Moms are back to work, but childcare resources are ‘laughable’
According to data from Project Rapid-EC, an ongoing national survey of the well-being of parents and children during the pandemic, levels of parental emotional distress increased at the onset of the pandemic. With the exception of a brief respite in the spring of 2021, before the Delta variant surged, levels remained 10 to 15 percentage points high compared to pre-pandemic measures. Levels of “emotional distress” are calculated by asking parents a variety of questions about depression, anxiety, loneliness and stress, said Philip Fisher, director of the Center for Translational Neuroscience at the University of Oregon and principal investigator of the Rapid-EC project.
Although parents of all origins and income levels are much more distressed than they were before the pandemic, single parents, parents living in poverty and parents of children with disabilities are particularly taxed emotionally. , said Dr Fisher. “Uncertainty is the toxic ingredient” on top of everything else right now for parents, he said. They worry about the state of the world, their ability to do their jobs, and the virus that is still looming. “Child care is a part of it,” said Dr Fisher – parents know it can go away at any time and upset their delicate balance.
Jacqueline Sievert, 36, thought she had finally solved her daycare problems when she found a place for her 14-month-old after being on waiting lists for months in Hamburg, NY, just outside of Buffalo. A few days before her son was supposed to start at the center, she received a message telling her that the daycare was closed immediately and for an indefinite period. Ms Sievert checked the center on the New York State Office of Child and Family Services website and found that her license had been suspended indefinitely for multiple serious violations, including children left without. “Competent supervision”.
This week, Ms Sievert’s mother is watching her son, but it is not a viable solution for her and her husband. “I’m not sure what we’re going to do next week now; we bring it together. None of us have careers where we can easily watch a one year old active all day, ”she said. Ms. Sievert leads a team at a commercial bank and her husband is the COO at a large corporation.
About three hundred miles east of Albany, Ms Stenta said she and her husband were “exhausted”. She doesn’t know what the solution might be to getting child care for her sons in the short term. They do not live close to extended family, and making childcare arrangements has always been more difficult for parents of children with disabilities, even in non-pandemic times.
“There are certainly no social structures in place for this,” Ms. Stenta said.