Former middle-class moms choose new identity label: 'Hard-working class'

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  • Oh My Heck! Vernal, UT
    May 21, 2013 12:02 p.m.

    @ DGDENTON: While it is harder, and definitely a challenge to work and also be a good mother, it is possible. I have 9 children, and was home when the older ones were little. Then a divorce and remarriage, which added more children (we have 13 between us) made it necessary for me to work. I have tended children, worked as a motel maid (I could bring my children with me who were not in school), worked as a teacher's aide once all my kids were in school, and various other jobs. We do NOT have $1,000 in savings. I drive a 1995 vehicle that needs repairs I can't afford. Our kids are grown now, and I am at retirement age, but can't retire as we have a mortgage payment and medical bills my husband's income doesn't completely cover. The stock market "crash" of a few years ago wiped out the IRA we had, and emergency expenses have used up what was left of it, so we can't retire until we can no longer work. We both have health issues that will become problematic for working in a few years, or sooner. It is scary for us!

  • AClaridge Tucson, AZ
    May 19, 2013 10:45 a.m.

    I certainly fit the description of hard-working class. I work full time and have three children still at home. I use coupons, ad match, thift store shop and rely on free entertainment (hiking, board games, community get-togethers). A $1000 emergency would kill us. But I do have to say, DGDENTON, that I disagree with your statement "a woman cannot be a good mother and work at the same time." I absolutely think a woman can be a BETTER mom when she is home with her children. But I HAVE to work. We wouldn't make it on just my husband's paycheck. And I consider myself fortunate to be married and not have to raise a family as a single mom. So I'm NOT a good mom because I make sure the kids are clothed, fed and sheltered? When I AM at home, you better believe the TV is off and there are conversations and time together. I WISH I had more time with my kids at home, so I don't take a single, teeny minute that I am with them for granted. I AM a "good mom."

  • DGDENTON Gainesville, TX
    May 18, 2013 8:53 p.m.

    The quality of life for families started declining when mothers had to go to work. The business world found they could get a good worker for a lower salary when they employed mothers who were willing to work for a lower wage than fathers. The women's movement helped to promote this idea of independence from the family. Now women are recognizing they were sold a bill of goods. A woman can not be a good mother and work at the some time. The children suffer when Mom cannot be at home. Also, goods are marketed in such a way that the family members "need" items which were once considered "wants".

  • Indi135 162 S Marble Canyon Dr., UT
    May 18, 2013 1:02 p.m.

    I fit in this group, with a few differences:

    -I live with my family, not because they have a nice house but because living with them is cheaper than getting my own apartment and my rent goes to support family.
    -I always look for cheaper generic prices, unless doing so sacrifices quality so I will spend more replacing the cheap item than I would buying the expensive one.
    -I am single. I don't have a family, but even without that expense, after student loan payments I am barely getting by.

    I don't own a smart phone, tablet, or any other sort of expensive technology. The most expensive things I own are my glasses and my computer and my car (1999 Saturn). I don't do most things that cost money. My entertainment comes from hiking, which is free. I have allowed myself the extravagance of having a dog, for my own mental health, but even that is sometimes financially onerous.

    And yet, despite the constant struggle for security, I agree with the article. I am proud of what I have accomplished. And I don't want help from the government.

  • RWSmith6 Providence, UT
    May 18, 2013 11:40 a.m.

    Remember when income figures in the United States were based on "head of household"--at the time the presumed earner in the family? Now it's total household income instead.
    Remember when Middle Class heads of households could afford to live the Middle Class life without another earner in the family? They could buy homes and cars and even take nice vacations. My father, a 40-hour-a-week truck driver (yes, occasional time and a half overtime, too) was one of them. Although never unionized, the firm he worked for clearly worked to stay a step ahead of organizers with better benefits, wages and work conditions--a catalyst for better living standard no longer a factor in the U.S.
    Remember when changes in the consumer price index were regularly and openly available in print and on the air? Now there's a paucity of accurate information without a deep web search.
    When did the change to what we have now start? Quite a long time ago--when wages, adjusted for inflation, began to flatline early in the 1980's.
    Being nostalgic for a better past fits my age, of course, 76. Facts, though, don't lie.