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About Furloughed Fed

Robin Ferrier works in the Office of Communications at the NIH National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. She is also the Vice Chair of the Gaithersburg Book Festival and a published fiction author. Prior to working at NIH, she spent 6 years working for Johns Hopkins University. She also worked... Read more

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The Great Daycare Debate

Children ClipartMaybe not a debate exactly. Dilemma might be a better word.

I read a newspaper article early on in this whole furlough situation where a parent referenced having already taken his daughter out of daycare to save money during this uncertain time. As a single mother with a daughter in daycare, his statement honestly confused me. It seemed like such a simple decision to him. The daycare question during this time wasn’t so easy for me.

My daughter spends four days a week in an in-home daycare. (On the fifth day, she’s with her paternal grandmother.) At daycare, she’s with 5 other children. The woman, who I adore, takes spectacular care of my daughter. I don’t worry about my daughter or her care when I’m at work.

For a long time, when my daughter first started attending daycare at a little over two years old, it was a tough adjustment for her. A lot of tears… on her part, not mine. But recently, we’ve turned a corner. Now, if I talk with the daycare provider for too long when I drop her off, my daughter will stand there, hands on her hips, saying, “Goodbye, Mommy.” And, “Have a good day, Mommy.” She’ll repeat these refrains, very insistent, what I consider her version of “Don’t let the door hit you in the a** on your way out.” It’s a good thing, this change. Her rushing me out the door.

The fact she now embraces going to daycare – and my wanting her to stay used to the routine – is just one reason I haven’t seriously considered taking her out of daycare during the furlough. (And I still tell my daughter, each day, that I’m going to work.)

It’s not the only reason, though. I think about the hardship it would place on the daycare provider who relies on this income. And while I don’t think my daughter would lose her place in the daycare if I temporarily pulled her out, the reality is that she could, if another family came along. I wouldn’t blame the daycare provider at all if that happened. And losing our spot? That’s something I can’t risk.

I also would have to negotiate taking her out of daycare with my ex, not something I want to do.

I do wonder, though. Are other furloughed feds saving money by keeping their kids home? Or are they facing the world as I am, trying to keep things normal for their kids, trying to stick to routines?

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Robin Ferrier

About Robin Ferrier

Robin Ferrier is the Vice Chair of the Gaithersburg Book Festival. She has had three short stories published in anthologies and literary journals and had a play performed in Source theater's 10 Minute Play Competition. She has an M.A. in Writing from Johns Hopkins University and a B.A. from the University of Virginia.


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