She celebrates mothers finding paid work that adds meaning to their lives, but believes government should help parents of both sexes spend more time on child-rearing.
The job of parents, in her view, is to create “adults with virtue who can go out and be good friends, spouses, good employees, good citizens.”
The primary problem, she said, is that “the family is so overtaxed economically that they don’t have time with one another to do that work” of raising children, which is, by nature, time intensive.
Her own ideas have shifted radically over time. In the mid-1990s, as a student at Middlebury College in Vermont, she volunteered for Bernie Sanders, then a congressman. But she also interned for a Washington bipartisan group hoping to shape President Bill Clinton’s welfare reforms, which curtailed cash payments to single mothers, while tying remaining benefits to strict work requirements. Through that experience, she said, she came to appreciate that some members of both parties shared a sincere commitment to alleviating poverty.
Since then, Ms. Bachiochi has embraced her Catholic roots, in part through Alcoholics Anonymous. She now considers herself “center right,” she said, but more often argues with Republicans than with Democrats.
“The libertarian right is a little bit blind” to the economic conditions families live under, Ms. Bachiochi said, noting that many parents struggle with the low pay and irregular hours of service jobs, working long days while leaving their children with less-than-ideal care.
Patrick T. Brown, 33, a former congressional staffer and current fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, previously cared for his children full-time. Now, he works part-time from home in Columbia, S.C., and takes charge of his four children after school while his wife works as a college professor. He supports child cash benefits, expanding Medicaid to more mothers and increasing the supply of affordable housing.