Subsidize This!

Sometimes I think I might crack under the pressure.

I don’t mean to complain here and I know there are so many women in shoes similar to mine or worse situations, but I don’t know any personally so all I can do is relate it to what I used to know. The pressure of being a single parent from a financial standpoint is almost unbearable. We live in a society that practically sets its citizens up for failure regardless of how many bread-winners you have, but when that number is just one, it’s truly impossible.

Think about it. There are many other countries that successfully support their citizens. That subsidize health-care, education, child-care, and other basic human necessities and those cultures run smoothly and happily and those things are valued. Family is valued. Education is valued. Health is valued.

But in the U.S. I am penalized to the tune of $19,000 (down from $26,000) per-year (that’s out of take home pay) for being a mother. Its like, (for those of you without children), if you were offered a job and upon acceptance of the position your employer informed you that because you were so lucky to be employed, they were going to deduct 50% of your take home pay as a thank you for your employment. Sound crazy? Well believe me, living in a country where I as a single income earner get absolutely no break in child-care costs, but pay the same as if I lived in a double income household, that sounds just as ludicrous to me!

It’s more than depressing, it’s crippling. In our society, the only relief is when your child is 5 and they start kindergarten. Then you pray like hell you get a full-day school so that you will only have to pay for after school care.

Now to be honest I feel the judgment form all the families I know and love who luckily are not in my shoes and who can’t imagine “paying someone to raise your children” and when I had a husband and someone to help put food on the table I made every sacrifice so that I too could stay home and be with my children, but now what are my options? I mean seriously? My daycare bill would be the same weather I worked at McDonald’s or was a software VP.

It’s hard to fathom why our politicians have never taken up this issue and why our society in general does not protest this point louder. I cannot be the only parent feeling this pain!

By the time my 3 kids are all in at least kindergarten I will of spent a total of $132,000 on daycare for all three of them over their lives, and that is just so I could walk out the door in the morning and try to earn enough to get them a roof over their head. And believe me that is all it does! It won’t stop at kindergarten either, I will still be paying roughly $8,900 per-year in after school care, but at least thank god in 2 years the bill will be half….if I can last that long.


Written by: Sarah Centrella


  • December 2, 2010 - 7:03 pm | Permalink

    I could not do what you do. You are amazing to me.

  • Deanna
    December 3, 2010 - 11:14 am | Permalink

    You have a right to be upset by all of this. The U.S needs to find ways to be more supportive of families, in general. I’ve been living in Spain for 7 years and I believe they are much more supportive of families here. Health care is public (we pay small amounts from our check every month, NOTHING compared to private costs in U.S) which means every single person has health care from pregnant mothers to children to the elderly. EVERYONE.
    There is maternity leave of 4 months (full pay, untaxed) for mothers and 2 weeks for fathers (full pay, untaxed). This could improve to be on par with the rest of Europe, but it’s better than nothing. In Germany both parents get ONE YEAR off with full pay.
    Spain also has a program called ‘familia numerosa’ which is a discount for large families (3 or more kids). Great discounts on air travel, public transportation, day care, etc.
    There are various day care centers for each neighborhood which are subsidized by the government and parents end up paying a small amount.
    I’m pointing this out to make people aware that although the system here is not perfect it at least shows that Spain prioritizes the health of it’s citizens and especially families.

    I agree that you should get more financial support as a single parent with 3 kids!

  • Anonymous
    September 8, 2012 - 2:18 pm | Permalink

    I live in Spain too and we have a lot of things that are subsidized, day-care, health care, free school books, etc. Kids also start public school at the age of 3 so they don’t need day-care at that age, and there is free day-care after hours at their school for working parents. I didn’t know that these things were not subsidized in the US, from the things we tend to read on the internet or see on TV, we get the impression that everyone in the US is rich (and therefore don’t need subsidies I guess) and that the few poor people that are there are that way because they are alcoholics or addicted to drugs. I guess the media tends to present a very skewed (and untrue) view of reality. I am a single mom and I don’t think I could EVER have survived without all of these subsidies for kids. Congratulations to you, Sarah!

    • September 9, 2012 - 4:31 pm | Permalink

      I soooooo wish I lived in a subsidized country! and would love to go to Spain. One day

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