Home > Parenting > The Premier Asked, and Mom Bloggers Answered Emphatically: Childcare

The Premier Asked, and Mom Bloggers Answered Emphatically: Childcare

When BC Premier Christy Clark invited mom bloggers to a round table discussion about how to make things better for BC families, there was one resounding answer: create affordable and accessible daycare.

As you know, my days of daycare are long since over, thank whatever God you will. Because it was a nightmare, and one I’m not keen to revisit, even in my memories. But for those of you foreign to the issue, here’s a recap.

The statistics were not in my favour; for all of the children in need of daycare in our province, there is space for about 20%. I knew this, going into my first pregnancy. But I was stupidly optimistic. Other people had trouble finding daycare, but surely my little cherubs could scale waiting lists just like they would one day scale mountains on their way to conquering the world. Somehow, I would find an in, and my career would continue to flourish as fast as my body shrunk back to its former size.

Reality, however, proved drastically different than the world I inhabited in my head.

As my maternity leave came to an end, no daycare spots magically appeared, just like the baby weight did not fall from my hips. I remember strapping on my Baby Bjorn and knocking on the door of every licensed daycare in our community, in a futile attempt to make headway. Surely, they couldn’t turn us away in person?

Surely and easily, they did. I looked at licensed at-home daycares, and finally found one I thought would work. My daughter, predictably, screamed like a tyrant everyday I left her before fighting the morning commute. I thought it would abate after a week, but it never did. “You’ll know in your gut,” everyone told me, “if it’s a good situation or not.” Everyday, I felt sick when I said goodbye to her. If I listened to my gut, I would have to quit my job, since there were no other childcare options. (My husband and I were not comfortable with leaving our baby with a nanny, which was the solution for most of our friends.)

Everyday was a struggle. Everyday I wondered if I was doing the right thing. Everyday I evaluated the importance of my career over my daughter’s well-being.

A couple of daycares and a year later, I was ready to go on maternity with my second child. If you think it’s hard finding daycare for one child, it’s almost impossible to find places for two. And at double the cost, economically, it makes less sense. I threw in the towel, gave up my job, and have been out of the work force ever since.

Of course, I’m one of millions of women who have done the same thing, there is nothing special about my situation. However it left an indelible mark where my career once lived. A path unexplored. A giant piece of me taken away, not to mention a livelihood. How many other women feel the same way? Likely, millions.

Christy Clark was brutally honest, if nothing else, about the situation. For starters, BC can’t afford a system of daycare similar to the costly Quebec model, she told us. Quebec has higher provincial taxes and receives transfer payments, which help fund their program. And secondly, it’s hard to convince voters to care about childcare, since it affects people for a small window of time (roughly five years, from birth until age five).

My children are now in school, but this doesn’t mean I am short sighted about the need for a better childcare system in our province. It no longer affects me directly, but it doesn’t mean I don’t want things to improve for other families, and especially other women. Our society and province would only stand to benefit from a strong childcare system that enables women to continue on their career paths.

I may not benefit from a better provincial childcare system in BC, but I have three daughters that are intent on conquering the world, and they just might.

A coalition of child care advocates, who are much smarter than me, have put together a compelling and comprehensive plan for a better childcare system in BC. For details, check out their website at http://www.ecebc.ca.

  1. May 9, 2012 at 1:08 am

    Hurray for you, Dee. I don’t buy the argument that we can’t afford accessible childcare. It’s a choice we, as a society, make. It’s a choice that government makes. Other choices show their priorities……like stadium roofs and highways and corporate votes.

    • May 9, 2012 at 1:15 am

      Exactly right – choices that reflect the fact that it is still a man’s world, after all, whereas childcare is largely something that affects women.

  2. Anne C
    May 9, 2012 at 1:37 am

    I do not agree. If I make a decision to have a family, then I am the person morally and financially obligated to look after that family, and I have no right to impose that expense on other people. When I had my children, we gave up having two cars, expensive vacations, eating out, the beautiful executive home etc. etc. that so many others had. I made arrangements where I would work when I was able, but not full time. Yes, it was inconvenient. When I returned to the workforce, I found local women who were willing to care for my kids. Yes , it was expensive, but it was MY investment in MY family. Yes, my life was different than it would have been had I decided not to have children. That is what life is . . . . Cause and effect of our personal choices. As a society, we seem to expect that we can do whatever we want and someone else will pick up the bill. There are always options if we keep our minds open. Choices abound, including the choice to have, and be responsible for, a family. That’s my rant for what it’s worth.

    • May 9, 2012 at 2:42 am

      That’s a very valid rant, and great to hear another view on the subject. I also believe we need to be fiscally responsible in our actions, however a small investment in childcare would easily and quickly pay for itself by creating jobs and by increasing the productivity of our workforce. Note this proposal is for a subsidized system, so the majority of users are still paying to use it.
      Thanks for sharing your perspective and continuing the debate.

  3. May 9, 2012 at 5:16 pm

    This struggle makes me grateful for never having had kids. But it soujds like you had a productive meeting. Happy Mother’s Day, my friend, and enjoy NYC!

    • May 9, 2012 at 8:10 pm

      Thanks, Kathy! It was nice to be asked, if anything. Whether it makes a difference or not is another matter.

  4. July 19, 2012 at 7:06 pm

    Our childcare bill, for two young children, is roughly one third higher than the monthly mortgage bill.
    I never thought I would say it, but I am giving up work because it has literally become far too expensive to be a working mum.
    find child care

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