I feel like I am treading water a lot of the times.
For Janessa Thompson, a single mom from St. Albans, finding reliable child care for her son has been a consistent obstacle to her professional development and financial stability. She knows her son is different and more anxious than other children his age, and is working to get an official diagnosis. She says, “We are trying to pinpoint what exactly is going on with him. I know he has anxiety but he is not a bad kid. He does not hurt people, he doesn’t break things, he doesn’t bite - you just have to transition him into things a little more than you would other kids.”
This anxiety means that her son really thrives under a routine with a predictable schedule, but her child care challenges have made this almost impossible. Janessa can find child care that fits her budget, but most often these facilities aren’t equipped to work with Julian’s anxiety, and multiple times she’s been told “it’s just not the right fit.” As Julian gets older, he is beginning to understand the reason why he changes child care settings, and this adds to his anxiety. Janessa remembers, “He asked after every vacation, ‘Will I be able to go back?’ and I say yes. I feel the whole deal was already scary for him, but it’s even more scary because he is so unsure if it’s a daily thing or if he is going to get kicked out. He felt that both child care programs didn’t like him – he could tell.”
Luckily, Janessa’s workplace has been very accommodating, and has helped her adjust her part-time work schedule to fit Julian’s child care situation. She’s been offered a promotion to manager, which means full-time hours and more pay, but this otherwise good news just creates a new child care challenge. Janessa explains, “My job is giving me a promotion that I can’t be happy about because it’s just another hurdle to get child care. And self-care is out the window – it’s not going to happen. I feel like I am treading water a lot of the times.”