Help! How Co-Founder Solves Probs For Moms With Resource Network
First things first. As a mother working outside the home, you can’t do the work unless you have the childcare and pre-school details handled and secure.
This is where Kinside comes in, says co-founder Shadiah Sigala, who helped to create and launch the membership “concierge service” for working parents to find and manage the web of concerns for parents of children newborn to 5 years old.
“We are the flexible and affordable alternative to onsite childcare,” says Sigala, who also co-founded Honeybook. “This is a company made by parents for parents,” she says.
As the mother of two children under 4, Sigala’s new venture that launched in 2018 with $1.3 million in venture capital backing, is the resource many of her tech parent friends were longing to have.
“We’re guided by the principle that all families and kids deserve access to high quality care,” according to Kinside, co-founded by Abe Hahn and Britney Barrett, along with Sigala.
“American economic growth has been driven primarily by women entering the workforce for several decades. However, workplace culture and structures have not caught up to the demands of dual-working families, nor family-centric values. We are here to change that,” according to Kinside.
“Childcare has become a business imperative,” says Sigala.
Working mothers are a huge part of the workforce. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, “71 percent of mothers with children under age 18 are in the labor force today, compared with only 47 percent in 1975,” reports American Progress.
“The United States lags far behind other countries in terms of providing paid leave, affordable child care, and other supports that are of particular importance to parents, as well as to any worker who might require such flexibility to take care of their loved ones,” according to American Progress.
In her new book, Making Motherhood Work: How Women Manage Careers and Caregiving, Caitlyn Collins, assistant professor of sociology at Washington University in St. Louis, asserts that the “U.S. ranks dead last for policies that support working mothers and their families,” according to Futurity.
“Working mothers’ struggles to reconcile employment and motherhood, as well as the policy solutions to resolve this conflict, are of urgent public concern,” Collins tells Futurity. “Our government depends on mothers. So why are we failing to support them?”
Maternal bias is also at play, and complicates the necessity to even the working day with adequate childcare.
A new study from Bright Horizons Family Solutions shows that “Seventy-five percent of survey respondents, which included 2,000 working Americans over the age of 18 and was about equally split between parents and non-parents, said that working fathers are ‘more dedicated’ to their careers than working moms,” The Chicago Tribune reports.
“Seventy-seven percent of respondents also said they think that dads are better able to manage their responsibilities without being stretched, and two-thirds of them said that is easier for men to manage working parent responsibilities than women,” according to the Chicago Tribune.
Sigala maintains all of these factors are at play and converge on new mothers—and fathers—trying to get the best care for their children.
“It is a hard, hard time for parents,” Sigala says, but Kinside, with a nationwide network of 6,000 daycare sites, preschools and other “rigorously” vetted childcare options is intended to ease the difficulties.
“We’re digging in all the public records” on the resources, “Sigala says, including licensing, inspections and early childhood education qualifications. “We’re also asking for parent referrals,” she says.
Kinside has eight corporate pilots in place, with companies offering Kinside membership to its employees, who earn a discount on childcare and tuitions.
“Companies are paying for the service, but companies do not pay for the childcare, but in many cases we negotiate a discount for the parents,” Sigala says.
“We operate like a closed marketplace,” she says.
And while some large companies, universities and institutions do offer child care on site, that is not the option for most working mothers.
“It is really hard for many companies from a real estate and regulatory perspective to offer that. They also have limited capacity. For instance, Google only takes so many kids,” Sigala says.
Indeed, recently, working mothers at Amazon demanded from Jeff Bezos, the richest man in the world, that better options for childcare be available for working mothers.
According to The Observer, “A Bloomberg report states that the Amazon moms troupe, who go by the nickname Momazonians, are demanding on-site backup day care for their children during long work hours. The group—made up of over 1,800 mothers working at Amazon—argues that the lack of emergency childcare options prevents women from seeking promotions and earning higher status at the company.”
“The workplace is changing,” says Sigala. “We are working with companies to understand the changing demographics, as more women are staying in the workplace and Millennials are having children. Companies realize they need a family friendly culture.”
About the Author
Michele Weldon is editorial director of Take The Lead, an award-winning author, journalist, emerita faculty in journalism at Northwestern University and a senior leader with The OpEd Project. @micheleweldon www.micheleweldon.com