EVERETT, Wash — Like many parents, Mary Cameron Perillo is in a dilemma.
She can't afford full-time child care, but she also can't afford to stay at home full-time with her two kids.
"There's a reason people my age are delaying having children, or not having children at all, and that's because it's not affordable," she said.
Perillo pays nearly $1,300 per month for daycare for her baby alone, so she can work part-time.
"That is our second highest bill next to our mortgage," she said.
Half of Washington moms work, state statistics show. And nearly 40 percent of children three and under live near or below the poverty line.
That's why Perillo is taking her daughter and her stroller to Washington, D.C. next Tuesday for "Strolling Thunder."
She and 50 other moms will lobby lawmakers for a national paid parental leave program, and House Bill 1344 that would cap child care at 7 percent of a family's income.
Perillo believes raising a family is becoming too expensive, with more and more people having to rely on the government for assistance.
"You have this dream of being a parent and may not understand the realities of the costs until you're pregnant or the baby is here. And what are you gonna do then?"
Perillo worries what it will be like for her daughters when they have children, if they can afford to at all. She wants to be sure the choice is theirs to make.
"I want to show both my girls that if there's a problem in the world, you need to do what you can to try to change that."