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It was hard for me and Erin to do 7 years ago (our kids are teenagers now), and we're economically very fortunate. I can't imagine how hard it must be for people trying to provide for families on $15/hr to manage child care.



I've had friends who are reasonably well off compared to the rest of the country and in doing the math realized it was just easier for one parent to stay home for X years raising the children.

Of course then they are out of the workforce and 'unhirable' when they try to re-enter it.


I did the homemaker thing for two decades.

Pro tip: Have the full time parent take classes part time and do volunteer work. These days, blogging and online freelance work can also play a part.

Those things help preserve your employability. They give you something to put on a resume. The one and only thing that has the ability to increase your earning power while you take time off work is education. I read that somewhere and I have experienced it firsthand.

I got my first full time paid job at age 41. It paid better than minimum wage and I worked for the largest company in town. Any time I made small talk while buying myself lunch or getting a haircut, telling people where I worked got oohs and aahs. They didn't even know my job title or that I was stuck in an entry level job and never managed to get promoted. Just having a job there at all was statusy and a ticket to a real career.

I wasn't making the kind of money my ex made, but I wasn't doomed either. I ultimately left (for health reasons). I now do freelance work and, with my health issues resolving, my income is going up. At some point, I expect to live comfortably.


This is precisely the case with me and my spouse.


And that's where two parents are involved! Since I became a parent (luckily with a very capable spouse) I've been amazed at the tenacity it takes for the single parents I've met to juggle child care and jobs. Good, inexpensive care would make a huge difference for parents with precarious finances and living situations. The USA's patchwork of county welfare programs is hard to navigate and offers limited alternatives in many regions.




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