“It Feels Like You’re Trapped” | 40 Parents Share Their Biggest Childcare Challenges in the Midst of the Childcare Crisis

If you ask most parents about parenting, you’ll likely hear some variation of, ‘It’s the greatest job in the world’ or ‘It’s the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done.’ These sentiments are all true, of course. But it’s also accurate to say that parenting can be absolutely exhausting, pushing people to their limits. And it’s the hardest endeavor most of us will ever undertake.

So what can make raising kids even more challenging? A lack of accessible childcare. The stark childcare reality facing many parents often pushes an already difficult responsibility to feel more like a nearly impossible burden.

It goes without saying, but it has been a rough time for parents, especially working parents. The childcare crisis — the increasing challenges of finding adequate and affordable childcare — has worsened.

Upwards surveyed 5,000 parents across the United States to hear some of their stories to get a glimpse of what’s actually happening when families grapple with childcare issues.

Childcare struggles for parents across America

1. “The cost of childcare is so high, so you need a good paying job. However, to get a good paying job, you need childcare. It feels like you’re trapped.” - Jailine, Maryland

2. “Childcare centers are running out of staff and limiting their capacity as a result. We were looking to find a daycare center and we couldn’t find one for all of 2021!” - Zaid, California

3. “A major challenge I’ve had to deal with is making sure my child was comfortable enough with someone else taking care of them.” - Momina, California

4. “Finding childcare with transportation is a challenge.” -Brytanni, Indiana

5. “My biggest challenge is finding a quality provider for a reasonable price.” - Erin, Minnesota

6. “This is the first child I am putting in a daycare, and I am, of course, nervous. My biggest challenge in looking for childcare has been location and price.” - Felisceanna, Maryland

7. “Being a single mom, working irregular hours, finding the right person to trust was difficult. Financing was the other challenge. I had to calculate how many more hours I needed to work in order to afford childcare.” - Lorena, California

8. “Paying for childcare has been the largest hurdle in finding care.” Talanee, California

9. “It has been challenging finding a care provider that not only had openings, but understood my child’s medical history.” - Ruby, California

10. “We looked at our budget vs. the cost of childcare, and couldn’t find anything we could afford." - Molly, Minnesota

11. “As a single mother, it’s really hard to be able to afford childcare.” - Chelsea, Georgia

12. “The biggest challenge I’ve run into is finding high quality childcare with availability in my city.” - Jessica, California

13. “The biggest challenge when looking for childcare is finding a reasonable childcare rate that matches my irregular work schedule. Finding childcare that goes through the evening is hard when I get off work at 9PM.” - Lauryn, California

14. “It’s been a challenge looking for affordable daycare. I need a job to pay daycare but need daycare to be able to work for the money.” - K.B., Georgia

15. “My biggest challenge when looking for childcare is finding the contact information for providers on the Internet.” - Ajah, Michigan

16. “As a teacher myself, we don’t make a lot of money, so finding childcare within my budget is really hard.” - Heidi, California

17. “Waitlists have been so long, it has been nearly impossible to find open spots for infants.” - Amber, New York

18. “Finding someone reliable and responsible is challenging. I need to find someone that will care for my child as I would and not just for the money.” - Shanna, Maryland

19. “My son has aged out of Headstart, and now must be potty trained for the next level of education.” - Marissa, California

20. “Finding daycare that is quality AND affordable seems impossible.” - Theresa, Michigan

21. “I work night shifts and few daycares are open at this time.” - Angie, California

22. “I started looking for care when I was pregnant so I could return to work after my baby was 5 months old. Of the several I’ve applied to, I’ve only gotten off the waitlist at one place! I had no idea how competitive infant care is.” - Annie, California

23. “My child has special needs, and it has been hard to find a provider with experience in special needs and differently-abled education.” - Pamela, Maryland

24. “We are first-time parents with a 14 month old. We’ve been on waitlists for centers for over a year! We have also reached out to a lot of providers and few have responded.” - Erin, Washington

25. “Finding a trustful childcare provider with flexible schedules has been extremely difficult for my family.” - Walter, California

26. “I work from 6AM to 2:30PM and need childcare during those hours. No provider that I can find is open earlier than 7AM!” - Elizabeth, Michigan

27. “I find it challenging to communicate with providers. It also seems as though there is not enough availability to accommodate every child.” - Jennifer, Washington

28. “COVID-19 has severely disrupted my childcare, making it a huge challenge to find affordable care that works with my schedule.” - Stephanie, Minnesota

29. “It is really hard to find an affordable program with flexible hours.” Erione, California

30. “Many daycares’ tuition asks for more per week than my husband and I make at our jobs.” Candace, Ohio

31. “It is very hard to find childcare near my home or office.” - Mun, New York

32. “I have had trouble finding a childcare provider that allows my child to be himself.” - Sky, Colorado

33. “My childcare provider changed their hours, and it didn’t work with my schedule.” - Yeishia, Illinois

34. “Childcare in my area can be as high as $2,000 a month, making affordability my biggest struggle.” - Ashlee, Texas

35. “Time is the biggest challenge in finding childcare. It’s so time-consuming to do on your own.” - Jose, California

36. “I feel lack of childcare availability and affordability has prevented me from finishing my bachelor’s degree (I’ve tried 4 times) and thus, diminished my sense of self.” - Abigail, New York

37. “Simply put: there is not enough time in the day to do everything needed to find childcare!” - Abeer, California

38. “Cost has been prohibitive in my childcare search.” - Ahmen, Texas

39. “Finding a childcare provider that I feel is skilled enough to understand my child was hard.” Annette, California

40. “We have called multiple locations to find childcare and there have been astronomical waitlists.” - Ciera, Georgia

Upwards understands how difficult the childcare landscape can be for parents, which is why we work so hard every day to provide families with access to high-quality, affordable care.

Employers play a big part in supporting working parents through employee childcare benefit programs. Employer-sponsored childcare benefits address business challenges such as employee absenteeism, productivity, retention, and recruitment.

Organizations interested in helping solve the childcare crisis while simultaneously generating valuable ROI can find out more here, contact the Upwards team, or schedule a quick call to start the conversation.

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