A Helping Hand for One Boy's Hero

Welcome to the Tuesday guest blog. Every Tuesday "On Balance" features the views of a guest writer. It could be your neighbor, your boss, your most loved or hated poster from the blog, or you! Send me your original, unpublished entry (300 words or fewer) for consideration. Obviously, the topic should be something related to balancing your life.

By Jennifer Parresol

I am a single mother of two children, and, for four years, I have received assistance through Virginia's child care fee system.

Some people may think parents who receive child-care assistance are sitting at home, taking advantage of the system. But the people in my program are hard-working and have full-time jobs or are going to school to receive a higher paying job or better career.

The average yearly cost to put two school-age children in day care before and after school, plus all day in the summer, is $13,490. While I have received child-care assistance, I have worked full time. I have a degree and make a decent salary, but after rent, utility bills, vehicle payment, food, clothing and miscellaneous expenses, I am not left with $13,490. Without assistance, I would not be able to put my children in a safe, caring, and well-staffed child care center and continue to work full time.

I am very grateful to have the opportunity to receive the assistance, which allows me to be with my children every night and weekend to watch them grow, help them with their homework and experience the new and wonderful things they learn while being kids. Without the child-care assistance that I receive, I would have to obtain a second job, which would then take from the time that I get to spend with my children.

My son recently wrote a paper for school about heroes. When he asked me to read the paper, it brought tears to my eyes because he said I was his hero for working hard at my job, keeping the house clean and taking care of him and his sister. Without help -- in my case, government funding for the child-care fee system program -- many children would lose their heroes.

Jennifer Parresol volunteers with Save Our Child Care to build support for child-care subsidy funding in Virginia. She lives with her two children in Herndon. To learn more, visit Save Our Child Care.

By Leslie Morgan Steiner |  February 13, 2007; 6:30 AM ET  | Category:  Guest Blogs
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Comments

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Third!!

Ooops.

Posted by: Bad counter | February 13, 2007 6:51 AM

Well, that's really great that you get the childcare you need. I think your essay might have been better if you state specifically what you are advocating for: subsidized childcare for more of us, better quality care for all of us, company subsidies, government subsidies?

We get the anecdotal stories and yours is very nice, but how about something to discuss?

Posted by: Anonymous | February 13, 2007 6:57 AM

I actually liked her blog a lot. I think the point she is making is that subsidized care is a necessity and it helps build stronger families, which is a benefit to everyone. I wondered what are the income thresholds for these programs and are noncustodial parents expected to chip in for the cost. Best of luck to your family. I think these programs are vital to our country. If anyone could shed light on some of these school run before and after school care programs. What do they do during delays or school closings? Are you happy with the summer care? What do they do if your late picking up your kid?

Posted by: foamgnome | February 13, 2007 7:08 AM

please get rid of the italics. this is really hard to read.

Posted by: experienced mom | February 13, 2007 7:23 AM

I don't see any italics...

Posted by: londonmom | February 13, 2007 7:36 AM

I don't see italics either. I do see them on yesterdays blog written by Leslie but not on todays blog.

Posted by: foamgnome | February 13, 2007 7:37 AM

zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Posted by: Anonymous | February 13, 2007 7:43 AM

What are the income guidelines for this program?

Posted by: Anonymous | February 13, 2007 7:50 AM

http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/ofc/CCAR.htm

I believe these are probably the income guidelines associated with this particular program. If someone else knows differently, please inform me.

Posted by: foamgnome | February 13, 2007 7:53 AM

Wow! A yearly subsidy equivalent to $13,490

Sweet!!!!

Posted by: Anonymous | February 13, 2007 7:59 AM

As a nation, we should be helping someone in these circumstances, who has played by the rules.

Is the state was pursuing the children's father for child support?

Posted by: Anonymous | February 13, 2007 8:03 AM

So, the author's yearly income is limited to $45,636 (family of 3), not sure if child support is counted,to receive the subsidy.

What a sweetheart deal. Might even be worth taking a pay cut!

Posted by: Anonymous | February 13, 2007 8:03 AM

Whatever you do Jennifer, do not, I repeat DO NOT marry your boyfriend! It's only a cheap piece of paper anyway.

Posted by: $13,000 Marriage Tax | February 13, 2007 8:07 AM

Thanks for sharing your story - one of the reasons I read blogs as well as reports is that they do convey that personal story. Your son sounds like a real cutie and obviously he's growing up with a fantastic work ethic.

I'm glad to support programs like this one with tax dollars. In a few years your kids won't need daycare and you will have been earning and building experience all that time. To me that's assistance that not only meets a need (a safe place for your kids) but also supports you in getting "ahead," whatever that means for you. Best of luck!

Posted by: Shandra | February 13, 2007 8:08 AM

When you get a pay raise you also might want to think about making another baby.

Posted by: $13,000 Marriage Tax | February 13, 2007 8:10 AM

Wow are people cynical and mean-spirited on this blog.

Posted by: londonmom | February 13, 2007 8:15 AM

"Wow! A yearly subsidy equivalent to $13,490

Sweet!!!!"

The cost of child care is $13,490. She didn't say how much the subsidy is. My guess is that the subsidy is only partial and she pays a share.

Cruel, cruel posters on this blog. She went to school, got a degree, and is working full time to provide for her family. Not every job pays six figures.

Jennifer, thanks for sharing your story and providing information that may help others have balance in their lives.

Posted by: xyz | February 13, 2007 8:18 AM

OK people before you start getting mean, it is really difficult to afford decent (never mind good) child care in this area at an afforable price. Being single means that you do not have the added income to help you out, and you NEED to work in order to support your family. Often what is needed is only a few thousand a year to help make ends meet with child care expenses.

What was shocking to me was how difficult it was to get when I was jobless and looking - first there is no short term emergency programs until you get on your feet (or a decent paying job), secondly the income levels are super low in order to be eligible that you are likely to be on some other care as well. We say that we are a family friendly country yet do not support this in our actions.

As for child support, there is a program in DC (which is successful for some and not others) that does help parents go after child support, but it is not agressive if the other parent does not want to cooperate. Also, not all people with court orders for child support actually pay them!! This is also a problem that needs to be fixed before we go after the single parent on child care subsidies...

Posted by: single mom | February 13, 2007 8:33 AM

italics problem appears in Firefox, but not Internet Explorer.

Posted by: italics | February 13, 2007 8:33 AM

thanks italics, that explains it!

Posted by: experienced mom | February 13, 2007 8:37 AM

Ditto single mom.

Posted by: Cali Esq | February 13, 2007 8:45 AM

foamgnome asks some good questions. Does anyone know the actual details of this program? This program seems to be an example of a program that is a win-win for all concerned.

good for you Jennifer for finding the program and going forward with life!

Posted by: dotted | February 13, 2007 8:46 AM

I wonder if it would make peopel feel better if she went on welfare? It is so expensive in VA that me and my husband had a hard time paying all our bills and we made double what this woman did. There are lots of things to get upset about regarding taxes and where your hard earned money goes. This, however, is not one of them.

Posted by: scarry | February 13, 2007 8:46 AM

This is a question from a frequent reader who has a) no children, b) no husband, and c) no interest in gaining either. I do, however, have a social life, a job, family, roommate, cat, co-workers, obligations, dreams, and frustrations about balancing the whole shebang.

So here's the thing--does this blog EVER talk about "balancing your life" or is it only about kids, families, and the eternal stay at home/working mother debate? I mean, that's great and all, but isn't there a separate blog about parenting? Which, confusingly, seems to be far less popular than this one.

I guess my point is--there's a lot more to balancing your life than kids. (Especially for all the people who don't have kids.) Like the time my aunt--someone I really wasn't close to--died when I was due to go out of town for a convention, that was scheduled on my 21st birthday and where I was the guest of honor. What would you do? How do you balance the demands of family and the fact that this was something I'd been planning (and looking forward to) for a year?

Posted by: confused | February 13, 2007 8:47 AM

Hmm, this 30 year old woman has been receiving the subsidy for 4 years. I could have received the subsidy the entire time I was in college and saved myself a bunch of student loans for childcare.

What a deal!! Spread the word!!!

Posted by: Anonymous | February 13, 2007 8:55 AM

confused: I do think this blog is dominated with families with kids but there are some child free people who frequent this blog.

Posted by: foamgnome | February 13, 2007 8:58 AM

Yay! A substantive topic. Child care costs are a serious issue. I cannot imagine how a single parent who doesn't make six figures can afford to put one or more children in a day care center without help. (In fact I think that in general, low-income single parents who work have to rely on relatives and informal babysitters who are often not ideal caretakers.)

It's legitimate to ask whether there should be government programs that help people pay for child care. I'd venture to guess that if you did a study of the long-term benefits, we all come out ahead from the subsidy. Not just because the kids are better taken care of, but because in the long run, allowing a single parent to work while their kids are small (rather than sit at home on welfare) will allow them to increase their income and skills over time, which decreases the chance that they'll need future government help.

Posted by: randommom | February 13, 2007 8:58 AM

I am very glad to read this post today! I looked at the Web site, and this seems like a great organization. It restores some of my faith in humanity!

I am happy that my taxes go to help single-parent families. Unlike some other posters, I can understand that not all single-parent households are born of drunken one-night stands. Let's not judge this person. She seems to be doing the best she can. Jennifer, keep up the good work!

And "$13,000 marriage tax," what are you talking about? What's the marriage tax? Are you just being snarky, or are you trying to make a point?

Posted by: Meesh | February 13, 2007 8:58 AM

Hmm, this 30 year old woman has been receiving the subsidy for 4 years. I could have received the subsidy the entire time I was in college and saved myself a bunch of student loans for childcare.

What a deal!! Spread the word!!!

My guess is that a lot of people have no idea of what is out there. If people did some research they might find they are eligible for some subsidies.

Posted by: foamgnme | February 13, 2007 8:59 AM

I am also very glad my tax dollors are going to programs like this...I do believe it is a win/win situation for everyone. I cringe whenever I read a news story talking about making cuts in such programs - sure, just take money away from where it is needed most.

Posted by: Missicat | February 13, 2007 9:01 AM

--off topic--

GO TERPS!

(I'm sorry Duke fans, but that was a huge win for us, so I have to gloat. But good luck Wednesday)

Posted by: Meesh | February 13, 2007 9:02 AM

I earn $60K (with a masters degree - nonprofit sector), which is pretty good for what I do. I could not afford the $14,500/year tab for pre-school for my child without child support (which if I did not have child support would need some sort of subsidy - though I am not eligble for so would have to send said child to crappy school that is cheaper). Do you realize that in DC with my income in order to be eligible for free lunch I'd have to be supporting 8 children!?!?!

I live in a simple one bedroom apt, walk to work, have student loans, and never hire a sitter to go out (just so you do not attack my lavish lifestyle).

Posted by: single mom | February 13, 2007 9:03 AM

I don't have kids and I don't live in VA but I do feel this is a worthy program. As one poster said - would people prefer she go on welfare? Let her kids stay home alone and either get into trouble or perhaps be injured?
She is also giving back by volunteering. I think it was brave of her to write this and acknowledge that she is receiving assistance.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | February 13, 2007 9:04 AM

GO TERPS!

(I'm sorry Duke fans, but that was a huge win for us, so I have to gloat. But good luck Wednesday)

Posted by: Meesh | February 13, 2007 09:02 AM

I second that! Fear the turtles!

Posted by: Missicat | February 13, 2007 9:05 AM

Correct me if I am wrong but currently under the 2006 tax laws, there is no marriage penalty anyway. Two single people making X dollars would pay the same as two married people making 2X dollars. The marriage penalty was always over blown anyway. There is a lot of cost savings to being married as well. I have no problem with married couples paying slightly more in taxes (which they don't now) because it costs them slightly less to live on then two separate individuals. There are economies of scale. You get on group health plans, you split living costs, food costs etc... BTW, I am married.

Posted by: foamgnome | February 13, 2007 9:06 AM

Years and years of a 10K+ subsidy. Helping hand is an understatement!!!!

Posted by: Anonymous | February 13, 2007 9:08 AM

For more info on child care:
http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/ccb/

Posted by: Arlington | February 13, 2007 9:08 AM

Another way to look at this subsidy is that it's really for the children.

P.S. Yay, Terps :-)))

Posted by: catlady | February 13, 2007 9:09 AM

Is confused telling all the parents on the blog to jump over to on parenting so that the singles can rule the blog with topics about dead aunts and birthdays?

Sounds like an off topic discussion to me! Let's play. I would have gone to my convention and sent flowers.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 13, 2007 9:11 AM

"I guess my point is--there's a lot more to balancing your life than kids. (Especially for all the people who don't have kids.) Like the time my aunt--someone I really wasn't close to--died when I was due to go out of town for a convention, that was scheduled on my 21st birthday and where I was the guest of honor. What would you do? How do you balance the demands of family and the fact that this was something I'd been planning (and looking forward to) for a year?

Posted by: confused | February 13, 2007 08:47 AM"

I understand your frustrations concerning the repetitve nature of this blog, but this is your example of balance? You were the guest of honor at a convention and it was your 21st birthday? What kind of convention and are you Lindsay Lohan?

BTW: I hope you went to the funeral but perhaps your family understood if you didn't.

Posted by: cmac | February 13, 2007 9:13 AM

NC has a similar child care subsidy program that is funded by both state and federal funds.(http://info.dhhs.state.nc.us/olm/manuals/dcd/ccs/man/)

Posted by: Meesh | February 13, 2007 9:15 AM

The 9:11 post was mine. I forgot to sign it.

Posted by: scarry | February 13, 2007 9:16 AM

First, this certainly sounds like a good program. I'm strongly in favor of subsidizing things that have a good return on investment, and it sounds like this meets the requirements

- help goes to people who need it
- it builds stronger family ties (she spends more time with the kids)
- there's a payoff at the end (she's ahead in her career; the kids are better off)

So I'll join in the chorus on this one.

Foamgnome, re: marriage penalty: it's still there. It's not as bad as it used to be, but a married couple who both work tend to pay more in taxes and fees than two single people. Some of the most egregious examples have been done away with either directly or indirectly (e.g., the deduction on capital gains from selling your home was a killer. It used to be that you could take a once-in-a-lifetime exemption from capital gains arising from selling your house. The exemption for a married couple was exactly the same as for a single person - I'll never forget the look on my MIL & FIL's faces when their accountant told them they could save almost $100,000 in capital gains taxes by divorcing for a year! But that's been done away with indirectly because of the different treatment of capital gains from selling your home.)


Re: health plans, a "family" health plan is almost always far more expensive than two "single" health plans because the family plan covers kids. When we got married, we were strongly advised to keep our individual plans until kids came along. (We were both Feds at the time.) I just checked my current company's web site and sure enough, coverage for a married couple is somewhat more expensive than covering two individuals.

I don't think in general it's $13,000 per year, but the problem still exists and it's still rooted in the fact that the tax code assumed that only one member in a "married couple filing jointly" worked outside the home.

Posted by: Army Brat | February 13, 2007 9:20 AM

I wonder though if the people that really need these subsidies and programs can access them? I am well educated and an agressive person and had a hard time... as are my friends helping me out!

Posted by: single mom | February 13, 2007 9:21 AM

Kudos, Jennifer, for searching out resources to help you maintain a healthy family life for your kids.

I love reading about our tax dollars supporting programs like this one and only wish this program were available to all the women in this country who need it.

Maybe someday. In the meantime, Jennifer, congrats on being the kind of mom that your son is inspired to write so positively about!

Posted by: pittypat | February 13, 2007 9:22 AM

I received a state child care subsidy that enabled my husband and I to work (in a region with low paying jobs) and send our kids to a good daycare/preschool that prepared them for school. The most it ever paid was 25% of the child care cost, and the amount stayed the same even during summer/winter/spring break when the child care costs doubled. By working, we had health insurance, paid for food, etc., and paid taxes. The income thresholds were low. Without the subisdy, one of us would have quit working, and then we would have been eligible for (and needed) food stamps, medicaid (or been uninusred), assistance for heat and utilities, etc.. Anyone who sees this program as a free ride does not know how much childcare costs/what percentage of your ncome it takes. And childcare when kids are little is not an option if you want to work: you cant say, I cant afford the daycare fee this week so I'll leave the baby home alone while I work!! Childcare is not a luxury when you need to work, it is a neccesity.

Posted by: jessker 3 | February 13, 2007 9:23 AM

I do have a couple attorney friends who volunteer their time to help people slog through the paperwork, follow-up, etc. It can be intimidating from what I hear.

Posted by: Missicat | February 13, 2007 9:25 AM

And "$13,000 marriage tax," what are you talking about? What's the marriage tax? Are you just being snarky, or are you trying to make a point?

The point is - if she decides to marry her boyfriend the combined income most likely would illiminate her qualification to received a subsidy. In this case, and I'm not just talking about Jennifer's unique situation, she would have to take a huge economic loss if she decided to get married. Single mothers know this. Also, there are a significant number of couples who want children and specifically have kids before they get married to bill the social services with the expense.

Ever wunder why there are so many single women with children that are living under the poverty line? The answer is simple, if they entered into a marriage contract with their financial provider, they would live well above the line and have to sacrifice their yearly vacation to Disney World.

Posted by: $13,000 Marriage Tax | February 13, 2007 9:27 AM

The guest blog raises the issue well in support of subsidized child care for those who need it. I applaud Jennifer for her honesty and willingness to put herself and her family out there for the types of attacks that are common by other posters. I see the issue as a catch-22 - we need good childcare (which is expensive to provide) but it's difficult for most families to afford the quality care we all agree is important.

Slightly off topic, but I have an issue that we are dealing with for the first time and could use some advice from other parents. We've just learned that the man who (with his wife) purchased the home directly behind ours about 3 weeks ago is a registered sex offender. Offense did not involve physical contact with a child but still causes concern (happened in 2003). DH wants to move - I think this is overboard and we can't really be sure someone else with a record such as this wouldn't be a neighbor anywhere else. How do we talk to our kids about this without making them overly fearful? How do I find the balance of allowing the oldest some freedom when I want right now to be with him every minute after school? (He's 13, 5'6" and pretty self assured and mature). The law enforcement officers with whom I've spoken all suggest I go talk with the guy and let him know that we know, etc... I think I've just about mustered up the courage to do this but it unnerves me. Ideas? Thoughts?

Posted by: Stacey | February 13, 2007 9:29 AM

Where does it say that she has a boyfriend???

Posted by: single mom | February 13, 2007 9:30 AM

"The law enforcement officers with whom I've spoken all suggest I go talk with the guy and let him know that we know, etc... I think I've just about mustered up the courage to do this but it unnerves me"

You are right to be unnerved! It was reckless advice for the police to tell you to "go talk with the guy"!!!!

There are other ways to get your message to the sex offender without in person contact.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 13, 2007 9:35 AM

"There are other ways to get your message to the sex offender without in person contact."

And they are . . . ?

Be some help!

Posted by: Anonymous | February 13, 2007 9:39 AM

What did the offense involve? If it involved an offense against an adult (date rape, anyone?), then your children are not at risk.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 13, 2007 9:47 AM

The cost of care is so high because the daycare/preschool workers DESERVE to make a living wage. They still barely get by as it is. I would rather pay 1300/month and have nice happy women raising my children than pay 800 or 900/month and suffer through high turnover, etc. I really don't think that we should be complaining about the high cost of care when the daycare providers can barely make ends meet. They ARE raising our kids!

The real problem, of course, is that wages have not kept pace with the cost of living in this area. When small townhomes start at 700-800K in the nice neighborhoods- who can afford that? Even in the suburbs inside the beltway, houses start at 600K. WHo can afford a 4K mortgage? Who can afford 2300 rent for a 2 bdr apartment? Plus retirement and college and attempting to have holidays and MAYBE (that's a big maybe) a family vacation every once in awhile?

I was reading a "budget" article the other day and I am supposedly Upper Middle Class. That is the funniest thing I've ever heard. 5K/month take home in this city is NOTHING.

SO what can we actually do about this? Middle class families can't keep living this way.

Just like single mom- I do not live luxuriously. We live in a tiny 2 bdr, have 1 car that we paid for with cash years ago, and haven't had a vacation in more than 4 years (when we got pregnant with our child! lol)

Posted by: Anonymous | February 13, 2007 9:47 AM

Stacey,

Use Google, etc. to find out what else you can about this sex offender. It really depends what else is there. If this person has a criminal history in addition to the sex offense, then it's a bad situation, and it may impact your decision.

If there's no other record you can find, then it might be worthwhile for you and your husband to sit down with this other couple and let them know you know, and ask them to avoid your children.

If there are additional crimes in this person's background, then I'm afraid I might side with your husband and think about moving (although I'm afraid this will likely hurt your property values).

My experience on this? It wasn't a sex offender, but about five years ago a woman with three young children moved in next door; they moved up from Mississippi. Turns out they moved up because the husband/father was in the Federal Pen in Pennsylvania - he pleaded guilty to Medicare fraud and got three years; the original list of charges was as long as your arm. They had family in this area and it was close enough for her to go see him. (The kids at that time didn't know Dad was in prison; they were told he was out of the country for an extended time.) Dad got out of jail and came back to the house next door; he basically did nothing for two years. They divorced but he still lived there to provide day care for the kids. Then one Saturday morning he decided that she had been cheating on him (he didn't really consider them to be divorced) so he bashed her over the head with the answering maching and strangled her. He's in the MD State Pen for 30 years for attempted murder (plea bargain); she's in a persistent vegetative state at a hospital in Baltimore; and the three kids are in the Milton Hershey School in PA. Not a pleasant situation; not one I would repeat.

Posted by: Army Brat | February 13, 2007 9:55 AM

"Is the state was pursuing the children's father for child support?"

Is the father alive?

"italics problem appears in Firefox, but not Internet Explorer."

It doesn't appear in Opera either.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 13, 2007 9:55 AM

The offense was on line child pornography. Turned in by a roommate. Guy's now married, and they bought a pretty nice house in a stable neighborhood. He's employed and has one more year of unsupervised probation with no problems during the prior probationary period. As the range of offenders and likelihood of re-offending goes, he's supposedly low risk. Nice, but doesn't really make me feel better when it's literally my back yard.

Posted by: Stacey | February 13, 2007 9:57 AM

Thanks Army Brat. The detective who had the probation file in front of him did say it was the first arrest and conviction but how do we know whether it was a first offense (probably not likely). I've looked for other records and haven't found any but should get more info from the local law enforcement folks. The story you've shared is awful - how could you possibly know? I guess the benefit of the registry is that we do at least know about this. I've met the guy over the fence when they moved in and he was cautiously friendly and now I know why. I'm very uncomfortable with the whole situation but also trying to react appropriately with respect to the entire neighborhood's reaction and with respect to my children. Oh, and DH - who prosecuted a sex offender and has seen similar images so is extremely angry and emotional about this issue.

Posted by: Stacey | February 13, 2007 10:03 AM

I think a predator is a predator. Maybe her kids aren't at risk but if he is a rapist maybe she is. I don't know what to tell you Stacey, but I know I would not engage him. Why bring attention to yourself and your family? I would talk to my kids and tell them under no circumstances are they to go around him. I would get an alarm.

I don't know if it is wise to move unless you notice that he takes an interest in your children. I mean sex offenders are everywhere, which is a crime itself.

Posted by: scarry | February 13, 2007 10:04 AM

"Without the child-care assistance that I receive, I would have to obtain a second job, which would then take from the time that I get to spend with my children."

If she were receiving private funds, that would be one thing, but I don't like to hear that my tax dollars are being spent to keep people from being inconvenienced. If without assistance she would be unable to have ANY job and keep her apartment, that would be one thing, but honestly at least for this blogger, the assistance seems like an easy way out of an inconvenience rather than something that she life-or-death truly NEEDS.

Posted by: StudentMom | February 13, 2007 10:07 AM

"The offense was on line child pornography"

The guy's a pedophile. He will NEVER change. But he has successfully pulled the wool over his wife's eyes (or she is in denial or she is an enabler). Anyone who thinks that living in a nice house in a stable neighbor makes any difference is naive!

Does his employer know about his record? How can his family afford the house?

Posted by: Anonymous | February 13, 2007 10:07 AM

To single mom: You're absolutely right! Nowhere does the guest blogger mention a significant other (nor expensive vacations). Some chatter leapt to an adverse stereotypical conclusion, stating it as if it were fact.

To confused: Yes, this blog tends to concentrate on parent-child balance issues, which from a demographic perspective is reasonable. But concerns for parents and other relatives strike me as legitimate fodder for this blog, too, as many people have at least partial responsibility for other family members. E.g., my much-older cousin had to bear the brunt of our elderly widowed aunt's needs for the last three years of her life, by virtue of his living in the same state. The first couple years this mainly involved weekly trips (about an hour each way) to her house, where she continued to live alone, to assist with chores and household maintenance, driving her on numerous errands and to medical appointments, etc., and generally having to listen to her complain. In our aunt's final year, however, her care involved much more, as she had numerous medical appointments and was hospitalized several times as her health declined terminally. Although my cousin is much older than I am, so was already retired, he still had his own life to lead, including being close to his adult children and gradchild who live within a few miles of him, his own home to maintain -- and in the midst of this he himself was ill for a couple of months. Since I live far away from the rest of my family, my main role -- besides a few fly-in visits -- was to be my cousin's empathetic sounding-board via phone and email. My cousin was unable to take any vacations during this three-year period, which he naturally missed. And as executor of our aunt's estate, since her death he's had to deal with the lawyer, bank, realtor (aunt's house had to be sold, as it constituted the majority of her estate), not to mention the ghastly task of emptying the home where our aunt lived for over 60 years. So my cousin definitely had family-balance issues, even if they weren't primarily with children.

To Stacey: I don't blame you for being concerned re your new neighbor who's a registered sex-offender. After all, just because the offense in question "did not involve physical contact with a child," goodness only knows what else he's done, or would like to do, given half a chance. There were also some pervy-seeming men in my neighborhood back when I was a child (long before offender-registration, however). My mother handled this by teaching me that it was only OK to say "hello" to them so as not to be rude, but not to get drawn into any further conversation with them -- and above all, never, ever under any circumstances to go with them anywhere, no matter what they might say to me (even if they said it was OK with my mother). This policy worked fine for me. Re not moving away, I think you make an excellent point that you "can't really be sure someone else with a record such as this wouldn't be a neighbor anywhere else."

Posted by: catlady | February 13, 2007 10:08 AM

For others who might want to check out their neighborhood:

http://www.familywatchdog.us/

I know MD also has a link to their registry so maybe other states do too.

Posted by: KKLB SS MD | February 13, 2007 10:08 AM

Ever wunder why there are so many single women with children that are living under the poverty line? The answer is simple, if they entered into a marriage contract with their financial provider, they would live well above the line and have to sacrifice their yearly vacation to Disney World.

Where do you guys get stuff like this? DH and I are both well paid professionals. We took DD on the DCL once and don't plan to take her to WDW for about another 2-3 years. We are definitely in the upper middle class bracket and we can't afford a Disney vacation every year. Why in the world do you think a mother making less then 45K/year is going to Disney every year.
I agree the law and the programs do discourage marriage. Then let's work on NOT eliminating their subisidies after they marry. Because, I guess I am old fashioned, but I think kids do better in a loving two parent homes then single homes. So let's not punish the kids. Let's continue to support them regardless of their mother or father's marital status.

Stacey, have you considered talking to your neighbors. I agree it is not worth moving because you don't know who your next neighbors will be. But I would definitely spend the $$ on a fenced in yard with a lock. We have that and it is the best investment. I still keep an eagle eye out for DD (who is only 3). But at age 10-13, I would feel perfectly safe in letting her play in our locked yard by herself or with a friend. It sucks. But you can't even let your 7 year old go to the tot lot by themselves. When I was a kid (in the 70s and 80s), I had the run of about 1/4 of the town by the time I was 8. Man I feel sorry for kids today.

Posted by: foamgnome | February 13, 2007 10:12 AM

Stacey - Despite all the information you have there are still a lot of variables in your situation. I agree - the guy got caught but it probably was not the first time (kudos to the roommate). I just keep thinking about all the Dateline Specials with seemingly ordinary people that are soliciting children for sex.

This is such a personal decision and your husband's concerns are valid. I looked on the VA sex offender registry and there are quite a few within a 5 mile radius of my house and it makes me uncomfortable, but they are everywhere. Like Scarry said, at least we have the registry.

Good Luck in your decision making - it is a hard one.

Posted by: cmac | February 13, 2007 10:12 AM

would talk to your son (at 13 he should already know about sexual predators, etc.) and tell him to have no contact, etc. with this man. Teach him ways to deal with predators - moving will remove this neighbor, but what about future predators he may encounter. Better to teach good skills (do not believe people when they say they are friends with your parents/your parents want you to go with them, follow your gut instincts if someone does/says anything that makes you uncomfortable, etc.) My elem school aged kids learned about "good touch/bad touch" in daycare and about online predators in computer class, which lead into a discussion about strangers/neighbors/etc

Posted by: jessker 5 | February 13, 2007 10:19 AM

From the beginning: "This blog is devoted to illuminating the work/family debate through stories from moms about how we juggle work and kids, in whatever portions we've chosen (including none). So welcome, working moms, sort-of working moms and not-working-right-now moms."
Not saying it hasn't or shouldn't evolve, but since it's Leslie's blog, she gets to decide what it's about.

Posted by: To confused | February 13, 2007 10:20 AM

Foamgnome - I the School-Age Child Care Program run by Fairfax County Public Schools is wonderful. Unfortunately the centers have long waiting lists, so not everyone can take advantage of them. People pay on a sliding scale based on income. With before and after school care they are open 7:15 AM to 6:15 PM. My two children love it and I am please with the care given to my children.

To answer your questions: When schools are delayed, SACC still tries to open by 8:00AM. With early closings (like today) they stay open until the last child is picked up, but they are officially still open until 6:15. When the schools are closed, SACC is closed. If you are late picking up your kids, you get a fee (I think it is $15, but have only had to pay it once).

We also are very pleased with the Summer program. Each Summer they have a different theme and they keep the kid busy with a great variety of activities. Hope this info helps.

Posted by: JL | February 13, 2007 10:21 AM

I strongly recommend everyone check out your neighborhood. Most states have offender web sites. We were definitely under a false sense of security in our little suburban enclave. There are 4 registered offenders in our zip code and fortunately the other 3 are pretty far away. I was surprised by the number and hate to admit I hadn't checked before. The knowledge has prompted us to have these talks with the kids and reinforce the safety rules. We've always had a "secret word" and the kids know they do NOT go with anyone, even someone who says we sent them to pick them up, if that person does not know the secret word. We also have a lot of structure and check in times. I've shown the older two the guy's picture and we've talked in general about why certain criminals have to register and why children are especially targeted. It's the line between proper caution and how not to make them overly fearful that I am struggling with.

To the person who asked how they afforded the house - that is something we're all wondering about. I spoke with the realtor who sold the house and learned that they did pre-qualify for a traditional mortgage. I also agree that these folks do not change and that they are opportunists. I am very glad we have a really big dog as an additional security feature and we do have an alarm.

Posted by: Stacey | February 13, 2007 10:21 AM

I saw a tv show that had a former police officer who now goes around the country teaching about predators. He asked a group of parents if their child (approx ages 5-10) if their child would go with a stranger. They all said no - that they had taught them to never go with a stranger. Well, he walked up to each kid on the playground and asked them to help him find his puppy - each and every one walked away with the man. The parents were astounded.
He also talked about getting close to cars. Some people will grab a person (usually woman or child) by pulling over and asking directions or asking you to stick your head in to look at a map. He advised to never get within arms reach of a vehicle. It was an excellent, eye-opening show.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | February 13, 2007 10:23 AM

Here is a link to our National Sex Offender Public Registry: http://www.nsopr.gov/

I've had a chance to visit with sex offender grants and some are very against restrictions on where sex offenders can live. It was definitely interesting...

Posted by: DOJ employee | February 13, 2007 10:25 AM

J:, DD is now in preschool. She has two more years left of preschool. How soon do I need to sign her up for the kindergarten SACC program? Summer before kindergarten, spring before kindergarten. I definitely want to get her in that. It sounds good. I do worry about all those teacher work days. Are they closed for those days too?

Posted by: foamgnome | February 13, 2007 10:26 AM

Student Mom:

I understand your concern, but if she takes a second job, how will she get daycare for that?

Seems a few posters are making assumptions about her life that aren't fair. Regardless of the circumstances, it is darn near impossible to put two kids in daycare in the D.C. area when you make less than $50K. I was robbing Peter to Paulina's Day Care for one child when I made less than $50K. The only way to do it for more than one child is to get help, often govt assistance.

BTW, in MD if the custodial parent, on state aid, has a support order, the amount of state aid is retained by the state and deducted from the amount of the support s/he receives, e.g. Order=$1000, State Aid=$750, Parent gets $250. This aleivates some of the state burden.

Posted by: Cali Esq | February 13, 2007 10:26 AM

Can we make fun of the 21 year old who had to go to a funeral on her birthday?

Posted by: Anonymous | February 13, 2007 10:26 AM

The cost of care is so high because the daycare/preschool workers DESERVE to make a living wage. They still barely get by as it is. I would rather pay 1300/month and have nice happy women raising my children than pay 800 or 900/month and suffer through high turnover, etc. I really don't think that we should be complaining about the high cost of care when the daycare providers can barely make ends meet. They ARE raising our kids!

The real problem, of course, is that wages have not kept pace with the cost of living in this area. When small townhomes start at 700-800K in the nice neighborhoods- who can afford that? Even in the suburbs inside the beltway, houses start at 600K. WHo can afford a 4K mortgage? Who can afford 2300 rent for a 2 bdr apartment? Plus retirement and college and attempting to have holidays and MAYBE (that's a big maybe) a family vacation every once in awhile?

I was reading a "budget" article the other day and I am supposedly Upper Middle Class. That is the funniest thing I've ever heard. 5K/month take home in this city is NOTHING.

SO what can we actually do about this? Middle class families can't keep living this way.

Just like single mom- I do not live luxuriously. We live in a tiny 2 bdr, have 1 car that we paid for with cash years ago, and haven't had a vacation in more than 4 years (when we got pregnant with our child! lol)

Posted by: | February 13, 2007 09:47 AM

Anon at 9:47,

I have to agree. The daycare workers are often overlooked in this daycare cost equation. They do such an important job, yet many parents are willing to let them be paid a pittance (or turn the other cheek) for helping us raise our kids so we can work.
I chose our preschool for a lot of reasons- but one of the biggest was the low turnover. THey get paid pretty well (compared to other centers) have good benefits (most don't even offer benefits). A happy teacher= a happy child!

I actually make about the same as you and it is a struggle. We live in a 1 bedroom (my husband and I have our bed in the dining nook), our little one has the bedroom. We have 1 car that we own, and haven't been on a vacation as a family yet- we took 1 overnight trip last year and that was it. How on Earth 85K became struggling is beyond me!

Posted by: SAHMbacktowork | February 13, 2007 10:26 AM

FYI - if you live in VA, this Web site lists sex offenders: http://sex-offender.vsp.virginia.gov/sor/

Posted by: JL | February 13, 2007 10:27 AM

"I agree the law and the programs do discourage marriage. Then let's work on NOT eliminating their subisidies after they marry."

RIGHT ON! The whole "if you don't want to be poor, just get married and your husband will provide" attitude is pretty harsh about men who aren't well-off and the women they love who love them back.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 13, 2007 10:28 AM

I hope you don't take any grief on here for getting and unapologetically using assistance. (I don't know if you did get grief as I have not yet read the comments.) But hey, after our government has spent trillions to make Iraq great _NOT_ no one has a shred of a right any longer to attack our own citizens when their use of government funds is honest and earnest.

Posted by: Dignity for Single Parents | February 13, 2007 10:28 AM

Can we make fun of the 21 year old who had to go to a funeral on her birthday?

Posted by: | February 13, 2007 10:26 AM

Oh, come on, it's tough to balance drinking and partying and family obligations! hehe.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 13, 2007 10:29 AM

Stacey - I'm gonna vote with cmac and the devil you know. There is no guarantee that if you move you won't be nearer another one that you might not know about. I think you should be really frank with your children and making them scared I think is appropriate. When kids are 13 they think that they know better and can handle situations themselves - we all remember that feeling right. So I think scaring the wits out of the kid would be a good idea. He doesn't have to be scared of the world to be scared of a person like that. If a convicted murder moved in next door, I'd be scared but I'm not afraid of the world. Get an alarm system too.

Posted by: moxiemom | February 13, 2007 10:29 AM

Wow, Stacey, that's pretty scary stuff. Obviously, this is a very personal decision for you and your family. I think I feel as many others have already suggested that moving probably isn't the answer because you're just as likely to have someone like this in your next neighborhood. I personally think that there are an awful lot of pedophiles who don't get turned in, so even if there's nobody on the registry in your new place that doesn't mean there isn't someone just like this guy there. Not to be overly pessimistic and dramatic, I just think that you can't rely on the registry to make you feel safe. It sounds like you have taken a lot of precautions to teach your children about the risks and to teach them the skills they need, and that seems like the best thing you can do.

Good luck with this - I'm so sorry you are in this situation!

Posted by: Megan | February 13, 2007 10:31 AM

Maybe if the childcare subsidy was not available she would have thought twice about having children she couldn't afford to take care of - I can understand the first child but a second one after knowing that childcare was an issue for her is inexcusable. My tax dollars are being used to pay for someone else's poor planning/judgement

Posted by: Ana | February 13, 2007 10:33 AM

Foamgnome - Registration start July 1st the YEAR BEFORE she would start Kindergarten. I don't think that they will take her until she is actually in school, but once in, you are golden. You must register separately for School year, the Winter Program (Christmas/New Year Holiday), the Spring Program (Spring Break), and the Summer Programs (7-8 different weeks). If there is a waiting list, don't worry, just get on it. It jumps as 6th-graders leave. Once you are in one of the sessions, you are in each year until you take her out.

As for teacher work days, SACC is open. SACC also covers Monday afternoons, when Fairfaz County School are usually closed. It is closed for Fed. holidays.

Posted by: JL | February 13, 2007 10:34 AM

How on Earth 85K became struggling is beyond me!

Wow, it must have been that the real estate market shot up so fast. I can't imagine that would be life on 85K. I think it is cool you gave the little one the bedroom. But that leaves little privacy for you and your husband. Best of luck to you.

Posted by: foamgnome | February 13, 2007 10:34 AM

Thanks JL. I will definitely keep abreast of it. I looked at their site and it looks like a nice program.

Posted by: foamgnome | February 13, 2007 10:35 AM

Ana: no offense but your assuming she was in the same situation before her second child arrived. I had a friend whose husband suddenly died leaving her with two kids. You can't always know when your spouse will die, divorce you, or just plain run away.

Posted by: foamgnome | February 13, 2007 10:37 AM

"Maybe if the childcare subsidy was not available she would have thought twice about having children she couldn't afford to take care of - I can understand the first child but a second one after knowing that childcare was an issue for her is inexcusable."

And how exactly do you know she had her second child after knowing? There's nothing in her blog to support that conclusion. Personally, I don't care whether she knew this was an issue when she had her second child - she sounds like she is working hard to be responsible and raise responsible children, and that's great. As someone pointed out yesterday, saying a single mother shouldn't have gotten pregnant in the first place, is, well, POINTLESS! It's in the past, and the real issue is how she's dealing with it now and how we can best ensure that the children are raised in a positive environment and with a good role model, which is exactly what this guest blogger is doing.

Posted by: Megan | February 13, 2007 10:40 AM

Now Iraq is always and interesting discussion on how tax payers dollars are not being used optimally... in one week we lost 8 helicopters with a replacement value of $40M+ each ($320M), wonder how many families in need this could help move from near poverty line to way above.

Also, are there any accountants/economists out there that can explain how we can balance a budget with a huge deficit and an expensive war without raising taxes - responsibly?

Posted by: single mom | February 13, 2007 10:40 AM

To Ana: Nowhere does today's guest blogger state that she was unmarried at the time of the birth of either of her children. For all that any of us knows, she was happily married and expecting to continue to be for the duration of her children's minor years, but she was unexpectedly widowed. Or maybe her marriage went so badly awry that divorce was the prudent solution to a difficult problem. Or maybe she did have both children while single, but reasonably believed that her economic situation would be more favorable than it has turned out to be (reflecting, in part, the disproportionately-increasing cost-of-living in the DC area).

And yet none of this really matters. What matters, Ana, is that you would punish the children if you judged that their parent had not lived up to your standards. It's not the children's doing.

Posted by: catlady | February 13, 2007 10:41 AM

"You can't always know when your spouse will die"

That's why you buy insurance! The sudden death of a spouse "leaving someone with kids" excuse is really pretty bogus.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 13, 2007 10:41 AM

To Ana: How do you know she had her children as a single parent? Her piece does nothing to encourage this idea. Maybe she is widowed, or divorced. Would you have her stay in a bad marriage just so she could afford daycare without assistance? That wouldn't be good for the kids, either!

Re: cost of daycare. Does anyone know if the cutoffs for subsidies are adjusted for cost of living? (e.g. higher in parts of the country where it is more expensive for housing, utilities, etc.) My husband and I make about $60K and even in the NY suburbs that gets you nothing. Infant daycare here is upwards of $1000/month, and that's if you're lucky to find something (the waiting list can be 9 months or longer . . . so some people call to put their names on the lists before they even tell family/friends they are pregnant!). Affording daycare is the only reason we haven't been able to have kids yet . . . and parents are not an option. (Both sets work, and I wouldn't feel right saddling them with a baby anyway.) I just wish when I was in college, I'd had a crystal ball, so I could have had the foresight to go do investment banking instead of following my heart to a low-paid career that I love. Thanks for letting me vent and thanks for sharing your story, Jennifer.

Posted by: NY lurker | February 13, 2007 10:42 AM

With the fairfax county program - it is a great program but it is not available at all schools, because of space issues.

Posted by: Divorced mom of 1 | February 13, 2007 10:44 AM

re: marriage tax..three little letters: AMT

If you use turbotax, go ahead and play with numbers for 2007 after you complete your taxes. If you are SAH, give yourself a salary for 2007 and watch how much that AMT will take away most of what you make. If you are WOH, give your salary to your spouse (so only one earns a salary) and watch your taxes go down. Simply shocking. This is one of the reasons 85K isn't much anymore.

Posted by: dotted | February 13, 2007 10:46 AM

While some of you are pouncing on Jennifer, keep in mind the income thresholds also include new teachers. Now that is pathetic. That we pay our teachers so little that they may qualify for child care subisidies. Think about that every time you vote!!!

Posted by: foamgnome | February 13, 2007 10:49 AM

"You can't always know when your spouse will die"

That's why you buy insurance! The sudden death of a spouse "leaving someone with kids" excuse is really pretty bogus.

Posted by: | February 13, 2007 10:41 AM

Right, because only perfect people deserve assistance, but then again, because they're perfect, they don't need it. How convenient! The perfect people can go about living their perfect lives and look down their noses at all the rest of us poor slobs who screwed everything up and therefore have cursed our children to live under the burden of our mistakes. What a great society that sounds like!

Posted by: Anonymous | February 13, 2007 10:50 AM

To the anonymous coward at 10:41 who typed, "The sudden death of a spouse 'leaving someone with kids' excuse is really pretty bogus."

When my DH was in elementary school, his parents were in a terrible accident: his dad died, and his mom was badly injured. Fortunately a set of grandparents was able to take DH in for an extended period. My MIL had enough insurance, that she didn't lose their home, and was able to get the medical necessary to recover, return home and continue raising what turned out to be a fine son (as well as her baby brothers, since she and her husband were raising them as well after their own mother died in childbirth).

Anonymous at 10:41 makes widowhood (or widowerhood) sound like a mere speed-bump on the road of life. It's not. It's one of the greatest tragedies that can befall a family, if not economically then emotionally.

Posted by: catlady | February 13, 2007 10:51 AM

In Fairfax Co after+before school child care is $381 a month for family income $50000 and above. So, it's $3810 for 10 month of school. Summer camps ran by the County are on average $200-$300 a week. Add $250x8weeks=$1000 for the summer. Total $$4810 a year. Nearly $10000 difference compared to what the lady told us. Of course, there are also community centers camps where total for the summer is about $100 with field trips and smimming pool. Between 2 working parents in our family we have well above $100000 and we are still sending our son to such comuunity centers ocassionally, because it's important for him to be able to connect to all kinds of people. By the way, we drive 1998 Hyundai. With proper maintanence will last another 5 years. On the other hand, some parents would sneer at this kind of basic care and sign up their kids for much more expensive programs, forgetting that it's OPTIONAL. Like trips to Disney World (never went -- bad value for money, and no ed value) versus national parks and museums (free in Smitsonian!). Car payments are waste of money too: buy what you can afford cash. For the "enrichment" afficionados, Firfax Co has great gifted program ( which is free!).

Posted by: Know your numbers | February 13, 2007 10:52 AM

DH and I make more than 85K combined, but the AMT doesn't apply to us. I don't understand all the rules.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 13, 2007 10:53 AM

To Know your Numbers - it is my understanding that she has two children - one in school that particaptes in before and after care, and the other in pre-school/day care. this may make up for the difference, please just giver her the benefit of the doubt when she says that the numbers are higher than what she can afford.

Posted by: single mom | February 13, 2007 10:55 AM

I'll take off my jesters hat once again to address the serious issue as well. Stacey, these people generally do not change. I agree that moving probably would not fix anything, and that it could in fact get you into a worse situation since these freaks are everywhere. On the bright side, at 13, your kid is probably on his way outside of the pervs target zone. This guy probably would not break in, especially being so close. People who break in generally would not want to target their own neighborhoods, but I am glad you have an alarm. The real threat is him being invited in or let in. Consider a peep hole if you do not have one, or a chain bolt so you or your kid can check who it is before opening a door. Not to scare you or downplay anything, but a dog is just a dog and should not be relied on for security- consider learning some simple defense techniques, and throw the polite rules of unarmed combat out the window when dealing with scum- teach your kids that they are not to use these techniques in playground fights. You want to make them able to defend themselves against life-threatening attacks, not land them in jail for killing the school bully. Again, this is all last ditch stuff. Avoidance is the real key.
Not to sound paranoid, but make sure phones are strategically located and when you are done with a call that the cordless phones have not all migrated to one location. Talk with your kid and any other parents in the neighborhood and make sure they are informed. Sometimes even talking to the police department might help and they could occasionally send a patrol car through the neighborhood. While a drive through may not seem to do much, it puts someone nearby and can serve as intimidation. At 13 your child should be smart enough to listen to this kind of reason, that this individual is not to be trusted, no matter what. Good luck.

Posted by: Chris | February 13, 2007 10:55 AM

Catlady:

Anonymous at 10:41 makes widowhood (or widowerhood) sound like a mere speed-bump on the road of life. It's not. It's one of the greatest tragedies that can befall a family, if not economically then emotionally.

________________________

While I agree that the anonymous poster's tone wasn't so polite, the point (s)he was trying to make is a good one: life insurance, if you're young and healthy, is pretty economical and not having any especially when you have young children is pretty irresponsible. It's a basic part of financial planning. Even when my wife was a SAHM we had a policy on her that, had something happened to her, would have left me the cash to cover all the increased expenses (daycare, etc.).

Posted by: Army Brat | February 13, 2007 10:55 AM

Know your numbers: One of her kids may be in kindergarten which incurs another cost for half day kindergarten. Also did she say she lives in Fairfax?

AMT does not kick in for a while. I think 200K. So lots of these people are not affected by the AMT. The problem with AMT is they have not adjusted the threshold due to rising costs of living.

Posted by: foamgnome | February 13, 2007 10:56 AM

To the anon poster who keeps trying to degrade single parents:

Please provide us all with a map to the utopian world you live in where everyone's life goes as planned, no one makes mistakes or has shortcomings, everyone's need are met in every way, and all is fair in love, marriage, and child-rearing. If it really exists, I'm sure a few of us would like to go. If not, please stop spewing crap from your delusional pedestal.

Posted by: Cali Esq | February 13, 2007 10:58 AM

Well then, I would think that if AMT affects 200K, then they probably still have more disposable income after taxes than the majority of Americans.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 13, 2007 10:58 AM

To confused:

I understand your confusion about the nature of the blog. But the situations you described that you need balance on aren't really something that anyone on a blog can help you with. You simply need to make a decision as to which of the events you can attend and then do it. I would have suggested making a contribution to a charity in your aunt's name and sending a card to the appropriate family member, attending the convention if it was important for work or whatever, and rescheduling your 21st birthday party for a different day.

I'm not trying to diminish the importance of your scheduling troubles to you at this point in your life, but I would guess you'll run into a lot bigger problems in the future. It usually comes down to choice and deciding what your priorities are.

Posted by: momof4 | February 13, 2007 10:59 AM

Army Brat, I agree with you about life insurance. But some people can't afford milk for their kid, where do you think they can afford life insurance. Heck a good number of people can't afford health insurance; never mind life insurance. For the middle class, life insurance should be a must but for people in the low income sector, life insurance is a mere dream. Kind of like the dream to own their own home.

Posted by: foamgnome | February 13, 2007 10:59 AM

Stacey, it sounds like it's not as bad as it could be, but it also sounds like you and DH have some talking to do. Beliefs about whether someone who has done this type of thing can truly reform (or even, just if they can avoid the behavior in the future) can become almost "religious" in nature. Some people believe "once a sex offender always a sex offender" and you're putting your kids at risk. Others believe that there's hope that the behavior can be controlled and the risk managed. If it were me, I'd stay there; make sure we had a fence, and my wife and I would talk calmly and politely to him and his wife. But you've got to do what makes you comfortable .

Posted by: Army Brat | February 13, 2007 10:59 AM

Yes, we should pursue this intitiave, but along with personal accountability

I think anyone is only asking for reasonable precautions like insurance, support from the father, etc.

This is a tough situation because the children are punished without having any control of the situation.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 13, 2007 10:59 AM

What do I need to do to get rid of the italics?

Posted by: curious nonmother | February 13, 2007 11:01 AM

To Army Brat: I totally second your comments re young families getting life insurance. It is indeed quite reasonably-priced the younger one is. In my MIL's case, without it she would've had to sell their home, and (given that this was a long time ago) might not even have been able to get sufficient medical care for her own injuries.

Posted by: catlady | February 13, 2007 11:03 AM

FYI: I pay the top bracket in Fairfax Co. for two children (I get 10% off the normal fee for teh second kid). Normal months I pay $724 for both kids for before and after school care. For the week between Christmas and New Years, I paid an additional $287 for both kids. The same will be true for Spring Break.

For Summer, I paid $189/week for one child for 7 weeks. Next summer, for two kids, I guess will be $359 (unless prices go up. So, for one year (not including the three weeks in the Summer where I have to find alternative care) I will pay $10,327.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 13, 2007 11:04 AM

FYI: I pay the top bracket in Fairfax Co. for two children (I get 10% off the normal fee for teh second kid). Normal months I pay $724 for both kids for before and after school care. For the week between Christmas and New Years, I paid an additional $287 for both kids. The same will be true for Spring Break.

For Summer, I paid $189/week for one child for 7 weeks. Next summer, for two kids, I guess will be $359 (unless prices go up. So, for one year (not including the three weeks in the Summer where I have to find alternative care) I will pay $10,327.

Posted by: JL | February 13, 2007 11:04 AM

My father has Juvenille diabetes and could never get affordable life insurance (had tried several times).. they were poor and could never pay the $300/month.

Also, my health insurance comes through my office and I pay a nominal rate - some places do not have this option (does Mcdonalds?).

For all of you that do have health insurance - how much do you think your child would need if you passed away? I had this dilema when doing my benefits for this year. Prior to mommyhood I only had enough to cremate me and put me in the ground.

Posted by: single mom | February 13, 2007 11:06 AM

Some people are not insurable, even if they want life insurance. Or, because of existing medical conditions, the premiums are so high that they are unaffordable.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 13, 2007 11:07 AM

JL

Don't you get a Child Care Credit on your Federal Taxes that helps?

Posted by: Anonymous | February 13, 2007 11:08 AM

If the insanity of the court system allowed the father to play an equal role in his childrens lives their would be no govt subsidy , the children's outcome would be far better and they would have two heros to write about.But the freaks that run the womens movement don't want any of that.

Posted by: mcewen | February 13, 2007 11:10 AM

single mom: The adoption agency requires at least $150K for the primary earner and $100 K for the secondary earner. So I would think a single mother or father would need at least $150K in life insurance. I also think it depends on the number of kids. We carry a lot of life insurance and have one child The other thing, if you can afford it, is get mortgage insurance. I don't mean PMI. I mean an insurance that will pay off your mortgage if either you or your spouse dies. That way, the house would be free and clear and the life insurance will pay the kids college as well as any additional costs incurred by single parenting. Like maybe a nanny or extra day care costs. I don't think you need to make up their retirement because in theory you would only be supporting one person in retirement and would have no need for their additional unearned retirement. But that is my thoughts. I am all for safety and am really over insured. But I rest assured knowing that if either one of us dies, DD will be very well taken care of or if both die, heck she would be rich!

Posted by: foamgnome | February 13, 2007 11:10 AM

Mcewan - what if the father ran off? that happens you know. what are you so bitter about anyhow?

Posted by: single mom | February 13, 2007 11:11 AM

Apologies to the author, thanks for the correction to the others. I missed a point about 2 children "two school-age children in day care before and after school, plus all day in the summer, is $13,490"
Besides, $250x8 weeks is of course $2000, not $1000. So, for 2 my estimate $5810x2=11620 comes pretty close to what she said. No Disney vacation there... just got tired of being bombarded by "enrichment " flyers every week. And yes, Virginia, Herndon is in Fairfax County.

Posted by: Know your numbers | February 13, 2007 11:11 AM

"I guess my point is--there's a lot more to balancing your life than kids. (Especially for all the people who don't have kids.) Like the time my aunt--someone I really wasn't close to--died when I was due to go out of town for a convention, that was scheduled on my 21st birthday and where I was the guest of honor. What would you do? How do you balance the demands of family and the fact that this was something I'd been planning (and looking forward to) for a year?"

Oh. My. Gawd. Really? This is your idea of 'balancing'? If you weren't close to your aunt, be GLAD you didn't have to deal with the pain of someone's death whom you cared deeply about. While you could stick around and help your grieving family, why bother. If Mommy and Daddy were still willing to pay for your trip, they probably don't need your shoulder to cry on. I say go celebrate. If a funeral doesn't bring tears to your eyes, it's not worth attending. Funerals aren't for the dead, they are for the living to grieve. Enjoy your birthday, maybe one day (when you are beyond the completely knowledgeable age of 21) you will have to deal with some real balancing. Until then just please try not to drink and drive so I don't have to meet you on the road.

Posted by: JM | February 13, 2007 11:12 AM

"If the insanity of the court system allowed the father to play an equal role in his childrens lives their would be no govt subsidy , the children's outcome would be far better and they would have two heros to write about.But the freaks that run the womens movement don't want any of that.

Posted by: mcewen | February 13, 2007 11:10 AM"

And mcewen brings his axe to grind. Does he EVER say anything worthwhile?
"

Posted by: KLB SS MD | February 13, 2007 11:13 AM

Mcwen: The courts are NOT forcing fathers to pay less in child support. Fathers are more then welcome to pay more $$ in child support. It is generally the non custodial parent fighting to NOT pay as much. I think you really need to find a father's rights blog. Because that is all that you seemed interested in.

Posted by: foamgnome | February 13, 2007 11:13 AM

To foamgnome: I agree with you that for people whose family income is below middle-class, paying premiums on even term life insurance is indeed a financial burden.

I can only speak for myself, of course, but during our early years of marriage, we had to make real financial sacrifices elsewhere in our household budget in order to keep up our life insurance, because DH knew from his own childhood experience (see my 10:51 posting) how important it was in the unlikely but horrible case that a spouse should die young.

As to where to scrimp in a household budget, this is an individual decision, because one person's luxury is another's necessity, of course, so I don't presume to tell others where to make cuts. But I will say that it can be a real revelation to sit down with pencil and paper and crunch the numbers realistically. You might be surprised at what you decide you can do without.

Posted by: catlady | February 13, 2007 11:15 AM

We certainly have lost a sense of shame and accountability in this society. Everyone is a victim and no one is accountable for making appropriate decisions. Maybe women should be a little more selective in the men they choose to have children with. Sure some people change, but most of the men who run off are doing something entirely in keeping with their person. Most single moms are not widows. Even so, people need to think about what they are doing. Don't have more children than you can afford - if you have four kids and can't afford proper life insurance, then maybe you have too many kids. There used to be a stigma against single motherhood which I think really helped to keep the number of single mothers down - same with divorce. With the reduction in stigma, people don't work as hard at their marriages as they used to or maybe they get into them thinking that they can quit if they want to. We certainly do need to support the children of peole who make these poor decisions, however, how do we do that without providing an incentive for people to be irresponsible?

Posted by: Anonymous | February 13, 2007 11:18 AM

I missed the part she lived in Herndon. Again, she may have kindergarter or a preschool child which would increase their costs. She may also send them some place other then the SACC program.

Posted by: foamgnome | February 13, 2007 11:19 AM

No, the child care credit phases out pretty quickly.

Posted by: JL | February 13, 2007 11:21 AM

Why don't some of you people move to a place more affordable. If you make $85K and can't have a decent lifestyle, I cannot imagine why you would stay where you are. Maybe you could have a SAHP if you didn't insist on living in DC or NYC? There are a lot of opportuniites elsewhere in this country for educated, professional people.

Posted by: living it up in Ohio | February 13, 2007 11:23 AM

Maybe the poster at 11:18 is really just Leslie trying to bait us!

Posted by: Anonymous | February 13, 2007 11:23 AM

Know your numbers:
I thought Herndon was a city. They have a different car sticker, or used to before Fairfax removed the requirement.

Posted by: Working Dad | February 13, 2007 11:23 AM

We certainly do need to support the children of peole who make these poor decisions, however, how do we do that without providing an incentive for people to be irresponsible?

I don't get this. What incentive? Do you really think her life is better, even with the child care credit, then a two income family making 150K? No way. Her life is still a 100% harder managing it by herself. It is certainly no cake walk to be a single parent.

Posted by: foamgnome | February 13, 2007 11:24 AM

All sorts of things are paid for or subsidized by tax dollars. I would much rather my tax dollars be used to subsidize a program that allows someone to work than many of the other things my tax dollars fund.

Helping someone to become a productive member of society is honorable. By working, they are also paying taxes themselves. They are helping to ensure that they will be partially or fully self-supporting in the future.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 13, 2007 11:26 AM

Foamgnome: AMT kicks in far below 200K; it can kick in at as low as 50K if you itemize deductions, have several children and pay high state taxes. That's the biggest complaint about it - it's likely to soon impact about one third of the taxpayers in the US.

Here's an informative quote:

The Congressional Budget Office estimates that in 2006 34.6% of taxpayers in the $50,000 to $100,000 AGI range will owe AMT.

Given median incomes in the DC metro area, there are probably a number of readers of this blog who will get hit by it.

Posted by: Army Brat | February 13, 2007 11:26 AM

For insurance - don't get seperate mortgage insurance, include that potential cost in your life insurance, that way your spouse or the executor of your estate has the flexibility to decide how to spend the funds.

Posted by: Divorced mom of 1 | February 13, 2007 11:27 AM

Help me here - what is the AMT??

Posted by: single mom | February 13, 2007 11:28 AM

AMT - Alternative Minimum Tax

Posted by: cmac | February 13, 2007 11:30 AM

To "living it up in Ohio": I live in fly-over country, too, and like you am glad that our cost-of-living here (esp. for housing) is a lot lower than in DC, NYC, etc. Like you I would recommend other parts of the country to people in those high-priced markets as a possible partial solution.

But, I also have relatives who were born and raised in an expensive part of the country, and who feel that part of their family values is to live near one another, so they can see one another more often, and take care of one another when the situation calls for it. (See above posting re cousin who cared for our elderly aunt for three years, and who lives near his adult children).

Hard to believe, I know, but some people in the DC area are actually FROM there, and for sound family reasons don't want to leave their extended families behind. Others have jobs that don't exist much (if at all) outside the nation's capital, so unless they want to change careers they're probably going to have to stay in the pricey DC area. No easy solutions here, I'm afraid.

Posted by: catlady | February 13, 2007 11:34 AM

Re: Herndon is it's own municipality and has it's own Police Department. Herndon schools are included in the Fairfax County School system though. I believe their budget, from which Jennifer would get her benefits from, is independent of Fairfax's.

Posted by: cmac | February 13, 2007 11:36 AM

divorced mom1: our mortgage insurance just writes a check to you. It does not have to be used to pay the mortgage off. The only difference in that insurance compared to life insurance, you could not take out more then the mortgage amount that you owed on your house. I think different policies have different stipulations.

Posted by: foamgnome | February 13, 2007 11:36 AM

Gotta clarify the AMT thing. It has very little to do with how much you make (any income above @ $42K could theoretically trigger AMT), and almost everything to do with how many deductions you take. I'm not a tax lawyer, but it's basically a separate tax system with one big deduction instead of a bunch of smaller ones -- and you have to do the math both ways and pay whichever is higher. So if your bunch of little deductions add up to more than the bigger AMT deduction, you are in AMT land.

It's really a big problem in areas like DC and NY, where salaries are higher but so are home prices and taxes -- you may make a "moderate" salary and live in a fairly small house, but you put together your big mortgage and big property tax bill, plus a couple of kids, those deductions can easily surpass the AMT threshold.

Oh, yeah, and number of kids count, too. If I recall correctly, a number of years ago there was a dad of (I think) 8 who was prosecuted by the IRS for not paying the AMT -- he made something like $50-75K/yr, but the number of exemptions he claimed put him into AMT-land.

So again, it's not what you MAKE (above @ $42K), it's what you DEDUCT. I know people who make $300K/yr, but who do not pay AMT, because they don't have big deductions, so their regular tax bill is higher than what AMT would assess (I think it's a flat rate @ 22%, so if you've got a lot of income in a higher bracket, without the kinds of deductions that would usually go along with that higher income, your regular tax could be much higher). I also know people who make $100K who do, because they've got the basic DC mortgage/taxes/kids deductions.

Posted by: Laura | February 13, 2007 11:36 AM


I too applaud this program. The mom's at the limit of working full-time and parenting; any further external work on her part would seriously impact her children's experience of a loving parent who can actually spend enough time with them to parent them - not to mention throw the kids into some substandard makeshift childcare arrangement for the additional worktime. Any less subsidy on the childcare front would also either put the kids in a substandard, unstable arrangement, or prevent her from working at all --- throwing them all onto a more expensive, less stable public safety net, and keeping her dependent instead of continuing to develop growing self-sufficiency. Instead for a small subsidy we stretch her own resources, to provide a much more stable and positive experience for her kids, both in childcare and as an attached family with an involved responsible parent. The long-term value of that is huge, not only for her kids but for society as a whole. We should care that kids grow up in loving families that have time to parent them, and with stable, caring, enriching childcare. Not only because it turns out happier, more well-adjusted, better educated, more productive and less costly adult citizens in the end, but because children are the weakest among us and deserve to have society as a whole looking out for their basic welfare. Unstressing families just a tiny bit, during the short highest-stress years, allows parents the time to devote their own resources to building solid childhoods for their kids, which is a societal good. And for the scrooges, even in the here-and-now giving this mother that little bit extra to make her family functional while working is so much cheaper than forcing her out of the workforce into adject dependency when she can't afford childcare.

As far as whether there is a father also responsible for the children's financial support --- I'm sure that if she's receiving support for the kids, that is reflected in her income, which determines the extent of her subsidy. So why pretend there is invisible support forthcoming? Only to pretend this is someone else's burden, so society can turn aside?

I haven't seen recent figures, but my impression is that child support to never-married single parents is for the most part mythical --- if it's ever collected it's rarely by the mother, more often only by a state/fed government, and only when the government incurs actual costs in subsidizing the children in programs like this --- then any collected child support directly reimburses the government for its expenses. It hardly affects the mother's ability to pay herself. And for previously-married single parents, any child support would appear in the custodial parent's income. Honestly, I have never heard of parents choosing to have their kids while unmarried, but as a cohabiting, mutual-finances couple, just to qualify for 'single-mother' subsidies. Not only is this dishonest; I would also think that any man agreeing to it is taking a huge risk should the relationship ever dissolve, that his claim to his child, for ongoing custody/ sustained parental involvement, would be wholly unsupported by his child's history of having only one declared supportive parent. I think this outlandish hypothetical is one of those phantasms imagined by talk radio hosts, as a rationalization to justify turning our backs on the needs of real kids.

Posted by: KB | February 13, 2007 11:37 AM

We certainly do need to support the children of peole who make these poor decisions, however, how do we do that without providing an incentive for people to be irresponsible?

I don't get this. What incentive? Do you really think her life is better, even with the child care credit, then a two income family making 150K? No way. Her life is still a 100% harder managing it by herself. It is certainly no cake walk to be a single parent.


Posted by: foamgnome | February 13, 2007 11:24 AM

EXACTLY- this is the point the poster was making foamgnome!

Why put yourself in that situation? Why have multiple kids if you can't afford them?

The poor kids shouldn't suffer- but it's also not right to let others (who work just as hard) foot the bill for someone else's bad choices.

I think the poster was harsh, but the basic sentiment is true- I seriously doubt a great guy and partner surprised you one day and just left! I would venture to bet that this was not a good guy to begin with, yet you slept with and had kids with them anyone.

The poor kids can't suffer, but their idiot parents should have to.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 13, 2007 11:37 AM

About moving to a cheaper area:
It isn't always as simple as just pick up and move. Many people don't want to start over looking for a new job, moving the kids to new schools (very traumatic)and leaving their friends who can be a huge part of their support system. Would it be nice to live somewhere where it didn't cost $350,000 for a townhouse - of course. Would I do it - no way! My friends of 30 years are here.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | February 13, 2007 11:41 AM

I'm sorry, I have to gloat. I love being a state employee. University of Maryland is closing at 2 pm. Have a great day everyone!

And great guest blog! So many children's heroes are rap stars or athletes--your son has his priorities in order, and so do you.

Posted by: Mona | February 13, 2007 11:42 AM

Mona,
Bite me! :-)
Drive safely.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | February 13, 2007 11:44 AM

OK, I just looked at some AMT websites and the stuff is a little confusing. But the numbers you are giving are not said to go in affect till 2010. My guess is that Congress will act and change the thresholds. People making 50K are clearly not paying 27% in federal income tax. We have an accountant do our taxes and we make way more then 100K in 2005. We did NOT pay 27% in federal taxes.

Posted by: foamgnome | February 13, 2007 11:46 AM

What is wrong with some of you people? Why are you so mean in spirit, so callous in the face of suffering, so lacking in generosity to your fellow man (or woman)? Where is your sense of community? I WANT to live in a society in which we give generously to those who are down and out, to those who are struggling, to those who for whatever reason can't carry their own load. Don't you aspire to live in a society in which the rich take care of the poor, the healthy care for the sick, the strong take care of the weak? I believe that in every society there will be those who for whatever reason fall behind, and how we treat those people is a test of our morals and character as a country. Sure, we can say "tough luck, you get what you deserve" but I believe we should aspire to be better than that. So I will gladly shoulder another's burden if I can, because it is the right thing to do. Not just because I myself might need the help some day, not because the person I'm helping is "deserving" of my help, but just because extending a helping hand to another in need is the right thing to do, the moral thing to do. That is what I'm teaching my children; I shudder to think what some of you are teaching yours.

Posted by: Exasperated | February 13, 2007 11:48 AM

Her life is still a 100% harder managing it by herself.

4 of The 5 single moms I know are living with their boyfriends who in turn provide support as a normal father does. It doesn't make any sense for them to get married because they would lose state/county benefits, so much so, that it would be a poor decision for them to either marry their current boyfriend or even the father of their kid(s). What's the point of marriage in these increasingly common situations?

Posted by: $13,000 Marriage Tax | February 13, 2007 11:51 AM

Single mom who earns $60K and can't afford private school/daycare brings up an excellent point: the need for support for middle class parents, especially in high-cost-of-living areas like Washington.

Rich parents can afford private educations and daycare, and very poor parents qualify for help. But what about all the people in between?

Some schools offer financial aid even to middle class parents who earn what seems like a lot, but isn't enough to cover completely 2-3-4 kids' tuitions.

Does anyone know about other support for middle class families?

Posted by: Leslie | February 13, 2007 11:52 AM

"Others have jobs that don't exist much (if at all) outside the nation's capital, so unless they want to change careers they're probably going to have to stay in the pricey DC area."

Which jobs don't exist outside of this area? Granted, the federal govt is a big part of the economy here, but there are many other options out there if you truly want to look for them. Me thinks most people who complain are just lazy.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 13, 2007 11:52 AM

giving to people in need (e.g., welfare) has created an entire generation of children, now adults, that have no ethic and no initiative. I think this program is good if it supports people who are working at least 40 hours, but to simply give things to people robs them of the ability to recognize that there is value in the services they are recieivng and creates a sense of entitlement and breeds laziness. I believe that section 8 housing is chock full of people who actively chose to have children with an absent partner.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 13, 2007 11:53 AM

Mona, that is cool. again 11:37: the child care subisidy is not an incentive. It is just a band aid for a problem. No one is out there purposely having kids out of wedlock just to get some help in child care costs. Or at least no one with half a brain because even with their subisidy, it is a pretty hard life. Thanks for clearing up the AMT issues. Wow, man with 8 kids could not take the deductions. I guess that changes some people's view of large families. I guess we don't pay AMT because besides our house and one kid we don't have big deductions.

Posted by: foamgnome | February 13, 2007 11:54 AM

Which jobs don't exist outside of this area?

You've gotta be kidding!

Posted by: Anonymous | February 13, 2007 11:56 AM

Wow a fresh new topic today (kidding) - hey Leslie - how about topics on SAHM vs. WOHMs, dad's contribution to the family oh and FMLA that will really mix it up.

RE: relocation. We loved DC, but when we decided to have a family we knew that living in DC would not be conducive to the kind of lifestyle we wanted for our family. We have a pretty comfortable, peacefuly life compared to my friends who stayed. My brother lives in the San Francisco area because my sil has tons of family. They paid $900K for a 1400 sq/ft house in the burbs and get up at 4:30 in the morning to so they can both get to work to pay for the $900K "house" and get the kids out of bed at 5:15 (they sleep in the car) and keep the kids up until 9 or 10 often so they can have time with them. The result, exhausted kids and parents all to be proximal to her family. I don't think its a good trade off, but to each his own.

Posted by: moxiemom | February 13, 2007 11:59 AM

"So I will gladly shoulder another's burden if I can, because it is the right thing to do. Not just because I myself might need the help some day, not because the person I'm helping is "deserving" of my help, but just because extending a helping hand to another in need is the right thing to do, the moral thing to do."

YAY for Exasperated - I agree wholeheartedly. Whatever happened to the idea of extending grace because grace has been extended to you?

Posted by: Megan | February 13, 2007 12:04 PM

to 11:56AM - International Development really is only centralized in DC (not elsewhere in the US) or overseas.. Also, if I moved I'd have to develop an entirely new support network/family for my child. It is expensive to live here, but work is what brings a lot of us here - govt, lobbying, development, non-profit work, etc... DC is where the action and jobs are. If I were a plumber I could live anywhere

Posted by: single mom | February 13, 2007 12:05 PM

"Her life is still a 100% harder managing it by herself."

We don't know for a fact that she is managing her life for herself.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 13, 2007 12:05 PM

The federal government is the largest employer of statisticians. Most of the statisitcal positions exist in the DC area. But that is fairly unique. There are some statisical positions, public or private, out side of DC but DC is really the mecca (sp? ) of statisticians.

Posted by: foamgnome | February 13, 2007 12:07 PM

"Which jobs don't exist outside of this area?"

Lobbying. Intel. A lot of military history (your other options are the service academies and the war colleges). Almost all policy jobs for every department or agency.

And it's not easy to switch careers just because you don't want to live in DC anymore. I have friends who have done nothing but intel for the past 15 years; that's basically all they can do now. They've got companies and agencies fighting over them in DC, but they'd be working at Starbucks if they decided they wanted to live in Cleveland.

Posted by: Lizzie | February 13, 2007 12:10 PM

When I was in college, I followed the legislation that established the child care subsidies. The legislation was co-sponsored by Orrin Hatch and Ted Kennedy. I wrote a paper on this. I began my paper with a collection of horror stories of children who were injured and killed because working single mothers had left the children alone while they worked.

I read the nasty remarks on here aimed at working women who receive these subsidies. I can't help but wonder if these jerks moved out on their own and paid their own way through school, or if their parents subsidized their college and their living arrangements while they worked for beer money? Very few actually pull their own weight. For what it's worth, I've supported myself since before my 18th birthday; I'm a single mother who receives no child care nor subsidies (I left the metro WDC area because it was too expensive). I did recieve college scholarships that were based on MERIT (i.e., I competed for journalism scholarships from private foundations and I had an outstanding portfolio of published clips).

So, I really have pulled my own weight, did not depend on my parents or the government, but I would never sit around and make nasty remarks about a mother who is working and needs assistance with childcare. I feel more contempt for spoiled brats who make judgment calls when they have no idea what it's like to walk in those shoes. Perhaps we should tell six-year-olds to get jobs and help with the bills.

Posted by: single western mom | February 13, 2007 12:12 PM

to Exasperated:

Give me a break! What is wrong with expecting others to be responsible for their own actions and have a little self worth? What is wrong with asking others to think of their own actions when it affects everyone else in society?

I think the problem isn't the rich looking after the poor- the problem is that middle class families are also taking care of the poor and struggling because of it! The problem is paying into a system in which one won't get retirement benefits when they need them down the line, The problem is neeidng to save $300/month from the time you're 25 in order to pay for said retirement!

In your little Utopia, everyone should get hand outs and assistance- no questions asked.

In my Utopia- people would actually think about what they're doing before popping out a few kids with a low life man and THEN pondering the consequences.

Most single moms are not single because of death- they are single because they chose the wrong man to have sex with! It's very simple- you just don't want to admit it!

If one does become a single mom through death, then, by all means, I'll give money straight from my pocket to help out, but not to the woman who couldn't bother keeping her pants on or buying a $10 box of condoms. (or getting some free at the clinic)

You're in denial if you don't think people lack shame and judgment of their own character.

Posted by: shedding a tear | February 13, 2007 12:12 PM

Foamgnome, I get your point, but I think you're mistaken. WRT: "No one is out there purposely having kids out of wedlock just to get some help in child care costs. Or at least no one with half a brain because even with their subisidy, it is a pretty hard life." The 'no one with half a brain' part is the sticking point - if you have worked in social service or as a public employee in a lower income area (teacher, etc.) you have seen women who don't take responsibility for their reproduction - not necessarily IN ORDER TO get help with child care costs, but because after having one kid and your life is already on the skids, public assistance makes it possible to have other kids without it having that much of a negative impact. These people DON'T have half a brain, obviously, or they would take control and responsibility of their reproduction and not have any more children than they can afford.

WRT a discussion on here from a few weeks ago on public school funding and property taxes - I think we were saying some states do not solely fund their schools via property tax, and yesterday I read that the entire state of Utah funds its schools via income tax. Just an FYI.

Posted by: lackinggoodnickname | February 13, 2007 12:14 PM

Which jobs don't exist outside of this area?

You've gotta be kidding!

No examples? Didn't think so.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 13, 2007 12:16 PM

Yeah - I had sex with the wrong man - a mistake that I cannot take back, but looking to the future, there is a child that needs to be raised, and a parent that wants to do everything possible to make sure the child has a good life. Back to my helicoper example in one week we lost 8 of them in Iraq with a replacement value of over $320M... why are tax payers not complaining about that? How much good in the world could one day of money spent do if redistributed to say; education, health, child care? Where are your priorities?

Posted by: single mom | February 13, 2007 12:18 PM

We need statisticians in Ohio!

Posted by: living it up in Ohio | February 13, 2007 12:20 PM

The single parent debate raises a very uncomfortable issue that we in the postfeminist era do not want to deal with: one of the most important decisions a woman makes that affects her child's welfare is THE SELECTION OF HER SEXUAL PARTNER. I know that I'll be pilloried for stating this simple fact but that doesn't make it any less true. I'm not referring to widows, rape victims, or divorced people. Yes, yes, I know people can enter fulfilling long-term relationships but it's hard to understand how a loving mother can fail to provide even the minimal protection of the law -- marriage -- for her child should the relationship not work out.

Pretending that the circumstances of conception are irrelevant has caused us so much suffering as a nation. On a related tangent, I shudder every time I think about the grief of children of anonymous sperm donors, whose cruel mothers have cut them off from one half of their biological backgrounds. It should be outlawed.

Posted by: Denk | February 13, 2007 12:20 PM

Single mom who earns $60K and can't afford private school/daycare brings up an excellent point: the need for support for middle class parents, especially in high-cost-of-living areas like Washington.

Rich parents can afford private educations and daycare, and very poor parents qualify for help. But what about all the people in between?

Some schools offer financial aid even to middle class parents who earn what seems like a lot, but isn't enough to cover completely 2-3-4 kids' tuitions.

Does anyone know about other support for middle class families?

Posted by: Leslie | February 13, 2007 11:52 AM


Leslie you raise a good question. Unfortuntaely my DH had to take a signficant pay cut. I am now the main breadwinner, though my salary is not enough. We do not qualify for a subsidy and are struggling to find adequate childcare. The only solution we have to this day is the help of our families which is not ideal and somewhat embarassing. Are there other parents in this area in the same/been in same predicament? How do you deal with this?

Posted by: jamie | February 13, 2007 12:21 PM

Maybe we should move to Ohio. I don't think I could get DH to move away from his family. I, personally, would rather live in a cheaper slower paced life then DC.

Denk: Do you really think the mother's care cutting off their children from their fathers. The sperm donors usually do NOT want to be a part of their offsprings lives. Most of them would be darn right pissed to be contacted by these kids. I always wondered what drove men to donate sperm. The money can't be that good? Even Miss Egg donor from a few months back, told us she was only getting like 7K for her eggs. And that was a lot more infasive then the sperm donation.

As far as women with half a brain, well I guess we really can't do much with stupid people. We will always have stupid people. I am not sure we can really prevent stupidity.

For the middle class people complaining, do you really think your life is so bad? I personally think my life is pretty darn good.

Posted by: foamgnome | February 13, 2007 12:25 PM

Exasperated,

Thanks for articulating so beautifully all those ideas that I, too, believe in.

It's comforting and encouraging to hear another voice in the wilderness.

Posted by: pittypat | February 13, 2007 12:26 PM

"Which jobs don't exist outside of this area?"

Many DC area jobs exist only, or at least with reasonable opportunity for advancement, at huge government employers like the Pentagon and NIH.

We were able to move away because it was feasible for us professionally, plus we had no family roots in the DC area. But I know that's not true for everyone.

Besides, what would the DC area be like if all its police, firefighters, teachers, clergy, hospital employees, supermarket and store employees, maintenance workers, etc., moved away to less expensive regions of the country? They are as essential to the most expensive parts of the country as they are to everywhere else. You can't do without them, yet they need to earn enough in order to be able to afford to live where it costs so much more.

Posted by: catlady | February 13, 2007 12:33 PM

hey shedding a tear:

Where's your concern for the responsibility for the MAN who procreates then walks away from his child? Why all the blame for the woman? Perhaps women should start dumping these children on the doorsteps of the FATHERS. Then you can assail the men who need assistance to support the children they created because they couldn't keep their pants on and they didn't buy the condoms. Because although it takes a man and a woman to create a child, you have laid all the blame at the feet of the woman. Perhaps if the men had custody, you could lay some blame on them as well.

Keep in mind that roughly 50 percent of marriages end in divorce, and many of those failed unions produce children. Lots of single moms result from failed marriages. Most of us don't plan for our marriages to fail (especially those of us who have our husbands walk out for another woman).

And that's been my position on this board for quite some time. Those women who are SAHMs, who have multiple children...if your husband leaves you and your socioeconomic level falls to the point you would need assistance with childcare...you will be the object of contempt and scorn from posters such as these. Because you married the wrong man, and now it's your fault you have children you cannot support on your own.

Posted by: single western mom | February 13, 2007 12:34 PM

"The poor kids can't suffer, but their idiot parents should have to."

How do you propose we do that without hurting the kids? Have them wear a big scarlet "S" for single?

Posted by: jessker 7 | February 13, 2007 12:35 PM

"Rich parents can afford private educations and daycare, and very poor parents qualify for help. But what about all the people in between?

Some schools offer financial aid even to middle class parents who earn what seems like a lot, but isn't enough to cover completely 2-3-4 kids' tuitions"

I believe in assistance with daycare, but I disagree with assistance for private schools. I think there should be more effort toward improving public schools than helping people avoid public schools by going private.

College expenses will be the killer of the middle class moreso than expenses of private school through grade 12.

You can kid yourselves about your children working hard enough to get merit scholarships. The reality is that many, many students are average middle-class college students who are good enough to be accepted at college, but not good enough to get the free money.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 13, 2007 12:35 PM

shedding a tear - what you're really saying is that in your Utopia, nobody gets to make a mistake. Hope you never do and have to live with shame of knowing that - gasp - you're just as imperfect as the rest of us!

Posted by: Anonymous | February 13, 2007 12:36 PM

In general, you can't find many public policy jobs outside of DC. There are many, many think tanks and institutions here that employ a good deal of people.

Posted by: TS | February 13, 2007 12:36 PM

I thought the blog was full of lawyers, not public policy specialists :-).

Posted by: Anonymous | February 13, 2007 12:38 PM

"For the middle class people complaining, do you really think your life is so bad? I personally think my life is pretty darn good.

Posted by: foamgnome | February 13, 2007 12:25 PM"

My life is pretty darn good too! There are other shiny, happy people out there.

Posted by: cmac | February 13, 2007 12:39 PM

Exasperated,

Thanks for articulating so beautifully all those ideas that I, too, believe in.

It's comforting and encouraging to hear another voice in the wilderness.


Posted by: pittypat | February 13, 2007 12:26 PM

Exasperated and pittpat - the sound of smug one woman talking to herself.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 13, 2007 12:41 PM

Half the lawyers in DC do public policy...or at least half the lawyers I know. :-D

Posted by: Cali Esq | February 13, 2007 12:43 PM

Foamgnome,

I think these mothers care, they just care more about themselves and their own dreams of motherhood. They don't consider what it will be like to grow up with not a missing or deceased father but one you can never have the hope of knowning.

Also, I'm pretty happy too now that I am on leave without pay.

Posted by: Denk | February 13, 2007 12:46 PM

"It is so expensive in VA that me and my husband had a hard time paying all our bills and we made double what this woman did"

Try moving to West Virginia. The cost of living is much lower there.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 13, 2007 12:46 PM

I have to admit that it is interesting to see the changes in societal attitudes on this issue over time.

Shortly after the Civil War a pension fund was set up for war widows and their children specifically to ensure that these widows would not need to enter the workforce to survive. Likewise, in 1939 the Social Security Act was amended to include life insurance benefits under the same assumption -- a widow with children should not be required to enter the workforce [or re-marry] in order to survive. With an expansion of welfare policies in the 1970's, sociery extended this exemption from employment expectations to any single mother.

In the early 1980's, we witnessed the beginning of a backlash against this 'welfare-state mentality'. Society demanded 'workfare' and not 'welfare' -- believing that by enabling people to be employed they would better themselves and their families. The Earned Income Tax Credit and other programs were created and expanded to support these goals.

Now here we are in 2007. We no longer believe that single mothers should receive sufficient public assistance to eliminate the need to work or marry. We are no longer willing to provide high levels of public assistance without associating it with work. And now, even when programs are created with the express purpose of enabling single parents to work, some still cry foul.

The plea for personal responsibility is certainly understandable -- and I am the first to admit that we can expect to see an increase in that which we subsidize [and a decrease in that which we tax] -- but it seems in this case that an effective, efficient program that encourages an ethic of hard work and self improvement is being somewhat over-criticized.

Posted by: A Dad | February 13, 2007 12:47 PM

Lots of private businesses need public policy assistance. Who do you think this policy affects?

Posted by: living it up in Ohio | February 13, 2007 12:54 PM

The comments about single mothers on this blog are often very offensive and nasty. Fully half of all first marriages and 60 percent of second marriages fail -- this leaves a lot of kids with a single parent (usually the mother, but not always). Some fathers stay involved and pay full child support -- others do not.
Unless one has walked in the shoes of a parent working her hardest to raise healthy, happy children while paying the bills through FT employment, one should not be judgemental. There is no "sweet deal" here -- there are rewards and plenty of challenges too.
Most men remarry after divorce -- the numbers are far lower for women. Most remain alone with the kids -- statistically speaking, the fellow who said that 4/5 of the single moms he knows live with boyfriends is looking at an exceptional situation. From outliers, one cannot generalize.

Posted by: suburbia39 | February 13, 2007 12:57 PM

"Where's your concern for the responsibility for the MAN who procreates then walks away from his child?"

The person who will bear the greatest hardship should be expected to bring the greatest ammount of responsiblity and caution to the decision being made.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 13, 2007 12:57 PM

Isnt working hard and trying to be a good parent taking personal responsibility for the decision (whatever decision it was) that lead to being a single parent?

Posted by: jessker 8 | February 13, 2007 12:58 PM

Moving out of the DC area was one of the best decisions we've ever made. It's amazing how the cost of living goes way down. For instance, my two kids are in an excellent 5-day-a-week half-day Montessori preschool for $570/month for both-- and some folks around here think that is expensive.

If you own a home in the DC area, you can probably buy an equivalent-sized home with almost no mortgage. Moving to a slightly smaller house meant we could have no mortgage.

Best of all, folks are relaxed, not stressed out, and we spend almost no time on the road. Now I complain if I have to drive 12 minutes to the next town over! ;)

Obviously not all folks can or want to do this, but it does merit consideration.

Posted by: Happy DC expat | February 13, 2007 12:58 PM

shedding a tear - what you're really saying is that in your Utopia, nobody gets to make a mistake. Hope you never do and have to live with shame of knowing that - gasp - you're just as imperfect as the rest of us!

Posted by: | February 13, 2007 12:36 PM

Anon at 12:36,

I will never get pregnant by a loser. I know that for a fact. So- GASP!- I will never know that shame.
If I ever lose my job- I'll GASP!- have savings to live on for 4 months while I look for a job.
If I ever die and leave my husband and child- I GASP!- have life insurance for them.

I save from my meager non profit salary to do these things. I live without cable and dinners out. It's about priorities and planning. Perfect? No. But almost.
wink

Posted by: shedding a tear | February 13, 2007 12:59 PM

Personally, I think programs like the one Jennifer discusses are great, and it sounds as though she is a responsible user. And, as someone who pays a lot in taxes (because I have a well paying job that cost me $100k in student loans to get) I don't mind helping to pay for those programs. That said, I also used to live across the street from subsidized housing in the District and witnessed the irresponsible parenting and the lack of work ethic of the people who lived there (kids running around setting fires, threatening neighbors, littering like you wouldn't believe, drug deals in broad daylight). I think that "to whom much is given, much is expected" goes both ways: I am happy to pay (reasonable) taxes to support others, but those who benefit also have been "given" something and they should be expected to be responsible as well. To me, that means limiting the number of mistakes you make, learning from the ones you've already made, being responsible for your kids, etc. Programs that help single parents should be holistic and creative and find as many ways as possible to as many people as possible, including education, job placement, job sharing, child care training to create more options, etc.

Posted by: new poster | February 13, 2007 1:02 PM

For denk and others criticizing single moms, it is not a solution to unintended pregnancy to say, don't get pregnant. Explain to us the specific course of action you who disdain single moms are recommending to a single woman at the point when she discovers she is pregnant. Should she beg the father of her child to marry her or have an abortion?

The problem is that wishing for the return of the day when shame ruled is to wish for the return of abortion being preferred over bearing one's child and raising her or him. The bearing and the raising take real courage. I had an abortion and I have no regrets, but the more courageous move is to be a single mom and to stand up to the hypocrisy of people who condemn her for being a single mom, on the one hand, and at oppose abortion rights and access, on the other hand.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 13, 2007 1:05 PM

Just to give some more informaiton about the program. There are guidelines you must follow, you have to be working a certain amount of hours or going to school full time. The amount you pay for childcare depends on the amount of money you make. The program makes you renew each year, and if you received a pay raise, they will re-asses your file and the cost may go up. The more you make each year the more you pay.

Here is the web site http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/ofc

Posted by: J | February 13, 2007 1:11 PM

Maybe we should stop using the term 'single mom' for everyone who is not married and has children. Let's use "divorced mom", "widowed mom", and "single mom" to distinguish. Since people seem to have definite ideas about women in each division, let's identify them that way.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 13, 2007 1:12 PM

12:57: Amen.

jessker 8: No. My youngest sister chose to drop out of school and allow herself to be impregnated by an abusive man whom everyone begged her to break it off with. She had family support like you wouldn't believe. A choice of places to live where her bills would be paid until she got back on her feet. She refused to listen. Now she complains about how difficult single parenting is but she could have easily prevented this from happening.

Posted by: Denk | February 13, 2007 1:13 PM

"What is wrong with expecting others to be responsible for their own actions and have a little self worth? What is wrong with asking others to think of their own actions when it affects everyone else in society?"
__________________

Nothing. Obviously it is preferable that we all take responsibility for our own actions and take care of ourselves and our own--it would be ridiculous to assert otherwise. But what then would you do when someone fails at this? Kick them and leave them in the gutter? If having a bit of compassion for the humanity of others makes me "smug" then I guess I'm smug.

Posted by: Exasperated | February 13, 2007 1:13 PM

If I ever lose my job- I'll GASP!- have savings to live on for 4 months while I look for a job.

What if it takes you longer than 4 months to find another job? What if you get ill, use up all your leave, and lose your job and insurance and go thru your savings and then die afterwards? Unless you plan to be celibate for the rest of your life, you have no guarantee that the perfect man you fall in love with won't turn out to be a loser. It could happen. Or he just might be a nice guy who also loses his job, gets sick, or just decides he does not love you. Yes, you might think you have the almost perfect life, but smugness has a way of biting you in the ass.

Posted by: Don't be so smug | February 13, 2007 1:14 PM

On a lighter note - the people here at work just threw me a surprise birthday party for lunch - yummy!

Posted by: KLB SS MD | February 13, 2007 1:19 PM

Most men remarry after divorce -- the numbers are far lower for women. Most remain alone with the kids -- statistically speaking, the fellow who said that 4/5 of the single moms he knows live with boyfriends is looking at an exceptional situation. From outliers, one cannot generalize.

Suburbia, can you cite statistics for this? I've looked it up and can't find anything authoritative that has numbers that support this. Not saying you're wrong; just that I can't find hard evidence that you're right.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 13, 2007 1:22 PM

1:05:

I agree that single parenthood is more courageous than abortion. I do think we should fund social programs that help cover childcare costs. (I actually think we should guarantee childcare and healthcare for all citizens, but those are other issues.) I simply don't think we should have to listen to the whining from those who made their choices.

I also think, as I mentioned earlier, that anonymous sperm/egg donations should be outlawed in the U.S. It's the only situation in which we allow and celebrate what would normally be considered a tragedy: the loss of one's parent.

Posted by: Denk | February 13, 2007 1:22 PM

KLB SS MD:
"On a lighter note - the people here at work just threw me a surprise birthday party for lunch - yummy!"

Happy Birthday.

As Jimmy Buffett said "One more candle and a trip around the sun."

Posted by: A Dad | February 13, 2007 1:23 PM

"a single woman at the point when she discovers she is pregnant"

Discovers she is pregnant???? Is this some sort of surprise condition like MS? How about putting money into teaching our girls to have the self respect and dignity to not sleep with these losers?

Posted by: Anonymous | February 13, 2007 1:26 PM

Happy birthday KLB! Glad you remain on the right side of the grass.

Posted by: moxiemom | February 13, 2007 1:27 PM

"If we didn't laugh we'd all go insane"

Posted by: KLB SS MD | February 13, 2007 1:27 PM

How about putting money into teaching our girls to have the self respect and dignity to not sleep with these losers?

We try to support programs that do that and the religious right gets all upset because we mention BC, abortion, and STDs. BTW, if your so concerned, try educating some of the boys to use a condom or risk getting sued for child support or end up being angry and bitter like a certain someone we all know.

Posted by: foamgnome | February 13, 2007 1:29 PM

Happy Birthday, KLB SS MD! Hope you'll have no difficulty getting out of town on time Thursday for your belated birthday trip!

Posted by: catlady | February 13, 2007 1:29 PM

to single western mom and others who have responded-

I wrote a long post earlier, but it doesn't seem to have posted.

Yes, we can blame the man who doesn't stick around and doesn't pay for his kids- but isn't it OUR bodies- OUR choice? Isn't that what the last 30 years has been about? Or is it only our choice when it's convenient for us?

We can tell a man to get out of our business as long as money isn't involved, huh???

It's time to own up to our selves and instill some self respect! It's not a money problem- it's a cultural problem!

If money were the end all be all, then the world would be a near perfect place. If money were the answer then welfare would lift its recipients out of poverty, then our public schools were be shining beacons of learning. But it's not the fix. It's a way of living your life.
It's time to teach our girls that it's up to THEM whether to sleep with a guy.

The feminist movement has been set so far back, or maybe it hasn't been progressing at all, by situations such as these.

The views expressed by exasperated, etc. are middle classers who have never actually seen the things that go on in poor communities. They view the world through their suburban church going "we should all love and help each other" glasses- when in reality it's not like that.

We can't control what others do- but we CAN control what we do. And that includes not getting pregnant by losers.

Posted by: shedding a tear | February 13, 2007 1:30 PM

"Discovers she is pregnant???? Is this some sort of surprise condition like MS? How about putting money into teaching our girls to have the self respect and dignity to not sleep with these losers?"

When sailing it is always important to spend time ensuring that the boat is sound -- no leaks -- and to avoid dangerous conditions. At the same time, if something goes wrong, it's also worthwhile that one have a life preserver and knows how to swim.

I don't think anyone is arguing against responsibility -- the question is 'then what?' when something goes wrong [whether it could have been reasonably anticipated or not]. People will make mistakes -- the question is to what degree do we want to build a society that enables people to recover from these mistakes.

Posted by: A Dad | February 13, 2007 1:31 PM

We can't control what others do- but we CAN control what we do. And that includes not getting pregnant by losers.

Or possibly not impregnating women you have no intention of helping out with the raising children. Men have a choice too. It is called abstinence or condoms. Both seem to be in short supply by our men.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 13, 2007 1:32 PM

Stacey - I recommend you read _Protecting the Gift_ (and maybe _The Gift of Fear_) - it gives a lot of excellent ways to work with your son to hone his instincts and have a good approach to not only the threat you see right now (I agree it is NO different anywhere else, and at least with this guy you can point him out and forbid your child to go near him) but gives the tools to deal with the stuff you can't anticipate yet. It's an excellent, excellent book that is realistic but doesn't fearmonger.

Exasperated - I'm with you.

I really personally believe it's a bit of a boondoggle to think that the middle class's tax burden (a loaded political phrase) is exclusively due to some daycare subsidies and has nothing to do with defense and costs of running prisons for kids who perhaps didn't get that early intervention or didn't have a secure place to go after school. Or corporate tax breaks and subsidies (didn't I read a while ago that the US gov't gave Coca Cola money to market their product in China? Because Coke doesn't have enough money to advertise?)

But it's much easier to call single parents or sick people lazy and stupid than it is to ask whether our priorities are in place, or whether we should have compassion.

Posted by: Shandra | February 13, 2007 1:34 PM

Happy Birthday KLB!

Posted by: Missicat | February 13, 2007 1:38 PM

My dd has 9 million stuffed animals - is it wrong of me to "thin the herd" while she's at school?

Posted by: moxiemom | February 13, 2007 1:38 PM

1:32: Ethically, you're right. But's it's not the men who complain.

Posted by: Denk | February 13, 2007 1:39 PM

Yes, I know men have a choice too. But women have a uterus and get pregnant. Women have to deal with the consequences. So let's teach our little girls about self respect.

Maybe then there won't be so many fatherless little boys who don't have anyone around to teach them how to be a man.

The learning has to start somewhere and I think giving girls the gift of learning to love themselves enough not to be in these situations in the first place is the best place to start.

Posted by: shedding a tear | February 13, 2007 1:39 PM

I have made the choices that many today have said the author should have made. I was raised by a single mom who got by on a meager salary, child support, and financial and child care help from my grandparents. I have spent my adult life doing what I was "supposed" to do. I went to Wellesley, worked my butt off for four years to get a financial and professional toe-hold, and then went to law school. I spent last year clerking for a federal judge and have spent the last five months as a junior corporate lawyer in London. Along the way, I met and married my wonderful husband, but we have refrained from having children until we could afford it. I am now 31 years old. If it turns out that I have waited too long to start to have children, I have do not doubt that there will be no shortage of criticism from all corners for my decision to delay childbearing. I have witnessed similar criticisms on this very blog. So even if the author had done everything "right," our society-- or at least this blog community--would have something to criticize.

Posted by: LDC | February 13, 2007 1:41 PM

Moxiemom:
"My dd has 9 million stuffed animals - is it wrong of me to "thin the herd" while she's at school?"

Depends on age -- last year we had each of the kids (10/7/5) pick 4 animals to 'donate' to other kids who didn't have stuffed animals [some of the animals were not in condition to donate -- and so they ended up in that great safari plains of the Howard County land fill]. They really got into it -- explaining why they chose what they did [and what kind of kid would likely appreciate each of the animals]. Your mileage may vary but it was a great experience for us.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 13, 2007 1:42 PM

Men sure complain when they are served with papers to pay for child support! Or loose visitation rights! If I was a mother of a son, I would sure teach him not to impregnate a women he had no intention of marrying.

Posted by: foamgnome | February 13, 2007 1:43 PM

"a single woman at the point when she discovers she is pregnant"

Discovers she is pregnant???? Is this some sort of surprise condition like MS?
Posted by: | February 13, 2007 01:26 PM

I don't know about you, anonymous, but yes, I discovered I was pregnant each time by spending $14 on a home-pregnancy kit and determining that there were two matching straight lines. Would you prefer use of the word, "confirmed", as in she confirms she is pregnant? Does that make any difference to the policy analysis in which everyone here is engaged? Pregnancy can be quite a surprise even to those of us who are married and well out of the way of your scorn.

moxiemom: absolutely not :>) the herd must be thinned and no child can thin it for herself. think of it as removal of dust mites and other allergens from your household environment. No stuffed animal who has been named can be thinned, however, LOL. (It only counts as a name if your child remembers what she/he named it.)

Posted by: NC lawyer | February 13, 2007 1:45 PM

Moxiemom: I give away a bag of stuffed animals every year to charity. The ones left still seem to replicate. Maybe we didn't teach the female stuffed animals to have self respect. I think suggesting 4 stuffed animals to give away to charity is a good lesson. It is not as if they don't have a choice in which ones to give away and Lord knows, they will be replaced in the following year.

Posted by: foamgnome | February 13, 2007 1:45 PM

All men are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality.
--Martin Luther King Jr.

It is unwise to be too sure of one's own wisdom. It is healthy to be reminded that the strongest might weaken and the wisest might err.
Mahatma Gandhi

Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.
Plato

If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.
The Dalai Lama

The ideals which have lighted my way, and time after time have given me new courage to face life cheerfully, have been Kindness, Beauty, and Truth. The trite subjects of human efforts, possessions, outward success, luxury have always seemed to me contemptible.
Albert Einstein

Compassion is the basis of all morality.
Arthur Schopenhauer

Sooner or later we all quote our mothers.
Bern Williams

"Be nice."
My Mother

Posted by: Anonymous | February 13, 2007 1:48 PM

Shedding a tear - so I have self-respect how does that make me able to spot a loser vs. a player vs. just an immature guy who doesn't want to parent vs. someone who will develop bipolar disorder. And even if I have self respect how does that keep me from having a birth control failure & in some ways that self respect may actually make me throw the guy out after he starts getting controling/abusive. Sorry you say don't have sex with losers but you haven't told me how to spot one.

Posted by: Divorced mom of 1 | February 13, 2007 1:49 PM

moxiemom, our daughter was so thrilled to have a (used) "new" stuffed animal given to her when she was having her tonsils out. It really got her through the procedure (and the nurse was sweet enough to put a hospital ID on the animal's arm, too).

I've since used that to remind her to give and help others who are in similar situations. She has enjoyed picking out the ones to give to sick kids, though who knows how long that will last.

My mother used to ask for the animals to "go on vacation"-- either in her closet or to charity.

Posted by: Neighbor | February 13, 2007 1:50 PM

NC lawyer and foamgnome - thanks for the support. I think I will put them in the attic and see if she notices.

Posted by: moxiemom | February 13, 2007 1:52 PM

ummmm...we were hit with AMT last year and we were barely over 100K. AMT is not a function of salary alone. AMT hits if you have >2 kids, big state taxes, and the like. sometimes big mortgage.

Posted by: dotted | February 13, 2007 1:53 PM

If women never had sex with losers, I wonder how many of today's posters would ever have been born?

Posted by: Anonymous | February 13, 2007 1:53 PM

My spouse has a letter from Einstein (with the envelope and Princeton postmark) in response to their request for help escaping the Holocaust. He replied that they should work through the normal channels.

Posted by: Not sure about Einstein | February 13, 2007 1:55 PM

moxiemom:DD is starting to realize things disappear around the house. She has taken to hiding things, so that I don't donate them to charity. It is pretty funny but it let's me know which toys she wants to keep. Not bad for a 3 year old in special education preschool. LOL.

Posted by: foamgnome | February 13, 2007 1:55 PM

Posted by: | February 13, 2007 01:48 PM

Awesome post !!!

Posted by: Anonymous | February 13, 2007 1:56 PM

Happy Birthday KLB! Have a beer for me, will ya?

A few days ago, I posted an email address for posters on this blog who may want to form more personable relationships with others they have met here. For those of you that responded, I replied that I would sent out the list today. I wanted to do it this morning, but the impending ice storm diverted my attention. However, I'll put it together tonight, and if the ice storm doesn't bring down my DSL, it will be sent out before the deadline is over.

Hey, maybe we'll do happy hour together one day. Sounds like fun!

Anyway, if you want to participate, just send me an email and include your posting name to:

MommyBlogger2007@verizon.net

Oh and Jennifer, guest blog writer, I'm sending you a vertual Valentine. I never met a person named Jennifer that was anything less than exceptionally likeable.

Posted by: Father of 4 | February 13, 2007 1:56 PM

happy birthday to klb! Have fun on your holiday. We'll be thinking of you and wishing we were there!

Posted by: dotted | February 13, 2007 1:56 PM

I save from my meager non profit salary to do these things. I live without cable and dinners out. It's about priorities and planning. Perfect? No. But almost.
wink

Posted by: shedding a tear | February 13, 2007 12:59 PM


Arrogant? totally. Has blinders on? you bet. God forbid anything you haven't foreseen come your way.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 13, 2007 1:57 PM

"If women never had sex with losers, I wonder how many of today's posters would ever have been born?"

Guess you can deep-six my two rugrats by this standard.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 13, 2007 1:57 PM

I am not surprised by the intensely punitive attitudes that some people harbor toward single mothers. As soon as people think that they are subsidizing one thing or another, they think they have the right to judge. And maybe we do have the right to judge where our money goes, in terms of policy decisions of what our taxes should subsidize. It's an important discussion. Here is my take on it.

I would rather have my taxes spent on paying for daycare for the poor and middle class than on a host of other things, such as corporate welfare and the war in Iraq. I also know that by providing good quality daycare for children whose families could not otherwise afford it, I am contributing to the future of this society, and giving those children a better chance of becoming responsible, self-sustaining, tax-paying citizens in the future. I also am helping the parents keep decent jobs that provide a measure of security for these families. Working toward these ends not only helps these families, but also helps society as a whole by contributing to the well-being of its citizens, increasing education and reducing poverty and crime.

Yes, people should be responsible for themselves. Yes, they should be accountable for their mistakes. But just as people need to be personally responsible, society also needs to be responsible for its members. And part of this responsibility includes having safety nets that people can count on in hard times, so that one mistake or two does not result in a life that spirals out of control. By helping others, we are helping ourselves. And by insisting that others simply have to suffer and pay for their mistakes, we are hurting ourselves, because what we don't pay for childcare today, we will end up paying for prison in the next decade.

Posted by: Emily | February 13, 2007 1:57 PM

If women never had sex with losers, I wonder how many of today's posters would ever have been born?

LOL! POTY

Posted by: Anonymous | February 13, 2007 1:58 PM

"If women never had sex with losers, I wonder how many of today's posters would ever have been born?"

Well, anonymous at 1:53 PM, since my parents had me under all the circumstances of which you'd approve, I suggest you reverse your views on today's topics and start agreeing with me, because by your logic it follows that I must be correct!

Posted by: catlady | February 13, 2007 1:59 PM

Thanks for all the birthday wishes - one more day to work (if we make it here). BTW - Fed govt closing now so I am outta here!

Posted by: KLB SS MD | February 13, 2007 1:59 PM

Can I go home????

Posted by: Missicat | February 13, 2007 2:00 PM

"I posted an email address for posters on this blog who may want to form more personable relationships with others they have met here."

Are people really that lonely and desperate? Or, is it mostly Father of 4?

Posted by: Anonymous | February 13, 2007 2:03 PM

Jesse Owens:
We all have dreams. But in order to make dreams into reality, it takes an awful lot of determination, dedication, self-discipline, and effort.

Abraham Lincoln:
You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.

George Washington:
Discipline is the soul of an army. It makes small numbers formidable, procures success to the weak, and esteem to all.

Benjamin Franklin:
God helps them that help themselves.

Robert Green Ingersoll: Happiness is not a reward - it is consequence. Suffering is not a punishment - it is a result.

Victor Hugo: For man's greatest actions are performed in minor struggles. Life, misfortune, isolation, abandonment and poverty are battlefields which have their heroes - obscure heroes who are at times greater than illustrious heroes.

Anna Nicole Smith: It's very expensive to be me. It's terrible the things I have to do to be me.

Posted by: and more quotations | February 13, 2007 2:04 PM

Well-said, Emily!

"[B]y providing good quality daycare for children whose families could not otherwise afford it, I am contributing to the future of this society, and giving those children a better chance of becoming responsible, self-sustaining, tax-paying citizens in the future."

This is ultimately what it's all about!!!

Posted by: catlady | February 13, 2007 2:04 PM

"A word to the wise ain't necessary, it's the stupid ones who need the advice."

Posted by: from Bill Cosby | February 13, 2007 2:05 PM

"Are people really that lonely and desperate? Or, is it mostly Father of 4?"

On the contrary, the posters that responded are the most outgoing people on this board.

Posted by: Father of 4 | February 13, 2007 2:07 PM

KLB, happy birthday - enjoy your afternoon off!

Posted by: Megan | February 13, 2007 2:14 PM

oh - single mom-hating - an issue near and dear to my heart - unfortunately (well, fortunately, really) I am one of those government workers released at 2 and am on my way out but really want to comment. So many wonderful posts from Emily and Exasperated and Pittypat and others making me feel all warm and fuzzy :)

I am not widowed or divorced; my birth control did not fail. Quite simply, I got pregnant by a loser I should not have ever had sex with. From that standpoint, I agree to some extent with shed a tear. I do wish more women would choose their partners more carefully; I definitely wish I would have. I would support any program that helps achieve this goal - I'm particularly flush with ideas - anyone else? However, I really don't like the tone of some of those posts very much - there but for the grace of God go I. I also got daycare subsidies - they allowed me to go to college and work and I am now "officially" (by whatever statistics I saw recently) middle class. I honestly wouldn't be at this stage without the subsidies - I really do consider them the most important assistance we can give low-income parents (well, maybe other than Pell grants!) - more than food stamps or welfare or Section 8 - because only through working can people actually move up from the circumstances that caused them to need assistance in the first place.

Posted by: TakomaMom | February 13, 2007 2:16 PM

"If women never had sex with losers, I wonder how many of today's posters would ever have been born?"

Well, anonymous at 1:53 PM, since my parents had me under all the circumstances of which you'd approve, I suggest you reverse your views on today's topics and start agreeing with me, because by your logic it follows that I must be correct!

Posted by: catlady | February 13, 2007 01:59 PM

catlady, it was a joke. you have no idea what my views are about anything including raisins. sometimes a joke is just a joke.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 13, 2007 2:17 PM

Off topic to Father of 4: Walk safely and watch out for hybrid cars (I just saw an article about how their quiet engines make them a hazard to sighted and blind pedestrians, cyclists, etc).

Posted by: Product of a Working Mother | February 13, 2007 2:19 PM

"Are people really that lonely and desperate? Or, is it mostly Father of 4?"

"On the contrary, the posters that responded are the most outgoing people on this board."

They don't call it the NET for nothing....

Posted by: Anonymous | February 13, 2007 2:20 PM

I think both sets of quotes are relevant. We should all require of OURSELVES self-help, hard work, discipline and so forth. But I don't think saying those things to those who are struggling is helpful or constructive. Saying "God helps those who help themselves" to yourself to motivate yourself to work hard and maybe get out of a bad situation is one thing, saying it to someone else is an altogether different thing.

Posted by: Exasperated | February 13, 2007 2:20 PM

I can easily tell you how to spot a loser:
he makes excuses.

Posted by: Denk | February 13, 2007 2:21 PM

oops - meant to say I'm NOT particularly flush w/ ideas - I haven't heard of the "please stop my daughter from taking her pants off for losers" program!

Posted by: TakomaMom | February 13, 2007 2:21 PM

Are people really that lonely and desperate? Or, is it mostly Father of 4?

Posted by: | February 13, 2007 02:03 PM

If you show this level of nastiness in real life, I suspect it is you who are deservedly lonely and desperate.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 13, 2007 2:21 PM

POTY???

Posted by: Anonymous | February 13, 2007 2:23 PM

I dated dozens of losers before meeting my husband and so many of them couldn't manage to do simple things like show up for dates, call, give gifts...commit. Good guys don't make excuses, they make it happen. By "it" I mean whatever makes you happy. For example, Cindy Crawford said she left Richard Gere because he refused to send her flowers, claiming it was a meaningless, businesslike gesture. He may have been right but SHE wanted flowers so he should have sent them. It's really that simple. Have you read the book "He's Just Not That Into You?"

Posted by: Denk | February 13, 2007 2:26 PM

I'm stuck here in the private sector. blah.

FOr those who seem to think there are oh so many job opps in cheap places. I have looked to find a lobbying/PAC/fundraising job to no avail. I would like to maintain my current salary of 50K (with 3 yrs experience).

Anyone have any ideas? I'd love to get out of this DC rat race. I would rather stay on the East Coast- I'm not a flyover kind of gal. :) thanks!

Posted by: jealous of you fed workers | February 13, 2007 2:26 PM

Moxiemom - I've got to say I had a gazillion stuffed animals as a kid and it wasn't until recently I let my mom get rid of some of them from the house where I grew up. I had whole classes, and clubs for them, and knew all their names and personal histories. So... tread lightly. :)

Posted by: Bad Mom | February 13, 2007 2:28 PM

To anonymous poster at 2:17 PM who wrote: "[S]ometimes a joke is just a joke."

This is exactly why people should be posting with their noms de blog. If your comment had come from most of the folks who post here using their online names consistently, we'd all have a better chance at figuring out whether that was a joke or not.

The directions under "Post a comment" state that "entries that are unsigned or contain 'signatures' by someone other than the actual author will be removed. Perhaps the time has come for Leslie to start enforcing that rule more closely.

Posted by: catlady | February 13, 2007 2:28 PM

Happy Birthday KLB SS MD!

I am sending you a virtual cake! Any kind you want. All of us regulars can each have a piece.

Posted by: scarry | February 13, 2007 2:33 PM

Ditto to Takoma Mom's 2:16 post.

I don't think the single mom's on this blog are trying to throw a pity party. I think they we are being honest about OUR parenting experiences and challenges. I'm sure others with more charmed lives have their own challenges although I think some of them would not admit it on this blog. Therefore they don't allow their lives to be examined and judged like they do ours.

On that note, my reasonably-priced daycare is closing early so I'm out. Be safe!

Posted by: Cali Esq | February 13, 2007 2:38 PM

To anonymous poster at 2:17 PM who wrote: "[S]ometimes a joke is just a joke."

This is exactly why people should be posting with their noms de blog. If your comment had come from most of the folks who post here using their online names consistently, we'd all have a better chance at figuring out whether that was a joke or not.

The directions under "Post a comment" state that "entries that are unsigned or contain 'signatures' by someone other than the actual author will be removed. Perhaps the time has come for Leslie to start enforcing that rule more closely.

Posted by: catlady | February 13, 2007 02:28 PM

because you didn't get a joke? Try the Roseanna Roseanna Danna approach and respond with, "never mind", next time.

Posted by: someone who posted a joke | February 13, 2007 2:38 PM

to jealous: have you considered the private school sector? They typically have a fundraising/advancement person (or a whole staff depending on the size of the school). Locally try aisgw.org (Association of Independent Schools of Greater Washington). but there should be a link to national organization. My mother is a business administrator for an independent school here in DC.

Posted by: Product of a Working Mother | February 13, 2007 2:38 PM

" think both sets of quotes are relevant. We should all require of OURSELVES self-help, hard work, discipline and so forth. But I don't think saying those things to those who are struggling is helpful or constructive."

Once again, Exasperated, well said. I fully support the idea of programs that help girls increase self-respect and exercise control over their lives, programs that make men accountable when they father children and that help change the ridiculous idea that the woman is somehow responsible, that change our societal acceptance of sexual violence against women, that promote self-sufficiency and on and on. But there will still always be people who make mistakes, who are down on their luck, who have suffered misfortune for whatever reason, and I think extending help to those people is a fundamental moral obligation. Surely if a godless heathen like myself can figure that out, anyone can :)

Posted by: Megan | February 13, 2007 2:38 PM

I am sending you a virtual cake! Any kind you want. All of us regulars can each have a piece.

What is this, jr, high- all the regulars can have a piece?
What about those of us who aren't as fortunate to be included in the "in crowd" and need your assistance in securing a piece of cake?

Posted by: Anonymous | February 13, 2007 2:39 PM

Whoops, meant to say "change the idea that women are somehow SOLELY responsible"

Posted by: Megan | February 13, 2007 2:40 PM

To Scarry: At least virtual cake only has virtual calories!

Posted by: catlady | February 13, 2007 2:41 PM

"What is this, jr, high- all the regulars can have a piece?"

Keep in mind that scarry was a cheerleader............

Posted by: Anonymous | February 13, 2007 2:41 PM

"What is this, jr, high- all the regulars can have a piece?
What about those of us who aren't as fortunate to be included in the "in crowd" and need your assistance in securing a piece of cake?

Posted by: | February 13, 2007 02:39 PM

Maybe she should have said anyone with a name can have a peice...

Posted by: Megan | February 13, 2007 2:41 PM

Denk,

Is you brother ANS's bodyguard and the latest entrant in the who's dannielynn's daddy contest?

I might lots of losers before I married a really great reliable guy who didn't stay precisely that way over 15 years of marriage.

Men change. Women change. Some men leave. Some of them don't initially come across as losers, but become losers at a later - - 3 kids and many, many year later - date. This phenomena is kindly referred to as the male midlife crisis.+

and Cindy Crawford & Richard Gere. Are you suggesting that divorce is the right response for every spouse who doesn't meet our expectations of romance? pretty shallow.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 13, 2007 2:43 PM

My goodness! Everyone can have a piece of the make believe cake right after I take you all to visit the Fae.

Rah Rah Rah!

Posted by: scarry | February 13, 2007 2:49 PM

The Fae? Huh?

Posted by: Anonymous | February 13, 2007 2:51 PM

What flavor cake?

Posted by: Fred | February 13, 2007 2:51 PM

Mythical Irish race, you know fairies. Just kidding, just being sarcastic because people choose to get upset over a comment to an anonymous friend on an anonymous blog.

Fred any kind you want.


Posted by: scarry | February 13, 2007 2:55 PM

My mommy won't let me eat anything unless she knows what is in it!

Posted by: Fred | February 13, 2007 2:56 PM

Chocolate!

Posted by: Missicat | February 13, 2007 2:57 PM

2:43:

Men and women change but often we choose people whose problems are apparent from the outset. I'm not suggesting that divorce is the answer for floral disagreements, but we should be honest with ourselves about what we want ahead of time.

Where's my cake?

Posted by: Anonymous | February 13, 2007 2:57 PM

ditto: chocolate (would that make it double chocolate?)

Posted by: dotted | February 13, 2007 2:59 PM

to: 02:57 PM

I can't use my Druid powers to send it to you telepathically if you don't sign your post.

I

Posted by: scarry | February 13, 2007 3:01 PM

To Shandra (at 1:34) and Stacey:

The book you refer to is called "The Gift of Fear", written by Gavin deBecker. I recommend that anyone with children read it. He has a follow up dealing specifically with protecting our children called "Protecting the Gift". I didn't find that one as informative as the he first.

Stacey - with regards to the neighbor, we had the same situation in our neighborhood. In this case, upon his release on parole, he moved in with his mother across the street from my parents' home. (His was a child-related sex-crime and his mother's home backs up to the community tot-lot.) My dad spoke with another neighbor who is an active F'fx County police detective and asked what the community's options were and was stunned with the answer. The community can in no way infringe on the sex-offender's life and cannot leaflet, picket or post to notify others of his presence. However, individual members of the community can go and speak to their neighbors and make sure they are informed of 1) his presence, and 2) his offense. Since this man used to sit in his upstairs window for hours each afternoon, watching the kids play in the street in front of the houses, dad and a couple of other neighbors went door-to-door to notify everyone of his presence and make sure their kids were safe. He moved about two weeks later. Dad states that if the man had not spent hours watching the kids, he wouldn't really have worried as much, just kept an eye out for all the kids himself, but the man spent all day, every day sitting in the window watching the kids and that made everyone a little nervous!

Posted by: Longtime Lurker | February 13, 2007 3:03 PM

I am sending you a virtual cake! Any kind you want. All of us regulars can each have a piece.


What is this, jr, high- all the regulars can have a piece?
What about those of us who aren't as fortunate to be included in the "in crowd" and need your assistance in securing a piece of cake?

Posted by: | February 13, 2007 02:39 PM

I'm fear that being a regular poster on this board is not necessarily synonymous with being a member of the "in crowd".

but I'll take a piece of virtual cake whenever it's offered.

takomamom - Megan's done such a good job today of watching your back that I'm sitting back in awe. well, that and laughing pretty hard from time to time, like with your 2:21 post.

Posted by: NC lawyer | February 13, 2007 3:09 PM

Ok, I've been curious as to what it would be like to not live in the NYC/Philly/DC metro areas (Grew up in Philly area, lived in both NYC and DC)So i was checking out Raleigh real estate. Wow!!! The houses are beautiful for 250K!! You couldn't get a bathroom for that in dc!

What are the nice areas to live in S VA/NC with good jobs?

Really has me thinking!

I'd like to stay in the PA/MD/DC area, but it's just so expensive to live close in. It's not worth it- but to be close to Raleigh on only pay 250K for a house???

Posted by: amazed by nc real estate | February 13, 2007 3:09 PM

"...change the idea that women are somehow SOLELY responsible"

A nice Utopia but the sad reality is that women, especially those who are teenagers, will always be saddled with this responsibility. I suspect that this fact is true because society attaches no stigma to teenager childbirth and the young mothers are freed from their parental responsibilities. I personally know of many grandparents who willingly raise a grandchild as their own. Sometimes they raise the grandchild along with their own younger children. They relieve the mother of much responsibility so that the teenager does not ruin her "life". The issue of childbirth is one of lowered expectations on the part of the grandparents and society in general and responsibility of the teenager parent.

How we as a society solve this problem, I don't know.

Posted by: Fred | February 13, 2007 3:11 PM

I had whole classes, and clubs for them, and knew all their names and personal histories. So... tread lightly. :)


Posted by: Bad Mom | February 13, 2007 02:28 PM

I think I acted humanely. She is home now so we will see what she notices. I too loved my animals, but really she can't see the forest for the trees. Maybe I will rotate them in and out over time. Thanks for the tips.

Posted by: moxiemom | February 13, 2007 3:16 PM

see amazed by nc real estate post above. Raleigh/Durham area has a very highly educated population with growing opportunities. You might want to look into some of the universities doing development or maybe choose something different. Its all about choices - make 'em and own 'em.

moxiemom

Posted by: to jealous of you fed workers | February 13, 2007 3:19 PM

amazed by nc real estate, no, you can't get a house here for a good price. it's really expensive - far too expensive for you to move here and certainly not without a job first. the houses are all falling apart. you won't like any of the neighborhoods. Crime is high (dang, she can check that online, can't she?).


It's kind of like the larger immigration debate. All of us Yankees who relocated to the Triangle and are happy as clams want the door to slam shut behind us so that growth will slow down and our schools won't be overcrowded.

but seriously, Raleigh's a great and affordable place to live, work, raise kids, not raise kids, have a life.

Posted by: NC lawyer | February 13, 2007 3:19 PM

I still can't believe the "blame the woman" mentality, particularly from other women (okay, yes I can because so many women are catty and hateful, which is why most of my friends are male).

Basic biology, people: it takes a MAN and WOMAN to conceive a child. The child simply incubates in the woman's body, but both are parents. The child has 50% DNA from each parent.

It's this attitude of not holding men responsible that has resulted in so many children growing up in impoverished single family homes headed by women. Last year the federal government spent $1.2 BILLION in aid to the states to track down deadbeat parents. And yes, the majority of those deadbeat parents are men. In contrast, the government spent half that much in aid to local law enforcement (yes, there are public policy jobs outside of WDC; I'm working public policy for law enforcement).

So, not only is your government subsidizing day care, it's subsidizing state governments to track down the losers that so many of you don't think should be held responsible. Instead of saying,"Sweet deal" for this woman has to work her @$$ off, beg for subsidies and pull this load by herself, why not "sweet deal" for the jerk who created this child, zipped up his pants and walked away to leave society with the responsibility of dealing with this? 'Cause the guy got the sweet deal, not the mother.


Posted by: single western mom | February 13, 2007 3:20 PM

As Marie Antoinette said" let them eat cake" - heck - everybody can have a piece but beware - there are at least 500 calories for anyone who doesn't sign with a name or alias.
BTW - we had two cakes - raspberry coconut jelly roll and a chocolate with whipped cream frosting.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | February 13, 2007 3:20 PM

NC Lawyer - I think that your presence in the area would be a selling point in an of itself. I'm surprised Century 21 doesn't have you on the web site.

Posted by: moxiemom | February 13, 2007 3:21 PM

Scarry,

2:57 was me, Denk. Just got careless.

Posted by: Denk | February 13, 2007 3:21 PM

"A moment of pleasure, a lifetime of pain."

Posted by: Anonymous | February 13, 2007 3:24 PM

southern nj, or delaware.
close to nyc and dc, but less expensice real estate.

Posted by: try these areas | February 13, 2007 3:25 PM

Father of 4, thanks again for setting up the email address. I fear we are again being chided for being friendly - how horrible of us! I guess we need to eat more cake.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | February 13, 2007 3:25 PM

I was just kidding about the cake. I was trying to think of something nice to say to wish KLB SS MD birthday. Didn't mean to hurt anyone's feelings or exclude anyone. Really, everyone can have a piece of virtual cake.

However, everyone cannot go with me to visit the Fae. :)

Posted by: scarry | February 13, 2007 3:26 PM

If you don't mind a little snow, there are many places in upstate NY that have decent school districts with a lot of nice houses under 100K.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 13, 2007 3:26 PM

wow - thanks, moxiemom, that was very sweet!

Posted by: NC lawyer | February 13, 2007 3:26 PM

Scarry,
I appreciate the cake. Maybe next time we do cupcakes so everyone can have one.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | February 13, 2007 3:27 PM

"If you don't mind a little snow, there are many places in upstate NY that have decent school districts with a lot of nice houses under 100K"

Like 100 inches of snow?

Posted by: KLB SS MD | February 13, 2007 3:28 PM

"amazed by nc real estate," I can only speak for myself. My husband and I found jobs in Research Triangle Park. There are lots of government institutes (EPA and NIEHS to name two), and IBM. Bank of America is here too. There are also a bunch of universities. I would guess that if you googles RTP there might be a list of companies with offices there.

In general, there is a lot of demand for IT experience and Government experience here. I have a science background and had some trouble finding a job.

If you work in RTP, you can live in Raleigh, Cary, Apex, Wake Forest, Holly Springs, and Durham and be within a 40 minute commute.

Hope that helps.

Posted by: Meesh | February 13, 2007 3:28 PM

If you don't mind a little snow, there are many places in upstate NY that have decent school districts with a lot of nice houses under 100K.

Posted by: | February 13, 2007 03:26 PM

A LITTLE snow??? I don't like my snow measured in feet, thanks anyway!
I do love the finger lake area...

Posted by: Missicat | February 13, 2007 3:28 PM

I can't believe that people are upset about virtual cake.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 13, 2007 3:29 PM

clue for Raleigh/Durham real estate: decide ahead of time what matters to you ($/sq ft, proximity to assigned school, walk zone, special education needs, amount of commute, etc.) In Chapel Hill, you need 450K to buy a newer, nice house 2500 sq/ft (3/4 bedroom, 2 1/2 bath) in a walk zone. Chapel Hill is more expensive than Wake/Johnston/Durham county, primarily because of the high regard of the school system. I am not making any claims as to truth of that regard except to say they've done well by my kids.

The other thing about NC is if you don't already have an ACC team, you need to pick one pronto.

Posted by: dotted | February 13, 2007 3:30 PM

"A moment of pleasure, a lifetime of pain."

is this in reference to sex or cake?

Posted by: experienced mom | February 13, 2007 3:30 PM

"Maybe we should stop using the term 'single mom' for everyone who is not married and has children. Let's use "divorced mom", "widowed mom", and "single mom" to distinguish. Since people seem to have definite ideas about women in each division, let's identify them that way."

Let's not.

That's a great way to differentiate if your objective is to isolate the "single" moms so that you can verbally stone each of them individually, while commiserating with the divorced moms and feeling sorry for the widowed ones.

Can't we just look at the huge pool of single parents (mostly women), empathize with the challenges they face in raising children alone, and give them a boost where possible, all without judging whether they toe the moral line their benefactors draw in the sand?

Come on, people. Show some humanity. I know it's in there; I've seen glimmers ...

Posted by: pittypat | February 13, 2007 3:31 PM

singlewesternmom,

If a friend leaves his Mercedes unlocked in a bad neighborhood and it gets stolen, we would feel sorry for them. Jeez...it could happen to anyone. But the second, third, or fourth time it happened we'd try to help them remember to lock the door. Our saying "Lock your door!" wouldn't mean we were condoning the thief's actions; it would just mean we wanted to help our friend.

Perhaps I'm cynical but I believe men are a "bad neighborhood" until otherwise proven. My sister and I were discussing what we plan to tell our daughters. I am going to tell mine, "Boys are the devil!"

Posted by: Denk | February 13, 2007 3:31 PM

meesh, add Chapel Hill to your list. 25 minutes to IBM from the furthest reaches of chapel hill.

Posted by: dotted | February 13, 2007 3:31 PM

"A moment of pleasure, a lifetime of pain."

is this in reference to sex or cake?

I think it is both - the cake is the no pain no loss at the gym.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | February 13, 2007 3:32 PM

"A moment of pleasure, a lifetime of pain."

is this in reference to sex or cake?"

Must be the cake; I usually doze lightly during sex.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 13, 2007 3:32 PM

Sex and its consequences

Posted by: Anonymous | February 13, 2007 3:34 PM

They even made me wear a purple princess tiara that said Happy Birthday and had all colors of sunglasses spread all over the table. And the obligatory Happy Birthday helium balloon at my chair.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | February 13, 2007 3:34 PM

single western mom says:

"And yes, the majority of those deadbeat parents are men."

women gain custody of the children in a divorce 85% - 90% of the time. even when a father is awarded custody, women are rarely required to pay child support. if the roles were reversed, if men routinely were awarded custody of the children in a divorce and women were routinely required to pay child support, who can say whether women would be any more or less often the deadbeat parent.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 13, 2007 3:34 PM

Thanks for your comments on cheaper places to live.

The only thing I have on my "musts" is to not have a long commute. That's why I'm ruling out S Jersey and Delaware. And for those who are from philly or NY, I just can't muster the strength to be a JERSEY girl. lol. Taxes are way too high there as well. Delaware is a great option- low taxes, no sales tax, small, but outside of Wilmington banking jobs, not much opportunity for jobs (we considered and looked last year)

For some reason Raleight jumps out at me.

NC Lawyer- I understand your desire to keep in on the dl... :)

What neighborhoods are nice? Cary/Apex? Also, excuse my ignorance- but what is the Triangle? WV/VA/NC??

Thanks!

Posted by: Anonymous | February 13, 2007 3:35 PM

Triangle = Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill

Nice depends on what you consider important. There are many nice areas everywhere.

Posted by: dotted | February 13, 2007 3:36 PM

others have said it better, but i can't hold back: all you judgmental people who blame women/girls for getting pregnant, you know precious little about women's bodies and reproduction.

millions of women get pregnant accidentally each year, and every one had a man involved. some involve bad decisions and low self-esteem, sure (from both parties) but millions of pregnancies each year are the result of rape, date rape, incest and abuse.

stop blaming women for getting pregnant. it's just wrong.

Posted by: Leslie | February 13, 2007 3:36 PM

"Sex and its consequences"

father O'Brien is that you? I swear I waited until I was married!

Posted by: scarry | February 13, 2007 3:39 PM

Thanks so much!

All of my background is politically focused (od course, being in DC!) A do a lot of writing (could translate into PR/Communications) and PAC management and lobbying now (could do state legislative outreach?)

I find where I'm nervous is actually finding a job. In DC, it's all about connections, which is how I've gotten each job since I was interning in college. I'm honestly terrified about plunging into a place where I know no one!

But it may be worth it. Thanks.

Posted by: to Meesh and NC Lawyer | February 13, 2007 3:41 PM

Scandal alert: They found SlimFast in ANS's refrigerator!

Posted by: KLB SS MD | February 13, 2007 3:41 PM

FWIW: This childless woman would much rather see tax funds "front loaded" more than they are; in other words, I'd rather spend $$$ helping young kids and individuals at the beginning of their lives (good daycare), when they might be more open to positive influence, than to spend it later on jails, drug treatment, ect...or to fix any number of problems created down the road.

I tell ya, these financial horror stories (I'm pretty nervous/neurotic about money - 10 years of living paycheck to paycheck did that to me) serve to reinforce that I was never, EVER in my life in ANY kind of situation to have a kid, and that this lack of desire has made all the difference in the world between achieving the semblance of financial stability/contentment I possess at this point, and a life of daily worry and nail biting. The overwhelming financial pressure that comes with raising kids seems so blantant and obvious, it stuns me that some women continue to wax "romantic" about raising kids, to the complete absence of any attention to pragmatic, financial matters. (nobody on this board, just the common view of 20-something women I run into).

Jennifer - good for you and your efforts; sounds like your son has much potential to be a fine young man some day!

Posted by: ALP | February 13, 2007 3:42 PM

Speaking of cake, I was very disappointed to find that the Alli Diet Pill will not be avaiable until this summer.

I need it NOW to fit into my cruise wear next month.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 13, 2007 3:43 PM

wow - thanks, moxiemom, that was very sweet!

Posted by: NC lawyer | February 13, 2007 03:26 PM

You are very perceptive. If you remember yesterday, we also figured out that I am incredibly classy. (red wine and cheetos)

Posted by: Anonymous | February 13, 2007 3:43 PM

ALP,
"FWIW: This childless woman would much rather see tax funds "front loaded" more than they are; in other words, I'd rather spend $$$ helping young kids and individuals at the beginning of their lives (good daycare), when they might be more open to positive influence, than to spend it later on jails, drug treatment, ect...or to fix any number of problems created down the road."

AMEN!!!

Posted by: KLB SS MD | February 13, 2007 3:43 PM

millions of pregnancies each year are the result of rape, date rape, incest and abuse.

Leslie- millions??? Sorry, that's not true. It's actually still a rare occurence for any of those things to result in a pregnancy.

So you don't think women should be responsible for their own bodies?? Hmm. interesting. I think you should get off your soapbox and think about THAT.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 13, 2007 3:44 PM

Well, everyone knows white wine doesn't go with cheetos...

Posted by: Missicat | February 13, 2007 3:44 PM

Posted by: Leslie | February 13, 2007 03:36 PM


I don't think that Leslie, the blog owner, actually wrote that.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 13, 2007 3:46 PM

""A moment of pleasure, a lifetime of pain."

is this in reference to sex or cake?"

Or sex and cake together? KLB that jellyroll sounds good, time for me to get some "lunch"!

NC Lawyer, I love the bit about the Yankees moving in and closing the door behind yourselves - sounds a lot like CO!

Posted by: Megan | February 13, 2007 3:46 PM

Champagne and cheese doodles?
We all know that beer would go but it is rather plebeian.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | February 13, 2007 3:46 PM

Well, as we in the South define Yankees,

Yankees, people from above the Mason Dixon line who come down here.

Damn Yankees, Yankees who stay.

Posted by: Fred | February 13, 2007 3:48 PM

I have walked in those shoes as I have been divorced and worked FT raising young children. Can I now nod my head in agreement with those who are "judging" the single moms?

Posted by: to suburbia | February 13, 2007 3:48 PM

"You are very perceptive. If you remember yesterday, we also figured out that I am incredibly classy. (red wine and cheetos)"

LOL. I assume that was moxiemom, I love your style.

Posted by: Megan | February 13, 2007 3:49 PM

stop blaming the women for getting pregnant!!! The most important issue here is finding quality childcare for children. These kids are our future---they deserve better than the bitter attitude some people have to offer.

I agree with a previous poster. How can we spend BILLIONS of dollars on the people of Iraq but can't seem to support our own people.

Posted by: sickofit | February 13, 2007 3:50 PM

We also had Ledo pizza (everybody in this area knows all about Ledo pizza). Oprah's friend, Gail, did a road trip and picked it as one of the best in the country (I watched because I love pizza and saw the ad for the show).
And to balance the pizza we had cesar salad, roasted chicken, fruit, veggies and dip, assorted pasta salads and home made choc cookies.
And HOW am I going to fit into my vacation clothes?

Posted by: KLB SS MD | February 13, 2007 3:51 PM

Leslie,

Your comments do not change the fact that many women pretend that sex has no real consequences when it clearly does. I already excepted rape victims and others. I guess I know too many "accidental" pregnancies that have occurred when no birth control was being used and no thought was being given to the child's future.

We all want children to have the chance to grow up in the most loving and stable environments possible. But some of us make choices that work against this.

We're not perfect but we shouldn't pretend bad choices like artificial insemination by anonymous donors and out-of-wedlock births are good ones.

Posted by: Denk | February 13, 2007 3:51 PM

Birthday calories don't count, right?

Posted by: Missicat | February 13, 2007 3:52 PM

Single mom who earns $60K and can't afford private school/daycare brings up an excellent point: the need for support for middle class parents, especially in high-cost-of-living areas like Washington.

Oh great. Now not only should we pay for your maternity leave and daycare for low income people and tax incentives for companies to offer flex time to their workers, we also have to cover PRIVATE SCHOOL and daycare for people who made a good salary but CHOOSE to live in D.C.??????????

The sense of entitlement around here never ceases to amaze me.


Posted by: oh please | February 13, 2007 3:52 PM

I'm not a big fan of Ledo- it's ok, but I'd pick Pizzeria Paradiso and 2 Amys any day!!

Posted by: 2 Amys | February 13, 2007 3:52 PM

I have walked in those shoes as I have been divorced and worked FT raising young children. Can I now nod my head in agreement with those who are "judging" the single moms?


Posted by: to suburbia | February 13, 2007 03:48 PM

Sure, but you'll still sound like an unkind judgmental person.

Posted by: also exasperated | February 13, 2007 3:54 PM

"That's a great way to differentiate if your objective is to isolate the "single" moms so that you can verbally stone each of them individually, while commiserating with the divorced moms and feeling sorry for the widowed ones."

I see your point. However, my objective was to avoid the multiple "husbands die, people divorce" posts defending every attack every time someone talks about single moms.

I guess calling them all single moms is the lesser of two evils.

PS - My mom, now in her 70's, was divorced. She hated having to say she was divorced because of the (perceived) stigma since she is a staunch Catholic. She hated being called a single mom even more because children outside of marriage was completely unacceptable in her world.

Posted by: to pittypat | February 13, 2007 3:54 PM

"My dd has 9 million stuffed animals - is it wrong of me to "thin the herd" while she's at school?"

Oh, my God, moxiemom. DON'T DO IT!

I had a zillion animals as a kid, too, and I hated dolls. If even one of those animals disappeared, I'd have noticed in a minute and been hysterical.

If you think the herd really needs to be thinned, maybe you could enlist your daughter in a scheme to select some of her animals to give to a homeless or domestic abuse shelter -- or even to Goodwill. You could introduce her to the wonderful feeling of sharing her precious animals with other kids who have nothing to cuddle.

Posted by: pittypat | February 13, 2007 3:54 PM

Here's a list of some no calorie ways to eat:

If you eat standing up - no calories
If you drink out of the can or bottle - no calories (less air gets to it than in a glass)
If it is broken - no calories
If it is on someone else's plate - no calories
If no one sees you eat it - no calories
If it is straight out of the container - no calories

Posted by: KLS SS MD | February 13, 2007 3:55 PM

If no one sees you eat it - no calories
If it is straight out of the container - no calories

Posted by: KLS SS MD | February 13, 2007 03:55 PM

HOw about if the cats see me?

Posted by: Missicat | February 13, 2007 3:56 PM

Ahh, yes, the good old seafood diet!

Posted by: Fred | February 13, 2007 3:57 PM

Well, everyone knows white wine doesn't go with cheetos...

Posted by: Missicat | February 13, 2007 03:44 PM

Of course, I think that goes unsaid.

Posted by: moxiemom | February 13, 2007 3:57 PM

Missicat,
Depends. Would they eat it? If so, then it counts. If not - sorry, calories.

Posted by: KKLB SS MD | February 13, 2007 3:57 PM

Fred, the sentiment is the same here. We've heard that Cary, NC, is actually an acronym: Containment Area for Relocated Yankees.

Posted by: Meesh | February 13, 2007 3:58 PM

There are many comments on this blog, some have nothing to do with the topic and some do, over all everyone is titled to what they believe. The story today is about helping to support the funds for childcare, not that this person wants sympathy. It's to get people talking and understand the high cost of child care for all, that includes single parents, married parents, and all other types of parents.

Posted by: j | February 13, 2007 3:59 PM

Fred and Meesh,
As a CT born yankee I take offense at your comments and request they be removed. :-)

Posted by: KLB SS MD | February 13, 2007 3:59 PM

There are many comments on this blog, some have nothing to do with the topic and some do,


Is there some new statement here??

Posted by: Anonymous | February 13, 2007 4:00 PM

I also think that if my dogs have some of whatever I'm eating, they absorb the calories because they get the last bite. Totally rational.

Posted by: Meesh | February 13, 2007 4:01 PM

Meesh,
I like the way you think. I am lucky because my dog eats everything I eat. In fact, he usually licks the plate (don't get grossed out - they go in the dishwasher).

Posted by: KLB SS MD | February 13, 2007 4:02 PM

"If you drink out of the can or bottle - no calories (less air gets to it than in a glass)"

Hey, we all know how fattening that air is :-)))

Thanks, KLS SS MD -- and, once again, Happy Birthday!

Posted by: catlady | February 13, 2007 4:03 PM

KLB SS MD

Well, I am southern by birth. The south side of (Chicago ) Cook County, Ill.

Posted by: Fred | February 13, 2007 4:03 PM

By the way, moxiemom, I was also one of those kids with a zillion stuffed animals who loved them dearly. My mom, amazingly, kept them for me all this time and recently gave me a huge box of them, and now my son plays with them. It was amazing to open that box - it wasn't all of them I don't think but lots that were near and dear to my heart as a kid. I think thinning the herd is probably fine, but if you have the space and patience to keep them when she gets older, she might really love it too.

Posted by: Megan | February 13, 2007 4:03 PM

KLB, I want to work where you work. sniff. sniff. Sounds like a delightfully collegial bunch who might even be nice enough to snag an invite to visit the Fae.

dotted, If they don't have an ACC team before they arrive, I advise them to act like Switzerland and not annoy the true fans by rooting against their fave teams. Don't you agree?

to anyone with an inkling to purchase land in upstate NY (God's Little Acre to some of us who moved when we were, cough, 13), go watch Nobody's Fool several times (you remember - Paul Newman, Bruce Willis, Melanie Griffith) and imagine owning a broken down Victorian that you purchased for $100,000, but that needs $280,000 worth of work. The schools are truly fabulous, but your kids have trouble getting to the school building because the plows plow the snow drifts so high the kids sink into them until they're about 9+. Just like in Lake Woebegone, school is never cancelled. Unemployment runs rampant through the prettiest areas, so you have lots and lots of time on your hands to winterize. Diversity means our great-grandparents all came from different European countries, plus a few Amish, give or take. In all sincerity, it's a beautiful place to be from and I wouldn't trade that experience (or that early education) for the world, but there are more than a few reasons why lots of former New Yorkers call North Carolina and other Southern states "home".

let's all have a second slice of cake.

Posted by: NC lawyer | February 13, 2007 4:05 PM

"HOw about if the cats see me?"

Missicat,

You may be able to strike a bargain with them, but you'll have to make it worth their while. Dogs can be bribed, but cats have to be negotiated with. And, while you may get what you want, they'll get more.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 13, 2007 4:06 PM

Good idea Meghan - my mom did too. The smell was so familiar when I opened it. Took me back.

Posted by: moxiemom | February 13, 2007 4:07 PM

You may be able to strike a bargain with them, but you'll have to make it worth their while. Dogs can be bribed, but cats have to be negotiated with. And, while you may get what you want, they'll get more.

Posted by: | February 13, 2007 04:06 PM

They outnumber me. They always win! Remember, dogs have owners, but cats have staff.

Posted by: Missicat | February 13, 2007 4:08 PM

Missicat,
ROFLMAO

Posted by: KLB SS MD | February 13, 2007 4:10 PM

"They outnumber me. They always win!"

And they always will.

That's as it should be. :>)

Posted by: pittypat | February 13, 2007 4:10 PM

NC lawyer,
I do work with a wonderful group of people. We are a small bunch (only 10 of us plus med students, interns and residents) and have all worked together for many many years. We are like the people Amy Joyce wrote about on Sunday - "Work spouses". We know each other so well it is like being married (without the benefits). We finish each other's sentences, we know what will make someone laugh if they are having a bad day and we know when to stay away.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | February 13, 2007 4:16 PM

To those that blame the mother for getting pregnant, what do you have to say about the FDA report basically saying that new (I think they're called third generation) contraceptives have a higher risk of unplanned pregnancies as well as other health risks? Would you blame the mother for getting pregnant even though she was using protection?

Posted by: MV | February 13, 2007 4:24 PM

Here's an issue:

The boy that called his mom a hero sounds like a nice kid, who is actually grateful for the work his mother puts in. A lot of children are ungrateful, and it is refreshing to hear a child have awareness that food does not magically appear at the table and the "laundry fairy" doesn't fold and put away the clothes.

But "hero"? What about those who rescue people from burning buildings, save lives, fight (just) wars, and die for their cause? Maybe "everyday" hero. But someone should give the boy a history lesson about some real heros to give him some perspective about the proper use of the word.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 13, 2007 4:24 PM

"But "hero"? What about those who rescue people from burning buildings, save lives, fight (just) wars, and die for their cause? "

Gonna disagree, a lot of kids think their parents are heros. In their worlds that's what mom and dad often look like. I don't see any value in changing that. The world will let them know how few true heros there are soon enough. I still think my parents are my heros.

Posted by: moxiemom | February 13, 2007 4:28 PM

Fred, the sentiment is the same here. We've heard that Cary, NC, is actually an acronym: Containment Area for Relocated Yankees.

Posted by: Meesh | February 13, 2007 03:58 PM

Meesh, how could you? it's all so very unfair.

for the anonymous 3:41 poster who's gotten every job since her internship through connections, I don't intend this to be at all snarky -- and please don't anyone Southern be offended -- but one of the things I like about this area is that you can get a job because you're actually the best qualified even if you didn't go to high school with the daughter of the HR manager. As someone who has never had connections, and could never play the "my grandfather knew your great-aunt back when game", I found that refreshing. Having said that, in every state, state government and related service businesses are the last bastion of jobs going to the connected so your mileage may vary.

Isn't it about time for some cheetos and red wine?

Posted by: NC lawyer | February 13, 2007 4:29 PM

Usually the point of school assignments like that is to get kids to do a little historical research (the depth depends on their age). Doing an assignment like that on a parent is a cop-out that should receive zero credit.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 13, 2007 4:29 PM

'But someone should give the boy a history lesson about some real heros to give him some perspective about the proper use of the word.'

It was a grade school assignment. Get a grip.

Posted by: oh please | February 13, 2007 4:31 PM

Mimosas and wasabi soy sauce almonds for me.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | February 13, 2007 4:32 PM

"Some people may think parents who receive child-care assistance are sitting at home, taking advantage of the system."

What about the lady who was getting a mani/pedi at my salon who was talking about how she didn't have to work because the state paid her to stay home with the kids?

Posted by: Anonymous | February 13, 2007 4:32 PM

Considering the ice falling outside, I could use a Bailey's and coffee.

Posted by: Missicat | February 13, 2007 4:33 PM

"What about the lady who was getting a mani/pedi at my salon who was talking about how she didn't have to work because the state paid her to stay home with the kids?"

Obviously not the same person who wrote this blog as she works full time and volunteers.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | February 13, 2007 4:34 PM

Single mom who earns $60K and can't afford private school/daycare brings up an excellent point: the need for support for middle class parents, especially in high-cost-of-living areas like Washington.

Oh great. Now not only should we pay for your maternity leave and daycare for low income people and tax incentives for companies to offer flex time to their workers, we also have to cover PRIVATE SCHOOL and daycare for people who made a good salary but CHOOSE to live in D.C.??????????

The sense of entitlement around here never ceases to amaze me.

Posted by: oh please | February 13, 2007 03:52 PM
__________________________________

In my post I was referencing affordable and quality pre-school and not private school, and was in no was requesting a hand out. I just said my salary was $60K per year and with rent, student loans, and life expenses could not afford the $15K/year pre-school bill if I did not receive child support. A lot of women do not receive child support from the deadbeat dads that helped to sire the children.

I think that what should happen, and indeed does in some cases is that if there is a state subsidy to help end meet that the state should hunt down that father not pulling his weight and freeze his wages until he pays... only when we put the responsibility on both parents (NOT JUST THE MOTHER that some here claim can't keep her knees closed) will parenting be equal.

ALso, I am not sure where you are in middle class land but some of us are just right there in that limbo area where we cannot afford a lot of things, yet are not eligable for any assistance. It just happens - that is why I went to a state college. I am glad for those subsidized loans, will you begrudge me those as well?

Please everyone get off your high horses.

Posted by: single mom | February 13, 2007 4:35 PM

I second moxiemom, that "a lot of kids think their parents are heros. In their worlds that's what mom and dad often look like. I don't see any value in changing that. The world will let them know how few true heros there are soon enough. I still think my parents are my heros."

Just swept 4" of snow off the porch, steps and walk, so think I've earned that 2nd slice of KLB SS MD's virtual birthday cake! Everyone's home now, so we're hoping that the heat, lights and phone don't go out. (Might fix popcorn and hot chocolate for a snack now!). Hope everyone else on this board stays safe during/following the storm, too.

Posted by: catlady | February 13, 2007 4:38 PM

The doctor that had been seeing an 80-year-old woman for most of her life finally retired. At her next checkup, the new doctor told her to bring a list of all the medicines that had been prescribed for her.
As the young doctor was looking through these, his eyes grew wide as he realized she had a prescription for birth control pills. "Mrs. Smith, do you realize these are BIRTH CONTROL pills?

"Yes, they help me sleep at night"

"Mrs. Smith, I assure you there is absolutely NOTHING in these that could possibly help you sleep!"

She reached out and patted the young Doctor's knee.

"Yes, dear, I know that. But every morning, I grind one up and mix it in the glass of orange juice that my 16 year old granddaughter drinks............... and believe me, it helps me sleep at night."

Posted by: Not the Jokester | February 13, 2007 4:39 PM

"What about the lady who was getting a mani/pedi at my salon who was talking about how she didn't have to work because the state paid her to stay home with the kids?"

There will always be people who try to cheat and defraud the system.

I had a neighbor getting assistance that she wasn't entitled to. Boyfriend lived with her but she said he didn't. Assistance was based on household income, regardless of marital status. I reported her. If the cheats were caught and fraud discouraged, then the assistance would truly go to those who qualify.

I doubt that someone who is truly in need and/or eligible for assistance would be getting manicures and pedicures. Of course, I don't get mani/pedis because I can't think of anything that is more of a complete waste of time and money. I do my own manicures to be well groomed, but beyond that I think it's a silly extravagance - just like lattes and Starbucks. Make your coffee at home.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 13, 2007 4:40 PM

the deadbeat dads that helped to sire the children. state should hunt down that father

The parent of your child sounds like a horse, does that make you a brood mare?

Posted by: Anonymous | February 13, 2007 4:43 PM

Hey, Fred, single mom's in our cave what with her CSS degree. (single mom, please note that "everyone" doesn't have a high horse to dismount).

to those bi*ching about the blogger's child's response to a school assignment, and while I know many frown upon even the occasional glance at Wikipaedia, in this instance, I think Wiki's got it right, so FWIW: "a hero (male) or heroine (female) usually fulfills the definitions of what is considered good and noble in the originating culture. Typically the willingness to sacrifice the self for the greater good is seen as the most important defining characteristic of a hero."

You can argue over the definition, but if you accept that a hero is one who sacrifices self for the greater good, I don't consider the boy's nomination of his mom a choice to be faulted or criticized. Children of single parents are often keenly aware of the sacrifices their parents make on behalf of their kids. Would that all kids were equally as aware of the sacrifices others make on their behalf.

Posted by: NC lawyer | February 13, 2007 4:43 PM

Hey - why do I have to go to a cave and what is a CSS degree?

BTW - why in the world are we begrudging a poor kid that thinks his mom is a hero???

Posted by: single mom | February 13, 2007 4:47 PM

I had a college prof who said the world would be a better place if there were a 100 percent effective, 100 percent safe birth control method. The formula could be placed in the public water supply. When people chose to have children, they could take an "antidote" until they conceive.

A lot of parents of teenage girls would sleep better at night, there would be virtually no unwanted pregnancies, and the population would start growing at a more reasonable and sustainable pace.

The theory is a bit too "Brave New World," but it does make one think... Too bad a 100 percent safe and effective BC method doesn't exist. 90+ percent just isn't close enough for my taste.

Posted by: lawgirl | February 13, 2007 4:47 PM

Well, I am going to see if I can slip and slide my way out of here...

Posted by: Missicat | February 13, 2007 4:47 PM

Single Mom

Going to the CSS cave is indeed a high honor and it is not painted sage green.


(signed)
Son of a Son of a CSS graduate!

Posted by: Fred | February 13, 2007 4:49 PM

"Some people may think parents who receive child-care assistance are sitting at home, taking advantage of the system."

What about the lady who was getting a mani/pedi at my salon who was talking about how she didn't have to work because the state paid her to stay home with the kids?

Posted by: | February 13, 2007 04:32 PM

As if anyone would say that in a public place. If you post a made-up story, make up a name to go with it.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 13, 2007 4:49 PM

Missicat,
Drive carefully.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | February 13, 2007 4:55 PM

single mom, CSS = crappy state school. There once was an education snob who signed her posts Cream of The Crop. I no longer recall whether she referred to crappy state schools explicitly or whether the insult was inferred. Those of us sans elitist educational pedigree have been joking about it since then. Subsequently, there was a dull blog column on Neanderthal research, and hence, the cave assignments were born. Sage green is a forbidden decorating scheme due to repeated torturing of foamgnome with unwanted sage green gifts.

It's all good. You're in a highly esteemed cave now far, far away from the holier-than-thou cave, and also far from the elitist cave. and far from any horses, high or otherwise.

Posted by: NC lawyer | February 13, 2007 4:57 PM

"As if anyone would say that in a public place."

Not only did she say it, she was BRAGGING about it. Nothing stays secret in a salon anyhow!

Posted by: Anonymous | February 13, 2007 4:58 PM

the deadbeat dads that helped to sire the children. state should hunt down that father

The parent of your child sounds like a horse, does that make you a brood mare?

________________________-

No - but sire is the best that I can say about some dads - is DNA donor a better term? Dad does not work because it involve some sort of personal responsibility - which these deadbeats do not seem to have any of

Posted by: single mom | February 13, 2007 4:59 PM

Jennifer, no one could give you a better compliment than what your son said. I am sure you spoke for many single parents.

Posted by: Suzy | February 13, 2007 5:00 PM

What about a military education (basic training and LPN school) followed by a year at UDC? Certainly not elite but not state either.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | February 13, 2007 5:00 PM

Single Mom,

Just had to finish mopping the kitchen floor. Here is full explanation:

CSS = Crappy State School. Any public college or university. Name by one "Cream of the Crop" who argued that as long as the women graduated of Harvard, Yale, etc, stayed in the workforce, it made little difference if graduates of CSS dropped out. You know teachers, nurses, some doctors, etc.

The caves refer to another blog talking about caves and people who live in them. NC Lawyer and I have designated ourselves as the official assigners of cave space.

Sage Green. Any reference to this color cause all the women of this blog to ROFL. Some of us men cannot distinguish this shade.

Posted by: Fred | February 13, 2007 5:00 PM

"What about a military education (basic training and LPN school) followed by a year at UDC? Certainly not elite but not state either."

But this is still public education.

Posted by: Fred | February 13, 2007 5:02 PM

"Just had to finish mopping the kitchen floor"

Fred, that's the sexiest thing I've heard a man say in a long time. I'm not sure Frieda should leave you alone!

Posted by: moxiemom | February 13, 2007 5:02 PM

Thanks NC lawyer - I do recall the blog where cave assignments, sage green and state schools were discussed - actually quite funny. Do not recall the CSS part, but thanks. Wonder if the cream of the crop people here that are anti govt hand out are against the subsidized state universities as well?

I have done the math on college savings between state and public schools and am shooting for state school for my daughter - or two weeks of private university. Or an hour at GWU considering how they keep on hiking up tuition

Posted by: single mom | February 13, 2007 5:03 PM

Yea, Fredia mentioned that the floor was dirty. She went to work today. I worked from home. Some bad weather hit N.O. this am. I did not feel like driving thru tornado warnings!

Posted by: Fred | February 13, 2007 5:04 PM

"Assistance was based on household income, regardless of marital status. I reported her."

WWJD?

"Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye."

-Matthew 7:3-5

Posted by: Anonymous | February 13, 2007 5:04 PM

Fred,
I saw the tornado reports on the news - not close to you I assume.
BTW - how did you find this blog way down there?
And, last question, don't you hate it when people who are not from there call it "nawlins"?

Posted by: KLB SS MD | February 13, 2007 5:07 PM

"referred to crappy state schools explicitly or whether the insult was inferred."

"Cream of the Crop" specifically said crappy undergrad degree.

Geeez, CRS, live with it or live without it!

Posted by: Fred | February 13, 2007 5:07 PM

The same line of storms came over my house from about 4 am until 8 am. pretty bumpy!


Some of us way down here are educated and do read opposing opinions to our own! We even look at the NYT (but do not admit it!)

N'awlins--we can hear them a mile away, darling!

Posted by: Fred | February 13, 2007 5:12 PM

Fred,
So you are not all wearing wife beaters and overalls with no shoes? I had no idea.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | February 13, 2007 5:21 PM

"Don't you aspire to live in a society in which the rich take care of the poor, the healthy care for the sick, the strong take care of the weak?"

The disagreement seems to be about how much of that care is enough to make it profitable to impoverish, sicken, and weaken oneself.

"I also think, as I mentioned earlier, that anonymous sperm/egg donations should be outlawed in the U.S. It's the only situation in which we allow and celebrate what would normally be considered a tragedy: the loss of one's parent."

What about anonymous gamete donations to married couples?

Posted by: Anonymous | February 13, 2007 5:22 PM

"Fred,
So you are not all wearing wife beaters and overalls with no shoes? I had no idea."

And my wife's real name is Stella!

Posted by: Fred | February 13, 2007 5:25 PM

Fred, We have you for institutional memory, so I can continue on my merry way suffering from CRS . . .

Missicat - drive safe!

Posted by: NC lawyer | February 13, 2007 5:26 PM

While I don't solely blame women for getting pregnant. Who else is to blame when that pregnancy becomes a child? The woman (my body, my choice) is the only one who can prevent becoming a single parent. The man has no say until the child is born and at that point still has no say unless the mother allows him to. While I think this is not fair to either party, the woman can not be blameless, sex (in most cases) is not something that just happens to you. With rights come responsibilities and maybe adoption or abortion would have been the better choice.

Basically, we have been telling boys to "keep it in thier pants" for years, why can't we tell girls the same thing?

Posted by: Anonymous | February 13, 2007 5:41 PM

It seems to me that people who don't have children and complain of subsidizing other people's children are shortsighted. Don't these childless people realize that someday they will be old. And when they are old, today's children (other people's children) will be their physicians, nurses, police officers, firefighters, plumbers, home health aides, electricians, etc, etc, etc. Isn't it in your interest to see that all children get the best possible start in life. Whether or not you gestated/begat them?

Posted by: c | February 13, 2007 5:54 PM

AMT does not hit those over $200K nearly as often as it does those in middle-class households with kids. I'm a single mom, no child support (because he lives in a foreign country and collection is virtually impossible), and make under six figures. I have huge deductions because I'm paying so much of my income toward my mortgage (the interest deduction) in order to stay in D.C. and have a commute that makes it possible for me to take my child to school in the morning and pick him up by 6:30 (so I'm the one doing homework, dinner, etc.) and still be able to live in a neighborhood with a good public school--since I can't afford private. I also do lots of pre-tax deductions in terms of a health care spending account (I have an ongoing health condition that requires regular care), child care spending account, and putting money away in a 401K. I always get hit with the AMT. A BIG hit. Thousands last year. The greatest victims of the AMT are not upper bracket individuals deducting their boats and planes and vacation homes. They are working families like me who try to do the best by their kids in terms of education, child care and health care.

Posted by: another single mom | February 13, 2007 5:58 PM

Single mom has it about right, I think. Child-care assistance is pretty much analogous to certain forms of college-tuition assistance, in my opinion.
A lot of regular, hard-working, middle-class parents can't readily afford the $800-$1,000-per-month per-child cost of child care. But no child care would mean no working. So it's better for all that they get some aid (just like college-funding aid) to pay for that child care. It's the humane thing to do, but moreover it's the practical and, in the long run, economical thing to do for society as a whole. Case closed, as far as I'm concerned.
I'm not one of those who uses assistance, which doesn't mean that some day I won't need it. There are some other parents in my kid's preschool who do use it. They include some very hard-working nursing students and entry-level medical workers (the school is located near a hospital and in a medical district). Definitely non-slackers who will, in the future, be contributing much to our economy and our society.
As for me, after all this outlay of preschool tuition, I'm hoping my kids qualify for some big-time college scholarships! :)

Posted by: anon mom | February 13, 2007 6:02 PM

Hey - my childs father lives in another country as well. Luckily he signed the agreement to pay child support (which is odd because it would have been impossible to go after him). THough if you do have a CS order you can go after him and he can lose his passport - if he is american - or if he has a US employer can get his wages frozen..

Posted by: single mom | February 13, 2007 6:13 PM

"Who else is to blame when that pregnancy becomes a child? . . . maybe adoption or abortion would have been the better choice."

anon at 5:51, What a bleak and wretched life you must lead when your response to a pregnancy - any pregnancy - is to figure out whom to blame. To chastise a woman for not having an abortion is simply stunning.

As a society, we do preach prevention to both girls and boys, but once there is a child, prevention is a moot point. Then, the topic shifts to what is the best way to raise this child? In your focus on blame, you haven't yet made the leap to proposing any solution for the children that are in this very world. If it's orphanages, then by George, propose orphanages, but don't just cop out and stop at the blame stage without dealing with the tougher question of what we should do with illegitimate children post-their arrival in our world.

and, pssssst, adoption's a viable suggestion so long as the child has no special needs, was normal birthweight, and mom took all her prenatal meds. But who is going to adopt the illegitimate child with MS, or Downs or HIV, or developmental delay? Neither you nor I nor the great majority of parents seeking to adopt and looking for a healthy, no-special-needs baby (and no one blames those wonderful adoptive parents, least of all me, aunt to two adopted girls).

Posted by: NC lawyer | February 13, 2007 6:17 PM

NC Lawyer,

You may not have a high horse but you do get up on your pony once in a while!

:)

Posted by: Fred | February 13, 2007 6:25 PM

Don't you aspire to live in a society in which the rich take care of the poor, the healthy care for the sick, the strong take care of the weak?"

The disagreement seems to be about how much of that care is enough to make it profitable to impoverish, sicken, and weaken oneself.

"I also think, as I mentioned earlier, that anonymous sperm/egg donations should be outlawed in the U.S. It's the only situation in which we allow and celebrate what would normally be considered a tragedy: the loss of one's parent."

What about anonymous gamete donations to married couples?


5:22,

I have to be scrupulously honest here: I don't know. I tend to think not because donors should not hide behind anonymity or receive financial compensation. If it is against the law to pay someone for a kidney donation, why isn't it against the law to get paid for a kid donation? But I understand that a child who would be raised by a married couple would not be necessarily deprived of a parent. Yes, if forced to choose, I have to say no.

Posted by: Denk | February 13, 2007 7:19 PM

Actually, there are people (dare I call them heroes?) who deliberately choose to adopt crack babies/fetal alcohol syndrome babies/HIV babies/Down Syndrome babies/ you name it. Healthy babies may be easier to place with families but some families feel strongly about giving homes to these "special needs" kids.

Posted by: special needs adoptions | February 13, 2007 7:26 PM

We received postivite and negative comments on this subject, which is good. The object is to get people talking about things that matter and that keep the balance going in one's life. By providing afforable daycare to parents, married, single or other helps provide a safe and caring place for there child or children to be while at work and it lowers the risk of children getting into trouble.

To all those who think that the dad's in stories like this are deadbeats, it is not all ways the case. Sometimes marriage and relationships just do not workout, but both parents continue to stay in contact and provide for the child, and sometimes that still is not enough.

I think that the person writting the blog was not asking or looking for sympathy, but trying to provide information about the assistance that is provide for middle to lower income families. That even sometimes hardworking parents need a little help to get back on there feet.

I have researched the program a little and it appears that he funding may be cut. If the funding is cut, and parents lose the assistance children lose out. Some not all parents would have to leave there jobs to stay at home, which would bring no income into the home, which would then put them on Welfare. Don't are taxes pay for that also. I would rather see my tax dollars help to put children into daycare, while there parents work to make a living, then pay for parents to sit at home. Yes we could say " well they could work while there kids are at school" yes, they could but does a part-time job really pay enough to support a family. What if the children are not old enough to go to school then what? We can't fault every person who's marriage dose not work, or a single parent who was never married but happen to bring a child into the world. Yes, unplanned things happen and those who chose to be the bigger person and take responsibility for there actions, I say good for you. Even good hardworking people sometimes need a little help.

Posted by: J | February 13, 2007 7:37 PM

It seems to me that people who don't have children and complain of subsidizing other people's children are shortsighted. Don't these childless people realize that someday they will be old. And when they are old, today's children (other people's children) will be their physicians, nurses, police officers, firefighters, plumbers, home health aides, electricians, etc, etc, etc. Isn't it in your interest to see that all children get the best possible start in life. Whether or not you gestated/begat them?

------------------------------
------------------------------

The majority of complaints today were from smug married parents not wanting to subsidizing the mistakes of others!

Aren't they short sighted? The poor children we slight will be the ones who form their children's society's later on...
I think it is less often the childless who grumble when funds are reallocated to poorer districts (as they have been in a few states as of late)??? Single women are one of the stronger voting blocks for liberal social policies...

p.s There are many projections that the folks I will depend on day to day in old age such as nurses & health aides are going to be immigrants. I am not sure how to go about subsidizing them, but I like the idea.

Posted by: ugh!!!!! | February 13, 2007 7:48 PM

SO what has changed in the past quarter century? Stigma of divorce removed, women went to work. Doesn't sound like the kids are winning at all. This doesn't even begin to include the rise in crime rates amongst teens. Keep working ladies!

9.8 million
The number of single mothers in the United States in 1998, unchanged since
1995 after nearly tripling over the previous quarter century. Women comprised
about five-sixths of all single parents.
http://www.census.gov/Press-Release/cb98-228.html

42%
Percent of single mothers in 1998 who had never married.
http://www.census.gov/Press-Release/cb98-228.html

Posted by: not all widows and divorcess? | February 13, 2007 8:28 PM

"BTW - why in the world are we begrudging a poor kid that thinks his mom is a hero???"

Because most of the WEs on this blog are insensitive cretins.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 13, 2007 10:51 PM

"SO what has changed in the past quarter century? Stigma of divorce removed, women went to work. Doesn't sound like the kids are winning at all. This doesn't even begin to include the rise in crime rates amongst teens. Keep working ladies!"

Actually, the stigma of being a "spinster" was also removed. Female kids win when they can postpone marriage until they're in love and spend more time in high school actually studying, instead of pressured to find Mr. Right by age 18 and settle for marriage with guys they don't love if they didn't manage to have high school sweethearts.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 14, 2007 5:49 AM

""Assistance was based on household income, regardless of marital status. I reported her."

WWJD?"

Oh please, I'm not Jesus. I guess if I witness a bank robbery, I shouldn't report that either.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 14, 2007 8:41 AM

I address this question to those posters who seem to oppose this child care subsidy program - should married couples whose annual combined income is less than $60-70K never have kids? (Fairfax County estimates you need to make 60-70,000 for child care to be affordable.) That couple might, for example, be a retail store manager and a social worker. I was not sure if the critical remarks from others only applied to single moms.

As several other posters have said, I would much rather have my tax money go to programs that help support working families - including public schools, though I do not have any children. I think some posters should consider that - childless people effectively subsidize the education of other people's kids through public schools.

Posted by: MS | February 14, 2007 4:31 PM

I address this question to those posters who seem to oppose this child care subsidy program - should married couples whose annual combined income is less than $60-70K never have kids? (Fairfax County estimates you need to make 60-70,000 for child care to be affordable.) That couple might, for example, be a retail store manager and a social worker. I was not sure if the critical remarks from others only applied to single moms.

As several other posters have said, I would much rather have my tax money go to programs that help support working families - including public schools, though I do not have any children. I think some posters should consider that - childless people effectively subsidize the education of other people's kids through public schools.

Posted by: MS | February 14, 2007 4:33 PM

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