Economic Recovery Slow
Many families across the country are still struggling to make ends meet, and parents are often too afraid to speak publicly about it. The middle class is facing poverty and many are fighting to survive. Our generation is very different than the one we were raised in. Your or your neighbors may be discussing unheard of topics now–food stamps and Medicaid, groceries from food pantries, and dwindling bank accounts and 401K’s.
A 2011 study by the Brookings Institute revealed that for the first time in U.S. history there were more poor people living in the suburbs than in cities. Based on the most recent United States Census data, the research showed that 15.4 million suburban residents lived below the poverty line last year, up 11.5 percent from the year before, and that “by 2010, suburbs were home to one-third of the nation’s poor population—outranking cities (27.5 percent), small metro areas (20.5 percent), and non-metropolitan communities (18.7 percent).”
I started to envision my book, Mastering the Mommy Track, in early 2011. Every mother with a career understands the tension between raising children in a positive environment and putting in the time on a career.
I read a touching story in the Philadelphia Inquirer last January. Donna Oxford, a 53-year-old grandmother, was laid off in December 2007. She had worked for an e-commerce company. In 2008, she adopted her grandson to keep him out of the foster care system. In January 2011, she was still unemployed–36 months and counting. She wrote a moving poem, titled, “Today I Lost a Tooth.” It recalls her state of poverty, lack of medical and dental insurance, and so forth.
I read this in a local Starbucks with my two daughters, and I was moved to tears by her story. Millions of mothers–single and married–have found themselves in unfortunate situations today, concerned about how they will support their children. I wrote this book to address these unprecedented obstacles women were facing. We are used to industries shedding workers, and within six months, they would find another job. These times are different and more challenging than what we all had expected.