I have one child. While I do happen to be a single mother, I have an ex who lives two miles away and splits custody. We live in Loudoun County, which due to the confluence of data centers and government contractors, is now the richest county in the country. However, contrary to popular belief, there are still cats, and the streets are in fact, not paved with cheese. High incomes breed high costs of living. The influx of hideous McMansions over the past decade or so only serves to solidify Loudoun’s Bougie reputation. As annoying as some of those qualities are though, Loudoun is a fantastic place to live and raise your family. This is where I chose for Cooper to grow up, and while I don’t regret that decision for a minute, my wallet certainly does.
Loudoun is great for families; it is great for single people. It is terrible for single parents. My ex works in the IT field and makes a good amount of money. I work for the local government, and make… less. However, if we were together, with one child, we would be living comfortably right now. Our combined income could get us a nice little house, pay for Cooper’s daycare/preschool, with money left over to put away into savings. Instead, we pay two rents, two sets of utility bills, etc. etc. All of this is typical single parent nonsense, but here’s the kicker: while I’m still paying off student loans ten years after graduation with no end in site, we (or more accurately, my ex), are paying more per month for our son to go to preschool and daycare than I paid to get my bachelor’s degree.