Eight-year-old Diana lies awake on a mat surrounded by sleeping children. It’s 10:30PM and she’s waiting for her mother to pick her up from daycare.
Diana’s mother, Marisol, is a single parent who is unable to get more than 29 hours per week from either of her part-time jobs. So she relies on Hogans to accommodate her constantly changing work schedule. The couple sees her children more than she does.
Dee’s Tots Child Care is one of a growing number of daycares that care for children during non-standard hours. Owners Deloris and Patrick Hogan care for children in their New Rochelle, NY home from 6:00AM until 3:00AM most weeknights. They are a stable, consistent presence in the lives of many parents who must work long, unpredictable hours to make a living.
At a time when most children of working parents have been reunited with their families and are enjoying a last embrace before falling asleep, the children at Dee’s Tots Child Care are being tucked in on mats in Deloris’ living room. Her experienced hands have rocked, diapered, and soothed homesick children in this way since 1985, allowing their working class parents to accommodate unpredictable retail schedules and the demands of the healthcare industry while providing for their families.
Almost 40 percent of Americans work non-standard hours, and the demand for 24-hour childcare facilities is likely to increase as employers require longer hours and more flexibility from their low-wage workers.
(Published by the Pacific Standard and The Guardian with support from the Economic Hardship Reporting Project.)