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Wanting a Little State Assistance Isn't So Wrong

Staying home is rewarded while work is punished.

April 17, 2004|Winnie Hodges

I am married with three children. My husband and I both have good, stable jobs. I was off work for months because of a high-risk pregnancy that ended positively with beautiful twins -- a boy and a girl.

I have a loving family, but I still want to know when my turn will come.

We have looked into child-care subsidy programs to help with our day-care costs. We pay $440 a week to have a very wonderful lady help raise our children. With my work, I only get to see my children a total of three hours a day, and I only have one day off a week. We were denied any subsidy because our income was too high.

We tried to get assistance in purchasing a home. The woman at the mortgage company checked but said we made a little too much money to qualify for any assistance programs except for the first-time-buyers program, which didn't really offer any help at all. So we still continue to rent.

While I was pregnant, I tried to get help providing food for my family. After the twins were born I thought I would try to get help with formula costs, but we were turned down because our income was just over the limit for subsidy programs.

I apologize if it seems like I'm whining. Maybe, in a way, I am. But I'm tired of not being helped because I choose to try to make a worthwhile life for my family, even though I am giving up spending time with my children to provide for them.

When I was off work for eight weeks after the twins were born, it was the best eight weeks I've had. I got to really enjoy them. Then I went back to work, and now I don't get to see them much. Every day I see people who get to have their cake and eat it too -- women who don't have husbands but have five children. They have the option of staying home and enjoying their children because the state pays for everything. They get their housing paid for, they get their food paid for, they get any kind of subsidy help you can imagine.

I understand that not everyone who has help from the state does this. But I do know that there are many people out there who try really hard every day and don't get anything for it except less time with their kids and the government saying, "Good job for doing it on your own." And there are the people who don't try to make a living because everything is handed to them by the state.

When will it be my turn? When will I get to have a fairy godmother like the state of California to come offer me help getting a house, help pay my child-care costs, help get groceries, help pay for my kids' college someday.

The only way I will ever have things handed to me is if my husband and I quit our jobs so that we too can take advantage of the state. Sounds tempting. You too can stay at home while the government pays for everything. Unfortunately, I have morals, so taking advantage of the state isn't an option.

Am I just a fool for wanting to spend time with my kids and have help providing for them at the same time?

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Winnie Hodges lives in the Central Valley.

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