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Childcare Debate Continues – to Stay at Home, or Not – is the Ultimate Question

Stephanie, Kenneth and Raven (1) McAlpine of Mesa.

The COVID-19 pandemic is continuing to wreak havoc on parents and kids. It’s also shed new light on the ever-present “Mommy Wars” – the often-unspoken debate about the benefits of mothers working outside the house versus being a stay-at-home mom (SAHM). Research shows 71% of moms currently work outside the home. Working moms often struggle to find the best childcare options for their families.

The ongoing fallout from the global pandemic has caused many working parents to reevaluate the value of staying home with their children and, in cases where they can’t say at home, the importance of finding a care provider who shares similar rearing philosophies and provides an environment that mimics the safety and security of being at home.

New Company Pairs SAHMs and Working Parents for Ideal Caregiving Situations

A new company called Caribou, recently launched in Phoenix, is focused on alleviating child care challenges like overpopulated daycare centers, a lack of qualified caregivers and long wait lists at childcare facilities across the Valley. These issues were exacerbated by the COVID pandemic and, in many communities, causing a “childcare desert” or lack of affordable and nearby childcare options.

Started by working moms, Caribou’s mission is to provide high-quality childcare that’s easy to set up, affordable, and customized for each family’s individual needs.

The company connects stay-at-home moms who have a child of their own with families looking for high-quality care at a reasonable cost. Caribou offers a personalized approach and support, including an easy-to-use online platform to communicate directly with vetted care providers and handle bookings. You no longer have to scroll through pages of care providers; Caribou provides a curated list of fully-vetted stay-at-home moms based on the needs and preferences of families looking for care.

Caribou caretaker, Nicole Meeks and her daughter Hailey (5) of Mesa.

Kids and Parents Benefit

“I wanted to be a stay-at-home mom to my daughter but I also wanted to help support my family from a financial standpoint,” said Stephanie McAlpine, Caribou’s local ambassador. “Being a care provider with Caribou is the best of both worlds for my family. I’m able to stay at home with my daughter and provide the kind of care she deserves, help other moms in my community have a safe and comfortable place to leave their children, and earn an income. It’s a win-win-win.”

“At Caribou, we work hard to remove the stigma that a stay-at-home mom isn’t a ‘real job,’” added McAlpine. “Stay-at-home moms can provide a valuable service and earn an income for their hard work. People who use our services know their children are getting superior care that will set them up for future success both socially and emotionally.”

Caribou has a dedicated team that conducts interviews and vets all care providers including an identity verification check and extensive background check prior to starting care. On average, Caribou care providers have 10 or more years of experience in the childcare space in addition to being a mom. Online matching is essential to connecting families with caregivers who share common ideas and strategies for child-rearing.

Since its launch in August 2021, more than 200 stay-at-home moms across Metro Phoenix have signed up to provide safe and personalized in-home care for children. Caribou childcare services are currently available in Phoenix, Scottsdale, Mesa, Tempe, Chandler, Gilbert, Glendale and Peoria.

To learn more about how you can become a Caribou provider or sign up for childcare services, visit withcaribou.com


Amy Wolff is a public relations and communications specialist based in Phoenix, Ariz. She has a passion for sharing client’s success stories through written pieces and print and broadcast media coverage. Wolff earned a degree in Broadcast Journalism from Arizona State University. She is married to her high school sweetheart and is a proud mom to two amazing daughters.

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