This story is being provided for free as part of a series on childcare during the COVID pandemic, powered by the Solutions Journalism Network and dedicated to delivering solution-oriented stories about problems our community is facing.
HAMPTON, New Hampshire – Turn the corner into the “respite room,” and on a table by the door sits a chakra bible, miniature water fountain and white orchid. A diffuser in the hallway sends plumes of essential oil into the air.
A “pillow bar” stocks pillows of all different sizes. The bed presents itself as a cloud.
This is where parents nap at Relief Parent Respite and Resource Center, thought to be a one-of-its-kind haven for parents and caregivers struggling with burnout, toxic stress and general overwhelm — feelings that have “exponentially increased” since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, said founder Krista Maltais.
Designed by a mom who has “been there,” Relief offers an array of services for parents – including a nap room, work space, lounge area and massage therapy – while their children are kept busy by the center’s childcare staff just a few doors down. Customers can pay for services a la carte, or purchase a six-month membership option, for example, for $89 per month.
It’s also a gathering space for a litany of groups and classes, ranging from childbirth education, to pregnancy support, to play time for parents and babies.
Respite care has long been established as short-term relief for…