NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Many Middle Tennessee families are having a hard time when it comes to finding and affording childcare. The COVID-19 pandemic only made things more difficult.
You’ve likely heard the adage “it takes a village to raise a child.” Increasingly, much of that village is online. It’s common for parent to use social media when looking for recommendations for a stroller or a pediatrician. But, more and more parents are also sharing their childcare challenges.
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Three Middle Tennessee moms are sharing their struggles with News 2’s Hayley Weilgus.
Ashley Weymouth moved to Clarksville from Connecticut while she was pregnant in 2019, for her husband’s job. Two things happened she was not expecting: a global pandemic to hit when she gave birth to her son in March of 2020, and she had to leave her career as an X-ray technician due to not having childcare.
“From here to Nashville, and even like into Goodlettsville and Mount Juliet, it was pretty much a two year waitlist,” Weymouth said. “Most of them were like $100, $150 to get on the waitlist.”
Two years later, her son finally made it off a waitlist, but she’s only been able to go back to work on a per diem basis due to the inflexibility of daycare.
“If he gets sick, or they call me, or the teacher is sick, or we just had like an outbreak of pinkeye in his classroom, like someone’s expected to come get him. And there’s just certain careers that you can’t just leave. Healthcare is one of them.
Weymouth continued, “There’s a huge gap in my career now on my resume that is really hard to explain. You know, it’s like COVID only goes so far to explain things, but to say to someone, ‘well, I couldn’t find childcare.'”
Lagena Montgomery is now a mom of three after welcoming sweet baby Nyaly five months ago. Montgomery is also going through a divorce. Not only did every daycare she called have a two-year waitlist, the hours don’t match up with her schedule working evenings and sometimes weekend in a salon.
“This is not gonna work; I need to get back to work.” Montgomery said, “Okay, let me try to see if I can find a sitter. I checked around. It’s like, the professional nannies now are going for $25 an hour. They charge by the hour.”
Montgomery did hire a sitter. The cost is a big chunk out of her paycheck, but she’s passionate about her job and the example she’s setting for her kids.
“That’s one thing that my son mentioned about me he said, ‘one thing about mom, she’s hard working.’ And I’m like, ‘Yeah, well, it’s in the home or outside the home.”
Montgomery continued, “It’s draining, it’s tiring and and just kind of just keep going day to day and make the most of it.”
Darria Greer is an Antioch mom of two who works from home. Her older daughter is in school, but she found out her three-year-old’s spot at daycare was cut from four days a week to two days a week.
“At work, there’s a certain quota and a certain time limit that you have to do things in, and it’s a struggle. I mean, I literally work and I’m like, ‘Oh, 10 minutes, I gotta go make lunch, I gotta go put her down for a nap. I’ve got to take her potty,’ like there’s all these different things and then their children they want the attention too.”
Greer continued, “No one’s winning right now. And it’s, it’s a lot.”
Three moms in different situations but united in similar struggles and a strong desire to do what’s best for their families.