A Presidential Candidate Advocating for SAHMs, Mothers of Special Needs Children, and Caregivers

living well mom

It means a lot to me that there are at least a few candidates this election cycle who are truly focused on humanity and the wellbeing of humans, rather than the bottom dollar/profits.

One candidate in particular is focused on lifting up the SAHMs (stay-at-home-moms), mothers of special needs children, and caregivers that are so often overlooked in an economy that is judged by what you produce via the GDP and profit margins.

Democratic candidate, Andrew Yang caught my interest when he was on the Joe Rogan radio show a couple months ago. I’d never heard of Rogan and had never seen or listened to his radio show, but I was curious to hear more about Yang’s UBI (universal basic income) and what it entailed.

It was through that interview that I learned Andrew and his wife have two children, one of whom is autistic. Andrew’s wife stays home with their six and three-year-olds, which is hard work that is hardly acknowledged, as I said above.

It came to me, as a mother who also was a SAHM to a special needs child who went through two brain surgeries and radiation treatment for a brain tumor at thirteen months and two and a half years old, followed by constant care for his g-tube feedings, drives to therapy and helping him at home with the therapy (over several years) done at the centers. I could totally appreciate and admire Yang’s spotlighting women like me and my friends who are caregivers and mothers of special needs children and grown children that still need one hundred percent care.

Although Andrew Yang is a millionaire entrepreneur and has the resources that help his wife in caring for their autistic son, he is not detached, distant, or out of touch with those families who aren’t millionaires and struggle either paycheck to paycheck, or are getting by, but have great emotional and physical stress caring for their sick family member or special needs child.

If you haven’t been following Andrew Yang via his appearances on TV news shows and talk shows and speaking engagements at various venues, he is promoting a universal basic income for everyone, stated in his campaign’s website:

In the next 12 years, 1 out of 3 American workers are at risk of losing their jobs to new technologies—and unlike with previous waves of automation, this time new jobs will not appear quickly enough in large enough numbers to make up for it. To avoid an unprecedented crisis, we’re going to have to find a new solution unlike anything we’ve done before. It all begins with the Freedom Dividend, a universal basic income (UBI) for all American adults, no strings attached – a foundation on which a stable, prosperous, and just society can be built.

So, Yang wants to implement a Value Added Tax (VAT), among other things, to pay for this Freedom Dividend. You can read the details here. The amount of the dividend would be $1000 per month for every American citizen eighteen years and older.

Andrew wants to ditch GDP as a measuring stick of how our economy is doing. Why? Because the more automation takes over human work, especially self-driving trucks, the GDP will be through the roof, while the average person’s life will not match that but be much lower.

There is a whole other path to go on with the loss of jobs, just in the truck driving sector alone, that will cause the spike in suicides, homicides, and depression that are also important to be aware of. But I don’t have the space and time to get into that in this particular blog post. Perhaps I’ll delve into that at a later time.

So, here’s my favorite part. Andrew Yang wants to measure the economic output of our country by the wellbeing of the people. How are working people doing? How are the children?

He is the first person running for office that I’ve heard talk about the importance of the crucial work stay-at-home moms, mothers of special needs children, and caregivers do in our society. It is true that the work that SAHMs do is vital, considering they’re raising up the next generation of people who will be leading and contributing to the country and perhaps, the world. That $1000 a month would compensate at least for a beneficial foundation for mothers and caregivers who do, truly work from home.

I really hope that his plan is implemented in some way in the near future, because my best friend really, really needs this foundational relief. She is a mother of six mostly grown children, with a husband with chronic back pain and suffering from the permanent effects of a concussion he got more than two years ago. He, for the most part, is stationary, in his bed a good portion of the day, when she’s not driving him to therapy to give him some relief from the concussion. It’s been roughly twenty years that she has been taking care of her husband with his horribly painful back problems.

In addition, her second born son has schizoaffective disorder, as well as epilepsy–the latter surfacing more recently. She works with him through therapy she learned through many years of taking him to therapy. He also has a psychiatrist. He is on strong medication for his mental illness.

My best friend’s husband cannot work since the concussion and retired early on disability. They are struggling keeping afloat with the loss in income and many medical bills because of her family members’ needs.

The past year or two, she took on a night shift waitressing job 2-3 nights a week. Now, she’s cut down the hours and days and is training to work at a shelter. She’d be working 2-3 evenings a week. This is insane, isn’t it?! She should be able to be at home, caring for her ill family members!

Every time I hear her struggles, I get very angry and upset. I wonder how a rich, bountiful country could allow families to scrape by, with mothers away from home when their special needs children (young or grown) depend on them to function? It’s nearly unbearable for me to know my best friend and her family are suffering so. It’s morally wrong.

We texted this morning, and she told me about the increase in her son’s seizures, and the doctor trying to wane him off an old seizure med and increase a new seizure med. She ended her response with “Go, Yang”. Yes. What a difference Yang’s UBI would make for her and mothers and families just like hers.

In wrapping up this blog post, here’s a short, moving video of Yang and what he stands for that I really liked.

Andrew Yang is one of the 2020 presidential candidates I’m following.

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Too Many Gadgets, Too Little Memory

electronic stuff

We bought a new car in March.  We hadn’t bought a new car since 2005, and before that, 1999.  So, you can imagine how bewildered we were….correction, I was…my husband took it all in without so much as a blink….when the car salesman introduced us to all the gadgets on our new car and how they worked.

To be honest, I was intimidated by it all.  The alert beeps for your blind spot, for warning me when any exterior part of my car was close to touching another car or any other object or person, the annoying humming sound that vibrated me into panic mode if I wandered an inch over the dividing lines on the highway, and all the lit up little icons on the dashboard and little screen.

It was overwhelming at first, but once I drove the car the first time, I relaxed a bit, even if I didn’t know how everything worked outside your regular immediate buttons and such.

It got me thinking about the technological advances over the years and decades since I was a child.  I grew up during my elementary school years with my parents purchasing one of the first VHS recorders.  My growing up years was also the time when TV remote controls came out and cordless telephones.

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Pong, the first video game I remember came out, followed by Atari, for which my parents bought.  Who could forget playing those video games with those ancient joysticks that caused hand and thumb pain within a couple hours?  Good old Atari games like Astroids, Centipede, Pac-Man, Maze Craze, Space Invaders, Frogger, and Pit Fall.

atari video console

In the music realm, boom boxes were in, that were a combination of radio and tape cassette player, with a mic jack and two speakers.  And the Walkman became popular shortly after, I think.

boom box

Dad’s Commodore 64 with its permanent blue screen sat on his desk in my teen years.  When I was sixteen, I used that computer to type up my first novel.

commodore 64 computer screen

I remember when my parents bought me a cell phone around 1993 for me to have in case my car broke down.  It was bulky and weighed a ton.

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And I distinctly remember my first caller ID.  None of my friends or family had one at that time.  It was so cool being able to see who called at that time because I lived in my apartment then and could tell when a guy I liked called, but he didn’t know I knew.  Haha!

Image result for public domain pictures of the first caller IDs from 1993

And then came the CDs, DVDs, desk top computers, etc.  All of those new gadgets were pretty cool.  They didn’t make us too lazy.  But I’d have to say, that’s changed.

I’ve been watching many TED Talks on our addiction to our computers and phones, and also, the gadgets that think for us, like our car’s lights shutting on and off on their own, the doors locking and unlocking on their own, warning lights and beeping sounds to alert us to a danger of a car too close to ours, and the like.

Our cell phones keeping our appointments, waking us up for work in the morning, storing all of our friends and family members’ phone numbers, telling us how many calories the meal is that’s sitting in front of us at lunch or dinner.  You know what I’m talking about.

These are all very convenient, easy, and helpful.  But they also make us lazy and lose our ability to remember/memorize things, such as an appointment date or a friend’s phone number.

I don’t even know my family member’s cell numbers, except my husband’s.  I don’t know my sister’s or my mother’s by heart.  That is truly pathetic.  When I was a teen up through my thirties, I could dial a number no more than twice, and it would be stuck in my memory from then on.  Because I don’t have to remember these numbers since they’re stored in my phone, they aren’t memorized.

Now, I realize when one gets older, a little help in the memory department is needed, but our brain’s memory can be boosted by walking or doing jigsaw puzzles, for example.

So, I ignore focusing solely on the camera on the small screen in my car and physically look behind me when backing up, and make sure I still look toward the blind spot before moving into another lane.  I manually lock my car doors when I get into my car most especially in parking lots.  I think it’s the safe thing to do for us women going grocery shopping and other places by ourselves.

I don’t think we can rely so much on computers.  They do malfunction at times, have glitches, and can be hacked.  Obviously, you can guess I’m not one of those people who is anxiously awaiting buying or traveling in a driverless car.  I think I’ll skip that, thank you very much!

In my psychology course I took a couple of years ago at my university, I learned the twenty-first century sedentary lifestyle is not normal or healthy for the human body and mind.  We are meant to move and move around often, and use our minds critically.  If we’re not careful, we’ll become like the folks in the Pixar movie, WALL-E.  Was that not a glimpse into the future, or what?

WALL-E pic 2

We have to find ways to exercise these days.  Join a gym.  Join an exercise class.  Buy exercise equipment.  Pencil in jogging several times a week.  When in the generations before this age, people walked or rode their bikes to work, worked outside, walked to stores, opened their cars’ hatchbacks, manually rolled up and down their cars’ windows, lifted their garage doors, and got up to turn off their TVs.

Since being a sloth is too familiar to me, I struggle to get up the energy, and it’s even harder because of my time spent on the computer for too many hours a day.  It is my goal to keep doing things that jog my memory, such as walking and doing jigsaw puzzles, and doing what I said above with regards to my car.  I even started doing tai chi two weeks ago.  It brings me stress relief and serenity.  Do you do anything to keep your mind working and body in motion to counter today’s sedentary lifestyle?

 

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