It seemed better to go through the stress of just having one wage

As a preschool teacher, navigating early childhood with my own son was more challenging than I expected. My husband and I made the choice that I would leave work and stay home with our son for the first year of his life. With my experience, I felt prepared for this work, but I had never worked with infants before, and this was a different set of challenges.

This time took a toll on me and created an uncomfortable dynamic within my relationship. My husband became the sole wage earner in a very demanding and stressful position, and despite my desire to return to work to alleviate some of his stress, the math just couldn’t work out for us. I felt the need to return to work, but as the work that I love doing and am?really good?at is teaching preschool, it doesn't pay enough to really make sense for me to pay someone else, to put my kid in child care. I would end up paying more for child care than I’d be paid as a teacher in a private center.

Once our son became eligible for universal pre-K, he started in a program that didn’t meet his social needs. He struggled in large groups, and his first child care setting was a large and raucous one that he found overwhelming. His teachers said when they’d go outside, he'd just sit on the playground, close his eyes for two hours and try to tune it out.

As a mother and a child care provider, I knew this couldn’t continue. I really value a well-run child center and, after all my work experience knowing what quality child care can look like, I wasn't finding it anywhere. So, when I was doing the whole cost benefit analysis, it seemed better to go through the stress of just having one?wage, and?to give our son the strong start he needed at home.

~Naomi A., Waterbury