A Girl And Her Taxes

Growing up I did a lot of things “all by myself.” In my family, if you asked for help you were lazy, stupid, or a failure (according to my dad). I built a bookcase at 8, hung wallpaper by 10, and had my own checking account at 16.

But when I got married something happened. I stepped into the role of new wife and mother, and it was kinda like I’d moved to Stepford. After my husband took charge of the big push to buy our house, I just gave over the bills and taxes too, followed by all the repairs, heavy lifting, even the laundry. I’m still trying to figure out why, but maybe it was because, unlike my dad, he didn’t make me feel bad for not doing everything. At least not until the end, when he made it pretty clear he was not on board.

2012 will mark the first time in a long time that I file my taxes as “Single,” and my goal is to do my own tax prep again. But I feel completely unable. Do I gamely push on, like with so many other things that I’ve had to take back since my divorce? Or do I concede and ask for help?

And why does help feel like a concession? Nobody is good at or has time for everything. After all, I went back to hooking up the PlayStation3, building shelves, and that never-ending laundry. Haven’t I done enough? Is my bruised ego telling me I need to prove myself? Am I still that little girl looking for daddy’s approval?

Well, I don’t have to prove to anyone — least of all myself — that I need to be awesome at everything. This tax season my plan is to ask for help to figure out the finances.

Make a list of what is worth taking on by yourself, and what you can’t or don’t want to do. You can read up on how to accomplish a task or take a class. But if there are things on that list that you really hate to do, or are really bad at, see what you can afford to farm out. Make peace with asking for help, it’s really okay

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