Child Care for All

The 10-year anniversary of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (a.k.a "welfare reform") has prompted analysis of the key components of the 1996 law's success. According to the New York Times, the number of people on welfare has dropped 60 percent to 4.4 million since former president Bill Clinton collaborated with a Republican Congress to reverse six decades of social welfare policy of free monthly cash handouts for the nation's poorest citizens.

Public assistance now includes work requirements, time limits, tax credits, childcare subsidies and health insurance for low-income working parents. A report by the Library of Congress' Congressional Research Service Domestic Social Policy division studied single moms in particular to analyze how welfare reform has affected them, in part because opponents' biggest concerns were how mothers and children would be impacted. (A copy of the report is available through the Congressional Research Service.) Single mothers are now less likely to receive cash welfare, less likely to be poor and more likely to work. Federally-funded child-care assistance has been critical to their success getting off welfare. Because, as any working mom knows, you cannot work consistently unless you can afford to have someone else take care -- good care -- of your children.

An article in The Washington Post, Law May Force Some Working Poor Back to the Support of Welfare Rolls, explored how essential child care -- more than job or educational opportunities -- has been key to single moms' success leaving welfare dependency behind. "The job and the degree are important, and I'm proud of them," said Bianca Jones, a 23-year-old single working mom who's son's day care costs only $33 a week because of a Fairfax county daycare voucher program. "But it's the child care that's been the biggest help to get me where I am." Another single mom of three, Alicia Granados, spoke about how rumored cuts in the program may force her to move her four-year-old from a licensed childcare with development specialists and certified teachers to a homecare provider where "she just sits in front of the television all day."

The New York Times article makes a strong point that the success of welfare reform "has largely neutralized welfare as a political issue." Let's hope politicians can continue to view quality child care with objectivity as well. Because parents and children at all income levels would benefit if child care could be neutralized as a political issue as well, and seen instead as a boon to our entire society.

By Leslie Morgan Steiner |  August 30, 2006; 7:00 AM ET  | Category:  Moms in the News
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It's great that subsidized daycare exists (and should continue to exist).

However, I wonder if any study has been done to see why the single parents are single parents. I ask because if a large percentage are young single girls getting pregnant, in addition to spending money on subsidized daycare shouldn't we also spend money on teaching other young girls how NOT to get pregnant - thereby reducing the need for subsidized daycare? Isn't the country better when young single people can get an education without getting sidetracked because of contraceptive ignorance?

Posted by: Not going to sign this post :) | August 30, 2006 7:56 AM

I'm married, with a college degree, and have been intimate with the workings and trappings of birth control for over a decade - and my pregnancy was unplanned. Surprise! No birth control is 100%. Yes, I absolutely agree that better education to prevent single moms who are becoming single moms out of ignorance is necessary, and will certainly help the situation...
...but subsidized childcare is essential to helping out working parents. My husband and I both work full-time, and we couldn't afford the full-price daycares in our area - we received a grant from the state to help subsidize our childcare costs, and suddenly I can work to pay, you know, rent and groceries. We are very grateful for the help, and I don't know what we would do without it - be in a lot of debt, I guess.
If we can't afford it (not "it puts a pinch in our vacation plans" but truly do not have the income to pay for it without putting everything on credit cards), I can't imagine how a single mom without a college degree could do so.

Posted by: working mom in FL | August 30, 2006 8:45 AM

I agree with the coward who wouldn't sign her post (kidding :-) Isn't just wonderful that our political leaders espouse the benefits of marriage and family...but only want to teach abstinence to children (or fund programs that only teach abstinence) and our kids are still getting pregnant? Let's get back to evidence based teaching and teach the truth about sex, relationships, and the ways to prevent pregnancy/disease. Studies consistently show that you need to teach about contraception as well as waiting to have sex. AND the studies show that teaching about contraception DOES NOT lead kids to have sex.

[I do want to caution tying how the mothers became single moms with whether or not they get government assistance. The concern would be punishing children for the "sins" of the mother.]

Back to the subject of the blog---subsidized childcare is critical to all of us. I think it is terrific that single moms tend to support themselves--don't take away the one thing that helps them be self-sufficient. Quality day care leads to better prepared kids for school and perhaps better workers. Wouldn't it be great if all childcare were subsidized and worked like a sliding scale so that child care workers could be better compensated and we could attract more qualified people to the profession?

Posted by: lurker | August 30, 2006 8:53 AM

I am absolutely in favor of subsidized child care. I can't think of a more important issue in todays time. I actually want to look at the studdy more closely. Your article states that a single mother is less likely to be in poverty. But the national poverty rate (overall) has remained unchanged since welfare reform. So that must mean if there are less single mothers and children in poverty and the overall poverty rate has remained unchanged, it must mean that men are more likely to be in poverty after welfare reform. I need to look into that some more when I have time. I believe and I don't have the time today to look into it but that the number of teen mothers, who are often single (we hope), has actually gone down in a decade. I am not at all saying I favor faith based education because I don't at all. It was just to address that something in a postive direction is changing (lower number of single mothers). Overall, I think the government or the politicians are a crock of you know what when they tout family values. Yeah, family values if they are families like theirs. I don't by at all that they care one ounce about families. If they did a greater proportion of tax dollars would go for schools, civic services, and healthcare. Not spending a billion dollars a day in the middle east.

Posted by: Lieu | August 30, 2006 9:00 AM

For years, I've been getting a birth control shot every 3 months that is 99.9 % effective.....

When I wasn't married, abstinence was 100% effective...

Public assistance can also include a whole lot other things in addition to the ones listed above.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 30, 2006 9:02 AM

Don't make this all about "pregnant teenagers." People wind up as single parents for all kinds of reasons. Life does not always work out the way you expect it to.

The point of today's post is about the importance of affordable child care. Who could disagree with that?

Posted by: Let's play nice | August 30, 2006 9:06 AM

when I studied sociology (1981) it was said that some teens became pregnant on purpose, thus becoming single mothers. I don't know what the current trends are, but that factor is worth looking at, along with the accidental teen pregnancies, of which there are many.

Posted by: experienced mom | August 30, 2006 9:10 AM

Maybe I am just missing something, but it seems like Federal, State and County governments are all providing pretty significant subsidies to child care already. In addition to providing a per child tax credit, they have made a portion of child care deductible for Federal taxes [as well as most states]. In addition, many counties and states have specific programs designed for low-income parents in need of child care.

I realize it's not a full entitlement, but I guess I'm not sure how expansive people are arguing that this needs to be.

Posted by: A Dad | August 30, 2006 9:10 AM

Skepticality, have a field day!

Posted by: Anonymous | August 30, 2006 9:12 AM

To A DAd: I guess the issues is that the current subsidizes (tax credit and dependent care credit) assumes you have enough money to pay taxes. If a women is paying $33/week that is only $1716 a year. A $5,000 tax credit is not all that helpful. But that is just my quick guess on what is happening. There are people who fall between making enough to actually find the tax credit helpful and being able to actually pay for day care and needing it. I would rather see a set subsidy for low income families then touting a tax credit. For families that can afford to pay for day care. The dependent care credit is just a bonus. Not a necessity.

Posted by: Lieu | August 30, 2006 9:19 AM

This is an issue that hits close to home - my parents were never able to put us into daycare (except for the six months at the homecare provider) due to financial pressures. There were two parents in the house working full time and it was still out of reach! Subsidized daycare would have been a godsend. High quailty daycare (with an emphasis on early learning, socialization and manners, and on healthy physical activity) would help to decrease the obesity rates (especially in the poorer states, like Arkansas) and increase our children's readiness to learn in school. Having a hot breakfast there or at school probably doesn't hurt, either. We have the tools - we just need someone to help those that can't afford them independantly.

Posted by: RebeccainAR | August 30, 2006 9:20 AM

Just wanted to point out two things:

1) I never meant to imply that subsidies should be dependant on how the single mother became a single mother. Subsidies should be given to everybody who needs them. Period.

2) I asked my question not to make this a discussion about pregnant teens. I only raised it because just "throwing money" at the symptom (while necessary and good) isn't enough. We need to throw money at the causes too. Reduce unwanted pregnancies and reduce the need for subsidies. I'm sure the long-term cost of the subsidies greatly exceeds the short-term cost of proper sex education.

Posted by: Not going to sign this post :) | August 30, 2006 9:20 AM

For 4 years my children were in child care on a military base. The center was modern, bright and clean with books, developmentally appropriate toys, great play areas, and low staff to child ratios. The staff was well trained and had yearly training requirements. There were sufficient staff people that one or two folks being out ill didn't have a negative impact. And there was a sliding scale based on income and rank for payment of fees. It worked and it worked very, very well. Children of enlisted members and children of officers played side by side with no distinctions between them. There was real diversity among the children and the staff. Okay, probably more socialist than most military members want to admit or our government recognize (and yes, a tad ironic) but it is a wonderful model that I hope can be applied to non-military child care as well. Lots of lessons to be learned here.

Posted by: SS | August 30, 2006 9:23 AM

This is OT for today. But today this article appears in the post: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/08/29/AR2006082901543.html It answers some of the income questions in the region that were raised a few weeks ago.

Posted by: Lieu | August 30, 2006 9:24 AM

A Dad wrote "I'm not sure how expansive people are arguing that this needs to be."

I think people are recommending that no one who wants to enroll their child in quality child care should be turned away because they cannot afford it. I know this happens-- people who work at my child's daycare were unable to afford to send their child there-- I think that is crazy!! I think we can accomplish this by imposing a sliding scale so that those who can afford to pay market rate do so. I don't like the idea of kids being separated by economic class from the very beginning of their lives. I proposed that the director charge more to people like myself, but she said it would be too complicated to charge more for some than others. It's really too bad as the extra money could have enabled the mom to bring in her child to work with her rather than leave the child with an elderly relative-- it would have been so much better for everyone.

Posted by: capitol hill mom | August 30, 2006 9:27 AM

When I was the gym a few weeks ago, I was talking with a single mom about her recent trip to Disney World with her boyfriend and 4 year old child. She has it worked out pretty good this year from what I understand. If a family earns under $60k, Montesourri school is completely frre for her child and aftercare is $200 a month, includes bus ride.

I'm going to spend about $200 a month so my 4 year old can go to pre-school for 10 hours a week. Great! Let me tell you how much I love my tax dollars going to help fund Disney vacations for the "underprivelidged" mother who lives with her boyfriend who makes more money than I do. I think she would be a complete idiot if she married the father of her own child. She agrees. Imagine that!

All those who think that most single mothers got pregnant because they were ignorant of contraception methods are being foolish. there is a huge economic incentive to have their kids out of wedlock these days.

I also have an issue with these politicians who tout "family values". They hav a way of taking money from those of us that do have these values, and then end up giving it to those who don't.

Posted by: Father of 4 | August 30, 2006 9:28 AM

I have a single mom friend who would like to go back to school and finish her degree, but she's working nearly nonstop now just to pay her bills and has to juggle her schedule constantly so someone can watch her children. Some form of subsidized childcare for parents in that situation would go a long way towards helping them out.

Posted by: John | August 30, 2006 9:29 AM

I think quality is an issue. In my area, the well-maintained, well-supervised "no TV" centers cost between $350 to $375 per week for infant care.

In addition to providing low-income parents with vouchers that can be used at any licensed daycare center, I think the government should provide greater incentives to daycare providers who are doing a good job. Part of the problem is that it costs so much to provide quality care.

Posted by: Rock Creek Mom | August 30, 2006 9:35 AM

Daycare is a nightmare in the Metro DC area. I am pregnant with my first child and was told I should have called to get on a waiting list as soon as I knew I was pregnant. I am currently working on getting on waiting lists. Is this normal?

Subsidized daycare is critical for a healthy country, IMHO. Welform reformed actually turned out better than I thought it would when it got passed years ago.

As for birth control, giving girls loftier goals in life than just getting married and having a baby will reduce teenage pregnancy rates. Teenage pregnancy was at it lowest rates ever in the late 90s and early 2000s. Not sure what it is today, with all the silly abstinence-only campaigns. Talk about promoting ignorance! Abstinence should be taught along side birth control.

Posted by: new mom to be | August 30, 2006 9:37 AM

"there is a huge economic incentive to have their kids out of wedlock these days."

Katherine Boo wrote a New Yorker article that ran a few years ago about the working-class poor in Oklahoma. One of the women profiled was in her early 20s and, responsibly, didn't want to have kids until she had a better education and better earning power. She found it extremely difficult to hold down a job, however, because she couldn't afford a car and the public transportation in her town was so unreliable that she would only be able to make it to work on time maybe 1 day out of 5. If she had had a child, she would have qualified for all sorts of assistance, including an extremely low-interest car loan, but she didn't want to have a baby just so she could leverage the system. I felt a lot of sympathy for her and still wonder how things ended up working out for her.

Posted by: Lizzie | August 30, 2006 9:45 AM

Okay, so if I divorce my wife and just pay her a pittance of child support she too can be eligible for a childcare subsidy?

Or I can contribute to my companies Childcare FSA but it still doesn't make it as cheap as a child care subsidy.

My wife stays at home with our two year old, while she could divorce me, pay $33/month become a hooker and never have to pay taxes?

Okay, most of those are in jest but honestly, why should others be given subsidies when I pay for life insurance to cover my wages so for my wife and children should something happen to me as the breadwinner. Shouldn't I just quit paying my life insurance premiums so we could afford vacations to Disneyworld? And of course that would include canceling my wife's life insurance policy to cover childcare expenses should she pass unexpectedly. Then we could take at least two vacations a year rather than one every other year.

It is amazing that so little kudos are given to those who sacrifice to be self-sufficient (well maybe just planning better) instead of just relying on Uncle Sam for handouts.

And I've been on Uncle Sam's payroll when I lost a job and went through some pretty tough times. My second child was born on Medicaid, but the $6000 a year I now pay for health insurance more than covers that in my opinion. Uncle Sam thanks for the help, but could you maybe offer me a subsidy for student loans?

I'm all for helping out those in need, but sometime you've got to stand up and say, "I'm responsible for my life and my decisions. I'll plan and be self-sufficient."

Posted by: Mr. Estrogen Central | August 30, 2006 9:47 AM

To father of 4: I could not post this link but here is a pdf file that lists Arlington counties list of extended day fees by income group. In your example of under 60K, they would pay twice that much for extended care. the actual no tuition cut off was 62K and it was irrelevant if you were married or single.

Posted by: Lieu | August 30, 2006 9:48 AM

I don't believe in abstinence-only education. Despite my own feeling that one should wait till adulthood to have sex, I think failing to teach kids about contraception will only lead to adults who don't know about contraception! I read news stories about sex ed programs that skew the facts to make contraception seem less effective than it is and I wonder what these people are thinking. But seriously the only way to ensure you make it to adulthood without getting pregnant is by complete abstinence (or being a man). It's not impossible.

I have single friends with kids and they get a lot of government help to put their kids in daycare better than I can afford myself. Maybe they are just lucky but I don't see that childcare subsidy programs are underfunded. This has come up before: cheap yet high quality childcare for everyone is a utopian desire that requires fuzzy math to be doable i the real world. There are no free lunches.

Posted by: m | August 30, 2006 9:52 AM

"Let me tell you how much I love my tax dollars going to help fund Disney vacations for the "underprivelidged" mother who lives with her boyfriend who makes more money than I do. I think she would be a complete idiot if she married the father of her own child."

Fo4, this woman is committing fraud. Virginia eligibility rules require that you report income for everyone in the household, not just those who are married.
http://dssiad.dss.state.va.us/EligibilityScreening/DisplayQuestionnaire.do

Maybe they are not doing a good enough job catching fraudulent claims, but the rules are not actually set up to reward people for not getting married.

Posted by: Ms L | August 30, 2006 9:52 AM

To those who say there are nothing but progressive/liberals on this board, please review the 9:28am post from one of our favorites. Really gets my liberal ire up.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 30, 2006 9:52 AM

Let me tell you how much I love my tax dollars going to help fund Disney vacations for the "underprivelidged" mother who lives with her boyfriend who makes more money than I do


If they make more money than you then access the same social services they do. Your taxes also go for other things too. I wonder exactly how much of "your tax dollars" she is receiving? Probably pennies. Back when President Bush gave out tax refunds to families, I got nothing because I had not join the breeders yet but I was happy for families who did get money since wages have stagnanted in the country for years. We all pay taxes for things we don't always agree with that part of being an American.

Posted by: To Father of 4 | August 30, 2006 9:55 AM

To "not going to sign...":

It's more than ignorance about birth control, because unless things have changed, I was taught in high school about the importance of using birth control in a class titled "survival skills 1." Teenagers are taught sex ed in the schools. There are other reasons for out-of-wedlock births -- from a young person looking for validation and affection, trying to establish a link or commitment with the other parent of the child, etc. Some young women or teens desire and plan to have a child because they think they are ready, and a husband may not fit into the equation for them. If all they see in their neighborhood is single moms, and their mom was a single mom, they may think they don't have any other options, or that such a situation is okay. Unless the mentality is changed, the circumstances that lead some women to welfare will not change.

Back on topic -- subsidized child care is great and it is needed. Just make sure it's quality child care, not a warehouse.


Posted by: theoriginalmomof2 | August 30, 2006 10:01 AM

"Another single mom of three, Alicia Granados, spoke about how rumored cuts in the program may force her to move her four-year-old from a licensed childcare with development specialists and certified teachers to a homecare provider where "she just sits in front of the television all day.""

I'm going to pick just one portion of this blog to respond to.

I think we can be making a big mistake by assuming that high quality = expensive. Usually the reason that high quality = expensive is because people assume that someone (for example) with a high school education caring for children in her home isn't going to give young children the care that a highly educated specialist or teacher will.

We shouldn't write homecare providers off as places where children "just sit in front of the television all day." When I was working, my kids were in 3 different home daycares over the years, and not one of them had the television on during the time the kids were there.

Most young children don't need "development specialists" or "certified teachers", they need a caring adult to meet their physical and emotional needs and spend time with them. Just as I don't need to be a development specialist or certified teacher to care for my kids during the day as a SAHM, a daycare provider shouldn't either.

Posted by: momof4 | August 30, 2006 10:16 AM

For new mom to be: From my own experience, the best way to find good daycare for your baby is through word of mouth. That is how we find the two ladies that baby sat for us from 4 months until our kids started going to preschool. Neither one of them was listed by the county because they only wanted to take kids based on referrals from current and past families. They were wonderful and still remember our children's birthdays many years later and our children have very fond memories of them.

Posted by: Falls Church mom | August 30, 2006 10:37 AM

Great blog today---one that cuts this unneccesary "Mommy Wars" angle and gets to the greater social good (not Socialistic good, but societal good) for all---for kids, parents, America, humanity. Bravo!

Posted by: Sarah S | August 30, 2006 12:42 PM

In reply to the first post, by "Not going to sign this post," I became a single mother when my now ex-husband went insane, leaving me to tend to two children alone with no child support. Because he is federally disabled, I am not entitled (by law) to any child support. We do receive a pittance in SSI ($50 bucks a month per kid.) Now if he died, we'd get his whole check, but...well, you know.

We'd all be wise to get past the myths about single parenthood. Its not all about uneducated or neglected (unguided) teens who are wantonly promiscuous and intentionally breeding for so-called benefits.

Posted by: Dignity For Single Moms | August 30, 2006 12:47 PM

To new mom to be:

"Daycare is a nightmare in the Metro DC area. I am pregnant with my first child and was told I should have called to get on a waiting list as soon as I knew I was pregnant. I am currently working on getting on waiting lists. Is this normal? "


Yup, very normal. It is easier to get into grad school than a good daycare. We were on 7 lists when wife got pregnant with #1. For #2, we were high priority for current daycare so we didn't worry about it.

Posted by: Father of 2 | August 30, 2006 12:53 PM

Just want to point out to anyone who thinks that the $5000 tax credit for child care is an indicator of "significant" assistance from the government -- you can deduct more for gambling losses than you can for child care costs.

Posted by: Momof1 | August 30, 2006 1:00 PM

I agree with the poster that said that not all home daycares are bad. Also to father of 4: How do you know that she paid for her vacation? Maybe someone in her family gave them a gift of a vacation. It is really hard to assess someone elses financial picture when you don't know all the facts. OK, I am not sure about this but isn't Montessori an educational method or philosophy? It is a brand name or chain. There are states that offer preschool subsidies to all low income children regardless of the preschool. As long as the preschool is certified and licensed they qualify for the subsidy. So it is not Montessori that gives them free tuition. It is a government subsidy being applied to a preschool that implements the Montessori method. If anyone knows this, please correct me if I am wrong. I am just curious of the true answer myself.

Posted by: Lieu | August 30, 2006 1:15 PM

Daycare should be subsidized for a much wider range of incomes than it is now. After my child was born, my husband quit his job to watch the baby, but soon my husband got very sick unable to care for the child. With my salary of slightly over 30K and having to care for a baby and a sick husband, I could NOT qualify for daycare assistance even though my rent bill (including all utilities) was higher than daycare bill! I found that totally outrageous. I ended up racking a huge credit card bill.
Yes, there are many financial incentives to not get married in this country. If my husband and I never got married, he would have qualified for medicare, SSI and other juicy benefits. Also, we would have been able to have a second child now becasue I would have qualified for some benefits. Because we were (and still are) married, we have to pay through the nose for everything ourselves (including subsidizing Disney vacations for the underpriviledged).
Oh, and the $1,000 tax credit will only payone month's worht of daycare (if that), so that's not much of a help (albeit still appreciated). There has to be a much broader reform of daycare situation. No one should have to pay for daycare more than their rent/mortgage payment.

Posted by: Elle | August 30, 2006 1:21 PM

I signed my committment letter to my DD day care when I was in my second trimester. I had a service at my job that screend and suggested different day cares based on a family profile. Word of mouth is an excellent way to find one. I would not rule out home day care either. A lot of home day cares are licensed and certified as well as large centers. Large and expensive, may not offer your child the care that you wish. A families day care preference is unique to each family. Best of luck finding a place for your little one.

Posted by: Lieu | August 30, 2006 1:21 PM

Well, I'm a single parent because I cannot legally marry my partner. (She is their other legal parent, however, since in our state she was able to adopt them.) We're lucky that we make enough money to pay for good quality child care, but I certainly would take advantage of subsidies if we qualified. I figure I'm paying more than my fair share--taxes on her health care insurance (which we wouldn't pay if we were married), taxes when she added my name to her house, and as an added bonus, I get none of her social security if she dies.

So, not all single parent are teens who did or didn't know what they were doing. Many of us wish we weren't single parents and wouldn't be if offered the choice.

Posted by: seattle | August 30, 2006 1:24 PM

When I returned to a full time day job, (as opposed to bartending in the evening hours) I was faced with putting my daughter in before and after school care. That cost me $125 a week, $500 monthly and $6000 yearly. Not only that, She HATED it. So, My income was around 30K a year back then minus the 6K I paid in Childcare, and minus the fixed expenses I paid didn't leave me with much left over. The tax credit was a drop in the bucket to what I was spending and only showed up in April. It hardly provided me the relief I so desperately needed on a monthly basis. I didn't qualify for vouchers and I didn't have the resources to hire a sitter. Few people in my former DC suburban neighborhood would agree to have her over to their homes after school. I had NO choice.
The strange thing was I decided to move to the city and researched some area catholic schools. Imagine my surprise to find that the entire school tuition was $3000 cheaper then before and after school care. Still is, and I have an option of quailty after school care if I need.

Bottom line? we need to start discussing daycare costs and why it's so expensive.

Posted by: MomOfaPreteen | August 30, 2006 1:24 PM

To father of 4:

You said, "I also have an issue with these politicians who tout 'family values.' They have a way of taking money from those of us that do have these values, and then end up giving it to those who don't."

You use the term "family values" without defining it. What are these "family values" that you have but others don't?

Do you think you care about your children more than a single mother on public assistance might? Are you saying that she hasn't got these mysterious "family values" because she's not married to the father of her children?

Please define what you're talking about here.

Posted by: pittypat | August 30, 2006 1:26 PM

Why do people believe the "you can deduct gambing losses"? You can only deduct losses up to the amount of your winnings, i.e., you will never have a "loss". And you have to prove it!

Posted by: To momof4 | August 30, 2006 1:27 PM

Hmmm..decided to be responsible, didn't have a kid out of wedlock, worked full time and went to school (which I am paying for still)....just looked at a condo I cannot quite afford. Where is my handout?

Posted by: ??? | August 30, 2006 1:28 PM

Lieu, I don't know the details of the subsidy, but Montessori schools are schools that follow the philosophy of Maria Montessori, an Italian education specialist who wrote about early education. I can't remember the details of her work, but it centers around self-directed learning activities.

I worked for a brief time in a Montessori preschool that had a sliding scale, but that was the choice of the directors/owners. I wouldn't be surprised if a lot of them do.

Posted by: Megan | August 30, 2006 1:31 PM

father of 4 is right. When was the last time your kids went to Disney land. I don't care about helping people when they really need help, but his story is just crazy.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 30, 2006 1:32 PM

To originalmomof2:

You note that, "Teenagers are taught sex ed in the schools."

But this is not a given anymore. Radical right fundamentalist Christians have made huge inroads against the teaching of any sex education in schools. For crying out loud, they've even got us debating evolution again!

Worst of all, they're supported by a president who lives in a fantasy where kids can be made to abstain from having sex.

It's a dangerous complacency to rely on our recollections of what or how we were taught years ago. The times, they are a'changin' back . . . to the 50s!

Posted by: pittypat | August 30, 2006 1:35 PM

I wonder how often the single mothers (who are single for many reasons) are actually not capable of holding a job. I know of one family where both the mother and father have serious health issues. The mother gave up on working because she couldn't cope with it (pain issues, etc.) and the father has mental illness (being treated with meds.) and is now living with his own parents to get more supervised treatment. Trying to force this mother to work -- and put her three kids in day care -- wouldn't really help this family.

Posted by: Different views | August 30, 2006 1:36 PM

"For crying out loud, they've even got us debating evolution again!"

Isn't that the truth!LOL!

Posted by: Lieu | August 30, 2006 1:42 PM

" we need to start discussing daycare costs and why it's so expensive."

The question is not the high cost of day care but why so many who are educated and hard working are stuck earning low wages that aren't keeping up with the economy.

Posted by: MaryK. | August 30, 2006 1:44 PM

"Daycare is a nightmare in the Metro DC area. I am pregnant with my first child and was told I should have called to get on a waiting list as soon as I knew I was pregnant. I am currently working on getting on waiting lists. Is this normal?"

Sorry this has been so stressful for you. It was for me too, but we found a nanny share in our neighborhood and it's worked out so much better than I could have ever imagined. We found it through an ad in our neighborhood bulletin, but I know others who found one on craigslist. Best of luck!

Posted by: MW | August 30, 2006 1:45 PM

In regard to Lizzie's story above about women who have children out of wedlock, she wrote "She found it extremely difficult to hold down a job, however, because she couldn't afford a car and the public transportation in her town was so unreliable that she would only be able to make it to work on time maybe 1 day out of 5."

There IS no public transportation in towns in the region I come from. In that area, as my mother tells me, many women and men who have children deliberately do not marry because they will not get there "benefits" and subsidies. They do not set out to trick the system, but once they have children, they see that it's the best way to keep going financially. Why work two minimum-wage jobs (often at different shifts so as to have one parent at home when kids are there) when the mom or dad (there are many SAH dads) can stay home with the kids and the family still gets the same income or more?

Posted by: Mel | August 30, 2006 1:45 PM

You can still deduct gambling losses (with the provisio you mentioned: You may deduct gambling losses only if you itemize deductions. ... However, the amount of losses you deduct may not be more than the amount of gambling income you have reported on your return.) So no one is "thinking" you can deduct gambling losses -- you can deduct gambling losses. And it was an example of a fundamental point: there is not enough attention paid at any level of government to the issue of affordable daycare.

Posted by: To 'To Mother of 4' | August 30, 2006 1:46 PM

As a licensed family child care provider who provides a developmentally appropriate hands-on curriculum (and who does not have the tv on after 7:30 am), I resent the author's implication that home child care is inferior care! Quality care and poor care exists in both centers and homes.

Posted by: Family Child Care Provider | August 30, 2006 1:47 PM

I agree that subsidized childcare and healthcare for lower income and/or single parent families is really important to our overall economy. Frankly when my husband and I began research child care options for our little one, both college graduates who are successful in our careers, we were astonished at how much of our total monthly income having a child in daycare consumes (avg $1200 per month for one child fulltime). If the cost impacts us that much -with established savings and continued income growth - imagin how this cost impacts individuals in lower income positions with limited savings and potential income growth.

In addition to sustaining subsidized childcare, the government should also look into expanding the tax credits provided to families with children in child care. Anything to minimize the hardship of deciding what is best for your child versus what you can afford is a good thing for american society as a whole.

Posted by: New Mommy | August 30, 2006 1:48 PM

pittypat,

Why don't you explain your views on family values. Your, you must explain tude towards father of 4, shows that you think he is wrong, so let's here from you.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 30, 2006 1:48 PM

evolution to some people is a religion, so why should it be taught and nothing else.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 30, 2006 1:51 PM

"It's more than ignorance about birth control, because unless things have changed, I was taught in high school about the importance of using birth control in a class titled "survival skills 1." Teenagers are taught sex ed in the schools."

I grew up in Georgia and went to school in a county with the highest teen pregnancy rates in Georgia at a time when Georgia had the highest teen pregnancy rates in the nation. In my school, they did not teach sex ed to students without a permission slip from parents. Guess what-- none of the parents signed it (except mine and four other kids', who had already gotten all the facts from our parents anyway). So most kids got no info and in any case could hardly buy condoms from the pharmicist that went to church with their parents. The churches gave kids a golden pinky ring for taking "virginity pledges"... parental pressure was such that you darn well took the pledge whether you planned on sticking to it or not (most I knew did not). There are a lot of abstinence-only curricula out there, especially in more conservative parts of the country.

But aside from that, there are also plenty of single moms who are not teens and were married when they had their kids. I would say few single moms plan on being single moms. Growing up with a single mom who worked her tail off to make a better life for herself and me (which she did with no help from my deadbeat dad), I know a person would have to be nuts or deluded to deliberately choose such a hard road. But it doesn't matter how pared down government assistance programs are, there will always be some (as evidenced by some of today's posters) who think the system is dominated by conniving sinners living high on the government hog who (along with their children) should instead be punished for their failures. It's the myth of the welfare queen all over again. It's a pretty untenable argument, though, when it comes to childcare: we can't expect single moms to stay off the government dole if they don't have somewhere to park the kids while they're working. And however much you may judge the character of the mother, the kid in question deserves adequate care while mom is on the job. You think you resent your tax dollars going to pay for subsidized care for others' children? Would you prefer to go back to the old welfare system? Or perhaps you'd rather support the children a few years later through the juvenile delinquent or prison system? No man is an island, people... we live in society, we are our brothers' keepers to some extent. Either we collectively pony up for better childcare and education, or we pay up when our society suffers for its lack of investment in those things.

The lack of affordable child care (for the working poor and middle class) in this country is particularly appalling given the supposed "family values" of the ruling party. How come "family values" always means judgement and prohibitions regarding taboo behaviors like premarital sex or abortion, but doesn't include positive reinforcement and support for actual families? The only group I can think of that's got an agenda for really supporting family values is Moms Rising (www.momsrising.org). They want better childcare for ALL of us.

Alright, rant over. Whew.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 30, 2006 1:53 PM

How on earth can pittypat do as you demand (show father of 4 why he is wrong) if there is an ambiguity about what he is talking about. There is no one set of "family values" as every family has, hopefully, their own set of values. From from being imbued with 'tude, her question was a fair one. What does he mean when he says family values.

Posted by: To 1:48pm | August 30, 2006 1:53 PM

Evolution is not a religion. It is a scientific theory. The key word is "scientific."

Posted by: Anonymous | August 30, 2006 1:54 PM

that's your opinion, some people treat it as one.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 30, 2006 1:56 PM

well, if there is no one set of values then why does he have to explain his?

Posted by: Anonymous | August 30, 2006 1:57 PM

Re evolution being a scientific theory: "that's your opinion, some people treat it as one"

It is still a scientific theory regardless of how "some people treat it." Some people (ie, Fo3) treat kegerators as a religion, but they're still just kegerators. The fact that people may feel very strongly about evolution or be extreme in their views doesn't change the nature of what it is.

Posted by: Megan | August 30, 2006 1:57 PM

I know a single working mother with two kids who receives child care vouchers which make aftercare for her two kids very inexpensive. She makes a salary just under the cutoff limit for receiving the subsidy. She gets by, but just barely. Her employer wanted to give her a promotion, but she declined it because it would have eliminated her child care subsidy without bringing in enough additional income to compensate for it. It is too bad our system is not more flexible. There are a lot of people stuck in the middle, who do not qualify for subsidies, but still cannot afford quality daycare.

Posted by: Rockville | August 30, 2006 1:57 PM

A partial list of our family values:

First and foremost: Follow The Golden Rule!

Then:

Love and respect each other;
Do not judge others based upon their race, religion, nationality, ethnicity or sexual orientation;
Be open and honest with ourselves and with our children;
Support peace and not violence;
Strive for success academically;
Buy books --- lots and lots of books;
Speak up when you see wrongdoing;
Don't just complain - do something about it;
Work to help others in our community who are less fortunate;
Support organic farming and buy locally grown produce;
Reduce consumption and waste;
Minimize energy use;
Be nice;
Do your best;
Find out what you love to do (work-wise) and do it;
If you open it then close it, if you get it out then put it away;
Love, laughter, fun, relaxation and recreation;
Belief in the curative properties of a warm, freshly baked chocolate chip cookie; and,
Be responsible for yourself and to yourself.

If I apply these beyond our family and to the administration, you can see why I have problems with the direction our country is going and why I disagree with the self-serving promotion of "family values" by the government.

Posted by: SS | August 30, 2006 1:59 PM

"the government should also look into expanding the tax credits provided to families with children in child care."

Or couples could decide that they can't afford more than one child. Why do so many couple have the first kid and THEN figure out how expensive child care is? Geez, if people are as educated as they claim to be, why can't you look around and understand this and then do some financial planning?

I have nothing against those who actually need support. Often its needed only temporarily (1-3 years) while a family weathers an unexpected event.

But more tax credits for people who choose to have kids they can't afford? Uh, no. Where do you think the money is going to come from?

Posted by: Trace | August 30, 2006 2:00 PM

home care can be great daycare too.

quality daycare comes in lots of different forms, and although it doesn't have to be expensive, often it is (and often it should be, because daycare providers should be well paid considering how important their job is).

no offense intended --

Posted by: Leslie | August 30, 2006 2:00 PM

It is not my opinion that evolution is a scientific theory and not a religion. That is a fact. I was careful to used the word theory. Because after all it is still a theory. But until someone comes up with a better scientific theory (based on science), it remains the dominant scientific theory. Creationism on the other hand is also a theory. Just not one based on science. Therefore it should not be taught in the public schools SCIENCE class. I am not saying there is no place in the PS for a discussion in creationism. There is. It's proper place is in class on cultural studies and influences, even social studies and how different religions affect history. But is not a theory based on science. It is a theory based on a book that no one can prove is true. Granted no on can prove it is untrue either. But since there is no science behind the theory, it does not belong in a science class as possible explanation of the beginning of time or the beginning of certain species. Now in regards to someone thinking evolution is a religion. That might be so. Lots of people think things that are simply not true.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 30, 2006 2:01 PM

"well, if there is no one set of values then why does he have to explain his?"

It wasn't a repsonse to Fo4 - sheesh!

Posted by: To 1:57 | August 30, 2006 2:04 PM

fair enough, I see your point about evolution.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 30, 2006 2:05 PM

The reason that Father of 4 needs to define his understanding of "family values" is that 1) he claims to have them, and 2) he claims that people who don't have them are taking his money.

So, yes, he needs to explain his terms.

Posted by: pittypat | August 30, 2006 2:07 PM

Interesting question - we should be asking ourselves why do we want "child care for all." Will it benefit us down the road? With regard to the cost of it, if we can spend $432 billion on the boondoggles in Iraq & Afghanistan, then surely we could find money to do this if it were in the will of the people.

Posted by: Erin | August 30, 2006 2:07 PM

"I know a person would have to be nuts or deluded to deliberately choose such a hard road"

Unfortunately, for many, this is the road they are most familiar with. Poverty can become very ingrained and eliminating it will take more than jobs and day care subsidies. Often young women graduate high school and have no direction, so getting married (or not) and having kids is the next step in life. They sometimes live in a community were there are very few actual "day care" facilities and are encouraged to stay home with their kids, perhaps getting a part-time job (if one can be found and they can find reliable transportation to get there) when the youngest goes to kindergarten. Part-time work at minimum wage is still poverty.

Posted by: Jo | August 30, 2006 2:08 PM

"well, if there is no one set of values then why does he have to explain his?"

It wasn't a repsonse to Fo4 - sheesh!


pitty pat ask for father of four to explain his values.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 30, 2006 2:08 PM

The values of the very poor are often not the values of the middle class.

Middle class people assume that young mothers want to go out and work. Most do not, they "value" staying home with their children, often simply mirroring the values of the larger community they come from.

Posted by: J in Geotown | August 30, 2006 2:15 PM

I find it fascinating that this blog appears to be concentrating on single "mothers" without mentioning the fathers (single, married, whatever) -- as if the woman "got herself pregnant" (presumably through masturbation, since it appears to be in a vacuum). The point is, folks, that no matter the circumstances of the pregnancy, there is a child which comes from it and the child must be cared for in some way or another, and under some circumstances or another. Unless all you right-to-lifers out there want to have the government (federal, state, local, existential) make the decision for all Americans as to who is "entitled" to give birth, how the child is raised, where, by whom, the "correct and appropriate" income level for the parent/parents (taking into account divorce and widow/widowerhood), location of the childrearing, the curriculum for teaching said child, setting up the social filter for said child (that is, the set of people the child is "allowed" to interact with throughout its life -- which presumably would attach to the parent/parents), then find another hobby!

Universal child care, like universal health care is an imperative for a so-called advanced country like ours. Economically it makes the absolute best sense. Healthy and reasonably satisfied workers to do all that stuff that needs to be done to keep the economic ball rolling. You want people off public assistance? Provide child care so those people can work! Provide organizations which improve skill sets for people to work to care for their families! Provide health care so that both parents and children can be, and continue to be, healthy and not be a burden on the system!

You wanna b*tch instead? Be my guest.

Posted by: sooze | August 30, 2006 2:16 PM

Pitty pat,

weren't you the one who was upset about kids getting free tuition? If that's the case then do you feel the same way about day care.

Posted by: ? | August 30, 2006 2:21 PM

To Different views:

Families that deal with illnesses serious enough to prevent them from working get Medicare benifits. It's an entirely seperate system set up to help those with medical needs. The welfare reform that requires parents to go back to work doesn't apply to that family.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 30, 2006 2:22 PM

pittypat: point well taken. You don't have to preach to me. I believe in evolution.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 30, 2006 2:27 PM

To the anonymous poster who said, "Because after all it is still a theory. But until someone comes up with a better scientific theory (based on science), it remains the dominant scientific theory. Creationism on the other hand is also a theory. Just not one based on science." --

The popular insistence that evolution is "just a theory" ignores the meaning of the word "theory" as it is used in the scientific vernacular. In a research context, a theory is the result of observations which lead to conclusions which then serve as the foundation for a model of how something works. This model is a "theory" -- a very different thing from the usual understanding of the term.

Posted by: pittypat | August 30, 2006 2:27 PM

I do not disagree at all that for low/lower-income families, subsidized quality child care is a necessity. We certainly wouldn't qualify for any kind of subsidy, nor should we, but it's a huge hit for us to pay $1400/month for our wonderful daycare. It is SO expensive, but it is not like the teachers are raking in tons of money, it's not like the center has all the latest gadgets and equipment. So why is it so expensive?

Posted by: New Mom of 1 | August 30, 2006 2:28 PM

You can still deduct gambling losses (with the provisio you mentioned: You may deduct gambling losses only if you itemize deductions. ... However, the amount of losses you deduct may not be more than the amount of gambling income you have reported on your return.) So no one is "thinking" you can deduct gambling losses -- you can deduct gambling losses.

Okay, the orginal guy/gal was right. As a gambler this breaks my heart. Something is not a "gambling loss" if by definition it can only exist as a subset to "gambling income." There goes one of my VLI handouts. :-(

Posted by: Gambler | August 30, 2006 2:32 PM

Pittypat:My guess is people think the word theory=idea.

Posted by: Lieu | August 30, 2006 2:32 PM

A slightly different perspective: I wish that there were uniform and clear AND ENFORCEABLE regulations about daycares and pre-schools that took away the fear of putting your children there. I read on this blog about wonderful experiences various parents had but then I also read about deaths and accidents, and, frankly, I don't want to take a chance. A case in point -- a pre-school in BETHESDA, was in 22 violations of Montgomery County code and STILL WAS ABLE TO HAVE ITS LEASE RENEWED. More affordable daycare, sure, but, more importantly, safer and quality daycare.

Posted by: wary of daycare | August 30, 2006 2:33 PM

Anon, just because you are too ill to work, doesn't mean you will qualify for Medicare. You have to be disabled. In the family I am talking about, the young mother is ill but not disabled. Her illness makes it difficult for her to work, but not impossible. She would prefer to stay home with her kids rather than drag herself to work, or deal with the pain when she has it, etc. This is poverty. Many people who are not truly disabled still find it "challenging" to work when they have health issues, few work options, and limited transportation.

Posted by: Different views | August 30, 2006 2:34 PM

To the poster who thinks people don't think about the cost of day care when adding to their family. We most certainly decided to do that. We know it would be cost ineffective for me to work and have 3+ children. We actually decided to just have one child (and the critcism of that decision-could be a blog in itself). We did it more for time constraints and career benefits more then financial benefits. But most of my friends have limited their family size to 2 or 3 children for just that reason.

Posted by: Lieu | August 30, 2006 2:36 PM

To ? --

No, I was the person who was upset about kids of my coworkers getting special grants to go to expensive colleges -- grants which have no equivalent for employees who don't have college-age kids. I fully support free tuition to employees' kids; I don't support our modest benefit pool going to provide a free ride to a gold-plated education.

And, no, I feel quite differently about day care -- particularly day care for poor or struggling families (one or two parents, doesn't matter). Day care -- and, in fact, most forms of legitimate social welfare --
are intended to help those in need.

Posted by: pittypat | August 30, 2006 2:37 PM

Which preschool in Bethesda? I'm just starting to look for one for my three year old so I'd like to know which one to avoid. And how did you find the violation information?

Posted by: To wary of daycare | August 30, 2006 2:39 PM

"well, if there is no one set of values then why does he have to explain his?"

It wasn't a repsonse to Fo4 - sheesh!

pitty pat ask for father of four to explain his values.


And she was right to. He got up on the soapbox. Now he's got to answer to the press corps.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 30, 2006 2:42 PM

My family gets no equivalent for day care from the government, it seems to me that you are a pick and choose person. As in you choose to be upset over grants because you think it affects your wallet, but you could care less about people getting free day care because you don't have kids and therefore, don't have to pay the high day care price.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 30, 2006 2:43 PM

We actually decided to just have one child (and the critcism of that decision-could be a blog in itself).

You don't have to tell me! I found a way to deal with complete strangers telling me I should have more children so mine won't be a sad little only child.

I well up (I can cry on command, should have been an actress) and wail, "I... I... CAN'T have more! Oh how I've tried! You don't know how painful it is for you to point this out to me!" and then put on such a show. Of course, I don't do this in front of my child, but it's soooo much fun to horrify and punish the busybodies.

Posted by: Ha ha! | August 30, 2006 2:47 PM

Lieu - I feel you! Why do people care if you only have one child (I know many fellow POOs - parent of one - who are also criticize for having one kid!)?

Posted by: Erin | August 30, 2006 2:47 PM

I'm a POO! I never knew!

Posted by: Ha ha! | August 30, 2006 2:48 PM

I found violations on the website. The county that issues them usually has a site. Be careful to view them with care. If you actually look at some of the violations they are really silly. Like one was not posting the menu of the day. The day care had yesterday's menu still posted as of the inspection time. Be careful to read the details before writing off a day care. Some of the expectations of day cares are way beyond what anyone does in their own home. Certainly a large portion are necessary for the safety of children. But having yesterday's menu on the board (when most preschoolers can't actually read it and parent's don't take the time to read it each day), seems really silly to me. Now a child dying in a center is a big cause for concern.

Posted by: Lieu | August 30, 2006 2:49 PM

how can father of 4 be vauge and on a soap box at the same time. You either understand him or you don't.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 30, 2006 2:50 PM

POOs unite!! I did not know I was POO either.

Posted by: Lieu | August 30, 2006 2:53 PM

To Seattle - I'm in the same boat. Partner would love to quit her oppressive job (part time pay, full time hours, abusive boss) and work from home doing something else, but since I can't put her (or our daughter) on my insurance, she can't. The difference in losing her salary would be made up for easily, but she can't get insurance independantly.

To the discussion of 'family values' and sex ed - my daughter has to take "Abstinence By Choice" this year - 8th grade - and will have no other school based sex ed until high school (when it's optional). Fortunately, not only did she get the facts at home, she's been through two levels of OWL (Our Whole Lives, a sexual health and well being education course taught by the Unitarian Universalist Church) and could probably TEACH the sex ed classes. They certainly don't get it in schools - so if they don't get it at home, it's unsurprising that there are so many uneducated kids out there.

Of course, I still don't blame the lack of childcare on single teenage women. There are plenty of working couples (of various sexual orientations) that can't afford childcare, either.

Posted by: RebeccainAR | August 30, 2006 2:53 PM

You've got that right. My partner will be a single mother (we plan for at least one child), since we can't marry.

We've discussed taking advantage of "single mother" resources but are both dubious about quality and not keen about taking advantage of that particular loophole, such as it is. The free trips to Disneyland that are apparently part of the package are hardly worth it.

Posted by: To Seattle | August 30, 2006 2:56 PM

To the 2:43 poster:

You're right. I am a pick-and-choose person. I want my taxes and charitable donations to go to people who need them. I pick the "have-nots" over the "haves" consistently. I don't like to see my money -- money which could be going to better causes (not just my wallet) -- given to middle- and upper-class families for fancy educations. Especially not when that same money could help to pay the cost of scores of lower-priced educations for kids who don't have middle-class resources or opportunities.

So, yeah, I pick and choose.

And, by the way, your last comment ("you could care less about people getting free day care because you don't have kids and therefore, don't have to pay the high day care price") didn't make any sense.

I think needy families SHOULD get subsidized daycare. And I believe it SHOULD come from my wallet. I'd like to see my taxes go to pay for day care and health care for people who can't afford it instead of being used to wage reprehensible and pointless wars.

Posted by: pittypat | August 30, 2006 2:56 PM

Be very cautious about decrying the high cost of daycare without thinking about some of the causes.

Daycare facilities get very expensive based on many factors. One is that cost of insurance to cover daycares has gone up substantially much as medical costs have gone up due to our overly litigious society. I think there should be a penalty associated with failed lawsuits payable to the defendent to discourage the vast amount of frivolous lawsuits. This would help lower insurance amounts and costs. It would affect the cost of medical care and many industries and services which have to pay high overhead costs to operate.

Posted by: DadWannaBe | August 30, 2006 2:58 PM

Who said anything about wars? And, why should you get to choose where your money goes to, no one else does. Also there are a lot of reasons some people are middle class--one good one is because they worked for it. Just because someone is middle class doesn't mean they don't deserve tuition or any other kind of benefit. The middle class is getting squeezed. And now I totally understand you view point. The middle and upper class people can pay for everyone else, nice.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 30, 2006 2:59 PM

To Working Mom in FL:
There is no such thing as unplanned pregnancy. If you are having traditional, hetero sex and both can still produce gamete's, then you are planning to get pregnant.

There should be some sort of voucher, waiver, whatever to help out with the outrageous cost of Child Care. If it takes a Village then the Village should chip in and help...

Posted by: Joe D. | August 30, 2006 3:02 PM

to poster who was asking about the pre-school in Bethesda. It's Bethesda Country Day. Montgomery County has an agency/department which deals with childcare issues and you can simply ask them about a particular school. I wish the violations in this school were as simple as the menu (though the menu there really needed a major nutritional overhaul) It was a lot more serious -- vermin, lack of proper fire escape, dangerous equipment on the playground, neglect of playground, and so on.

I don't want to impose my "wary of daycare" ideas on other people. I am just one of those moms who would be interrogating the principal about background checks on employees and so on.

Posted by: wary of daycare | August 30, 2006 3:05 PM

Rebecca, are you a UU? I am! I'm jealous, though, since our local church doesn't offer an OWL program (we're too small, supposedly). It really is an excellent program, and is open to others outside the church, if anyone's interested. I think they partnered with several other liberal churches, like the United Church of Christ, in order to create the curriculum.

Unitarian Universalists are nondogmatic, by the way. It's more about helping you explore your own beliefs-- whether Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, atheist, agnostic, or a mix of all of the above.

http://www.uua.org/owl/what.html

Posted by: Ms L | August 30, 2006 3:10 PM

What about people who have affairs and breakup marriages? My father was pursued relentlessly by a co-worker. After several years he gave in and they had a shameless affair. (I know this because I recently confronted the other woman) Subsequently, my parents marriage was kaput. No amount of therapy could repair the damage. They went their separate ways and my mother had to raise 4 children. She worked, he paid child support, but never enough for childcare. When I was young, I was embarrassed by our financial situation. But I am thankful for welfare, free lunch and other programs. They helped my family tremendously.

Single mothers are not always single by choice. Sometimes people put there own SELFISH needs before everyone else. My father should have done a better job of resisting and worked on his marriage. The other woman should have taken the higher moral ground and respected my parents marriage. If for no one else, but for us kids.

Maybe we could have been spared the humilation we felt by being on welfare.

Posted by: Been there... | August 30, 2006 3:16 PM

To 2:59 poster (can't you give yourself a name?):

You asked: "And, why should you get to choose where your money goes to, no one else does."

Actually, the religious right gets a great deal to say about where their money shouldn't go. All kinds of legal exceptions have been enacted during the Bush administration to make sure that these folks' tax dollars aren't going to any organizations affiliated with abortion or birth control.

Care to explain that?

Posted by: pittypat | August 30, 2006 3:19 PM

I just wanted to jump in here about why teenagers have sex and what is the best form of sex ed.
Teenagers have sex cause their hormones are zinging around like Skittles on a space ship and they are horny all the time! I am sure other, deeper, reasons also tie into the decision, but I think for the most part it's more about "how it feels." And let's be honest people, sex feels great!
As for sex ed,I went to high school in southern-Virginia and Maryland and the only place I had sex ed was in Virginia. They taught us about condoms, birth control, and abstence. I have to agree with everyone who has said presenting ALL the options is the best way to go. The best form of birth control though was my parents telling me about the birds and the bees. You want to scar a kid for life that is the way to do it.

Posted by: Melissa | August 30, 2006 3:19 PM

To 2:59 poster:

You said, "Just because someone is middle class doesn't mean they don't deserve tuition or any other kind of benefit."

Once again, not at all what I said. If you're not going to read posts carefully, then you shouldn't reply to them. (Also, you might want to use the preview feature before you hit the send button.)

Posted by: pittypat | August 30, 2006 3:21 PM

I can't explain that because I am not part of the religious right. I am actually a moderate democrat. I don't understand why you are making this political? Really, quit trying to make this I am a liberal vs. a republican kind of thing.

Where on the tax form does it say where your money can go to? Please point it out to me, so I can check the no thank you box for the issues that I don't agree wit

Posted by: Anonymous | August 30, 2006 3:24 PM

To Miss L: Yes, we're UUs! I actually teach Sunday School for the middle school class - and yes, it's a great group. (haven't always been a UU, but love the philosophy).

To the middle class debate - yes, some of us fight to get to middle class. DOesn't mean I can afford to subsidize everyone - but I'm certainly grateful for the help I recieved, and would be glad to do my part to pass that along to others.

Posted by: RebeccainAR | August 30, 2006 3:24 PM

"I do want to caution tying how the mothers became single moms with whether or not they get government assistance. The concern would be punishing children for the 'sins' of the mother."

Either punishing children of single poor moms for the "sins" of the mother ("that mother doesn't deserve help, she got pregnant outside marriage!!!") or neglecting children of married poor moms for the "wealth" of the father ("that mother doesn't need help, her husband will provide!!!").

"If she had had a child, she would have qualified for all sorts of assistance, including an extremely low-interest car loan, but she didn't want to have a baby just so she could leverage the system."

I agree, the assumption that you can;t really need help unless you're a single mom or a child of one is a bad basis for policy.

"Despite my own feeling that one should wait till adulthood to have sex, I think failing to teach kids about contraception will only lead to adults who don't know about contraception!"

Good point. It seems like a lot of so-called "abstinence" programs are really "unprotected marital sex" programs.

"But seriously the only way to ensure you make it to adulthood without getting pregnant is by complete abstinence (or being a man)."

That includes being fortunate enough to not get raped. Some girls who use asbtinence as much as possible still end up pregnant.

"We'd all be wise to get past the myths about single parenthood."

Exactly. Single and teenage and poor don't always go together for new moms, and married and age 20+ and wealthy don't always go together for new moms either.

Posted by: Maria | August 30, 2006 3:26 PM

To Seattle, who says his/her partner will be a single mother, could you clarify? Are you working off of a very strict technicality (being banned from marriage?) If you are partners, presumably either living together or wholly committed to the union (married or not) and to the children, then it seems your "partner" is not in fact a single mom.

When there's no child support or shared resources, when there's no one to run to the drugstore at midnight for cold meds, or run and get the gallon of milk, when there's no one to share the chores, share the costs, share the burdens, share the joys, there's single parenthood. The real issue you face may be troubling for yourself/partnerhood and society, but methinks its a different cross to bear than actual and practical single parenthood.

Posted by: Dignity For Single Moms | August 30, 2006 3:29 PM

ummmm, of course, when you don't like someone argument tell them to hit preview or spellcheck. on another note it sounds like you don't think they should get a benefit to me, but I guess I read it wrong.

"Especially not when that same money could help to pay the cost of scores of lower-priced educations for kids who don't have middle-class resources or opportunities"

Posted by: Anonymous | August 30, 2006 3:32 PM

I thought that marrying the person you love so each partner can equally participate in the child reering experience was universally considered a family value. I don't need a soapbox for that one, do I?

Another family value: Teaching your kids about sex, its proper function, and how to use it to maximize its pleasure under the context of family. By the way, married people have not only better sex than singles, but they have it more often.

now contrast the above to the population of people who lack this particular family value and want to pawn this very important parenting role on the public school system that will invariably teach 15 year old girls that it is perfectly OK to have sex with anyone they wish as long as they "protect" themselves. Remember, my tax dollars fund these programs.

Yet one more example of how money gets taken from those of us who have family values and given to those that don't. I have more examples, but 2 is more than enough for 1 day.

Bonus day on the Mommy blog!

Posted by: Father of 4 | August 30, 2006 3:34 PM

To Joe D. --

Not all sex is consensual. Ever hear of rape?

Posted by: sooze | August 30, 2006 3:37 PM

"I don't like to see my money -- money which could be going to better causes (not just my wallet) -- given to middle- and upper-class families for fancy educations. Especially not when that same money could help to pay the cost of scores of lower-priced educations for kids who don't have middle-class resources or opportunities."

There is a huge difference between government subsidies for childcare and a PRIVATE business giving benefits to it's employees. You're comparing apples and oranges. Certainly I would be against the government giving out free educations to the wealthiest of society. However, what a private company chooses to compensate their employees is their business. I don't see why you don't get this.

Posted by: To pittipat | August 30, 2006 3:40 PM

To RebeccainAR --

Thanks so much for your observation. I like to think that the American way is to help people who are now struggling because we've been there ourselves and know what it's like to struggle.

But for some reason, so many Americans have this attitude of, "Well, I earned it; it's mine; I'm keeping it." They resent the idea that they should offer a helping hand to people in the same circumstances they were once in.

You have a real attitude of humanity and a voice of conscience.

Posted by: pittypat | August 30, 2006 3:41 PM

Rather than making this an issue about parents, make this an issue about children. More resources should be devoted to children. They can't pick their families, and you idiots talking about birth control make it seem like the kids are responsible for their being born in the first place. Some people are so heartless. This country is truly hopeless.

Posted by: bkp | August 30, 2006 3:41 PM

To "to pittipat" --

You're reading my post out of context. I was responding to the anonymous poster who challenged me to differentiate my views on subsidizing tuition vs subsidizing child care. It was her/his idea to have me address that topic. (I'd thought it was pretty much exhausted several days ago.)

Posted by: pittypat | August 30, 2006 3:42 PM

Dignity for Single Moms--I think that "To Seattle" is one of the several partners in same sex relationships that posts on this blog. She cannot marry her partner because the conservative right has made it illegal for her to do so, thereby denying her and her family several "rights" and benefits of being married. She and her partner are forced to pay significantly higher costs for standard living costs due to this proscription.

Just because she has a partner to share the situation doesn't make her situation any less difficult. There are costs that such a family much bear that others do not, e.g. expensive legal costs associated with getting some of the same legal rights immediately granted to a heterosexual pair that marries, costs for extra insurance for partners and/or children since they are not married, and many other hidden costs that are ladled onto them by this restriction.

Posted by: DadWannaBe | August 30, 2006 3:43 PM

pittypat,

Many people also believe that people should start helping their selves. However, no where did I say that I don't want to help people, I like to help people, all people. I just don't like hypocrites, who whine about what some people are getting, but then want to give give give to others.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 30, 2006 3:50 PM

Boy, some real ignorance on this board. Like this comment from f04:

"the public school system that will invariably teach 15 year old girls that it is perfectly OK to have sex with anyone they wish as long as they "protect" themselves."

Schools do not teach any such thing. Schools that do address sex education discuss anatomy, how one gets pregnant and how to not get pregnant. They teach about sexually transmitted diseases (the consequences of sex) as well as that it's best to wait to have sex. Schools DO NOT teach that it is "ok" to have sex. How can you further your argument when you make up this kind of garbage?

Parents are the examples to their children and it is up to the parents and community to teach these values. Look at what is portrayed in the media, how kids talk to each other and add to that parents who avoid this topic and you get kids experimenting. It is unlikely sex education in schools has much influence kid's decision to have sex. It is parents who don't help children to learn how to delay gratification and who don't teach kids to have goals in life worth delaying sex.

It seems to me that the "values" crowd see things as simple black and white and refuse or don't have the intellectual capability to see the complexities of these issues.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 30, 2006 3:50 PM

Joe D., my tubes are totally blocked. If I got pregnant it would be unplanned, though not unwelcomed.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 30, 2006 3:51 PM

Of course, it's never pittypat's fault that someone doesn't agree with her. Your topic from a few days ago is similar to this one.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 30, 2006 3:51 PM

Mysterious anonymous poster:

First, if you're going to keep throwing ill-informed and provocative claims out there, would you at least attach a name to yourself so that you can be answered directly? You're behaving like a cowardly assassin who hides out and keeps taking potshots at random targets.

Second, could you please start making some sense? Here are two recent examples of your postings:

"I just don't like hypocrites, who whine about what some people are getting, but then want to give give give to others."

"Of course, it's never pittypat's fault that someone doesn't agree with her."

Read these carefully. Does either of them make any sense whatsoever?

Engage mind before attacking keyboard!

Posted by: pittypat | August 30, 2006 3:53 PM

1. Some people are not into the marriage thing, so no, they don't share the same "family values" as others.

2. Studies show that the majority of first occurrences of infidelity by the husband during the marriage are during the wife's FIRST PREGNANCY- real sweet "family value"!

Posted by: June | August 30, 2006 3:54 PM

DadWannaBe, you've nailed it, although I am afraid that the moderate left isn't doing a great job coming to bat for this particular family value (marrying the one you love) either. Too many people don't see this as their concern.

Dignity, many single moms have partners they can rely on to some degree. They're still unmarried--whether by choice or not. And when you're talking about same-sex couples, you're often talking about single moms that can't go to their birth families for any support. I consider myself lucky that we both can.

Posted by: "To Seattle" | August 30, 2006 3:56 PM

Just because someone doesn't agree with you pittypat doesn't make them wrong or a cowardly assassin. Gee, way to take things personal and our conversation wasn't random, we have been discussing the same topic all day. Everyone is not always going to agree with you.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 30, 2006 3:57 PM

"the public school system that will invariably teach 15 year old girls that it is perfectly OK to have sex with anyone they wish as long as they "protect" themselves."
Who do you think teenage girls are having sex with? The boys! If schools are teaching 15 year old girls it is Ok to have sex then they are also teaching the boys. Or do you think they are lesbians?

Posted by: Lieu | August 30, 2006 4:02 PM

I went to a public high school in the last century in the wealthy suburb of Seattle. We had sex ed -- it was called something else. It really put the fear of pregnancy in me. Don't blame the sex ed in schools. Somehow being pregnant has become a lot more acceptable for both girls and boys.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 30, 2006 4:10 PM

I give up, masked poster. You're just too darned smart for me!

Posted by: pittypat | August 30, 2006 4:10 PM

Some families would think your family needs a values check. Simply because you have more then 2 children. You are contributing to the over population of the earth and sucking up all the resources by replacing more then yourself and your wife. Boy, how does it feel to be on the other side of the values fence????

Posted by: to fo4 | August 30, 2006 4:16 PM

On the sex ed thing, I have to say Fo4, that really good sex ed has the opposite effect and can have a big impact on a teenager's decision to have sex.

I went to an independent private school (my parents were teachers there) that had the most intensive sex ed program I've ever heard of. You got it in "Health" class in ninth grade, Biology in 10th grade, and then every year this guy from the public health department came and spoke to all students, no teachers around. The Biology section and the public health guy were incredibly explicit about the risks of various types of sex as well as how to use all available forms of contraception and their failure rates. These programs made it perfectly clear that no contraception can truly protect you, and that anytime you have sex you are risking disease and pregnancy and so you'd better think long and hard about that decision.

The worst kind of sex ed, in my opinion, is the kind where the teacher is embarrased by the subject, says don't do it but if you do use a condom, and leaves it at that. The kid gets a mixed message and no real information about how to use a contraception properly and what risks s/he will face even if it's used right. And probably that's what most kids get from their parents, or from the teacher who knows s/he will get in trouble for saying much more.

Posted by: Megan | August 30, 2006 4:22 PM

My only complaint is the lack of a 24-hour/7-day daycare center in Northern Virginia (not a private home, an actual daycare center) for those of us who work outside the 9-5 hours. I have tried many individual daycare providers and if they call out sick, I can't go to work as a single mom. :(

Posted by: momofone | August 30, 2006 4:24 PM

Condoms and birth control are never full proof. The only full proof thing is abstience, but that doesn't jive with everyone. So, what are you supposed to do?

Posted by: 215 | August 30, 2006 4:25 PM

To fof4

Who appointed you the spokesperson for family values for this country? I have very, very little in common with your views. Please don't speak for me anymore.

You seem to have several chips on your shoulder that drive an agenda.

Posted by: Elaine | August 30, 2006 4:25 PM

DadWannaBe, I agree with what you've said and addressed this appropriately in my post by saying, "The real issue you face may be troubling for yourself/partnerhood and society, but methinks its a different cross to bear than actual and practical single parenthood."

As a single mom I don't make my case for some of the injustices or struggles I face based on anyone else's conditions. I think that same-sex partners have unfair issues to face societally, and governmentally (which is a crime IMHO) I just don't think they are the actual and practical issues single parents face in the main.

Better for same sex partners to not muddy their issues (or diminishing anyone else's) by piggy-backing on the single-parenthood challenges when, in fact, if they are in committed same-sex co-parenting partnerships, except in a minor crossover of tax considerations, they do not share real single parenthood issues, and are not actual or practical single parents. And even so, there is some good tax relief as head-of-household that is different than just single person status.

Posted by: Dignity For Single Moms | August 30, 2006 4:27 PM

To Seattle, I hear you, but I don't think you do yourself or your fellow same-sex parents (or single parents) any favors by diverting your issues into a single-parenthood spin. It seems a cheap shot. Best to stay on message with your real challenges, and give some props to the fact that you are in an active co-parenting situation, no matter what other injustices you face.

I have a dear girlfriend who likes to call herself a single parent now, though she's divorced, gets child support, and has nearly shared custody (meaning a lot of free-time sans les enfants.) It's not always so easy to accept when I'm rarely without my children, have no help on a practifcal level and have to make it on one salary year after year.

Single parents, whether due to out-of-wedlock births, abandonment by a partner, death of a partner or divorce with sole custody and no child support are truly single parents. Solo. Alone. Ain't nobody stepping up. DIY.

I don't make this distinction to cling to a "special status," for reasons of a cherished victimhood. I've been on my own with no child support and sole custody for nine years and by now I've accepted and integrated my situation and, frankly, thrived in self, parenthood and career. But in order for us to be really fair to the challenges faced by single parents in that act of integration, we have to admit the difference between traditional parenting, co-parenting, same-sex parenting, and solo parenting, each having very different challenges and, we must admit, some humble similarities.

Posted by: Dignity For Single Moms | August 30, 2006 4:36 PM

I think we all agree that subsidized day care is appropriate ands could still stand to be fleshed out a little.

So I will feel free to stay off topic.

Teens need sex ed through middle school, high school, and from their parents. The more talk about sex and STDs and pregnancy, the better!

Our society is in full-on baby mode. See the magazine covers and articles--how many focus on "bump watches" and designer baby strollers and clothing? In the rush to glamorize moms in Hollywood, we've made pregnancy glamorous for our teens. Teens see Britney pregnant and glowing, post-pregnancy bodies, and tiny babies to dress up. They don't usually see the downside.

Also, the poster who said that single parenthood is a way of life that is perpetuated is right on. We need to focus a bunch of money on inner city high schools to spread the word that education is life to teenaged girls. They need to know that the only way out of poverty is through education and that having kids will alomst ensure poverty.

Posted by: Meesh | August 30, 2006 4:39 PM

I've got to hop in and say to the anonymous poster--I agree with pittypat. I support the goverment helping needy families with daycare costs. Why? Because ultimatly, it benefits society as a whole. With quality childcare, the parents can work. As they work, they'll be contributing to the economy and moving up in the world, hopefully to a place where they won't need subsidized care any more. Their children will get quality care that will prepare them to be good students and productive members of society, making sure that THEIR children don't need programs like subsidized childcare, welfare, and the like. The ultimate goal of welfare progams is to put themselves out of business. Having a population that can depend on and afford quality childcare is good for everyone.

Now, who does the free tuition given by pittipat's employer benifit? A few families. That money would be better served in a scholarship fund that anyone could apply for, or the insitution should pay their employees enough that the employees could afford to send their children there on their own.

That's my two cents. I'm probably going to get jumped on, but, oh well. I've got some time to kill before I go home anyway.

Posted by: Reston | August 30, 2006 4:41 PM

Dignity for Single Moms--fair enough. Although there are several issues that are the same (having the same needs for employment in order to maintain insurance, benefits, etc for self and child since partner's same does not convey) I certainly understand your perspective and see the merits of avoiding using the same terms and "piggy-backing" as you put it. Makes sense.

I didn't catch your (to me) oblique reference to the same-sex issue. Sorry about that.

Regarding the tax relief, that doesn't come close to the costs associated with the legal fees, insurance, and other fees that have to be assumed by a committed same sex partnership. Besides, from my reading of the IRS code, a single parent also qualifies as head of household and gets those same benefits. In a two-income same sex relationship, the parent claiming the child as a dependent has the same filing status as a single parent head of household. The other partner files as a single adult.

Posted by: DadWannaBe | August 30, 2006 4:44 PM

I have a daughter in a Daycare that I love. It's about $11,000 a year. It's hard to afford that with our $400k single family home mortgage (not a mansion by any stretch), groceries, gas, etc.... and we make what, by national standards, would sound like a lot of money.

I am paying $200 a week for daycare and I TOTALLY support the idea of paying for the daycare of those who meet the income guidelines, and that won't ever include me. I don't care how they ended up as single parents. I think all children should have the option of going to a quality preschool so they uniformly (At least, as uniformly as possible) enter kindergarten with certain basic skills that will serve them well. These children are the adults that will be taking care of all of us when we're old folks. I think having parents who are somewhat independent and are contributing, working members of society is good for everyone involved (no slight to stay at home moms, that's great too).

Public education is one of the things that has made this nation great. By all means, extend it to preschool/daycare, at least for those who can't pay their own way. I think everybody benefits from quality, early childhood education. And you can put my tax dollars where my mouth is.

Posted by: Jennied | August 30, 2006 4:47 PM

Dignity For Single Moms:

You make an excellent argument. In fact, the domestic partnership agenda is undermined by putting same-sex parenting on a level with single parenting.

It's important for gays and lesbians to adhere to the concept of partnership -- that is, a family composed of two parents and their kids -- if they are to gain the right to marry or at least legalize domestic partnerships. It's not to their benefit to emphasize the single-parent aspect of their situation.

Posted by: pittypat | August 30, 2006 4:48 PM

Jennied:

Hear, hear! Another voice of humanity and conscience. And compassion.

Readers, take note!

Posted by: pittypat | August 30, 2006 4:50 PM

Joe D said:
"There is no such thing as unplanned pregnancy. If you are having traditional, hetero sex and both can still produce gamete's, then you are planning to get pregnant."

That's just ridiculous. Do you know the meaning of the word "plan"? If you're "planning" something you have a goal in mind that you intend to have happen (such as planning a vacation for instance). If I drive a car am I planning to have a car accident? Hell no, although it could happen despite my best efforts to prevent it.

To say that if you have sex you're planning to get pregnant is nonsense. Plenty of people have sex because they are "planning" to enjoy themselves with absolutely no babies or pregnancy desired. In fact, most people who use birth control (sometimes multiple forms of birth control) do so precisely because they DON'T want to get pregnant and are in fact "planning" on NOT being pregnant!

Yes, unplanned pregnancies do happen.

Posted by: "Planning" for the Big O | August 30, 2006 4:51 PM

---Schools that do address sex education discuss anatomy, how one gets pregnant and how to not get pregnant. They teach about sexually transmitted diseases (the consequences of sex) as well as that it's best to wait to have sex. Schools DO NOT teach that it is "ok" to have sex. How can you further your argument when you make up this kind of garbage?---

Made-up garbage, huh? My public high school, for one, did NOT teach that it is best to wait. My public high school and every public high school that I know of showed students their options, glossed over the consequences, handed out condoms, and sent students forth to practice "safe sex."

There are probably schools somewhere that don't teach that teenage sex is okay, but I've never lived in an area with schools like that.

Posted by: MBA Mom | August 30, 2006 4:57 PM

"Condoms and birth control are never full proof. The only full proof thing is abstience, but that doesn't jive with everyone. So, what are you supposed to do?"

The word is "foolproof". Also, a vasectomy or tubal ligation is basically 100% certain to keep you or your partner from getting pregnant. Yes, there is still a small chance of pregnancy, but it's very very small.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 30, 2006 4:58 PM

Pittypat and Jennied, I'm right there with you. My feeling is that we have a moral obligation as humans to help those around us, period. I'm amazed at how many people think that they have "made their own way" and owe nothing to the broader society.

So I have no problem with my tax dollars going to subsidize day care and other benefits for those who are less fortunate than I. That's why I pay them, in my mind.

Posted by: Megan | August 30, 2006 5:03 PM

We actually decided to just have one child (and the critcism of that decision-could be a blog in itself).

You don't have to tell me! I found a way to deal with complete strangers telling me I should have more children so mine won't be a sad little only child.

I well up (I can cry on command, should have been an actress) and wail, "I... I... CAN'T have more! Oh how I've tried! You don't know how painful it is for you to point this out to me!" and then put on such a show. Of course, I don't do this in front of my child, but it's soooo much fun to horrify and punish the busybodies.

Oh my goodness, that is so funny (and mean). It reminds me of an episode from Third Rcok From the Sun. Dick (the professor) is dating his coworker, Mary, and asks her about having children. She says regretfully, "Oh Dick, I can't have children.?" He looks at her in sympathetic sorrow, "Oh Mary, I did not know. Why not?" Mary responds, "Because I hate them."

Very good reason, I must say.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 30, 2006 5:13 PM

Dignity, that's reasonable. It is different having someone available who has as much invested in the family as you do than it is having no one in that role. In terms of benefits that aren't driven by the partner, same-sex couples are still in the same boat, however. That's where the similarity lies.

Believe me, I have no interest in emphasizing the "single" status of someone who has an unrecognized partner. I do find it bitterly ironic that that's the legal standing, however.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 30, 2006 5:13 PM

I think the point made about "planning" to have children if you have sex is if you can't accept the possibility of getting pregnant because of a BC failure, then you shouldn't have sex.
However, it is unrealistic to expect the majority of people to think of this before sex or to expect "human nature" and sex drive to behave logically. Therefore you are back to the point of how to support people with unplanned pregnancies and the decision they make concerning them, whether it be subsidized daycare, the morning after pill, etc.

Posted by: LGB | August 30, 2006 6:19 PM

MBAMom: Where did you go to school? I went to HS in the late 80s in New York. And trust me, the school was NOT giving out condoms. Sex education was part of a mandatory semester course in health education. They maybe talked about sex ed for a week of that semester. I don't know if times has changed, like I said it has been a long time since I was in HS, but pretty much nothing was learned about actual sex. Maybe you learned a new STD or something like that. But I think the teacher assumed everyone pretty much knew how to make a baby by then. After the one week of sex ed, the teacher asked a question. Only one kid asked a question. All the guys chipped in a $1 to have him ask can you get breast cancer from su**ing a girl's breast. Teacher said no. That was about it. The girls watched some ridiculous movie (in the 5th grade) and was handed a book ," Our bodies ourselves." Never got to find out what book the boys got.

Posted by: Lieu | August 30, 2006 8:53 PM

Pittypat, there are schools that still teach sex ed, I'm sure. However, my point is not to be satisfied or complacent with that (because parents should lead the way on teaching sex ed). My point is that even when there's not "contraceptive ignorance," there is a value system that espouses out-of-wedlock parenthood at a young age without holding the father of the child responsible. Young girls who have this value system don't see the value in marrying the man who fathers their children, or don't believe in choosing carefully who they have children with. Not all girls or women, but some.

I remember talking with this guy whose first-grade daughter (this is about 10 years ago) was taught a form of sex-ed in New Orleans. In the first grade!!! I personally think that's too young, but hey.

My main point remains that you have to address the mentality before you can address the problem. But for whatever reason the child is here, that child deserves the best care possible from the parents and any caregiver.

So, father of 4, based on the comments, are we to assume that since you overpopulated the earth, we all are subsidizing two of your kids b/c you couldn't stop doing the "wild thing?" Just joking! I couldn't resist!

Posted by: theoriginalmomof2 | August 30, 2006 9:17 PM

I believe that this country is too rich to have anyone who is hungry, homeless, unable to receive medical attention, or unable to obtain good daycare for children whose parent(s) can't afford it.

I don't believe that the answer to this is solely government intervention/assistance, but some is needed.

I would like to see massive efforts to change the culture of some groups who believe that having babies that they can't take care of properly without government intervention is completely acceptable.

I would also like to see masssive efforts to change the culture that anyone in need has done it to themselves. Things happen and circumstances change and we should all keep that in mind.

I, too, knew someone who turned down a job in order to stay on welfare. She was abandoned by husband, had some medical issues, and had children with medical issues. She wanted to work and didn't want to be on welfare, but couldn't make enough money (due to her own medical limitations) to pay for health insurance. She basically couldn't afford to give up the Medicaid for herself and her children.

I haven't given this great thought, but here are a few ideas. I hope I don't have to 'duck'.

1. Public daycares along the lines of public schools. Standards that must be met. Funded with tax money, but no more tax breaks for child care. Those who choose not to use the public daycare facilities will pay for it themselves, just as parents now pay for private schools.

2. No tax break for child care, but issue vouchers instead to parents who need daycare. Provide taxbreaks to daycare "businesses" who offer sliding scale fees based on need.

3. No assistance to single parents who refuse to name the other parent. Extensive resources to collecting appropriate child support from any parent who is not providing the proper child support. Let's try to really eliminate deadbeat dads/moms.

4. Incentives for daycares that provide "sick child" care for mild illnesses. This would eliminate many missed work days which may be unpaid and impact the parents ability to afford daycare.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 30, 2006 9:22 PM

I have personally used private home daycare and center-based daycare. Both have pros and cons. Home-based is subject to cancellation by the provider more frequently since there isn't a staff to keep the daycare open if the provider is sick. In a home-based daycare, siblings are not sent to different rooms based on age. The home-based daycare did have a schedule (some tv, but not all day, and definitely less than I allowed at home), but there was room for flexibility in the schedule - center seemed to be more rigid keeping to the schedule. Daycare had different things to offer - a full playground, some field trips, visitors such as puppet shows, clowns, readers, etc.

DC is an expensive area. It seems to me that daycares in residential areas rather than business areas are less expensive. Home based daycares run by people who are in the same general economic class as the parents of the children seem to be the most reasonable. The providers seem to understand how difficult it can be to afford the daycare and don't try to gouge anyone (at least that was my experience). One provider told me that she charged the top "going rate" for each age group, infant, toddler, school-age, etc. for every new child. But, she never raised the rate after she accepted the child in her program. She said that she might be losing money on the children who were aging out, but by then she loved them all and made up the money difference when she accepted new infants.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 30, 2006 9:29 PM

There was an interesting artice somewhere this week that the number of childless women is increasing. I can't remember if it was childless by choice, or by circumstance. Women waiting until they are educated, employed, secure in their careers, financially secure, etc. I thought it was a little sad. It seems many women focus on accomplishing so much first that many do not have men in their lives when they are ready. And others have fertility problems by then. And others feel like they don't want to begin with a baby at their age.

It seems that some of the people most able to afford the expense of a child are choosing not to have them, and some who are least able to afford the expenses (teenage girls) think it is a great thing to have a baby.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 30, 2006 9:39 PM

We told our teenage daughter that we believe in married sex and children after marriage. We also told here that we would be disappointed if she became sexually active, BUT, she should let us know so that we can take her to a doctor. Sexually active girls should be under the care of a gynecologist and we LOVE her so much that it is more important that we help take care of her than be upset because she disappointed us.

My best friend was pregnant at 17 and I was lucky that I wasn't also. Raging hormones are more powerful than God, Mom, or Dad.

Posted by: kea | August 30, 2006 9:50 PM

I didn't say that I didn't believe in subsidized day care or other social services. I just think it is hypocritical for people to say "oh those middle class kids don't need that education; let's give it to someone who needs it more." Maybe they do need it just as much and the company wants them to have it, so that's who is going to get it

Oh, and why is it that when people are on here arguing about the next generation all the people who have kids say my kids are going to support you and all the teachers say their job is important, but when it's middle class kids going to college on a free ride, I don't' hear anyone saying they are the next generation. Maybe one of the middle class kids that pittypat doesn't want to go to school on her dime, will be the president of the US and will make day care affordable for everyone. And talk about not reading posts, no where did I say that I didn't believe in social programs, I just don't think it's fair to constantly squeeze the middle class and tell companies what they can do for their employees and their children.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 30, 2006 9:54 PM

Now, who does the free tuition given by pittipat's employer benifit? A few families. That money would be better served in a scholarship fund that anyone could apply for, or the insitution should pay their employees enough that the employees could afford to send their children there on their own.

If you give it out in a scholarship it still only benefits a few families, but wait, maybe then a middle class kid wouldn't get it, so you all would be happy.

Posted by: ? | August 30, 2006 10:02 PM

Father of four,

This board is full of liberals who like to talk about accepting people, but in reality, they only accept people who are like them. There is nothing wrong with your values or your beliefs. Don't let them worry you.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 30, 2006 10:10 PM

Father of four,
This board is full of liberals who like to talk about accepting people, but in reality, they only accept people who are like them. There is nothing wrong with your values or your beliefs. Don't let them worry you.
Posted by: | August 30, 2006 10:10 PM

Fo4 seems fine, perhaps you're overreacting?

Posted by: Aunt Jennie, is that you? | August 30, 2006 10:56 PM

Ok, folks, one last time.

I WHOLEHEARTEDLY SUPPORT MY EMPLOYER'S TUITION REMISSION PROGRAM, WHICH GIVES EMPLOYEES' KIDS FREE TUITION TO OUR UNIVERSITY. I WOULD ALSO SUPPORT A PROGRAM EXTENDING THEM FREE TUITION TO ANY PUBLIC UNIVERSITY IN MARYLAND.

I've repeated this 'til I'm blue in the face, and certain posters keep willfully misinterpreting what I've said.

I've made a clear distinction between these kinds of tuition help and another type of program the university offers whereby employees can get tuition grants of up to one-half of our university's annual tuition to send their kids to college anywhere in the U.S.

THIS IS NOT THE SAME THING AS A SIMPLE TUITION REMISSION PROGRAM.

It amounts to about $16,000 per kid per academic year.

THIS IS NOT THE SAME THING AS A SIMPLE TUITION REMISSION PROGRAM.

Yes, it is the employer's right to offer these grants. I simply feel that it's a bit unfair because of the sheer degree of imbalance in what employees with kids qualify for over employees without kids.

THIS IS NOT THE SAME THING AS A SIMPLE TUITION REMISSION PROGRAM.

Do you get it yet? Pittypat is not opposed to free tuition for middle-class kids.

All together now:

THIS IS NOT THE SAME THING AS A SIMPLE TUITION REMISSION PROGRAM.

Posted by: pittypat | August 30, 2006 11:16 PM

Kea,

Disappointed can be an awfully heavy word. My youngest brother's a decade younger than I, and we're very close. He and his girlfriend had an unplanned pregnancy in his freshman year of college, and they kept the baby. When they came to tell DH and me of the pregnancy and their plans, I was stunned, mostly asked lots of questions, but did manage to offer support and congratulations. He said he'd been so worried I'd be disappointed in him, it was very hard for him to tell us. I was floored he could think I'd be disappointed in him, there but for the grace of God go I and I was actually tremendously impressed by the mature way he was coping and taking responsibility for the situation. I explained that I wasn't disappointed *in* him, but disappointed *for* him, since he was having a hard destiny placed on him and I'd so wanted for him to enjoy the carefree college years, travel, self-exploration, freedom that I had had . . . I think that distinction is really important.

My parents reacted badly and said many hateful and hurtful things about his girlfriend entrapping him, parenthood ruining your life, him screwing up, etc, that I don't think can ever be forgotten . . . for that girlfriend and baby formed the beginning of his nuclear family, forever forward. He worked parttime while finishing college and a masters degree, they married and are happy mortgage payers with 2 kids ten years later.

I guess hurtful parental reactions are pretty common, and teen fear of them even more common. But I'd try to be clear your support will always be there. I was sad that in such a time of stress my brother diverted so much energy into worry about his letting people down, when the main issue was concern for his future.

>We told our teenage daughter that we >believe in married sex and children after >marriage. We also told here that we would >be disappointed if she became sexually >active, BUT, she should let us know so >that we can take her to a doctor. Sexually >active girls should be under the care of a >gynecologist and we LOVE her so much that >it is more important that we help take >care of her than be upset because she >disappointed us.
>
>My best friend was pregnant at 17 and I >was lucky that I wasn't also. Raging >hormones are more powerful than God, Mom, >or Dad.

Posted by: KB | August 30, 2006 11:25 PM

Since we're talking about quality daycare, allow me to ask for some advice. My 2 year-old son (recently 2)has been in a daycare for about 2 months that's the best I can afford right now (it's a stretch). In this daycare, their circle time is spent doing drills. The way they do this, is the teacher stands in front of a chart, points to a letter, and says, "A, alligator, B, boy, C, cat" and so on. The children sit in rows on the floor and watch, mostly in silence. It's ok for a child to chime in with an appropriate word occasionally, but if for example the teacher says "M, mountain" she doesn't show the kids a picture of a mountain or anything. Then they do colors, shapes, and numbers, all the same way. I haven't seen all the other things they do all day because I also have a young baby who is not allowed to be there with me if I were to stay, but from what I have seen when I've dropped by, the rest of the activities are along similar lines: quite regimented, not very creative, same things every day. For example, they repeat the alphabet drill during lunchtime. Technically, they include all the elements required by the state: outdoor play, some free play, storytime (I'd really like to see this one but the timing is not doable for me), required snacks and lunches etc. There's a great focus on following directions. My question to you all is, is this an appropriate approach to kids of this age?

Posted by: m | August 31, 2006 12:07 AM

m: I am not a early childhood educator but my guess is no. My daughter, who is 2 1/2, has gone to the same day care since she was 5 months old. They do have circle time but it is not like what you describe. They sing songs; including the ABCs. My daughter has learned many songs and their appropriate hand motions. They sing ABCs and say the numbers but they don't actually teach the letter sign or the numeral till preschool 3 1/2. I think you should read some books on pushing preschoolers. I think one book is called the Hurried Child. Some psychologists and educators do not feel this is the "proper" approach to educating a young child. Young children's primary learning tool is mimicking and play learning. But this is one school of thought. The fact the kids do not chime in, signals to me they are either uncomfortable in that situation or more likely, they are not grasping any of the content. Now, some would argue they can teach 2 year olds algebra. Whatever. But I think if your gut reaction is this not what is right for my kid, pull him out immediately or whenever you find a new spot. I don't think it will "harm" your kid for a short period of time. But I don't get the shove academic subjects on toddlers really does any good for them in the long run. It took my daughter a full year (1 1/2-2 1/2) before she sat through all of circle time (30 minutes). Toddlers just do not have that attention span. You know what, she counts to 4, knows all her animal sounds, only the letter P by visual recognition, and plenty of songs. I think that is enough. She will go to 2 full years of preschool before kindergarten. Why rush it? But that is just MHO. Feel free to search out other options.

Posted by: Lieu | August 31, 2006 7:10 AM

To the originalmomof2:"My point is that even when there's not "contraceptive ignorance," there is a value system that espouses out-of-wedlock parenthood at a young age without holding the father of the child responsible. Young girls who have this value system don't see the value in marrying the man who fathers their children, or don't believe in choosing carefully who they have children with. Not all girls or women, but some"

It appears as if your blaming the girls. Just like fo4 who thinks it is all about the girls. What about the young men/boys who are getting these girls pregnant. YOu says girls don't want to get married to the boys that get them pregnant. What about the boys that fail to offer the mother physical/emotional/and financial support to their OWN children. Look there are some dead beat moms and plenty of dead beat dads (and yes there are more dead beat dads then moms in this country) at any age. But there are ton of teenage dead beat dads as well. So why do you place the blame on the girls? I agree that they girls should pony up the boys name but what can you do if she says she doesn't know. A lot of this discussion focuses on punishing children for the sins of their parents. If we did that we would have to go after a lot of people in this country. But it irritates me that people see this as a teenage girl problem and not a teenage boy and girl problem. Last time I checked it took two to get pregnant. And if your going to stand around blaming the parents of girls, you better be ready to blame the parents of boys. Why did the parents of boys teach them to use a condom, or wait, or if they do get a girl pregnant to stand up and do the adult thing and take care of your own baby. I have a daughter. And yes I would be disappointed for her if she got pregnant in HS. Heck I would prefer if she finish college first but after 18 that is her choice. But I would support her and her child, as I would if I had a son, because that baby would be my grandchild. And from what I can tell, the plight of teenage pregnancy and the results are highly dependent on the family support they get.

Posted by: Lieu | August 31, 2006 7:21 AM

OK, there has been a lot of talk about unplanned teenage pregnancy. I hate to break it to you but a lot of married couples have an unplanned pregnancy. I have had several friends admit that child #3 for them was a "surprise." Just because the child was not planned, doesn't mean they are not loved and nurtured as any other child in the family. Life is about dealing with unplanned events. My darling nephew was one of those surprise third child. And boy is our whole extended family thrilled he is around. So stop picking on teenagers. Lots of full grown adults find themselves surprised. And sometimes the things you least expected turned out to be the best thing in your life.

Posted by: Lieu | August 31, 2006 7:26 AM

to kb - thanks for a different viewpoint. we told our daughter what we did when she was a young teenager 13 or 14. and we have always told her that we would love her no matter what, even if we were also disappointed.

Posted by: kea | August 31, 2006 8:08 AM

"Aunt Jennie, is that you?"

Posted by: What does this mean | August 31, 2006 8:10 AM

Father of four,
This board is full of liberals who like to talk about accepting people, but in reality, they only accept people who are like them. There is nothing wrong with your values or your beliefs. Don't let them worry you.
Posted by: | August 30, 2006 10:10 PM

Fo4 seems fine, perhaps you're overreacting?


Perhaps you are all overreacting about his family values

Posted by: Anonymous | August 31, 2006 8:19 AM

"I thought it was a little sad. It seems many women focus on accomplishing so much first that many do not have men in their lives when they are ready. And others have fertility problems by then. And others feel like they don't want to begin with a baby at their age."

I'm in my mid-30s. I have a loving husband and a strong marriage. We can afford a child more than most people. I was never so focused on my career that I "put off" having children.

We just don't want them.

My life isn't sad. I'm happy and enjoy everything I do. I read these boards from time to time to understand what my friends are going through with kids.

Posted by: JenC. | August 31, 2006 9:28 AM

Lieu, I'm not blaming the girls. I'm caring about them and focusing on them for the purposes of this discussion. They are the ones who have to carry the baby, birth it and raise it on their own if they don't marry and the father doesn't participate. Therefore, those who have the mentality I mentioned before need to realize and believe there are other options accessible to them. I don't place blame, I'm stating what I have observed from relatives and others. Obviously, the boys, young men are equally responsible. But I have been seeing this phenomenon (sp?) of girls and young women who carry the responsibility while the boys and young men move on and impregnate someone else. That's wrong. But I choose to focus on the girls and young women. They need to look out for themselves and love themselves enough to make the right choices.

Posted by: theoriginalmomof2 | August 31, 2006 9:48 AM

Sheesh, derailing the discussion by saying "it sounds like you're letting the boys off the hook!" just -- derails the discussion.

There is nothing wrong with focusing on young women and their attitudes. I have had one adult man tell me "women are the ones who say no, a man never says no to sex!". Of course, I don't date that guy any more, but there are plenty of men who think this way and pass it on to their sons, thus we need to talk with young women about their decisions and choices. They are indeed only 1/2 of the equation, but they do tend to bear more of the "burden" of unintended pregnancy.

Posted by: Mel | August 31, 2006 9:52 AM

Tooriginalmomof2: I can accept your attitude. I know my parents talked to their daughter and their son about their role and responsibility to anyone they were intimately involved with. And yes women will always bear more of the burden. But I do think by opening up the discussion to boys as well we are releasing some of the burden on the women and really on their children. I really think Men need to wake up and teach their sons to be honorable men. And in this day and age a women can go after the boy for child support. So they should teach their sons to protect themselves. I know if my daughter got pregnant in HS, I would be the first one knocking on that boys door demanding child support. Not because we need the money but because both the girl and the boy would need to learn to take care of that child. I would also require my daughter to work part time and contribute to their own child's welfare. But hopefully it won't come to that. Because I fully intend to talk to my daughter about sex and consequences of sexual activity.

Posted by: Lieu | August 31, 2006 10:16 AM

"Raging hormones are more powerful than God, Mom, or Dad."

Sorry kea, but nothing is more powerful than God for those who let Him into their lives.

Posted by: Rufus | August 31, 2006 12:07 PM

Aunt Jennie, is that you?"

Posted by: What does this mean | August 31, 2006 08:10 AM


It means that the loony who's obsessed with Scarry misses having someone to pick on.

Posted by: Megan | August 31, 2006 12:13 PM

I think you will find that more than a few of us found Scarry very irritating and do not miss her one bit.

Posted by: lurker | August 31, 2006 1:03 PM

I think you will find that a few of us find you very scary and don't like you one bit, so speak for yourself.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 31, 2006 3:00 PM

Ditto on what the first lurker said.

Posted by: another lurker | August 31, 2006 3:02 PM

A few of what, your multiple personalities? SUV hater, Lurker, please, you are all the same person.

Posted by: All the same idiot | August 31, 2006 3:04 PM

Is ditto your fourth personality?

Posted by: how pathetic and scary, no pun intended | August 31, 2006 3:10 PM

Good grief. I really don't care if there are one or many of you, but the fact is that someone is obsessed enough to keep looking for her in anonymous posts, and that's weird. If you don't miss her, stop looking for her and talking about her and give the rest of us a break.

Posted by: Megan | August 31, 2006 3:32 PM

Do you ever post anything that doesn't have something to do with scarry? I mean if I went over to the current blog and posted "scarry was nice." I know you would respond to that.

I think you have a serious issue and you need some counseling. Not liking someone doesn't give you the right to constantly make remarks about them and harass them. you show the whole board how immature you are every time you post something. Please for your own good, leave scarry alone

She is not even on here and she is still what you are talking about?
.

Posted by: to lurker and anyone else | August 31, 2006 3:34 PM

to JenC -

"We just don't want them."

I would say that makes you childless by choice. I don't think that is sad at all. What I found sad was those who delayed having children until whatever and then found it was too late. sorry I wasn't clear.

Posted by: orig poster | August 31, 2006 6:37 PM

A few of what, your multiple personalities? SUV hater, Lurker, please,
you are all the same person.
Posted by: All the same idiot | August 31, 2006 03:04 PM

Actually, we're not. I know it makes you feel better to think it's just one person, but it's not true, and we're not acting in concert. And I do post otherwise. If someone posted "I like Scarry," I wouldn't bother to answer.

Scarry stated that her posts were just like everyone else's. When I see a negative Scarry post, anonymous or otherwise, not looking hard because no one needs to--they're easily recognizable, I'm pointing out that her posts are not just like everyone else's, and that's she's still posting after saying she never would again.

Whether I choose to do this in the future or not, people do recognize her posts. From the early days of this blog, she's been divisive, paranoid and, even though she sees herself as a protector against bullies, a bully. She started by name-calling, and graduated quickly to asking people if they'd been slapped lately because they needed it, and threatening others. I'm sure all that's still in the archives. Not someone I want to read.

In the past few days, when she's been lying low and keeping relatively quiet, it's mainly been a different blog--On Balance Lite--50% fewer snarky posts. Until she came out with a vengeance mid-afternoon today!

Posted by: Individual | August 31, 2006 7:53 PM

I geuss it's always good to have a skapegoat.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 31, 2006 9:24 PM

"She started by name-calling, and graduated quickly to asking people if they'd been slapped lately because they needed it, and threatening others. I'm sure all that's still in the archives. Not someone I want to read."

I've also noticed that she has been called stupid, fragile, annoying, irritating, and the like. These seem like insults and names to me, but then again you always think it okay when you or as you say someone else says stuff to her.

Yes, please feel free to read the archives if you are so interested because her posts did not start out mean and usually only become that way after someone says something nasty to her or makes a dumb post like calling children "crotch fruit."

I post on this blog to and I think that some of you are a bit crazied over the notion that scarry is responsible for all the ills of this blog.

Posted by: come on | September 1, 2006 8:14 AM

You promised you would. Now keep your promise.

Posted by: Scarry go away | September 1, 2006 9:39 AM

I'm not scarry, I don't like most of her posts either, I just don't think it is fair that you guys labeled and isolated her from the blog.

There that is the last I am going to say about it.

Posted by: come on | September 1, 2006 10:18 AM

Great work!
http://quucoosf.com/bsib/dwkx.html | http://tqkuyqls.com/iwsa/twsc.html

Posted by: Wendy | September 2, 2006 7:38 PM

Great work!
http://quucoosf.com/bsib/dwkx.html | http://tqkuyqls.com/iwsa/twsc.html
Posted by: Wendy | September 2, 2006 07:38 PM

Can you give us a hint?

Posted by: Links unavailable | September 4, 2006 5:20 PM

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