"Every once in a while, there'll be a story in the news about a mom who left her kid at the park while she ran to a job interview, or a dad who slept on a McDonald's bench during his shift," Mike Julianelle, a blogger who writes on Dad and Buried, noted in a piece on Love What Matters. "They usually get vilified." He pointed out that later on, "the full story comes out, and people realize they were just doing whatever they could to improve their family’s lot."
He wrote that he he gets it, and he's "probably passed judgment" himself "at least until the full story came out." And "definitely before" he had to deal with something similar.
In his Love What Matters story, Julianelle shared the details of that "something similar": he recently had to bring his toddler on his commute to a job interview.
“I had a job interview today," the dad of two writes. "And I had to bring my toddler along. Just kidding. Mostly. I didn’t have to bring him to the actual interview, but I did have to bring him into Manhattan to drop him off at my wife’s office. Because childcare is expensive. And I'm not working. (Hence the interview.)"
He elaborated, "Babysitters, daycare, preschool, camp—it can break your back. Especially when your income is scarce. Especially if you don’t have family nearby to help. I’m lucky that my wife is working. And that the jobs I’m in the market for have benefits and pay relatively well. But they don’t pay yet."
For that reason, he said he did what he had to do, "which meant dragging my exhausted toddler on the subway, letting him sleep on me, then carrying him eight blocks, all while wearing a full suit on the hottest day in history." By the time the blogger made it to his wife's office he was "literally dripping with sweat."
"It wasn’t easy," Julianelle shared. "It sounds crazy, but it was actually very inconvenient for him to fall asleep on the train like that! But I was lucky my wife was around and able to take him for a few hours while she finished up her day, so I could keep my interview. And at least I didn’t have to drag him in with me. Not everyone has that luxury. Not when in between a rock and a hard place."
The dad blogger concluded that "everyone has challenges." He said he doesn't know "a single person who isn’t struggling with something – multiple things – financially or otherwise. We're all taking shortcuts to get by, doing what we can to survive as people and provide as parents. Some shortcuts are harder – and more desperate – than others."
Julianelle concluded, "Let’s try to cut each other some slack!" adding that he'd love to hear from anyone who has "cheap daycare."
The blogger's piece was originally shared on his Instagram account, alongside an image of his toddler sleeping on the subway.
The post wracked up over 400 comments and nearly 5K likes from supportive parents who get it too. GrowingintoMegan wrote, "I’m a full time single mom working a full time job. I have people give me crap for not getting manicures, pedicures, real haircuts, no social life/dating, etc and each time I remind them that I would have to also pay for childcare so and 'inexpensive' treat very quickly becomes expensive. I’m fortunate that I’m able single parent without child support or state assistance, but sacrifices are still made daily. Thanks for always sharing your ups and downs with strangers. Makes the world seem a little less lonely."
Another named Father_Wizard shared, "I had to bring my then 11-month-old to a dead serious meeting on the 22nd floor of a high-rise on Sunset Blvd. in LA. She was perfectly behaved for almost an hour, and then she started making fart noises and wouldn’t stop for anyone or anything. The executives didn’t think it was funny, but I did. I still have my job."
Props to moms and dads like Julianelle who are taking care of business and their families. The more we see them—and applaud them—for their hard work and acknowledge that families in the U.S. deserve access to more affordable, quality childcare options, the better.