It Was Just Like the Roof Was Going to Cave In

My life path was a common one for native Vermonters: I moved out of state for college and grad school, but then returned home and started my family here. 
 
My then-husband and I were proactive about finding child care as soon as we became pregnant. I remember other parents and doctors were telling us right away, “look for child care early, start now.” Despite the fact that we started looking at the end of my first trimester, we spent months looking for care with no leads and no hope. 
 
Fortunately, an acquaintance knew of an opening, and we were able to secure a spot at an in-home child care facility for my son shortly before he was born. The location wasn’t ideal, but we were relieved to have found something. However, that relief was short-lived: within two months, my provider decided to close, giving us only two weeks’ notice to find a new spot. 
 
I was devastated. It just took us a majority of my pregnancy to find her, how on earth am I supposed to find care in two weeks? I knew what the shortages were like, I knew what it was like to get providers to call me back. Once again, we scrambled, running to interviews and appointments on lunch breaks when we could, and once again we found a new child care spot. But the cycle wasn’t over.  
 
In the first three years of my son’s life, he has been in four different child care facilities. Each time, we received notice of a closure, it was just like the roof was gonna cave in. We went through the stress of the search process again and again, later while I was also trying to establish myself in a new job. 

Balancing work with this upheaval constantly put me in a difficult position. I felt the stress of having two roles, both important. Obviously, being a mom will always trump the other, but you worry, what does that make you look like in the workplace? 
 
To add one final layer of complexity, my husband and I recently divorced, and now I balance all of these stresses as a single mother. So far, everything has worked out. My ex is able to pay for child care, and they love their current child care provider, but I am constantly aware of how precarious my situation is. Sometimes the worry is too much. You pray, you cross your fingers, you hold your breath nothing really horrible happens, but horrible things happen. That's a reality, so what's the plan? And I don't know that I have one. 

~Ally B., South Burlington