National Public Radio has posted an audio and multimedia piece – Juggling Work and Motherhood On a Shoestring Budget.

Those who are interested in poverty or parenting issues will find that piece worth looking up and reading or listening.

One of the comments in the reader forum at the article is this: “Why do single parents think they need more help than others?”

Well, to be fair, the single parents probably do need more help. There are multiple reasons why, but here are the biggest two:

Day care is a bigger hit on their budget

Day care, or even latchkey care for grade school students, eats up a lot of the paycheck that parents who are single for any reason can bring home. That happens even if one has a “good job” and a college degree, such as I did in my single parent days.

When my daughter was in day care full time, the cost of that per month was more than the rent for our two-bedroom duplex unit. I paid $300 a month for day care starting in fall 1989 and through the late 1990s. This would be roughly $600 a month in today’s money. My rent then was $285 a month.

Child support payments are likely part of the income

A noticeable portion of a single parent family income is often reliant upon child support from someone who is no longer part of the household. In theory, the other parent is working on a reliable basis and the money arrives. The reality is that this doesn’t always happen.

If my child support arrived in a timely manner, I was able to pay all my bills for a very modest lifestyle that included a used car, hand-me-down clothes, no cablevision and no vacations unless we could tag along with family members on a trip.

Without the child support, or if that money was late for reasons I couldn’t control, there was no way I could keep up even with basic expenses.

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