It seemed better to go through the stress of just having one wage

As a preschool teacher, child advocate and avowed feminist, Naomi Alfini of Duxbury found that navigating early childhood with her own son was more challenging than she expected. She and her husband made the choice that she would leave work and stay home with their son for the first year of his life, and as a preschool teacher she felt prepared for this work. However, the reality was more difficult. She remembers, “I had been a preschool teacher, but I hadn't worked with infants before, and it was a different set of challenges. Also, the role is different, because you've got this guy 24 hours a day, and you're supposed to keep him alive.” 

In addition to the toll that this time took on Naomi, it created an uncomfortable dynamic within her relationship. Her husband became the sole wage earner in a very demanding and stressful position, and despite her desire to return to work to alleviate some of his stress, the math just couldn’t work out for them. Naomi says, “I felt the need to return to work, but as the work that I love doing and am really good at is teaching preschool, it doesn't pay enough to really make sense for me to pay someone else, to put my kid in child care. I would end up paying more for child care than I’d be paid as a teacher in a private center.” 

Once her son became eligible for universal pre-K, he started in a program that didn’t meet his social needs. He struggled in large groups, and his first child care setting was a large and raucous one that he found overwhelming. She reports, “His teachers said when they’d go outside, he'd just sit on the playground, and close his eyes for two hours, and try to tune it out.” 

As a mother and a child care provider, Naomi knew this couldn’t continue for her son: “I really value a well-run child center and, after all my work experience knowing what quality child care can look like, I wasn't finding it anywhere. So, when I was doing the whole cost benefit analysis, it seemed better to go through the stress of just having one wage, and give our son the strong start he needed at home.”