For working parents, having confidence that your children are being well cared for during the day can make all the difference. Unfortunately, two in three parents do not have peace of mind with their children’s daycare or preschool, according to a recent study from C.S. Mott Children's Hospital National Poll on Children's Health.

“Our poll demonstrates the challenge of choosing a preschool or childcare setting that meets all of a parent's criteria,” says poll co-director Sarah Clark in a press release. “Safety and health factors are important to parents, but too often, parents aren't sure how to determine if a childcare option is safe and healthy.”


For the report, researchers surveyed 307 parents with a child between the ages of one and five. They found that 62% of the parents struggled to find childcare options that met their standards for safety, cleanliness and affordability.

Among the top deal breakers for parents were:

  • The location seemed “sketchy” (70% of parents said this was an automatic “no”)
  • There were guns on the premises (56%)
  • Non-staff adults were on the premises (48%)
  • Unvaccinated children were allowed to attend (41%)
  • Staff member was a smoker (31%)

The researchers said their findings speak to the importance of parents doing their homework before sending young children to daycare or preschool. Beyond visiting the facilities and talking with staff members, the researchers suggest parents inquire about background checks, security policies, vaccination requirements and more.

“Some health-related characteristics are observable while others, such as how often toys are cleaned, are not as obvious,” Clark says. “The more research parents do ahead of time, the more confident they will feel that their children are in a safe and healthy environment.”

Unfortunately, the confidence many families have in their childcare situations comes at a big expense. According to another report this year from the Center for American Progress, the average American family spends more than 30% of their income on childcare. That finding led the Center for American progress to recommend universal preschool options for 3- and 4-year-olds and childcare options capped at 10% of the parents’ income for everyone else. (Just look at Finland for proof of concept.)

The latest report should put this conversation back on the table—because we all benefit when we know our children are in good hands during the day.

Motherhood is a practice in learning, growing and loving more than you ever thought possible. Even as a "veteran" mama of four young sons and one newly adopted teenager, Jalyssa Richardson enthusiastically adapts to whatever any given day has in store—a skill she says she's refined through the years.

Here's what just one day in her life looks like:

Jalyssa says she learned to embrace agility throughout her motherhood journey. Here's more from this incredible mama of five boys.

What is the most challenging part of your day as a mom of five?

Time management! I want to meet each of the boys' individual needs—plus show up for myself—but I often feel like someone gets overlooked.

What's the best part of being a mom of five?

The little moments of love. The hugs, the kisses, the cuddles, the smiles... they all serve as little reminders that I am blessed and I'm doing okay.

Are there misconceptions about raising boys?

There are so many misconceptions about raising boys. I think the biggest one is that boys don't have many emotions and they're just so active all the time. My boys display many emotions and they also love to be sweet and cuddly a lot of the time.

What do you think would surprise people the most about being a mom of five?

How much I enjoy it. I never knew I wanted to be a mom until I was pregnant with my first. My desire only grew and the numbers did! I am surprised with every single baby as my capacity to love and nurture grows. It's incredible.

How do you create balance and make time for yourself?

Balance for me looks like intentional planning and scheduling because I never want my boys to feel like they aren't my first priority, but it is extremely difficult. What I try to do is not fit it all into one day. I have work days because motherhood is my first priority. I fit in segments of self-care after the kids' bedtime so I don't grow weary.

What's the biggest lesson you have learned from motherhood?

I have learned that sacrifice is actually beautiful. I was terrified of the selflessness motherhood would require, but I've grown so much through the sacrifice. There is nothing better than living for something bigger than myself.

When did you first feel like a mom? How has your motherhood evolved?

I first felt like a mom when I was pregnant with my first son and I intentionally chose to change my eating habits so my body could be strong and healthy for him. I didn't have to think twice—I just did what I thought would be best for him. That decision being so effortless made me realize I was made for motherhood.

My perspective has changed with each baby as I've realized motherhood doesn't have to be one-size-fits-all. With my first son, I was a by-the-book mama and it was so stressful. With each baby, I have felt more freedom and it has made motherhood so much more beautiful. I have evolved into the mother that they need, I am perfect for these boys.

This article was sponsored by Dr. Brown's. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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