What Child Care Means: One Doctor’s Story of Working and Parenting Today

Child care teacher caring for a doctor's infant during COVID-19

Sometimes the fates collide in a way that we couldn’t possibly predict.

So it was in a recent message we got about our Bright Horizons center at New York Presbyterian in Midtown. 

The writer is Akshay Ganju, an emergency room physician. His job right now is a job like few others, taking place in a location like few others -- the epicenter of the pandemic. 

And his baby is much on his mind.

To the teachers and the center director, he wrote about his gratitude:

It is hard to express the absolute joy I get from those dings on my phone throughout the day - the Bright Horizons app has updated! From adorable videos of my 14-month-old doing science projects (this week they are growing grass on pine cones) or singing and clapping with her favorite songs, to cute pictures of her playing with her best friends, to mundane check-ins about the food she has eaten and the diapers she has made, I feel truly connected to her and her experience throughout the day.

He wrote about their impact: 

These frequent digital touches alone would give me great confidence in the care she is receiving. But most important to me is the knowledge that every single caregiver at Bright Horizons, from the directors to the teachers, treats our baby like she's their baby. They don't see their job as just keeping her safe and fed. They expand her horizons, challenge her to grow, and put incredible effort into enriching her experience throughout the day. I don't need videos and photos to know this - seeing the joy on her teachers' faces when she shows up in the morning is all the proof I need.

He wrote about the support he receives as a parent: 

Bright Horizons' careful attention to her growth and development, from when she started as a six-month-old, has not only created a vocal, confident, and inquisitive toddler, but it has also made us better parents. Their expertise has not only gently pushed our daughter forward, but us as well. As parents we are sometimes reluctant to embrace change - can our baby handle that? - but the support to achieve milestones like switching from bottles to cups, or going from two naps to one, has helped our child mature and has increased our confidence as parents as well. We truly feel like we are part of a knowledgeable and caring team, with our daughter's happiness and success as the unified goal.

He wrote about what it all means in the current moment:

The current crisis facing our world has crystallized these themes. These teachers risk their health and safety every day to continue to come to work, silently demonstrating their commitment to our daughter through their daily bravery. When the daycare was almost shut down by the city government, the alarm in the director's voice when she called us late on a Friday night spoke to her devotion and commitment - this daycare is more than just her job; it is her responsibility and her calling. I know the feeling - as an emergency physician, I feel the same way about my patients. Of course, by Sunday the director had fixed the situation and she was there on Monday morning at 7 am, bright and cheery as always. Their continued courage is quiet and underappreciated - I can only keep doing my job on the front-lines because they keep doing theirs, and my unquestioned faith in their continued care of my child allows me to focus on what I need to do at work.

Knowing that my daughter is safe and cared for would alone be sufficient for an excellent daycare. But knowing that my daughter is loved and appreciated, educated and socialized, makes Bright Horizons a truly special place. 

And then he provided the detail that we couldn’t have seen coming: 

My mother was a Bright Horizons teacher and I myself was a Bright Horizons baby thirty years ago, and I feel truly blessed that my daughter has the opportunity to follow this same path.

To Akshay and his wife Georgina, we offer our gratitude for the work you do, for the kind words you shared, and for being part of our Bright Horizons family for so long. 

And to our teachers on this, the start of a Teacher Appreciation Month like no other – you fill up our HEART every day of every month…thank you.

Written by: Lisa Oppenheimer

May 1, 2020

About the Author

Lisa Oppenheimer at Bright Horizons

As Director, Brand Storytelling at Bright Horizons, Lisa writes “from the trenches” about the real life challenges of people in today’s workplaces: from the tensions of being a working mother, to working with millennials in the digital age, and everything in between. With a career ranging from freelance to full-time, Lisa brings a diverse employment background to her perspective.