This October, the all-female co-working and community space The Wing marked two-years since opening its doors to give women a safe and secure place to collaborate and work. Now, they’re taking that innovation a step further with an announcement of a new addition to the family—The Little Wing, a childcare program born from member feedback about affordable and convenient options for moms.
In December, as part of the expansion of The Wing’s location in Soho (New York), members will be able to access quality on-site child care—or “Wing-sitters”—while they spend time working and networking. This support system is meant to offer flexibility and an affordable option to women so that they don’t have to miss out on important meetings, deadlines or projects.
“As a mom of a nine-month old, I know firsthand that one of the greatest barriers to working as a parent is lack of flexible work schedules and access to child care. That’s why I’m particularly proud that The Wing will be introducing babysitting and children’s programing,” says co-founder and COO Lauren Kassan.
While mom’s at work upstairs (members must be at the location to utilize The Little Wing—no drop-offs here), the kids will have access to age-appropriate art, music, and movement classes, along with open play hours where the parents (or any authorized caregiver) can join in. Babysitting blocks will max out at two hours and will come at an extra cost, though one that will likely be cheaper than comparable options elsewhere. The program will be piloted at the Soho location with hopes to roll it out to all the other Wing locations—including the six new ones they’ll be adding next year.
“By offering a solution for our members who are parents, we want to help contribute to a world where there is no perceived motherhood penalty,” Kassan adds.
The Wing partnered with experts in the parenting field to develop the programming for The Little Wing: Keri Snyder, who most recently served as the Chief Operating Officer at the long-running childcare facility Citibabes, and Lisa Spiegel and Jean Kunhardt, directors of Soho Parenting, a veteran NYC-based parenting center. Along with the kid-friendly programs, members will have access to parenting seminars like “Your Child’s Schedule: How Much is Too Much?,” “There is Something Bigger Than Just Ourselves: Ways to Incorporate Spirituality and Religion Into Family Life,” and “Your Child’s Self Concept: Fostering Confidence, Self-Love and Humility.” They’ll also tackle topics like queer parenting and family planning.
It’s a fairly simple solution in theory, but one that still feels sadly novel in practice. Childcare is, of course, a huge factor for any parent when thinking about taking (or leaving) a job. And for the ever-growing number of freelancers and entrepreneurs, it can be a serious roadblock to future success. So it makes a lot of sense for a woman-run organization like The Wing to be a leader in attempting to alleviate this stress.
Women have paid a career price for motherhood for far too long. And if a company in just its second year of existence can begin to tackle the problem, it would seem logical that larger businesses could look harder at solutions they offer parents, too.
Here’s hoping this is just the beginning of innovative new solutions for working moms.