Finding childcare is harder than I thought it would be. Trying to find somewhere that doesn’t cost a holy fortune and also makes sense for our family is practically nonexistent. This summer, I found myself in the position of being laid off, so I had the pressure of finding a job plus the added pressure of finding childcare. I have a unique situation where I homeschool children privately for a family who allows me to bring my two year old daughter with me, and for the past two years, I have worked through the summer for them. Thus, when my boss/the mom told me that we were taking the summer off, I was completely taken aback. Suddenly, I found myself without income and without any way to attend job interviews, let alone start a new job for the summer. Now, what’s funny is that my boss thought she gave me a good amount of time to find both of these things, childcare and a “summer job” (I’m 35…never thought I’d need a summer job again…). Needless to say, she was wrong: Telling me in May that I wasn’t going to work in the summer — the children’s last school day was June 8 — didn’t leave me much time at all.
All parents know that childcare is hard to come by: There are waiting lists for practically every single one, and a nanny isn’t exactly cheap, especially if you’re working for minimum wage. Many parents, including myself and my husband, find themselves in the position of wondering is it even worth it? Am I working to just pay for childcare??
This is how I found myself in a rough position for the summer. And this is also how I came across Flexable’s founders, Jessica Strong and Priya Amin. I had spoken with Jessica earlier in the year, as I was interested in being a caregiver for Flexable, especially since my daughter would be allowed to attend events with me. Due to working for the family, I didn’t really have any extra time to give to Flexable. However, since my interview with Jessica was so enjoyable — it felt more like I was talking to a trusted friend, rather than a potential employer — I decided to reach out to her.
Jessica was just as awesome as I remembered: She immediately listed some upcoming events that Flexable was scheduled to work. One of these was the Hello, Neighbor event at the University of Pittsburgh. Flexable provided the child care for the families who were learning about hosting immigrant families across Pittsburgh. I didn’t know what to expect, but I accepted being one of the caregivers at the event. Honestly, I was a bit nervous; my brain kicked into overdrive with panicky thoughts: how many kids would there be? Would there be activities? What am I going to do with these children from 9-3??
My anxieties were immediately put to rest upon arrival: Jess was already there, registering parents and doing the paperwork, and there was another caregiver to work with me. Flexable is great about that: They’re not just going to let some poor soul watch 20 children alone. There were paints, crayons, games, books, movies — basically anything and everything to keep children engaged. It went better than I could have imagined. Parents were happy, kids were happy, and the Hello, Neighbor organizers were happy.
So here I am, a member of Flexable and able to work around my schedule as well as bring my daughter with me. There is a definite need in our society for childcare that works for the parents, and that is what Flexable offers. Childcare should not be such an issue, and hopefully Flexable can help change that.