Caregiving should be treated as a public good, not a private obligation
I am a single mother by choice. A year into my new dream job at a major university in New York City, I decided to start a family. I felt financially stable and believed I could do it all and have it all. Shortly after I gave birth, reality set in, and I quickly realized that the road ahead would be rocky and a bit unpredictable.
Following my maternity leave, I searched in vain for high quality, affordable childcare in New York City for my newborn twins. The sticker shock — about a third of my salary at the time — and the years-long waitlists made me wonder how other moms and families did it. Was I missing something? I couldn’t afford to stay home, but I couldn’t afford care either.
A couple of weeks before I was scheduled to return to work, my paternal grandmother flew in from California to help care for the twins. She became their full-time, unpaid caregiver. The four of us, along with my cat and dog, lived in a tiny, one-bedroom flat in Brooklyn, New York, making it work the best way we knew how. She stayed with us until the twins were 18-months old. Without her, I would not have been able to return to work full time and to a career I loved.