A Mother's Story
When I had my first baby, I enjoyed my time at home but as my parental leave came to an end I began to frantically search for child care. I contacted the local CCRR and
looked at various options. I was not impressed with the cost of childcare and the lack of quality I saw. I kept my child at home and took care of my niece to make ends meet. I was fortunate enough to receive help from family while I worked part-time in the evenings and on weekends.
When my second child was born my first attended preschool for a few hours a week. I was thankful for the short relief but as a university student and a mother with a newborn it was not enough support. I found myself often stressed and sick. I desperately called day care programs where I left my child’s name on the waitlist. Many daycare and preschool programs denied my child entry because he was not fully toilet trained at age 3. It hurt me deeply as a mother and educator to find many programs practicing exclusion based on their ‘toileting policy.’ In the time I stayed home with my two children I grew increasingly anxious about not being able to find child care.
Three months after having my second child I suffered a back injury and ended up in the hospital. The injury was due to a lack of core strength after having two c-sections. I slowly recovered but ironically I felt increasingly helpless. In the spring of 2019, I got the news that there might be spots at the 10 dollar a day child care program near my home. For the first time in a long time, I felt hope again. In July 2019, my 8 months old and my 3.5 years old began attending a wonderful day care program. This is when things changed for me. While my children attended 10 dollar a day childcare I was able to work on my core strength and improve my physical and holistic health.
I was grateful to stay home with my children when it worked but as my story illustrates it doesn’t always work. I acknowledge and I am thankful for my family support but I can not imagine the pressure and stress parents might feel if they do not have the same support system I have. Having affordable childcare relieves financial pressures from families who are already struggling. It also shifts the 'primary' responsibility from the mother to the family, the community, the government and essentially places the responsibility on the village. Everyone thrives when everyone is supported in an inclusive way.
If 10 dollar a day child care is taken away I will not be able to afford child care anymore. My children have both come to love their day care and it would absolutely break my heart if they could not attend anymore. They love their teachers, friends and have made tremendous developmental leaps from being exposed to an early learning environment. I hope that 10 dollar a day child care continues so that I can continue to be a parent that feels healthy in mind, body and spirit. I hope that 10 dollar a day child care continues and expands in this province beyond April 2020 so that more families can experience the positive impacts my family has. I can only imagine how much more healthy children and families would be if everyone had access to 10 dollar a day child care.
Ana Valle Rivera