Childcare Challenge of BroadwayMadeline Holler
Daycare’s pretty much a bust in the U.S. It’s expensive, difficult to vet and not terribly flexible. Also? It’s like you have to know someone who knows someone to find out about lots of the good, affordable options.
Forget about it if you need any kind of flexibility, too.
For women who are tempted to leave their careers — or even take a break from them — childcare is a huge reason. That’s certainly true for actors, according to this article in the NY Times. Veteran actor Sharon Wheatley, who writes a parenting column for an industry newspaper, has this to say about babies and Broadway:
“The minute you say, I’m having a kid,’ I swear to God, people hear, I’m getting out of the business.’ “
Looks like insiders even know this.
When Ms. Wheatley was in her 20s, an agent told her that actors her age were a dime a dozen, that she would have a better shot at stardom in her 40s — by then, there would be more parts available because her competition would start dropping out to have babies. If Ms. Wheatley had her way, all those women would have their babies and still give her a run for her money.
For actors, it even costs money to NOT make money, as getting a sitter to cover the time it takes to go on an audition costs between $60 and $80. And 9-to-5, M-F childcare not only doesn’t cut it, it costs too much for what actors might need.
In addition to continuing her career, Wheatley would also like to see a childcare center created that caters to actors. If they’re successful, I hope someone copies that model. As a freelance writer who doesn’t work regular hours and often needs last-minute and evening or weekend coverage, I feel like I have a lot in common with Wheatley and other Broadway moms’ childcare problems.
How do the rest of you non 9-to-5-er career parents cover childcare?