I’m a single mom with three young children. I quit my nursing job a few years ago to be a stay-at-home mom, and one year later my husband filed for divorce. The state isn’t keeping him accountable for child support, but now I qualify for food stamps. Do you feel it’s morally wrong to be on government assistance?
There’s nothing morally wrong with receiving food stamps, as long as you’re not lying about your income or situation in order to receive them. The biggest problem with food stamps, and other forms of government assistance, is many times a person becomes dependent on someone else to take care of them. I don’t want you and your kids to develop a victim mentality and become trapped in a cycle of substandard living.
You said you were a nurse before you came home to be with the kids, right? I’d suggest updating your nursing certification, if necessary, and going back to work in your field—maybe even as an emergency room nurse. I know the hours can be weird, but the pay is great. It would really get your income rolling again, plus you could afford to pay someone to look after the kids when necessary.
You’ve been through a lot, Rebecca. Life has knocked you around lately, so it’s okay if you need to take food stamps for a little while. But I’d encourage you to start thinking from a long-term perspective as to what it’ll take to move forward and generate a good, livable income for you and your kids. Get into attack mode, take your nursing degree, intelligence and experience, and create a quality life for your family. I know you can do it!
Dave Ramsey is America’s trusted voice on money and business. He’s authored four New York Times best-selling books: Financial Peace, More Than Enough, The Total Money Makeover and EntreLeadership. The Dave Ramsey Show is heard by more than 6 million listeners each week on more than 500 radio stations. Follow Dave on Twitter at @DaveRamsey and on the web at daveramsey.com.