These days, the media is flooded with articles and commercials thanking the heroes of our country-the essential workers. Yesterday, I ran across an article about a fast-food worker fearing for their health while staying working. Then I had a thought-shouldn’t daycare providers be thanked as well? Yes, medical workers and other workers put themselves at risk to help keep the country going, but so do we. People need daycares to go to work to keep people safe, food on the shelves, and people well. So, daycares are needed just as much as a grocery worker or other essential worker because we put ourselves at risk too to keep this country going.
So, I scoured the Internet for any articles on daycare providers being heroes during this COVID19 crisis-I found zero articles. Nobody thanking daycare workers for staying open and risking their health as well so people are able to work the long hard hours that they do.
But, maybe our risk isn’t as bad as other jobs-but maybe it is?
If you think about it, we bring a group of people (and germs) into our homes every day. We don’t know where the families have been the night before. We have to trust that the daycare families are taking necessary precautions to keep all of us safe. Heck, these essential parents are going to their jobs every day and then arriving to our homes to pick up their children after spending a long day in front of the public. Maybe people think we are safely staying in our homes all day, but the families that are coming here are putting us at risk just as if we were in the public too.
My routine every day is to scrub my home down several times with bleach-before the kids arrive, and after they leave for the day. The kids use hand sanitizer every half hour, and I use it even more. I wash blankets used more often, and even spray down the outside of the house where the families enter our home.
“If you think about it, we bring a group of people (and germs) into our homes every day. We don’t know where the families have been the night before. We have to trust that the daycare families are taking necessary precautions to keep all of us safe.”
Don’t daycares just have the choice to close right now? Not all of us. Like many other daycare providers, I don’t have a huge savings to live off of for months. And, if you do close, it’s more than likely the parents will find one that is still open and the likely hood of them coming back to you is slim. As I scanned through daycare group posts, I read how some providers think it’s terrible to stay open and put kids at risk-those are usually the ones who do daycare for some extra cash, while they rely on their spouse as the main bread winner. There are many of us providers that depend on our income to support our families- it is our business and it is our livelihood.
But there are parents that still don’t get it. I have always took pride in myself for being there for my daycare families. Countless times, I sacrificed my time with my family by staying open late. I’ve also put off paying my bills to let a single mom pay me a couple of days late, and I’m always finding ways to give back. Not to mention, treating their children like they were my own. So, I appreciate the parents that help back by still paying to hold their spot while not bringing their child while they are working from home, or at least still receiving pay. But, I also have had families working at home abandon paying me, even though they are still receiving their pay. They want to keep their children home, which I understand, but they need to understand that my bills are still coming in regardless of their choice. I have no choice but to fill their spots so I can provide for my family too.
And what would happen if a daycare did close? Who is going to pay the bills? There is talk from other providers that they’ve hit a wall with applying for unemployment, which, according to sba.gov, is supposed to include small businesses now too. They must not have all the kinks worked out-at least in our state (Iowa)- which is delaying much needed lost income for daycare providers as well. And how about applying for the business loan programs like the Paycheck Protection Plan? I’m still confused on the requirements for these programs. I don’t have employees and I don’t want to come out of this in more debt by adding another payment to my budget.
I think more recognition should be given to daycares as well-those who run centers and those who run out of their homes. We ARE essential workers and we risk our lives too!