I didn’t watch the State of the Union address. This isn’t something I’m proud of, it wasn’t a political statement, I was just too tired. My husband was traveling all week so I put the toddler to bed and pretty much fell into bed myself. .
When I woke up the next morning my inbox and social media feeds were filled with other parents and early childhood educators sharing and cheering the President’s stance on affordable childcare and especially moving it from being a luxury issue for women to a necessary component for our country to thrive.
This hits home for me because the work I am doing is something I love and am passionate about…but doesn’t pay a whole lot. We did the math when we know a baby was on the way and figured out what our break even point was. As long as I make that, I feel like it is “ok” to keep doing what I am doing. Which is an odd place to be, working but feeling I should rank it like a hobby in terms of where it takes precedence in the families priorities and scheduling.
This dovetails with a discussion I saw on Facebook tied into #museumsrespondtoFerguson. It was talking about the privilege of being able to work at a museum. Generally, the pay is not good. So many people who can choose to work there are ones who have support in some other means (one person asked how many people had higher earning partners that made it possible to keep that career). In the same vein, many talented early childhood educators have to leave the field because they can’t support themselves or can’t keep the drive for excellence because their time and money are drained.
Finding a real solution for excellent, affordable childcare would help alleviate all of these. People could afford to do the jobs where their talents lie, educators would be in demand hopefully making the field competitive and desirable and children would benefit from a commitment on all sides to providing them a healthy happy start.
I know it is just words right now, but maybe we can make something happen. The parents have the need, the educators want the changes and the country needs it to happen for a better future. So, what is our next step?