As a novice working mother, these types of op-eds and articles are now on my reading radar. A week into my new part-time schedule, I’m beginning to realize the stress of being a working mother. Can I just say that I have a brand new appreciation for single parents. I don’t know how you guys do it, but you amaze me. This is my first week back at work, and its been a struggle. Minor snafus here and there. The car battery died as I had to leave for work, spilt breast milk from the bottles at the daycare (my own fault at that), breast milk dumped down the drain due to expiration & thawing guidelines. With juggling all of this, along with on-demand feeding, comforting and entertaining at home, one facet I had never really considered of the financial sector were taxes. I knew I’d get some kind relief having a child, but I didn’t realize that there is also a federal credit for using a daycare institution.
According to this op-ed, it seems to be in my favor that I return to work part-time at one library rather than maintain full-time hours at 2 locations. So…what does that mean for my career as a librarian? What does that mean for any future career or employment goals I have? These are choices I never realized I would have to make independent of a city budgeting crisis.
Most working mothers who pay for child care do so out of their after-tax income. This is not an issue for very well-paid women. Nor is it that relevant for women in poor households, since they most likely don’t pay federal income taxes anyway and are eligible for the earned-income tax credit, the government’s most effective antipoverty program.
It’s women in the middle class who are hit hardest by this treatment of child care. For these couples, increases in the earnings of the better-paid spouse — usually, still, the husband — directly discourage work by the lower-paid spouse. There are several reasons for this: the federal child and dependent-care credit, which is supposed to help with these expenses, decreases as household income increases; the lower-paid spouse’s earnings are taxed at a higher marginal rate because of the other spouse’s earnings; and child care is paid out of after-tax income.