Sisterhood Blog

Motherhood in the 'Lean In' Era

By Gabrielle Birkner

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When Ronit Sherwin moved to Delaware in 2011 to become executive director of the University of Delaware Hillel, she decided to enroll her now three-year-old twins in a daycare program at a well-established Jewish organization. But as a single mother and her family’s sole breadwinner, she couldn’t afford the $2,200 monthly bill for nearly 10 hours a day of childcare for her daughter and son.

“I couldn’t buy groceries if I had to pay that,” Sherwin, 40, said.

She explained her situation to the daycare provider, and was assured that she would be given time to pay off any outstanding balance. As an in-kind contribution, Sherwin offered to teach a class at the organization housing the daycare.

Each month she wrote a check for what she could afford. But six months in, owing some $6,000, Sherwin received a call from the facility, asking how she planned to resolve her debt. Sherwin, who rents a small house and drives a 13-year-old Honda Civic, explained that she was doing the best she could, and promised to pay off the balance eventually. “I really felt shamed,” said Sherwin, who has a master’s degree from Harvard, and has worked for Jewish non-profits for the past 17 years.

Read the full story on Lilith.org. This article first appeared in the Summer 2013 issue of Lilith magazine.


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