Ashlie Behm


Woman Warrior – Ren Johns

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PDX Waitlist


Are you overwhelmed by the idea of finding quality child care for your little one(s)? Do you feel confused about where to even start in your search? Are you asking yourself questions like:


Is it going to work out? 

Am I on enough lists? 

Is this place good? 

What do other people know about it? 

Where else should I be looking? 


Well, my friends, you are not alone. So many parents are in this exact same situation. Child care is expensive, the waiting lists are long, and it’s hard to know whether or not it’s a quality place. 

But, I’ve got good news for you. There is this amazingly talented woman who is here to help solve your child care woes. And this month she is our Woman Warrior. Her name is Ren Johns and she is the founder of PDX Waitlist

After meeting Ren and learning more about PDX Waitlist, I knew I wanted to feature her on the blog. So, you too could learn more about this incredible service she is providing to our community. 

Be sure to make it all the way to the bottom for a sneak peek into what one of Ren’s classes looks like! I attended and photographed one and let me tell you it was an amazing amount of information that Ren shares. I witnessed her plethora of knowledge as she explain all of the ins and outs of what to look for and answer people’s specific questions as it pertained to their situation. It was evident to me that her heart truly lies in helping people navigate this convoluted system.


Ren’s Roots

Ren hails from the great state of Texas and lived there until she moved to Connecticut to attend Yale. Where she studied psychology with a focus on early childhood education. While in school, she received aRotary Fellowship to study abroad in Italy. She studied in Bologna, Italy to be near  Reggio Emilia, a town world famous for its incredible approach to early education.

She met her husband out on the East Coast. After deciding they were done with the New England winters and didn’t want to go back to those hot Texas summers they eventually made their way to Portland. They loved how deeply connected to nature people in the Pacific Northwest are and knew that this was the place for them. They now have two little girls who love to go exploring in the great outdoors with them and play music together as a family. 


PDX Waitlist Beginnings

PDX Waitlist was born after Ren and her husband struggled to figure out child care for their firstborn. They had planned for family members to watch her for a little while in the beginning, but that plan fell through. Which left them scrambling for a different solution to their child care needs. At the time, they didn’t realize that there was a one to two year waiting list for infant child care, which is just incredibly hard to plan for. Then they started speaking with child care providers and couldn’t get a good idea of where they were in line. They didn’t know if they needed to get a nanny lined up. It was overwhelming. In the end, it all worked out but for them, the process was incredibly stressful. 

They kept thinking to themselves, there has to be a better way. Wouldn’t it be great if instead of having to hear from your friends about the same three to four places that everybody knows, you could reach a wider range of places that not everyone knows, but are still good options. Wouldn’t it be great if you could just go on your phone and in about 5 minutes, key in your information and apply to multiple sites? And then as soon as you applied you could see online an estimate of how many families are ahead of you? And see that in a typical year, one to two children or seven to eight children, get in?

Wouldn’t that be helpful? 

Cue the beginning of PDX Waitlist… the company that focuses on helping families find childcare! 


PDX Waitlist Offerings

PDX Waitlist offers three different services.


  • Application website for over 20 different childcare providers around town. 

The first brainchild. Ren knew that she wanted to create an easy way for parents to get on child care waitlists without having to go to each location individually. Their website also shows you right away where you are in line and also shows you how long the typical wait is. Allowing you to make better decisions about how to plan for your childcare needs. 


  • In-person classes about finding childcare. 

Ren heard many parents asking one another for advice on how to find childcare in various mom groups. She knew she could help more and more people by offering classes to help educate people on what to look for and be there to answer their questions in person. She offers about 4-6 classes per year. 


  • One-on-One consultations with Ren.

Ren started doing one-on-one consultations to help people who couldn’t make it to one of her classes, lived out of state, or needed help with a specific issue and wanted to speak with her individually. She takes on about four consults per month. 


PDX Waitlist and Ren are here to help you with navigating your child care options — because finding quality child care shouldn’t be difficult or stressful. 



You can find out more on the PDX Waitlist Website

Or follow along on Instagram & Facebook


Tune in to Ren’s FREE webinar:

 Nov. 18th – 8:30pm PST – Free Webinar – Demystifying your search


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PDX Waitlist Class

Baby laying on the ground with Mom next to her with PDX Waitlist paperwork

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Parents writing on a piece of butcher block paper

PDX Waitlist class at Ready Set Grow

PDX Waitlist Informational papers

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Woman teaching a class to a group of parents

Where are you at in your childcare search

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Woman talking to two parents


Want to read about more Women Warriors in our community? Check out these amazing women: 

Corinne LeBlanc of Portland Pediatric Acupuncture

Ruth Braunhuber of FIT4MOM SE Portland/Happy Valley

Olivia Spitzer of Doula Olivia

Danielle McCary of Laurelhurst Chiropractic

Shira Fogel of Tiny Talkers

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