wrong!—horrifically wrong!
“It costs how much?!” Tanya screamed from her desk, unable to contain her terror when she found tuition rates at daycares near her workplace: more than $20,000 a year! It was as much as college tuition! It was far above her mortgage! Sweat started brimming on Tanya’s forehead. She felt like her office chair was swiveling into oblivion and she couldn’t make it all stop to save her life—or her bank account!
Tanya was tormented by flashbacks. She remembered years of employee benefits planning meetings when she sat down with key decision makers to select benefits for the upcoming cycle. And year after year, the team neglected to even think about child care benefits. No dependent care FSAs for pre-tax savings on tuition. No child care stipend. No flexible hours for drop off or pick up—nothing. She had stood with her organization in giving working parents nothing, and now she was reaping the consequences as a working mom on the brink of going broke.
Can Tanya face her fears and dig into solutions for her organization?
Click here to find out!