The short walk to daycare with my two-year-old son is one of the best parts of my day. He has a lot to be happy about — we are en route to his favourite place, where he’ll open the door, race toward the books, then sit down cross-legged and play with his little crew of friends.
At this small home daycare, he’s learning his shapes, colours, numbers, letters, how to take turns and share with others. It’s a hell of a lot better than I — or Sesame Street, or Paw Patrol or Cat in the Hat — was able to do this spring when the pandemic closed down daycares nationwide. He’s a lot happier. And you know what? So am I.
Daycare is what allows me to work, to continue making some money (we could talk about women’s lower income earning power in the five years after having a child, but I digress). It also gives me some personal space to think about what’s next for my family and tap into my own ambition and potential. Luxuries in the middle of a pandemic, I know — single parents need daycare in order to work. And as the lockdown revealed to us, it’s next to impossible both to work and wrangle small children.
My Twitter feed this week is full of women who said how excited they were 30 years ago when this was part of the national conversation. But they, and their children, were let down.
So I was thrilled, Wednesday, to see a national daycare strategy promised in the federal Liberals’ Speech from the Throne, lighting a spark of hope in Canadians who love their children but also need to make a living.
I’m lucky to have daycare, but I only have it thanks to word of mouth and hustle — I didn’t get into any of the institutional childcare spaces our municipal governments sprinkle through our communities that never seem to meet demand.
Child care is prohibitively expensive, and subsidies are hard to get. It’s made for some pretty depressing barriers and solitudes between the haves and the have nots in an already patchwork provincially mandated,...