Squeezed: Why Our Families Can’t Afford America

Squeezed: Why Our Families Can’t Afford America

By Alissa Quart, 2018

In the introduction to her book Quart overviews the reasons why Families Can’t Afford America any longer. Student Loans and Medical Debt are a huge issue for Generation X and Millennials. Over 65% of Americans worry about their monthly bills. The Middle Class is 30% more expensive than it was in 1996.

Precariat is a term coined by Guy Standing. It term that refers to social class formed by people suffering from precarity, which is a condition of existence without predictability or security, affecting material or psychological welfare. The term is a portmanteau obtained by merging precarious with proletariat. For example, long term careers are now rare. Most people end up with short term jobs that keep changing. Most of the work available today is shift work or adjunct or contract work.

The USA one of the richest country in the world, but there is a huge gap between the wealthy and the poor with a a quickly disappearing Middle Class.

Here are some reasons why Americans are struggling:

Chapter 1: Inconceivable discusses pregnancy discrimination in the work force. There is also discrimination against mothers and fathers who act as the primary care giver for their children. Mothers make $11,000 less than their childless peers. Fathers are also penalized for taking Paternity leave or taking care of their children. There was a famous case Freyer vs Frontier Airlines due to the lack of encouragement or lack of accessibility for nursing mothers. FMLA or the Family Medical Leave Act helps and legally gives mothers 12 weeks of Maternity Leave. However, unlike the rest of the world, Maternity Leave in the US is largely UNPAID.  John Williams talks about the “Maternity Wall” that women run up against. There are legal loopholes that lawyers have utilized to get around the FMLA.

Chapter 2: Hypereducated discusses how Americans with Higher Education degrees are unable to make ends meet. Many who have a MA or PhD remain adjunct professors with no office and no health benefits. Many adjuncts are forced to rely on Foods Stamps and Medicaid—at least for Summer Term. Adjuncts generally make less than $24,000 a year on average. The professor she interviewed had exactly $55 in her bank account with $3,000 in credit card debt and rent on her 2 bedroom apartment in the Chicago Suburbs was $975 a month. The professor shopped at Goodwill despite feeling like she should wear more expensive clothes that were name brand. MA and PhD holders are generally downward mobile in today’s society. Adjuncts found that their parents were better off despite having a lower level of education.

In 1975 over 45% of College Faculty were Tenured. In 2011 just 24% of College Faculty were Tenured.  That means only 1 in 6 Professors will ever get Tenure. And English and History Students/Professors have it the worst. But Lawyers and Law Professor are catching up. Do what you love is lie these days. There is a huge rush away from the humanities and toward Science and Trade Schools. The market has become oversaturated due to years of everyone being told to go to College.

There has been a movement to Unionize Adjunct Professors. Frusicone and Bolin are two former adjuncts who are working to create a better opportunities and benefits for their kind. They created 5EIU. Also check out Linda Tirado’s book Hand To Mouth for more info on this topic!

Chapter 3: Extreme Day Care explores the need for working parents to take care of their children and how expensive it is. There are very few 24 hour Day Care Centers despite many of the parents working at places that have 24 work days and several shifts. Parents no longer for 9-5, but are expected to work various shifts and irregular hours. The cost to hire a babysitter or pay for Day Care is more than a Minimum Wage worker can afford.

Check out the books “We Believe The Children: The Moral Panic of the 1980s” by Richard Beck. He proposes that the child abuse allegations of the 80s were a backlash against women going to work or feminism.  Also check out “The Outsourced Self” by Artie Hochschild, which also explores the degradation of Child Care or Day Care as a profession.

Jeremy Rifkin explores the idea of Hyper-Capitalism. Our crazy unregulated or unfettered free market has created unique problems here in the USA. Workers in the USA are essentially prisoners of love. They need to work to provide for their families, so their bosses take advantage of them. Bosses know they can manipulate low-income employees who feel like they have very few or no other options. Many of the jobs are demeaning in the first place and are looked upon as mere women’s work anyways.

The truth is Pre-K or Preschool is important, but not everybody can afford it. Not all mothers can afford a private program and not all states/cities off Headstart Programs for low-income families. If a family can’t put their child in preschool or day care, it can cause the child to fall behind or have issues. We need to make sure all families have access to Pre-K Education.

Chapter 4: Outclassed explore our Consumerism Culture. People with Assets still feel like they are struggling to keep up with their friends, neighbors and people on TV. They are often referred to as the “Poor Bourgeois” or having the “Poor Bourgeois” mindset.  Quart talks about a mother had to explain to her child about having to chose between Love and No Money or Money and No Love.

Chapter 5: The Nanny’s Struggle explores how child care workers are not making enough money either. A Day Care Center will pay the average worker Minimum Wage or just above. Most Nannies make less than $13 an hour, which isn’t a lot. An immigration worker who used to be able to rely on working in child care now faces having to fund their education and certification on little or no income. Check out “Raising Brooklyn” by Tamara Mose Brown for more on this topic.

Chapter 6: Uber-Dads talks about how it is not just women struggling to make ends meet. Many fathers have to take second jobs. They moonlight as Pizza Delivery Drivers or Uber Drivers. $69,000 a year seems like a decent amount of money, but one Dad she interviewed found it just wasn’t enough when their rent went up but their income did not. They lived in a neighborhood that had  $680,000 to 1.5 Million Dollar homes. They thought about moving, but he decided to stay put and get a second job to help out instead. Check out the book “Raw Deal: How The Uber Economy and Runaway Capitalism Are Screwing American Workers” by Steven Hill for more on this topic.

Chapter 7: The Second Act Industry discusses the Do-Over Myth. Many Americans go back to school to retrain for second career. However, they are finding that going back to school is getting increasingly difficult. Many Americans over 30 have astounding student loan debt and are hesitant to add to it. As student loan debt rises, the buying of houses falls. There is a direct correlation between student loan debt the lack of money to buy a house. Starting a new career generally hurts Americans more than it helps them. Restarting or Rebooting their careers can be costly and it doesn’t always pay off.

There are many scams that prey on older students returning to school. Two examples she gave were ITT and Trump University.  ITT is now defunct and Trump University had a number of law suits filed against it for fruading its students.

Chapter 8: Squeezed Houses explores the problem of inflation—particularly the inflation of rent and mortgages. Apartments are now $1,200 to $3,000 if you live in bigger city. People are trying to get creative in dealing with the problem of rent. They are more open to living with one or more roommates and having commune-like arrangements for chores and childcare.

Chapter 9: The Rise of 1% Television addresses televisions role in American’s unrealistic expectations. Recently we have been treated to viewing a slice of life of the rich and famous—not the Middle Class. Ozark, Breaking Bad, Billions and Empire all show how crime pays and how wonderful people live who got their money dishonestly. Downtown Abbey and Upstairs/Downstairs are British Programs that show the rich and their servants. Real House Wives, The Kardashians, The Apprentice and other so-called Reality shows show how the Upper Class Live only. The Wire, The Sopranos and Mad Men also show how those who have no financial problems live. These shows are far more prevalent than shows like Rosanne or The Middle, which show either working class or middle class people.

Chapter 10: Squeezed by Robots talks about the rise of technology and how it is replacing many of the menial jobs people have relied on for income. Robots are set to replace the hospital staffer that runs errands and even truck drivers.  Self-checkout lanes, kiosks and robots are meant to save employers money. And while they don’t have to pay a wage or benefits to a computer—the initial investment can be costly.  Forbes Runs an Apples Top 10 Articles, which is computer generated. Are writers even being replaced now? Check out the Ray Bradbury short story, “There Will Come Soft Rains.”  The 1950 story is about a computer run house and is chilling to read in this day and age of Siri and Alexa!

Conclusion: The Secret Life of Inequality discusses how there is some aid available and how Quart sees some possible solutions to all these problems. The child tax credit is a positive thing for struggling families. We need to stop the blame game though. Most Americans suffer extreme guilt over failing to provide for their families or they have extreme anger at others for preventing them from succeeding. It would be helpful to education the general public on Class and Social Issues that many fail to understand. Above all, we need to find a way to stop penalizing parents for having kids and wanting to spend time with them!

 

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Age of Anger

The Age of Anger: A History of the Present

Pankaj Mishra, 2017

Age of Anger: A History of the Present by Mishra accounts for the resurgence of reactionary and right-wing political movements in the late 2010s. He argues that nationalist, isolationist, and chauvinist movements have emerged in response to the globalization and normalization of Western ideals such as individualism, capitalism, and secularism.

Prologue: Forgotten Conjunctures explains that hate mongering against minorities, immigrants and “other” is not new. It happened in Nazi Germany and it is happening under Trump in the USA today.

The Chapter Clearing A Space: History’s Winners and Their Illusions discusses the ethnic cleansing that happened in the Balkans and in Rwanda, as well as the wars in Chechnya, Afghanistan and South American in the 90s is part of the Age of Anger.

The Chapter The Good Barbarian states that historically, “Liberty meant freedom for social mobility for the man of talent.” He argues that not everyone had this liberty, not even in the so-called democratic countries. If you didn’t have money, connections or opportunities you still remained in the same impoverished Socio-Economic class. That lack of mobility is the source of much frustration and anger.

Pankaj Mishra explores the French Revolution and the Philosophy of Jean-Jacque Rousseau. Notes from the Underground by Dostoyevsky also exhibited this sense of being downright depressed and angry by society. Mishra concludes that, “Regardless of their national origins and locally attuned rhetoric, these disenfranchised men target those they regard as venal, callous and mendacious elites.” Rousseau to Dostoyevsky express what Trump has in the USA and Brexit has in England.

The tragic fact is that the Modern West can no longer be distinguished from its apparent enemies. We’ve become no better than the very people we demonize and rail against.

The Chapter Loving One’s Self through Others further explores the idea of being a classic outsider that has been uprooted. Mishra talks about the widening gulf between the personalities and philosophies of Voltaire and Rousseau. In Rousseau’s conception, patriotism required segregation of the  sexes and military exercises. Rousseau idealized and idolized the Greek City-State of Sparta. His sexism has been an continuing influence unfortunately.

German Cultural Romanticism led to treacherous Political Romanticizing. The ideas of Volk, Kulture and the Fatherland were part of the problem. For Hitler and the Nazi’s their Self-Hatred expanded into hatred of the “other.” They projected their self-loathing onto the so-called undesirables—the Jews, the Homosexuals and the Gypsies. They hated Modernism while loving their own Modern people. These are the Identity Politics of the Elite.

Wounded people define themselves in terms of Ethnic, Religious and Cultural Groups that exclude those who wound them. The Japanese did this during WWII. The Italians did this as well. Mussolini was part of the War of the Bourgeois Mediocrity. Nietzsche’s Superman was interpreted as the Elite. They believed these Men Who Were Above would rise about the Common people. Herbert Spencer believes that society would come into being once the Industrial Society weeded out those deemed unfit and weak.

Savarkar of India had a pathological hatred of foreigners. He placed the Hindus against the Muslims. Putin also hates foreigners. Russia was once against religion. Now Putin uses religion—Christianity—as a weapon against Western Liberalism. Trump has used his threats against the Mexicans and Muslims to bolster a sense of being part of an elite group in the USA. Mishra believes this one of the biggest things that won him the election.

The Chapter Who Are We? The Challenge to American National Identity is a 2004 book by Samuel Huntington that attacks the Hispanic Immigration. He believes that the Hispanics are a threat to the USA’s cultural identity. Trump got his anti-immigration views from this book most likely.

Timothy McVeigh was not a lone psychotic killer like they would have us believe. Extreme hatred of white males against the government has grown considerably the past 30 years. McVeigh had a “cold sharp-edge sword, which froze the wound inflicted.” From the 1970s to the 1990s there has been a steady decline of the Middle Class in the USA. Democracy seems to be following Communism down the road to Perdition,” McVeigh stated.

Mishra doesn’t think that McVeigh was wrong in what saw wrong in the world and the USA. But he disagrees with his violent solution to the problems we now face. Mishra believes that we have to try more peaceful revolutions before resorting to violence.

The world is more Nihilistic than ever. During World WII people thought there was a spiritual rot and a feeling that society is pointless. This feeling of alienation has only grown in the past 80 years. Mishra talks about the Russian Anarchist Bakunin and his philosophies. He explains that the 1880s and 1890s were the beginning of the revolts against the dehumanization imposed by the industrial society. Anarchism was an outgrowth of this oppression.

McVeigh, and many others, were brought up on the American notion that individual freedom was bereft of religious belief. When these angry outsiders become disillusioned, they feel an acute humiliation. They feel bitter, betrayed and angry. McVeigh was the symptom of a much larger cultural problem of anger or rage.

The frustration tends to be with men aged 15-30 who are educated and have lived in urban places. They have suffered many shocks and displacements. They are, ultimately, unable to fulfill the promise of self-empowerment, individualism and outstanding entrepreneurship. Most of those who are self-employed don’t end up like Steve Jobs. They are not drop-out billionaires. No, most are Uber Drivers and the like.

The feeling of Resentment has been echoed in everyone from Rousseau to Camus. Marshall McLuhan declared in 1969 that the Age of Education had come to an end with the widespread influence of radio and television. Resentment is a natural consequence of the pursuit of wealth, power and status mandated by Global Capitalism.

The present democratic or authoritarian democracy is built on the force of fraud. They incite a broader and more apocalyptic mood than we have ever witnessed before. They also underscore the need for some truly transformative thinking about the self and the world.

Although critiques of the book stated that Mishra lacked evidence and relied more on “novelists and poets than historians and sociologists, I believe the book is well worth a read. It is thought provoking at the very least, and that is a good thing.

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The Last Jedi

December 18, 2017 The Last Jedi

The Last Jedi is poised precariously between the past and the future.

The Last Jedi picks up right where The Force Awakens left off. It follows the template laid down by The Empire Strikes back, but with some twists. Rey seeking Luke out for training echoes Luke’s training with Yoda on Dogobah. Instead of a marsh or swamp, we find them on an island. It was filmed on Skelling Michael, an Irish Ireland.  Instead of Sky City, our heroes visit Canta Bight –a cosmic Las Vegas. DJ is the stand in for Lando Calrissian.

Interestingly, the movie makes a social commentary on our current culture. DJ is an opportunistic capitalist whose loyalties lie with whoever pays him the most. And Canto Bight is filled with the rich 1% who made their fortunes off the war machine between the so-called Good and Evil. The Republic giving way to an Empire that eventually crumbles is a very Roman outlook. But the threatened tyranny of the First Order has more in common with Hitler and Trump than Caesar and Nero. However, the Praetorian Guards around Snoke are very much from the Roman Era.

The Red Room and Red Faceless Guards reminded me of Alice in Wonderland for some reason. Snoke was the King of Hearts, hungry to behead someone. Rey surrendering to Kylo Ren and thus Snoke was out of The Return of the Jedi. It was expected that Kylo Ren would kill off Snoke, but what wasn’t expected that he didn’t do it to redeem himself or save Rey. He did it so could over throw his master and blame Rey.

Kylo Ren, or Ben Solo, and Rey do have a connection. Snoke said he forged the connection himself. And Kylo Ren claims that the Rey’s parents are nobody special. And yet, one has to wonder if Ben Solo and Rey aren’t twins.

In the Franchise books of the 1990s and early 2000s, Han and Leia had twins—Jacen and Jaina. Jacen becomes a Sith Lord while Jaina becomes a Jedi Master. It was Luke who had a son named Ben. The movies aren’t following the books exactly, but they do seem to provide inspiration.

What really struck me was Kylo Ren’s line, “Let the past die. Kill it if you have to.” He was obviously talking about his childhood, his Jedi training and even his own father. But you can’t help but feel like he talking about the previous Star Wars movies. The subtext is that they are fighting to keep the franchise fresh. People complain the plots are recycled and boring.

The counter to that claim comes in the form of what Rose says to Finn after the fight on the planet Crait—Crait being the stand in for Hoth.  “That is how we are going to win. Not fighting what we hate, but saving what love.” Though Rose is talking about the Resistance, she is also talking about the franchise. The writers want to keep all the good things from the Star Wars Universe. Instead of destroying the parts they hated, they wanted to celebrate the parts they loved.

The relationship between Luke and Rey and between Finn and Rose underscored the danger we face in meeting our heroes. We want to put them on a pedestal and idolize them, but they are only human. We want them to be perfect, but they are flawed. This is true of the Star Wars franchise as well. We romanticize the past movie and fool ourselves into thinking nothing will ever compare to their perfection. We have to be willing to accept a character, a relationship, a hero or even a movie despite its flaws. It is what it is. Both the good and the bad.

That is why the Jedi Order must come to an end. The Jedi are gone and the Galaxy romanticizes them. They are like the ancient Samurai. We write about them and long for them. But they weren’t perfect. Luke finally recognizes the old ways must change. One master and one apprentice may not be the way to go. But what will be reborn from the ashes of the ancient ways?

The movie ends with a poor boy who is a nobody that is strong with the force. Perhaps he is the future. Perhaps he and others like him will find each other and destroy the First Order together. Rey maybe the Last Jedi, but she isn’t the last one who has the ability to tap into the force! And maybe, just maybe, the movie suggests that the force in all of us—all of the fans and all of humanity even. We all have that potential—that divine nature.

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Lost Girl’s Hybrid Heritage

Lost Girl’s Hybrid Heritage

I recently discovered the Showcase Show Lost Girl and binged watched it on Netflix. The Canadian Urban Fantasy show ran from 2010-2015. It also ran on the SyFy Channel, but I never caught it. While I was watching it, it struck me just how much of the show borrowed from other sources. Having been a fan of the Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Genre’s, it didn’t take much for me to recognize elements from many different sources.

Laurell K Hamilton seems to be the biggest influence on the show. In fact, some fans thought perhaps the show had gone too far in borrowing nearly everything but the names from her books. And it is true that it uses her work as a template, but they eventually found their own footing and put their own spin on the genre.

Bo Dennis is a mash-up of Anita Blake and Meredith Gentry. She is Succubus like Anita, but Fae like Meredith. The Succubus is out of Hebrew or Biblical Mythology, but the Seelie and Unseelie War is straight out of Celtic/Gaelic Mythology. The war between light and dark or Seelie and Unseelie is at the center of the Meredith Gentry series. For a time, the show focused nearly exclusively on Celtic Mythology. It featured Selkies, Red Caps and Brownies.

Bo is short for Ysabeau. Her name may be a reference to the model and actress named Bo Derrick. It may also be a reference to Michelle Pfeiffer’s character in Ladyhawk who was named Isabeau. In addition, the tragic myth of Tristan and Iseult may also be echoed in the character’s name, although Bo acts more like the hero Tristan instead of his love Iseult.

Dyson is first reminded me of Meredith’s lover Doyle, but I realized he was also reminiscent of the Wolf King Richard in the Anita Blake series as well. Shifters played a large role in The Sookie Stackhouse or True Blood series as well. Alcede was Sookie’s lover or boyfriend for awhile in that series.

Hale is a Siren. Sirens come from Greek Mythology. His power is similar to the Celtic Banshee though. Trick, Bo’s Grandfather, is a Blood Mage or Wizard of sorts.

Kenzie had the same spunk as Claudia Donovan on Warehouse 13. Heck, they even dated the same guy—Aaron Ashmore. Aaron played Claudia’s love interest Steve Jinks on Warehouse 13. He was Kenzi’s love interest on Lost Girl as well, but his name was Nate.

The Morrígan’s title may refer to the translation of Phantom Queen or Great queen. The Great Queen Morrigan is a figure from Irish mythology widely considered to be a Goddess or former Goddess. However, Evony Fleurette Marquise acts more like Pam on True Blood. She is elegant, but bitchy. Like Pam, Evony becomes a more sympathetic character by the end of the series though.

Norse Mythology showed in True Blood in the form of Eric Norseman. In Lost Girl, it shows up in the form the Norn and the Yggdrasil Tree first. The artifact the Helskor or Hel Shoes are from Norse Mythology via Jacob Grimm as well.  However, they way they told the tale, it reminded me of the Hans Christian Anderson story The Red Shoes.

Then Norse Mythology takes center stage with Tamsin the Valkyrie. In later seasons, Tamsin visits Valhalla and deals with her boss and teacher Freya. The name Tamsin connects back to Lost Girl’s Celtic Mythology with Peter S Beagle’s novel of the same name. Tamsin, in the novel, is a ghost who reveals the truth about the Scottish/Irish Monmouth Rebellion.

Lost Girl mixes other mythologies in as well. The villain The Geruda is out of Indian Mythology and the Jinn is out of Persian Mythology. The Kitsune are from Japanese Mythology. However, the Kitsune also made an appearance in The Vampire Diaries book The Return: Nightfall.

There are also references to Voodoo and Zombies. The Jumbee, or body jumper, is from Caribbean Mythology and Duppy is the Jamaican word for it. The episode Lovers Apart, Episode 3 of Season 4, reminded me of both the Young Adult Book Anna Dressed in Blood and the movie The Skelton Key for some reason.

In Season 4 and 5 there are references to the Greek Gods. The Modern versions of Zeus, Hera and Hades are a nod to the Percy Jackson Series. Iris and Nyx are wonderful additions. And the gender switching of Hera and Zeus’s Human forms were amusing.  I particularly liked how the Gods, once free of Olympus, live in a penthouse suite. It is not that much unlike Mount Olympus being located on the top of the Empire State Building in Percy Jackson and The Olympians: The Lightening Thief.

The episode Follow The Yellow Trick Road (Season 5 Episode 14) pays homage to the American Fairy Tale The Wizard of Oz and the modern British Fantasy Harry Potter.

Lost Girl is part procedural detective series like the TV show Grimm or the Laurell K Hamilton books, but it is also part Monster of the Week like The X-Files. They even reference The X-Files in Adventures in Fae-bysitting (Season 3 Episode 11). Though it was as much fun as its processors Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Xena, it also moved the femme fatale forward.

As Bo refuses to choose political sides, she also refused to define her sexuality as straight or lesbian. Bo becomes uniquely poised to both unique in the Lost Girl World and in our World both.

 

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Getting Ahead Of ADHD

Getting Ahead of ADHD:

What The Next Generation of Science Says About Treatments That Work and How You Can Make Them Work For Your Child

 By Joel T Nigg, PhD 2017

ADD and ADHD are caused by both Genetics and Environment. Essentially they are a product of Epigenetics. Genetics, obviously comes from our parents. The Environmental causes are many. Stress, nutrition, exercises, sleep and exposure to chemicals are all part of the picture. ADHD and ADD have to do with self-regulation and exist on a spectrum.

ADHD is connected with obese parents, low birth weight of baby, extreme parent stress, chemical exposure during pregnancy and early childhood, dietary insufficiency, mother consuming alcohol while pregnant and other such things. Food Additives definitely seem to make it worse—particularly Aspartame, BHA, BHT and MSG.

Things that help are: Iron, Magnesium, Zinc, Vitamin D and Omega 3 Fish Oils. Exercise is important for both children and adults with ADHD. Getting more sleep can also help. Violent TV increases aggression, so watch television content.

Some think that ADHD is a lack of dopamine in the brain. That is why stimulants often work. Caffeine, in moderate amounts, may help, but too much will make the ADHD person hyper and hard to deal with! There is also a DNA component. GxE=DNA Susceptibility. Gene editing has been done on CRISPR-COS9.

Self-Regulation, or lack thereof, results in children and adults being impulsive. A person with ADHD may tell themselves that they are NOT going to do something, but then do it anyway. If you have ADHD it is like you can’t help yourself.  It is not a matter of will power.

Anxiety and Anger are connected to ADHD. Kids and Adults who have it are not able to regulate their emotions like other people and therefore, have outbursts of anger and anxiety or panic attacks.

People with ADHD fail to pick up on clues in their surroundings and need more time to process things than others. Most people are relaxed, but alert. A person who has ADHD is NOT relaxed. They are over-stimulated and over-alert—maybe even jumpy. Accumulating and filtering information is a huge problem. People with ADHD can make decisions, but just not as quickly as someone without it. It is more difficult for those with ADHD to filter out distractions and useless information.

Children who have it sometimes grow out of it. Other times, it follows them into adulthood. Is ADHD a disability then? It depends on the severity of it. Children who exhibit symptoms should get tested. Counseling and Medication are currently then only approved treatments right now.

 

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The Queen of Distraction

The Queen of Distraction:

How Women With ADHD Can Conquer Chaos, Find Focus and Get More Done

By Terry Matlen, MSW

What is ADHD? Well, it is when you get easily distracted, find it difficult to stop behaviors or activities that you find interesting, impulsively make decisions, aren’t able to follow directions or don’t follow through, have trouble following sequences, speed while driving and find it difficult to relax!!!!

My Life Is Buried Under One Of Those Piles! Women with ADHD often have a clutter issue and a messy house.  Why is clutter such an issues? Because of impulsivity, inattention, procrastination and difficulty transitioning from one activity to another. Women with ADHD are often called unmotivated, lazy or selfish, but that is NOT the case.

Matlen suggests a clutter triage where you sort things into three piles: A) Urgent Papers that have a deadline, like bills B) Papers that are Important but not Urgent and C) Papers that can be dealt with at a later time.  Prioritize the papers and try to only handle them once. (Also known as OHIO for Only Handle It Once!) Use a notepad or sticky notes by your phone. White boards and bulletin boards also help!

And There is A Reason It Is Called Housework! It is important to clear kitchen clutter. Make sure the area around your sink is cleared away. Put things in their proper place. If you have a home office, make sure to get lots and lots of filing cabinets. If you can afford it, hire a professional organizer.

Newsflash! Women Has Melt Down in Frozen Food Aisle! Sensory overload in grocery aisle is not unusual for women with ADHD.  There are too many sights, sounds and smells. This often leads to the 7 Bottles of Ketchup and O containers of Milk issue.

Matlen suggests that you make comprehensive grocery lists, maybe even a map of the store and your route to help you. If too many people bother you, choose a smaller market or go at an off time of day—like early morning or late at night on a weekday.  As far as meals are concerned, she talks about POS: Plan or Starve. ADHD women have trouble planning meals, but planning ahead will save lots of headaches. Work out a schedule for meals you like and buy accordingly.

Don’t Entertain or Have People Over If You Don’t Enjoy It!

Tic-Tock Trouble! ADHD women are often chronically late. They dilly dally, dawdle and procrastinate. Why? Fear of failure or success, fearful it will take too long, they are perfectionists, and they find the task at hand boring or unpleasant. They also suffer from a deficit or difficult with their working memory, which makes it difficult to keep everything in their head all at once.

Matlen suggests avoiding falling into the trap of doing “one last thing!”  Plan not for when you have to be some place, but for when you decide is the best time to leave. Include enough time in your travel so that stopping for gas, traffic, etc., does not make you late. And she says when you feel rushed used the STOP method. Stop, Take A Deep Breath, Observe Your Gut Feeling and then SOS. SOS stands for Stop Obsessing Silly!

Clothing Loathing! Many women with ADHD will have cluttered closest and loath picking out outfits for the day. Matlen suggests that women go through and organize closets by season and toss out clothes that haven’t been worn in a year. She talks about how women with ADHD might have sensitivity to scratchy or itchy fabrics. She says we would try to only buy soft fabrics that are tagless and seamless. And when it comes to laundry—create a system so you don’t forget things in the washer or dryer. Keep laundry time organized as well.

So I’m Sensitive, Sue Me! Extreme sensitivity too sight, sound, smell and taste can be a problem. Many women avoid malls, crowded and loud restaurants/bars. Some of them have texture issues as well and appear to have OCD because they can’t stand things that are sticky or gooey. They are often overly sensitive emotions-wise as well. This can be an issue when criticisms from friends, family and co-workers are taken too personally.

Hormonal Humps, Bumps and Flashes! Girls are often quieter than boys, so they don’t have symptoms or get their diagnosis until later. PMS, Pregnancy and Peri-Menopausal Periods can make ADHD worse. Matlen warns that if she is “Homicidal, Weepy and Sweaty, Don’t Mess With Her!”

Working Hard At Working! ADHD can cause poor career decisions and make work difficult. Matlen suggests you don’t disclose your ADHD at work unless you feel it is absolutely necessary. It can make things worse, not better.  At work you will need to focus on keeping your desk or area clutter-free and focus on minimizing distractions. Matlen says to find a quiet meeting room or someplace out of the way to work on projects. She also suggests record meetings to be played back later so you can catch everything that was said. Take lots of breaks and maybe even use noise canceling headphones or music to help you focus.

Conclusion: The Law is on your side with The Americans With Disabilities Act.  Work to get to know yourself and what shortcuts or extra steps will help you function better. Get an assistant, childcare, tutors, therapists, bookkeepers, housekeepers, etc, if you can. If that isn’t a possibility, Delegate responsibility to others in your house. And, above all, learn to RELAX!

 

 

 

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$2.00 A Day: Living on Almost Nothing In America

$2.00 A Day: Living On Almost Nothing In America

By Katheryn J Edin and Luke Schaefer, 2015

After the Civil War in the 1870s, Aid was created for the Windows of the War.  That was about all that was available until the Great Depression in the 1930s.  Then the Aid for Dependent Children was created—also known as ADC.  ADC took a backseat to creation of Social Security for the disabled and elderly in 1935.

The few thousand who received aid rose from a few thousand to 3.6 Million in 1962. However, aid was largely segregated. Blacks didn’t receive near as much aid as their white counterparts. Teen mothers were discouraged from applying.  Then the book The Other America: Poverty in America came out in 1962, bringing attention to all of these issues.

President Lyndon Johnson declared war on Poverty in 1964.  In the 1970s Richard Nixon created the Food Stamp program.  Reduced and Free Lunches Programs were also put in place.  AFDC or Aid to Families of Dependent Children created.  The number of people on Welfare jumped from 4.2 Million to 11.3 Million largely because they were now including more minorities and single mothers. The NWRO or National Welfare Rights Organization was responsible for getting aid for more people.  They did away with stupid White Glove Tests and unfair decisions making processes.

Ronald Regan ran in 1976, but lost.  In 1980, he won the Presidency.  He made a famous speech about The Welfare Queen who was his villain. She was black and decked out in furs and driving a Cadillac to appointments. The truth was that more white families received welfare than black families.  Regan was influenced by Losing Ground by Charles Murry, who was a Libertarian.  He believed that the poor were going to remain poor as long as we kept giving them handouts.  In his opinion, welfare didn’t lift the poor up. It kept them down. It was our duty to help them escape the spider web of dependency. However, studies done in 80s showed that most Welfare users were on Welfare temporarily for two years or so.  They were not lifelong users and abusers of the system.

The book Poor Support by David Ellwood proposed four ways to uplift the poor and keep them from needing Welfare forever.  1) Raise Minimum Wage 2) Earned Income Tax Credit. 3) Education and Training for Jobs 3) Limit on Time To Receive Benefits

Bill Clinton ran for President on the platform of creating Welfare Reform.  This made him more popular and perhaps got him elected.  He wasn’t offering a hand up or handout. Instead, he offered a hand off.  1995 saw the proposal for Welfare Reform. By 1996, it had been approved.  Cuts were made to Medicaid and Food Stamps.  No real money was put into training and education.  Mary Jo Bane and Peter Edelman who were in charge of the programs quit after the bill passed.

At first it seemed Welfare Reform was a good thing. Unemployment rates dropped. TANIF or Temporary Aid For Families in Need programs were going unused. However, other problems began popping up.  Low Wage jobs were not helping the poor get ahead.

By 2014, there were a portion of those in poverty who were surviving on SNAP benefits only. The low wage jobs were hard to find and keep.  Most of these low wage jobs required the employee be flexible with their schedule—working evenings and weekends.  When employees try to ask for time off they are often punished by a reduction in hours.  They aren’t fired, but are often forced to quit.  The up and down hours make SNAP benefits difficult to rely on since they are dependent on income.

The Welfare Reform pushed more people to work, but it didn’t improve working conditions or low wages. Minimum wage is $6 to $9 dollars an hour, which isn’t a livable wage. Many workers hope to find a job that pays at least $12 to $13 an hour.  Conditions border on slave labor sometimes.  Minimum Wage workers don’t get sick days, health insurance or retirement.

Education isn’t always the answer. Those in poverty can afford to go. Those in poverty often have to drop out of high school to work.  There is not enough time in the day to work and go to school—especially if they have children. And an education is NOT a guarantee that they will get a better job.

Many $2 a day families have unstable housing conditions.  They sleep on couches of friends and family members.  Rents have risen faster than inflation.  Wages have dropped while rents have sky rocketed. A Minimum Wage job—even a full time one—is not enough to pay for rent and utilities. Section 8 Housing helps, but only a handful of people. There are waiting lists in bigger cities ranging from 85,000 to 268,000.  Landlords buy up cheap housing, but can’t afford to fix them up and maintain them. Many abandon houses and move on to other houses in the neighborhood.

Abuse is unfortunately common in the USA. However, it is much more common among $2 a day families.  Why? Because if a family stays with friends or families it increases the likelihood of verbal, physical and sexual abuse.

The poor have to employ Survival Strategies. They seek out Public Help other than SNAP or Welfare.  They make use of Private Charities and Food Pantries.  The Salvation Army, Goodwill and Catholic Charities are the major players.  They find School Supply Give Aways and Utilize Public Libraries. The find Medical and Dental Clinics that offer free services, but have to wait in line for hours—sometimes a whole day without being seeing.  They also find creative ways to generate income like collecting scrap metals and selling them or selling their plasma.  In the end, they often just have to find a way to make do with less.

Prostitution is another way to make money, but it isn’t often as cut and dry as selling one’s self for sex on the street corner. It is often doing sexual favors in return for someone allowing you stay with them or in return for them paying a bill or two.

In Poor Support, Ellwood said that any Welfare or Aid Programs must be in alignment with American Values. He says we must not just reform Welfare, but replace it with a better program. Programs must promote Autonomy of the Individual, which means those on Welfare must feel like they have some power over their lives.  Americans must have a program that promotes the Virture of Work. Americans need opportunities not just handouts.  The truth is most Americans want to work. They don’t like taking handouts and feeling dependent on other people.  Family is very important to the American.  This means help should be designed to keep families together, not tear them apart.  Americans also crave a sense of community.  They don’t like feeling isolated by their financial problems.

Although TANIF is still available to poor families, many don’t realize it or don’t think it is worth it. Generally cash benefits require proof of intensive jobs searches—up to 30 hours a week—which can take time out of taking care of their families and making money in other ways.  They may be subjected to job training that doesn’t result in them getting a job at all.  Not Graduating High School or Felony Convictions or even being the wrong race can prevent the poor from getting good jobs or any job at all.

In order to lift up the $2 a day poor Work Support is Key.  Offering help with dependable transportation and childcare is another important way to make sure the impoverished can not only get jobs, but keep them.  Wages need to be raised to at least $10 an hour at least, but $15 an hour is preferable.  Hours should be guaranteed. Employers should be forced to give full time employees at least 35 hours a week and part time employees at least 25 hours a week. Business can still turn a profit and treat their employees well!  Also, creative ways to employee partially disabled workers would be desirable as well.

Solving the housing issues the plague the impoverished is key as well. The poor need a place to call their own that is physically dangerous.  Right now subsidized housing is our best bet. There are already some places available, but more of these would help greatly.

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