Childcare in New York

Tonight, Chris and I went out to the Beacon Theater to see a comedy show. John Oliver and Seth Meyers were performing standup. We’ve gone out without Pookster pretty infrequently this year: we went out for my birthday, when Chris’s cousin was visiting from Vancouver in March, for my friend’s 40th birthday in April, and in July for another comedy show. This means that tonight is only the fifth time this year that we’ve gone out on our own without our child and needed some form of babysitter. Twice, our ex-nanny helped. Twice, my friend graciously and generously looked after Pookster. And this time, we found a babysitter that was referred through a friend of Chris.

When we transitioned to daycare, we realized that all of the teachers at Kaia’s school were people of color: everyone was either Black or Latina. Our former nanny is Black. And even last year when we got backup care babysitters through Chris’s work, both those babysitters were also Black. So when our babysitter showed up tonight and we met her in person for the very first time, Chris realized that she was the first form of childcare (that was not family) that was actually not someone of color: this babysitter was the first White babysitter Kaia had ever had. I didn’t even think about it until Chris brought it up, but I realized he was right.

The majority of caregivers in New York, whether it’s for childcare or elderly care, are people of color. I suppose that’s probably the way it is in the rest of the country, as well. The hardest, most under appreciated work is generally almost always done by people of color.

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