I Used to Work Two Jobs and Made $1400 a Month. With Guaranteed Income, I Can Spend More Time With My Kids.

Front and Center is a groundbreaking Ms. series that offers first-person accounts of Black mothers living in Jackson, Miss., receiving a guaranteed income. First launched in 2018, the Magnolia Mother’s Trust (MMT) is about to enter its fifth cohort, bringing the number of moms served to more than 400 and making it the longest-running guaranteed income program in the country. Across the country, guaranteed income pilots like MMT are finding that recipients are overwhelmingly using their payments for basic needs like groceries, housing and transportation.

“Before the Magnolia Mother’s Trust, I was making about $680 every two weeks. Rent was my biggest monthly expense. … I had to work a lot of overtime before I started receiving MMT. Now I get to spend more time with my kids.”

Which Political Party Is Budgeting for Women’s Futures?

For too many—especially women of color—paychecks aren’t keeping up. Inflation is inching downward, but costs for groceries, childcare and rent feel out of reach.

But congressional fights over taxes and spending are really about fundamental questions: What do women, our families and communities need? What kind of future do we want to build? Recent budget proposals by the Biden administration and Republicans in Congress show how our two major political parties answer those questions. The answers were starkly different, revealing high stakes when it comes to women’s ability to participate in the economy, care for their families and control their own reproductive lives. 

The Best and Worst States for Family Care Policies

In 2021, the Century Foundation published its first care policy report card, “Care Matters,” which graded each state on a number of supportive family policies and worker rights and protections, such as paid sick and paid family leave, pregnant worker fairness, and the domestic worker bill of rights. The 2021 report card revealed the tremendous gaps in state care policies and a fragmented and insufficient system of care workers and families in most states.

This year’s update, co-authored with Caring Across Generations, takes another look at how states are doing.

They Never Deserved to Be Called ‘Pro-Life’

Less than three weeks after Alabama’s State Supreme Court unleashed massive chaos and hardship by ruling that frozen embryos created through in vitro fertilization (IVF) must be considered children, the state legislature passed a bill providing immunity to clinics that provide IVF and people who access that care. Alabama’s stridently anti-abortion governor hastily signed the legislation into law. Are we supposed to be grateful?

Protecting and supporting families is not the focus of the Republican Party. They prove that every day by opposing food and nutrition assistance, childcare subsidies, paid family leave, Medicaid expansion and other programs that help families be healthy and thrive.

The False Promise of Split-Shift Parenting

In a country where roughly two out of every five parents struggle to afford care for their kids, many couples have resorted to parenting in shifts: One parent looks after the kid(s) while the other works, and then they swap.

I asked my social media followers: What is split-shift parenting like in 2023? One word popped up over and over again: exhausting. And when the whole family is stretched thin, we know exactly who picks up the slack: moms.

Moms deserve more options. Better options. Sustainable options—and they need them urgently. 

We Still Have A Caregiving Crisis. Let’s Solve It

Around 43.5 million caregivers provide unpaid care to an adult or child each year, and 61 percent of them are women. Work isn’t working for most people—and when work doesn’t work, families become financially unstable and women leave the workforce.

I implore Congress to focus on this issue in 2024, to make it a reality for workers across the country. Millions are waiting.