This story is part of a series, published in The Reader and on, that spotlights the experiences of low-income, working families in Omaha. Last month’s piece featured a day care provider; this month’s article is about a mother whose children were in day care.

When Catherine Brauer woke her daughters up just before midnight to drive them home from day care, where they’d been sleeping, the whole family was exhausted. As Brauer got her girls ready for bed in the wee hours of the morning, she noticed scratches, bite marks and bruises on their bodies from bullies. They were also hungry because day care food often tasted old, said Brauer, who sometimes worked close to 85 hours a week as a medical receptionist and waitress.

After putting her kids, who were 5, 6 and 7 at the time, to bed, Brauer cried herself to sleep — then awoke at the crack of dawn to do it over again.

“Those were scary times, because my children were little and vulnerable, and I [didn’t have resources] to put them in high-end child care,” Brauer said. “My kids suffered, which was hurtful [to see] as a mom.”

Want to read more of Brauer’s story? Click below to check out this month’s Omaha Jobs column, written by Leah Cates and published on, and in the print edition of The Reader.

Editor’s note: The Reader’s sister publication, El Perico, is partnering with Catherine Brauer on promoting Latina makers.

Featured photo courtesy of Serenityyroom Events/Catherine Brauer

Leah Cates is a reporter and Editorial & Membership Associate for The Reader. You can connect with Leah via Twitter (@cates_leah) or email (

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