My Mom Files My Taxes, and I'm Not Ashamed
Carrie Bradshaw once said it best: "In New York, you're always looking for a job, a boyfriend or an apartment." Luckily, I have all three. By her standards, I'm an adult. But unlike Carrie, I still rely, heavily, on my mother. We text "good morning" and "buenas noches" every day. If I'm not feeling well, I'll ask her what's more effective: Sudafed or Claritin? And perhaps most infantilizing of all: She still monitors my finances.
I'm going to level with you: This does not bother me at all. But, every year when tax season rolls around, I become keenly aware of just how much I, a 25-year-old adult person, need my mom to help me. In early February, my mom sent me a morning text asking to gather my 1095-C and W-2 forms. I rolled my eyes and put off the task for about three weeks until one day I finally dug through my e-mail and dialed the corporate hotline. A man on the other line answered, and I sank deep into my office chair. "Uh, excuse me," I whispered. "Where can I download my tax forms?"
I muddled through the corporate wormhole and finally gathered the documents and sent them to my mother. A week later, a co-worker on her own path toward self-sufficiency leaned over and asked: "Hey, where can we find our W-2?" I was happy to help, but still, I spoke softly. There we were, two adults trying exceptionally hard to make sure none of our cubicle-mates overheard our struggle.
But why was I so adamant about not being heard? It didn't stem from my own feelings of personal inadequency, but I feared what everyone would think.
Much has been written about how exceptionally hard it is to be young today. In 2017, we're expected to keep up with the Kardashians and travel the globe, find our passion, perfect our bodies, and have a pithy remark about everything trending on Twitter—all before we hit our mid-'20s. We’re supposed to champion a cause, rally in the streets, and figure out a way to go viral.
"[Millennials] feel self-conscious and guilty about everything they do," advice columnist Heather Havrilesky once wrote. "They can’t breathe without feeling like they’re stepping on someone’s toes." When I read that again during this year's tax season, I instantly thought about my corporate hotline phone call. I realized that I kept apologizing to the man on the other end of the line for not knowing what to do, but I did nothing wrong. I felt guilty for not knowing how to do something, not being the first to have an answer. I feared someone would think of me as inadequate, or worse, stupid.
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But in all honesty, my mother helping me each tax season is, if anything, a comfort. If you ask her, she'd tell you she enjoys helping. It makes her feel like she's still a part of my life and that she has a role in my future. Does this make me a momma's boy? A bratty millennial? Perhaps, but I feel lucky knowing I don't have to deal with 1095-C forms any more than I need to. I’ll enjoy her help while it lasts.