One of the hardest parts about being a single mom – or a single parent for that matter – is finding the resources for childcare.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services pegs the average daycare costs at about a whopping $1,000 a month. The average elementary school teacher who graduated with a master’s degree earns in the range of $40,000-$50,000 a year. Taxes, food, transportation, mortgage payments, auto payments and other fees can already cut that down to $16,000-$20,000 to spare in a year. Add in twelve months of daycare and all you have left is a meager $4,000-$8,000.
And that’s calculating the income of a graduate degree holder. What if you were an undergraduate degree holder that gets paid less? What if you were a blue-collar worker earning minimum wage?
That extra $12,000 a year is a very big thing for a single-parent family, especially for that of a single mom working her guts out for her kids. Feminists may rock the world for controversial issues like contraception and abortions, but the basic idea of childcare as a standardized employee benefit is one that nobody wants to tackle. It just isn’t controversial enough, even though many families out there know just how much money daycare can cost every single month.
Even religious conservatives that are stubbornly against abortion could actually provide significant support for mandatory childcare benefits. A pregnant mom that knows she has access to childcare is more likely to keep a baby than when she has no time, money, energy or knowledge in taking care of children. So instead of belittling single mothers and slamming dogma in their faces, why not give them realistic and practical alternatives to abortion?
To cut a long story short, mandating childcare benefits is something that parents of all walks in life – not just single moms – need to rally around. Our children need a solid developmental foundation to become tomorrow’s leaders, and it all starts with good childcare. That is something both liberal feminists and religious conservatives can agree upon.