Child care: How to pay for it without going broke

working mom child care


Surveys consistently find that the majority of mothers want to work, but affordable, quality child care is cited as the No. 1 reason they stay out of the workforce.

A quick glance at the figures, and it is easy to see why. By some figures, child care costs more than a college education, and a report by the Economic Policy Institute highlights the ballooning child care expenses, which exceed college costs in many states. For an average-income two-parent household in Tampa, Fla., with two kids, an infant and a 4-year-old, child care would cost 22 percent of household income. In Chicago, that figure is 28 percent.

Jennifer Owens, Working Mother Media

On this episode, guest Jennifer Owen, editorial director of Working Mother Media, and director of the Working Mother Research Institute, discusses creative and practical ways to navigate child care. Here are some of her tips:

  • Brainstorm with friends and other parents in your community about creative, cooperative solutions to childcare challenges.
  • Research after-school and summer options at area park services, YMCA, community centers, and houses of worship.
  • If you or your partner decides to stay home, make sure you maintain your skills, network and earning potential.

Read more about the challenges of expensive child care, here.


This is a special episode from the Working Moms Mean Business series, brought to you in partnership with BBVA Compass. I am so proud to be part of this project that explores the triumphs and challenges of professional moms (after all, 70 percent of moms with children under age 18 work!).

Explore the 10 special Working Moms Mean Business podcast episodes here.

working mom guilt

Read or download the free (mega) book written by me:Free from Guilt: Why Moms Have it, and How to Conquer It,which is all about why so many of us struggle with being working moms, even though most of us need to work to live, and science says kids, families, marriage, society and moms thrive when we work. 


About Emma Johnson

Emma Johnson is a veteran money journalist, noted blogger, bestselling author and an host of the award-winning podcast, Like a Mother with Emma Johnson. A former Associated Press Financial Wire reporter and MSN Money columnist, Emma has written for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Glamour,, U.S. News, Parenting, USA Today and others. Her #1 bestseller, The Kickass Single Mom (Penguin), was named to the New York Post's ‘Must Read” list.Emma regularly comments on issues of modern families, gender equality, divorce, sex and motherhood for outlets like CNN, Headline News, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Fox & Friends, CNBC, NPR, TIME, MONEY, O, The Oprah Magazine and The Doctors. She was named Parents magazine’s “Best of the Web,” “Top 15 Personal Finance Podcasts” by U.S. News, and a “Most Eligible New Yorker” by New York Observer.A popular speaker, Emma presented at the United Nations Summit for Gender Equality. Read more about Emma here.

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