Being a Single Parent -
There's a certain kind of hollowness that goes with being a single parent.
For the most part, you go through life with your head down not stopping to think about your situation rather you're trying to find ways to make the rough stuff a little smoother.
But every once in a while when the world has gone quiet and calm has fallen over your house, the babies are in bed or quietly occupying themselves; the loneliness of it all comes crashing down. It's almost like a tidal wave. It's this all-encompassing raw type of realization that it's just you. You are the one responsible for the joys and the fuck ups. There's no else there tempering you.
Yeah, if you're lucky you have friends but they're your friends, not your partner. So unless they live with you they have no idea of what it's really like to travel down your particular road.
There are times when it's so cold and desolate, that it feels bone shattering. You know for a fact that no one has time to hear you complain about the loneliness of the life you chose. Even if they did, for the most part, it's just a nod of the head and a cluck of the tongue. They want to care but it's just not enough for them to remove themselves from their daily lives to take up the mantle of your struggle.
So, you instead wrap the feelings of triumph around you like a thick winter coat, shielding yourself from the criticism and the well-intentioned words of help.
When the kids are little you wonder if it will always be like this, if you will always do this alone. Sometimes you have the courage to answer yourself and other times you push the question far back in your head. Because you know that the answer is more than you can bear at that moment.
Then there are the times when you look at their faces and you silently apologize for the way things turned out. Intellectually you know that, for the most part, they're happy. But you can't help but feel like they only seem happy because they know how important it is to you, that they try hard to seem content in whatever life you can give them. But there's always that undercurrent of wishing for more. They don't tell you but you can sense it, almost like a smell of want and need wafting off them like warm steamed buns.
Those are the nights you curl up in a ball and cry, but not too loud because they don't need to hear you break down. You remember you're all they have, and your strength is all that keeps them going.
You know that strength, the one you exhibit when you guys are standing in the food pantry line, holding your household size number so that you can get the appropriately sized box. It always seems to be raining on those days, but you know if you leave you will have to wait another week to come back. To be honest between the bills, the emergencies, and life. You can't afford to buy a weeks worth of food to offset what you would have lost.
It's not that you're not working but to be honest who can live in California off of $15.00 an hour. As hard as that was, that was way above the National minimum wage, and I still couldn't make ends meet. Just imagine what it's like to take care of yourself let alone other lives on $7.50 an hour.
Raising The Minimum Wage - Why It Matters -
"In 2017, 80.4 million workers age 16 and older in the United States were paid at hourly rates, representing 58.3 percent of all wage and salary workers. Among those paid by the hour, 542,000 workers earned exactly the prevailing federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. About 1.3 million had wages below the federal minimum."
Where do I even start? Do I regurgitate the bullshit that the politicians are peddling in regards to the rise in jobs across the country? Or do I let people figure it out for themselves?
Yeah, I totally can't do either, If I follow the party line all I'm going to do is give myself a headache.
So here goes..............
What do those in power say? -
"Increasing minimum wage doesn't build a stronger economy."
Karen Handel (Politician)
"When we talk about the kind of folks whose lives will be made better by raising the minimum wage, we're not talking about a couple teenagers earning extra spending money to supplement their allowance. We're talking about providers and breadwinners. Working Americans with bills to pay and mouths to feed."
Tom Perez (Former White House Secretary of Labor)
"Out of all my friends, I believe I'm the only kid whose dad made us work to cut rebars; we laid bricks in construction sites and did other real work every summer for minimum wage. Our dad said that it's important in the future that when we tell people to dig a hole, that you personally know how long it will take to dig that hole."
Eric Trump (Idiot, related to a self-appointed demagogue)
"The bottom line is that five million low-income Americans working full time for minimum wage, deserve a raise."
Jim Clyburn (Politician)
*Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/topics/minimum_wage
Politicians, economists, dock workers, children of the elite, nurses and those who are struggling to put food on the table all have one thing in common, a very strong opinion about the minimum wage.
But here's the funny thing, why do we even listen to the politicians, the 1%, actors and musicians? When in reality the people that we should be paying attention to are the ones who are busting their asses to provide for their families.
We listen because in this country we have put more stock in the musings of people who have no real stake in whether your family can survive. They don't know you and to be honest they don't care.
For you, they are like shiny objects to a cat, pretty and distracting. They provide a distraction for a reason. They keep us from realizing that we are where we are so that they can be where they are.
What Do Regular Joes Say? -
Based upon the Rasmussen Report
"The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that 49% of American Adults believe raising the hourly minimum wage will help the economy..."
Nearly half of American adults feel that the minimum wage needs to be increased. Here 's the problem, it's not always up to us. As long as it profits a companies bottom line to pay their workers lower wages, why would they be in favor of raising it?
That's why it's time to stop listening to what corporate America, lobbyist, self-interest groups and politicians against raising the minimum wage have to say. None of these entities have ever stepped forward and asked if you are able to pay your bills and feed your children.
What Do I Say? -
For as long as I can remember I have either had a job or a child to raise and for the 90% of these 25 years it has been both. More often than not I have had a minimum wage or slightly above; job.
Has it served me well? It was fine when I was 17 and I lived at home with my Dad. I had no bills, no responsibilities and could do with my money as I pleased. I knew in the back of my mind that one day having a job would be a necessity but I had no idea the level of stress and fear having a minimum wage job would lay on me.
We all understand the concept of generational wealth, its what divides the "haves" from the "have nots". The current minimum wage has been one the greatest tools in making sure the "have nots" do not move above their station in life.
Do me a favor and don't tell me about the cousin you have or the dude you went to high school that managed to pull himself out of poverty. Yes, there will always be someone who manages against the odds to step above their current station in life but......
"In 2016, 40.6 million people lived in Poverty USA."
You can't tell me that 40.6 million people are just lazy? That's what we do to make ourselves feel better, we equate living in poverty with being lazy. The system has been designed to make sure that there are clear and specific class lines, and as long as we are doing better than the person next to us we think it has nothing to do with us.
Before I leave, ask yourself - do I make my life better by turning a blind eye to my brother's struggle? Is having one more thing more than someone else actually make me a better and successful person? Who would I be if I stopped yearning to be above someone else and instead helped my community to achieve "community" wealth instead of "personal" wealth?
If you have an answer please let me know - I would love to hear from you.