Does Qualifying for Earned Income Credit Make Me a Bad Mom?

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I absolutely LOVE Facebook. I have connected with long lost friends that I went to high school with. I get to share moments with my girls with our relatives in locales who don’t get to see us often. I enjoy connecting with them, reading their silly posts or watching the goofy videos. I have found many new recipes that I now call my own (and my sister’s claim I can’t cook). My girls will tell me that Facebook is for old people and I am totally good with that (I can’t wait until they get to be my age). However, there is one time of the year when I don’t love Facebook, when I feel like I am being judged by friends and strangers. As I am scrolling down during tax season, I see more and more posts that mock people who receive Earned Income Credit. So does the fact that I qualify for Earned Income Credit make me less of a person, less of a mom?

I am aware that society sees Earned Income Credit as handouts; taking from people who have earned it and giving it to the people who don’t. The truth of the matter is, you don’t qualify for “Earned” Income Credit if you haven’t earned any income. It is based solely on wages; not on unemployment, child support, or any other benefits received. It’s not welfare for the unmotivated. It is a system in place to help low income, working families. It’s there to benefit those families with children who truly need the extra income; temporarily helping those who are trying to help themselves.

Here’s the deal… I have a decent full time job that allows me to provide for my family. I work hard for my money just like everyone else. I have three girls, two in college and one that just started high school. And I have managed to live on one income as a single mom for the past decade with minimal (as in none) help from my ex. There are times when I am barely keeping my head above water. Having this tax credit helps me afford the things I would not otherwise be able to. Things like braces, school funded activities, medical bills, and having two teenagers on my car insurance. Not to mention the everyday things like rent, food and utilities. I get one time a year when I can breathe, knowing there is some minor relief coming my way. It’s one of the few times I can take my girls shopping, stress free, for new shoes or clothes. Money I didn’t have to scrap off other bills to have.  Money I can put back into the economy.

Now, I am not looking for sympathy, charity or even pity. All my circumstances in my life are a direct result of choices that I made. I will own that until my last breath. And next year, I will be married to the love of my life when this time rolls around. I will no longer need or qualify for the Earned Income Credit. I will pay into it instead of receiving from it. And I will have the satisfaction of knowing I will be helping other mothers who find themselves in the same boat I am in. Everyone has their own cross to bear; so unless you plan to walk in my shoes, don’t judge me on how I was able to pay for them.

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