Nighttime Day Care Is a Godsend for Working Moms


slideA show of hands, please: How many of you working moms out there work on a strict 9-to-5 schedule? Yeah, me neither. Seems like fewer and fewer of us working parents keep the kind of classic full-time day-job hours our parents' generation took for granted. Instead, we're working the night shift (as well as the day shift) just to get by, going to school in the evenings to improve ourselves and create opportunities for our families, or simply taking whatever work comes our way, at whatever time it's required. So how do we make sure our kids are cared for while we're working? It turns out more and more working parents with non-traditional schedules have an option that used to be only rarely available: day care … at night.

According to the New York Times, an increasing number of day care centers are now making care available for kids 24/7, in order to meet the round-the-clock childcare needs of today's working parents. That means kids are being dropped off and picked up late at night, or in the wee hours of the morning, as their parents head to and from work. That means some of them are not always eating dinner with their families or sleeping through the night in their own beds in their own homes. Or that they are spending long hours in day care, while their parents spend long hours at work.

Yes, in many cases, parents would rather have their children cared for, if not by themselves or a family member, than at least by a sitter at home while they work, but finances often make that scenario impossible, perhaps especially difficult in single-income households. That's just the reality of today's world.

Yes, in many ways, it's a sad reality – that so many of us moms are working low-paying jobs at all hours because we have no choice. But we do what we need to do to provide for our kids, and sometimes we get into a situation that seems as if it has no good answers: We need to work to feed and clothe our children, and keep a roof over their heads, but how can we provide for our children's emotional needs (tuck-in time feels so sacrosanct) if we're working? It's a quandary so many of us face.

Ultimately, one hopes, by seeing us work hard, our children will learn about the value of hard work. And though we may not spend the hours with them we might like, the time we do spend with them can still be high quality. (It's the quality, not the quantity of time we spend with our children that's important: How many of us repeat that to ourselves like a chant?) We just need to make sure our children know that, though we are sometimes away from them at the very times we would most like to be with them, we love them more than anything and are working to care for and provide for them – now and in the future.

It may be dispiriting to think of these young children being tucked in at night at a day care center – not by their own parents and not in their own beds – but extended day care hours are an important solution for a lot of working moms today, a key tool for their family's financial survival. It may not fulfill a want, but it does meet a need.

What do you think of daycare centers making their services available for parents with unconventional work schedules?


Image via mary mackinnon/Flickr

child care, working moms


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jayde... jaydensmom1726

there have been times i would have loved that option

keriley1 keriley1

Ya know, I send my daughter during the day, but there is no way I would take a job where my child couldn't sleep in their own bed at night and had to sleep at a daycare. That is just an unhealthy environment. I do see the need for single parents who have absolutly NO ONE and have no options tho. I just feel like they COULD find a job with better hours, it might not be what they like or want, but its still not making their kid sleep in a strange bed and wake up with nightmares and have a daycare person as their only comfort or if they get sick since kids seem to only get at 2am. lol, but still. i see the need but would do anything in my power to never use it.

Mom2A... Mom2Addison12

Keriley, there is NO WAY possible that they could find a job, in retail, because let's face it, that's about the only people hiring right now.

That a company will take someone who can only work 9-5. They will choose someone who can work at any given time, and on the weekends.

SicTr... SicTransitGlori

I think it's a good idea. It's a tough economy and you have to take work whenever you can get it. I would assume that it's not a parent's first-choice to sent a child to daycare at night, but it's good to have the option.

keriley1 keriley1

Actually I can say that because for 2 years I was a single mom and I was working crazy hours and I got a different job that I hated because the hours were better. And it isnt in retail its is a business setting and I in fact work from 7:30 to 5 with only a half hour lunch and I can still find daycare for only $125 a week, and my child is eating dinner at home with her family and sleeping her own bed. And I only had a high school diploma and no intention of going back to school at the time. Its about what you are willing to do. BUT AGAIN like I said, I understand for people who have no family support to help them like they should.

nonmember avatar DR2011

I just wanna throw this out there...I'm an RN and my job presently has a days/nights rotation. I work 4-6 weeks on days and then switch and repeat the same on nights. I have knowledge and a skill set that not everyone has. Therefore I often have to work when I would prefer not to - nights, holidays, weekends...but it comes with the territory. I'm well compensated for my time but that doesn't mean I wouldn't rather be at home with my family. And I only get 30 minutes break too for 12 and a half hours of work.

My dad is a truck driver and his schedule has always been rotating - 2 hours from when work calls to when he has to be at work leaving the terminal, 8-10hrs driving, 8-10 rest and then do it all over again 6 days a week. Did we miss my dad when we were younger kids? Yes. But not everything in life happens perfectly or optimally or the way you'd prefer.

kkey75 kkey75

Sometimes a parent, especially a single parent, has no choice. In this economy, sometimes you have to work nights in order to put food on the table and a roof over your children's heads. So yes, this option is sometimes the only option. Is it ideal? Of course not. I declined a promotion that would have given me more time with my daughter now, but in the long run, would have made me sacrifice seeing her at all when she starts school in a year. Sometimes a parent has to weigh the pros and cons of a situation in order to see what will be the best thing for the family in the long run. And if that is working nights, at least their are day cares out there willing to help.

kkey75 kkey75

There...smacks head. You know what I meant :)

paren... parentalrights1

I havn't had a job yet that didn't hire me, and keep me, at a closing schedule.

BusyB... BusyB4thm

The Daycare/Preschool I use for my son has 24 hrs 6 days a week. As a single mom that works 4 10 hr days then 1-2 12 hr days its great. Though my parents take my son on my overnight shifts (which i am entirely greatful for) he is in daycare/preschool most of the time during the days.  I think these daycares are doing a great thing. The typical 9-5 days are far and few between. Its a shame but these are NEEDED!!!!

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