Below are true stories, sent to AMD staff from parents in our community. This is why we do what we do. Each story is anonymous, printed here exactly as it was written. We would like to thank the brave individuals for sharing their stories. We can't wait to be there to give you support.          

I am a mother of 3 children. Ages 12, 3, and 1. I am a domestic abuse survivor. I chose to give myself and my children a better life by leaving my children's fathers. I have children with 2 different men. One who physically abused me and one who verbally and mentally abused me. My biggest fear is leaving this situation was who can help me with my children, how will I work? Are we going to end up homeless?

 

I have been out of this situation completely for a few months and I have had no luck finding child care. I am on waiting lists that are about 1 to 2 years long. This new daycare opening would be a blessing to someone in my position who doesn't ever want to have to go back to relying on her abuser(s) to raise children they don't even want just to get by and provide financially. I saw that the main complaint is neighbors not wanting the noise of the children. Have these neighbors thought about someone in a situation such as mine? Would they rather my children be in an abusive home and possibly something happening to me or listen to children playing and being safe so the parent(s) can work to provide for their family.

 

Not everyone has a strong support system or people they can rely on. I am one of those people. I need daycare to maintain a home for my children to be loved and safe. Many people don't understand this struggle. Our city does not have enough daycare for the number of children and this is probably a huge contributing factor to so many low-income families struggling. We all deserve a fair chance to give our children more. To have a chance to not fail and show them how strong we as a parent can be. I deserve this chance and daycare would give me the opportunity to love myself and my children by being able to maintain a safe home and raise them alone away from the abusive fathers they have.

I am emailing you today to share my input as a middle-class family with a child in daycare. My daughter was born just two months before Covid shut down the United States and put all the non-essentials on lockdown. 

I did all the right things. My husband and I waited until we were financially stable to have a child. We owned our own home, both had stable jobs, and had some money in savings. As soon as we got the positive pregnancy test, I reserved a spot for our child at TWO different daycares. Well, covid threw a wrench in that. In my research for grants for A Million Dreamz, I have found that 2/3 of daycares closed down when covid hit, and since then 1/3 of those have remained closed. 

Both of our daycares closed down and neither reopened in time for me to return to work in September 2020 as a teacher. We pieced together to care for our daughter between family and friends until a family friend who ran in-home daycare volunteered to watch our daughter for us. The only caveat- it was not permanent. Only about 10 months, but that would get us through. We said yes! Then we were already on the hunt for daycare starting November 2021. In December 2020. Families need to be able to look for care that far in advance right now. 

My husband and I are now trying for a second child, despite my anxiety surrounding child care. My daughter is starting at The Peanut Gallery in Valders starting in January 2022. When we do get that positive test, we have to take a full 12-week maternity leave (which as a teacher costs me approximately $272 a day, to pay back to the school district for the days I don't have sick time) and then find a person to watch our child for an additional 8 weeks. 

I have talked about the lack of available childcare, but I have not even touched on the cost yet. Currently, our family friend watching my daughter is charging only $3 an hour and only when she is present, which comes to approximately $140 per week. My daughter's new daycare costs a flat fee of $170 per week for two-year-olds, whether or not she is present.  So let's say I'm exposed to covid as a teacher surrounded by unvaccinated students... even though I'm vaccinated and have had covid before I can still get the virus right? Well, that means my daughter would have to quarantine for my quarantine time and an ADDITIONAL 10 days. All while missing work and paying for child care. I will take this moment to mention that I have a hobby farm, and the monthly mortgage is about $1,000 a month. When we have another child, infant care averages $220 a week. Between my daughter and the new infant, we will be paying 150% of our mortgage in child care alone. We are a middle-class family that is fiscally responsible.

Many people are struggling to understand why people are not going back to work and blaming the additional unemployment benefits. Last month, a study on the jobs report was shocked that even though the unemployment benefits ran out, people were still not returning to work. Think about the accessibility and availability of child care, let alone the cost. That is a huge factor! When we do have another child as we plan to, my husband will only be bringing in about $300 a month after paying for childcare. There is no point in him working then.

A Million Dreamz is handing a solution to you on a silver platter. They will be charging families an affordable cost, only for when the children are present, and providing 24-hour care to help our growing manufacturing community in Sheboygan.