It's working for Jessica Chang, Co-Founder and CEO at WeeCare
Los Angeles, CA
You shouldn’t navigate being a mom by yourself. Your significant other can be very helpful, but they haven’t really been in your shoes. Being able to connect with other moms has helped me figure out what works for me and my kids.
If I could give my former expectant self advice I would say start looking for childcare earlier! I had no idea how challenging it would be to place my child in daycare.
I saw firsthand how challenging it was to find childcare when I was pregnant with my first child. I wanted to get to the bottom of why childcare supply was decreasing year over year while demand was going in the opposite direction. Why were we in a childcare desert? That’s when I came across an opportunity to own my own preschool. I was able to roll my sleeves up and figure out the issue first hand. What I learned was that the problem was systemic for both providers and parents. Providers were not keeping up with operations and were paid so little, less than $20k a year, to take care of our little ones! At the same time, the number of open childcare slots was decreasing every year and prices for families were in the thousands of dollars each month – something most families can’t afford. I learned that if we wanted to create a sustainable childcare industry, we had to solve both for families and for providers. WeeCare was developed to solve this problem. My co-founders, Jesse Forrest, Matt Reilly, and I decided to modernize the childcare industry, making care accessible to everyone regardless of budget, location, and schedule.
Right now, parents, especially women, are forced to choose between their career and their children. WeeCare is raising the standard of childcare, so more families can find care conveniently located to them and within their budget. We also work with organizations looking to support their employees with childcare benefits, and we expect this demand to increase more and more as time goes on.
COVID-19 upended a lot of people’s lives and our team at WeeCare had to be nimble as a company. Being an entrepreneur has taught me to pivot quickly. A pandemic is requiring everyone to work from home to stay safe? Alright, let’s do it! Instead of being scared of change, I decided to see it as an opportunity and a challenge. We actually ended up developing an entirely new platform called Fever Free to screen daycare providers and children, so they don’t show up sick and infect everyone else. Thanks to this technology, more than 90% of our childcare homes were legally allowed to stay open (compared to 60% national average) during 2020, with a 0% transmission rate between children.
I manage to do everything I need to do with lots of coffee and a lot of help from my husband 🙂
One of the most important things I do to keep myself rested and well is having recurring date nights with my husband. We can use them for personal time or to eat together. Prioritizing this time for ourselves has been instrumental for my sanity and ability to rest. As an entrepreneur, I’ve learned that self-care is one of the most important things to prioritize.
Working as a new mother is extremely challenging, especially since those young years are instrumental to your child’s development. They need to be in warm environments in which they can grow and learn. That all sounds great, but the reality is that most people cannot find childcare, and many can’t afford it! That is why it is so important that organizations support and believe in childcare benefits.
My advice to new and expectant mothers is that there are a lot of free resources available to moms, such as mommy groups or nonprofit organizations specifically for moms and expecting mothers. Many insurance plans cover necessary items, like breast pumps — not to get too TMI, but it’s true!
Other moms. You shouldn’t navigate being a mom by yourself. Your significant other can be very helpful, but they haven’t really been in your shoes. Being able to connect with other moms has helped me figure out what works for me and my kids.
I have many mentors! Most of them are professionals — lots of mompreneurs and other female CEOs that are parents, as well. Seeing all they have done showed me that I can do it too.
I am a big proponent of paying it forward, so I generally mentor female CEOs.
As a working parent, I never expected finding childcare would be so hard and that diaper changing would be so much easier.