I don’t know about you, but I’m excited to see the new HBO single mother documentary tomorrow. It’s called “Paycheck to Paycheck: The Life and Times of Katrina Gilbert,” and it follows 30-year-old Gilbert, a mom of three, as she struggles to make ends meet as a single mom.
Obviously, even before the film airs and we know her entire story, the troll patrol is coming down pretty hard on Gilbert, who they presume is some kind of welfare queen:
What these folks don’t understand is that Gilbert separated from her husband of 10 years after he developed a serious addiction to pain pills. His addiction caused him to be a danger to the family and left him unable to provide support. Gilbert works as a Certified Nurse Assistant at a nursing home, and from the looks of it is great at her job. Still, she only makes $9.49 an hour, which translates to a measly $18,000 a year. Every morning she wakes up at the crack of dawn and drops her kids off at a daycare center meant specifically for low-income families. Any misstep could mean disaster for the family, because at 18K a year, there is absolutely no room for error. It’s heartbreaking and unfair.
Regardless of how one becomes a single parent (I was raised by my single dad for years, so this is hardly just a woman issue), no one should who works their ass off this hard should have to live in poverty. People like Gilbert aren’t trying to live off the system and not work.They’re just trying to feed their families the best way they know how.
Obviously I’m not an expert on labor laws, the minimum wage or…well…anything really. I’m not sure what needs to change in order to make this situation better. But something does need to change, that is certain.