Originally Posted by JTA Mom
It's just disheartening to hear people being dismissive about this topic, since it's close to my heart. I want my police officers, my firefighters, my teachers to be able to afford a middle class lifestyle. To buy new cars every year, buy McMansions, etc--no. But to be able to afford rent or a home on one income? Yes.
Well, let's think about that, though....
Time was, families lived on one income... dad's. Single women occasionally had jobs, especially after WWII, but many of them continued to live with and be supported by their parents until marriage. Many men, also, lived with their parents until marriage.
Now, most women expect to work at least *some* of their lives. Many have careers that have been lifelong dreams for them; some are still working toward their dream careers, and a lot have jobs that are nightmares. Few women expect their parents to support them until the day their husband takes over, though.
What does that mean? That means our workforce has increased HUGELY at a rate disproportionate to the increase in our overall population. There are more people seeking work. Our unemployment rate, however, hasn't risen significantly, so that means...
We're splitting the jobs among more people.
We have a world, now, where women can work if they want to... but the price we pay is that in many cases, they HAVE to. It *does* take two incomes to run a household at the same standard of living we used to maintain with one, because the employment is simply spread more thinly. In the 1930s, there weren't huge banks of people just waiting for your CS call; there were no personal shoppers, desktop publishers, wedding planners, and a lot fewer interior decorators. But there also weren't several million women actively seeking positions in the workforce. There's a reason service jobs have been nicknamed "pink collar;" they're overwhelmingly held by women.
Truth is, being/having a SAHP is not a middle-class assumption anymore; it's a luxury. And yes, this messes with single parents, too... but I'm *more* interested in finding ways for adults to be successful co-parents (whether they happen to be in love with each other) than in working around the problem of people doing a job single-handedly that really requires a village.