LOS ANGELES — Before entrepreneur and content creator Ashley Torres gave birth to her daughter Luna, she figured she would juggle child care while still working full time.
“Because I have such a flexible work schedule, at first I was like, 'I can do it. It will be fine. I’ll be able to do work when she naps,'” Torres recalled. “Fast forward to having a baby, and you realize, it’s not possible.”
Torres says even with someone watching her 10-month-old a couple days a week, she only manages to make it through half of her daily to-do list.
“As someone who is Type A, a high performer, it is really hard to swallow that I have to go to bed right now because I’m so exhausted and I can’t finish everything I need to do,” she said.
There are limited child care options Torres is comfortable with during the pandemic. Hiring full-time help means more exposure in a house where her husband also works and she isn’t comfortable leaving her baby at a day care either. Torres isn’t alone in her struggle to balance work and child care. A recent Pew Research Center survey found that as the pandemic has gone on, 53% of working parents say handling child care has been difficult.
It’s also a struggle fashion and beauty influencer and entrepreneur Chriselle Lim faces as the mother to 6-year-old Chloe and 2-year-old Collette.
“So many mothers end up leaving the workforce because they can’t afford it, to put them in daycare or they would just rather be at home with their children,” Lim said. More than 2.3 million women have left the workforce since February 2020 due to job loss or leaving to care for children according to the National Women's Law Center.
So Lim rolled up her sleeves and helped create a co-working space called BumoWork that is also a licensed child care center for children from 6 months to 6 years old. The adult and children’s areas are separate, giving parents the flexibility to work while their child is cared for in another room.
Lim says the idea started six years ago after she had her first child. She was frustrated by the lack of viable child care options and says during the pandemic, it’s even tougher to juggle a career and motherhood.
“If you have a job, you’re expected to perform. You’re expected to be on every conference call, every Zoom meeting,” Lim said. “But you are also a mother, so you are literally playing two roles and there is no separation.”
While the pandemic delayed the initial opening of the Century City location, Lim says it couldn’t have come at a better time as they prepare to open their doors on May 7.
“A lot of companies are permanent work-from-home or work-from-home for the rest of the year, and parents are now figuring out how they find a space where they can work and also be with their children,” she said.
Torres says this option will allow her to still pursue her career while maximizing time with her daughter.
“She’s only going to me small for so long, so I’m trying to really prioritize her and still get work done at the same time,” she said.
BumoWork opens on May 7 and offers flexible memberships including full-time and part-time options.