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Building Childcare Community Drives Our Chief Mompreneur

MyVillage’s CEO Shares Her Journey Into Mompreneurship Story

erica_mackey in-home childcare ceo

I have a 2-year-old Izzy and a 10-month-old Roxanne.

Izzy is in that amazing and slightly annoying question asking phase right now: Why isn’t the sun up yet? Why do horses like hay? Why don’t they like meat? .. Mom, Mom… Why does Santa eat cookies and not mushrooms???

So when Izzy was born, I was faced with a choice. Give up my work or find (and trust) someone else to help raise my kid while I was at work. We needed my income and I love my work, so I started looking for options.

I couldn’t afford a nanny, so I looked for daycare providers. I made more phone calls than I can count. My mind was blown. I received frequent comments like … “Oh, you didn’t get on a waitlist while you were pregnant?” Or my favorite (which I heard more than once) was, “I will never have a vacancy because my parents plan their pregnancies around my program openings.”

I was devastated. It turned out that because I didn’t get my unknown child on a waitlist before I started thinking about conceiving her, I was forced into a trade-off between a quality experience for my baby and something that was available that I could afford.

I felt like I was failing as a parent before I even got started.

A little about me. I’ve started two companies and advise others. And I love my work. So as a good entrepreneur does, I embraced my inner toddler and I started diving into the problem and asking my own set of “Whys?”

Here is what I learned.

I was not alone. Moms around the country are faced with this same heartbreak.

70% of mothers are now in the workforce, the highest number in history (yay!), however, this means 15M kids in the US are in paid care before they start kindergarten. The cost of this care is more than college tuition for most of us. All of this with the backdrop that the US has the worst maternity leave mandate in the world…none. Over 25% of moms are back at work when their child is 10 days old

Bottom line: Working moms (and dads) do not have a working childcare system supporting us.

The added tension is that the quality of the experience our little ones get at this early stage really matters. 90% of our brain development happens before we start kindergarten. What??!! By the time they start elementary school, they are almost completely baked.

Enter my first experience with Mom-Guilt. How could I leave my child at this critical time, yet no part of me was interested in giving up my career. When I think back to my childhood, my mom was this support system for other families in our neighborhood where both parents worked all day. We always had extra kids around our lunch table. This isn’t an option for most families now.

We are now in a time when our country, our communities, have never been more disconnected.

We live far away from our extended families who used to support us during this joyous, but stressful time in our lives. We don’t know and certainly don’t trust many of our neighbors to fill this role. We feel isolated as individuals in our society, misunderstood and sometimes abused. Our country is depressed and distracted and our children are going to pay for it if we don’t turn this system around.

How do we build back our community to a place where we rely on our neighbors, where we can trust that we all have the best interest of our children at heart, and where we feel connected because we actually are connected?

I am building a business with a mission to harness the power of community to create exceptional care for every child.

We make it easy to start and successfully run a home-based daycare and preschool. No prerequisites. All you need is a passion for young learners and an open mind. By bringing early childhood care back into our neighbors’ homes, we are delivering quality, affordability, and availability without compromise.

But along the way, we learned that it’s not just about making early childhood businesses work, it’s about building a community who can support each other through the journey of early childhood.

This continues to be my ah-ha moment.

I realized that every parent wrestles with how to be a good mom and how to participate in the world, whatever that looks like. We all worry about failing before we get started. This is what it has always meant to be a parent. And in order to make parenting easier, people have always come together, in community, to help parents find ways to shift between roles: mom, CEO, community member. We all need this level of support to succeed in the messy business of raising children.

Join me in building the future we deserve – whether you’re a parent looking for someone to love and nurture your child or you are inspired to be a community leader and open a program in your home – let us help you make that dream become a reality so none of us have to experience the feeling of failing before we even start.

Erica Mackey, CEO & Co-Founder