I sit here at almost 10pm at night thinking about another day of the same tomorrow. I am going to wake up later than I have in the 14 years since my first of three sons was born, not get the boys ready for school, not make lunches, navigate about 100 emails with that same am cup of coffee I have been having since I was in college 27 years ago, all before I wake them up around 9am, and then likely stay up working till 1am to make ends meet for the day.
I am in Shelter In Place in California helping my three boys navigate differently versed curriculum while at the same time running my company during the first Pandemic to hit the world since globalization (which calculates to life at about 100x the speed of the last Pandemic) in 1918.
I am no different than all the other parents in the world right now. My job, however, is to help solve the childcare and education challenges working parents face. I am the Founder and CEO of a Woman Owned Small Business which provides in-home childcare to families whose employers offer backup care as an employee benefit. Backup care is designed to be the ‘plan B” when an employee has a breakdown in their regularly scheduled childcare (like in the event of a school or daycare closure, sick nanny, etc.). And yes, many companies really do offer free babysitting services to their employees.
Under normal circumstances breakdowns in an employee’s child care contributes to 45% percent of employee absenteeism and about $3 billion a year in lost revenue. I guess that would qualify me as a problem solver for the parents and companies of the world.
I continue to read countless articles like the ones cited below about families struggling to balance work and homeschooling while shelter in place orders are in effect. The fact is that we DO need to find a way to support parents and provide resources during this time as managing the expectations set by schools and employers (while also ensuring adherence to protocols that keep family members safe) are simply not sustainable.
I know how hard it is to balance all of this in my own home, in my own life. Finding the time and energy to be a teacher (something I have never aspired to be or to do), Mother (the most important role in my life), therapist (ensuring the emotional health of my children), to manage my household and perform my role and duties as a CEO has been incredibly difficult. And I am not alone. Everyone I know is struggling to do their jobs while there are very few safe childcare options and the news trickles in that camps are cancelled and schools are to remain closed.
I founded my company in 2006 when my first son was born and over the years have worked with Fortune 500, mid-size, and small companies as well as provided our services directly to families, physician’s offices, and community organizations. I never imagined there would be a time when my business provided a service that would be correlated to a world health crisis. Important? Yes. Critical to serve the needs of our essential workforce during a global pandemic? No.
On March 19th, 2020 when I was on an all company meeting with my staff in 5 regions throughout California and New York. The Governor of California ordered the entire State to Shelter In Place. What did this mean? It was the beginning of the new very-not-normal. It was the end of a booming economy as we knew it.
I reached out to 5 other like minded women owned companies I have worked with over the years through my Executive Board position at the International Nanny Association and knew this was a time for collaboration. We formed a consortium using our combined experience to tackle the problem of the new very-not-normal. We knew that in-home, COVID safe backup care was the answer and put our heads together to create a program to make backup care available, simple to deploy and affordable for local municipalities and companies of all sizes.
And I wonder, who in the corporate world is thinking about how the kids are doing during this time? Who is thinking about the parents that will need to have a clear mind if they are expected to, once again, drive our economy forward? As Americans, we are proud to live in a culture built on strength and perseverance. We will rise. We will make it through this. But we need to help each other.
Now that we are seeing the economy slowly beginning to reopen it’s eyes after a bad dream, business owners, CEOs, leaders of the working world should be thinking about how to prepare for the new not-so-normal future. Families need to know that their kids are safe. The need for safe in home backup childcare, virtual education support and alternative employee benefits for other unforeseeable breakdowns is essential.
Let’s talk about the solution, One to One
To flatten the curve against COVID-19 major cities are under shelter-in-place orders, families are practicing social distancing, and schools across the nation are closed.
In order for essential employees to perform the services our communities desperately rely on, they must first ensure their own children are being cared for. This has created an urgent need for short-term, expertly vetted in-home care providers in addition to virtual homeschool services to help working parents manage the overwhelming workload they now find themselves trying to manage. In response to this need, a community of women-owned small businesses from across the country in the childcare staffing industry formed a consortium to find local solutions for this national problem. And the One to One campaign was born. These industry professionals, all mothers, have decades of combined experience providing corporate sponsored backup childcare to Fortune 500, mid, and small sized companies and are partnering with employers to offer simple, custom, and cost-efficient childcare and education solutions. www.onetoonechildcare.com
Stacie Steelman, CEO
Crunch Care-California and New York City
Trusting Connections-Tucson, Phoenix, Dallas/Ft. Worth
The Nanny Network-Baltimore, Washington D.C.
Sound Care Agency-Greater Seattle
TLC for Kids-Atlanta, Miami, St. Louis, Charlotte, Chicago
Philadelphia Nanny Network-Philadelphia and New York City
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