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Sunday, September 16, 2007

Kedushat Yom Tov: Nannies at the Park on Yom Tov

(Blogging will be light during the aseret yamai teshuvah. Anything I post will hopefully be reflective in nature or of interest to the Mommy Crew (i.e. cooking, Yom Tov organization, etc)).

When I arrived at the park on the first day of Yom Tov I was taken aback. I know that in some communities it is commonplace to see non-Jewish nannies in the park on Shabbat or Yom Tov with Jewish children in tow. It is not so in our community. While there are those women who leave their children with their nanny while they go to shul because they "already paid for that day," I can't remember ever seeing the Nannies at our local park on a Chag.

One of the pleasures of living in a heavily shomer Shabbat neighborhood is taking the kids to the park on a yom tov. Not only do my kids have other kids to play with, but I can socialize with the other mothers while my kids play. Of course the park is open to everyone as it must and should be, but it really is a pleasure to be in a park where everyone is shomer Shabbat and there is a beautiful yom tov atmosphere.

However, when I arrived at the park (around a normal time or even a tad bit late) I saw kids that I recognized, but only one or two other parents at the other end of the park. Instead, we were greeted by nannies on cell phones/walkie talkie phones taking care of Jewish kids we've seen around the neighborhood, some as old as 6 or 7 years old. It was hardly a yom tov environment I was expecting and my spirit was lowered a bit.

Now, we are hardly extreme, but I think it is confusing for young children to see other Jewish children (as evidenced by the kippot, etc) surrounded by adults on cell phones. Now I understand that the demands on mothers today are extreme and I understand that some mothers do need extra help even on or especially on yom tov. I also understand that some mothers really desire to go to shul on the yamim noriam and resort to using help.

But, what makes my heart break is seeing Orthodox children, some of whom are attending the frummer schools, being placed into an environment where kedushat yom tov has been essentially removed. And, while I don't want to be harsh during this sensitive time, I must admit that it makes me a bit angry that frum parents would send their nanny complete with a ringing cell phone to the park on a yom tov knowing that plenty, if not the majority, of young mothers from the community would be there with their young children (many of whom are just learning about how Shabbat/Yom Tov is observed). While I don't expect a non-Jew visiting the park independently to conform to our rules, I do wish that those mothers who have decided to employ help during the chagim would have a bit of sensitivity and help maintain the environment of kedushat yom tov that is created and is such a pleasure.

Your thoughts?


mother in israel said...

Wow. That is appalling. I once had a secular neighbor watch my kids for RH, but I just couldn't reconcile being in shul while my kids, whom I am obligated to educate, were home with someone who doesn't share my values or attitude about the holiday.

DAG said...

What do you think our European great grandparents would have said if we told them that Jewish children would be watched by non-Jewish babysitters on a daily basis while their mother's worked?

Ariella said...

I see that all the time in our neighborhood. Even on a regular Shabbos, many children are tended by their live-in babysitters in the park. But it's not all bad. On Rosh Hashan one woman brought her babysitter with her to shul so that she could watch the kids outside for aprt of the time and they could be inside to hear at least some of the shofar. Other women I know must have left their younger children at home with the babysitter and only brought the older children who did not stay inside the whole time. But, as the rabbi, pointed out, it is not safe to leave the children unattended in the shul's driveway.
Personally, the only babysitting I ever had for Rosh Hashana was either the shul cooperative babysitting (which hired nonJewish babysitters but required some mothers in attendance, as well) or just a switch off with one friend with young children around the same age.

Tamiri said...

Is your point that these care-takers are on the phone in the park while it's a mostly Orthodox environment, or are you lamenting the fact that parents are allowing the care-takers the liberty of doing what they please while around their charges, on Yom Tov?
What do you think goes on when you are NOT looking? Do you think the care-taker doesn't put the TV on for the kids while the parents are in shul? (yes, I knew of one who put the kids in front of the TV on YK and was not fired). Why should the care-takers be more sensitive to the kids' spiritual needs than their parents are? Can you please clarify?

Juggling Frogs said...

It's sad that the 6-7 year old kids aren't in shul.

Toddlers probably don't notice much, but what a lost opportunity for the preschoolers and kindergarteners.

Gmar chatima tova.

Ahavah B. said...

My grandmother says that in the old days, a "nanny" was the older unmarried daughter of another frum family who basically lived with you and cared for the kids during the day or after school (depending on their age) until she got married. For families with lots of daughters to provide for, it was good for them to have some income and a place to live and eat, and for the harried moms it was some badly needed respite. Where are these older daughters today?

Miriam said...

going to college and getting an education. amen selah.

twinsmommy said...

wow. just WOW.

Davka on Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur, That is DAVKA when we need to be spending time with our children. I davened at home with my kids playing right there. I heard shofar by bringing my kids to shul and having them right outside a closed door outside the lobby locked in their stroller where I could see them through a window and I only stayed for part of the shofar blasts. Most of the moms brought their kids inside the lobby to hear shofar but I knew my kids wouldn't be quiet enough for that.

How is it even halachically acceptable to pay for work done on yom tov? I can imagine asking a non Jewish neighbor to watch my children for an hour so I could go to shul for the entire shofar blowing, ok, but then why would I be allowed to PAY her after yom tov? I would think I would just expect a neighbor to do that for me for free, like I would do in return for her. But one hour, tops. I can't imagine hiring help for a whole day and spending that special time apart from my kids.

Speaking of my kids, I'm being paged--- apparently nap is over. :)

SephardiLady said...

Tamiri-All of the above. I hate to see what is basic chinuch compromised (by the parents. . . not the caregivers, they have no understanding and must be instructed when employed). Allowing your help to do whatever they please is inappropriate. Allowing your help to parade around with your obviously Jewish children in tow while talking on a cell phone in front of the neighborhood's children ranks "thumbs down" in my book. .. . much like the behavior of bochurim and adults still in the bochurim stage who come to the park to smoke a cigarette on Yom Tov (i.e. not in front of my kids please!)

I know another neighborhood where families require their maids and other help to wear skirts. If I had help of any sort, I doubt I'd ever go to that "extreme." But, cell phones on Yom Tov? Allowing such is ridiculous. This compromise on kedusha is a bit much for me.

Juggling Frogs-Kids in shul is a whole other topic my husband wants me to write about. Too many kids are left to run loose in shul at 2, 3, and 4 years old, never being provided with instruction from their parents and by 5, 6, and 7 they just don't know what to do.

SephardiLady said...

TwinsMommy-I cannot poskin on payment for work done on Shabbat. I believe those who hire a Nanny are paying a salary for the week and it could be said that their work through Shabbat is a continuation of work done before Shabbat to prepare among other things.

Plenty of people are paid for work on Shabbat which takes place on Shabbat including youth directors, mashgichim, etc. Shuls routinely hire non-Jewish babysitters for yom tov.

For those of us without regular help I imagine the issue could be more complex.

twinsmommy said...

well with youth directors and mashgichim I THINK the legal fictiony round about way around it is to say that they are being paid for the prep work they do BEFORE Shabbat. Youth directors have to prepare their programming so THAT's what they're being paid for. Mashgichim have to have a certain number of hours of supervision done before the event. But I do wonder about shuls that hire non Jewish staff for yom tov, and I'd love to hear from a Rav on the matter..... I understand a Jewish volunteer running the programming and gathering Jewish teens to volunteer staff it, but to pay someone who's not even Jewish to run the programming.... how is the program even going to be Jewishly oriented if it's a totally non Jewish staff? Having said that, a good non Jewish friend of mine was hired as a babysitter at one of the shuls on the other side of town here and she had a great time, and nope it wasn't a Jewish program-- just babysitting. And she was paid. Oh well!

Ahava B--- if we're having so many children that we're "harried" and badly needing respite, then maybe we're having too many kids! I think it would be a shame if I had so many children that I couldn't possibly be alone with them and keep them all safe and fed and happy without hired help. It astounds me every day when I take my twins on errands with me and perfect strangers ask me "do you have help?" And I generally answer back-- "well, there are 2 of them, and I have 2 hands.... !" :) My husband is usually home between 4 and 7 if that's what you mean by help... and he IS a help!

Miriam-- high five. :)

anonymous mom said...

This is a plague on our children, a neshama and character- altering lifestyle choice that no one is talking about openly.

a. thumbs down on the non-Jewish babysitters. period. sorry. not necessary. not ok. for many reasons. too long to go into here.

b. thumbs down on mothers leaving kids to "worship" Hashem. Our worship is caring for and educating our precious children. Period. sorry all the gloria steinems out there. i am educated and i am mad as h--- that no one seems to get that our young children and infants need us terribly. they need our very presence, our modeling, our conversation, our attention. on yom tov and every other day for as much as possible. and if someone has to care for them part time, it must be someone who shares our values--yep, it's sure gonna cost you. But those 200 dollar children's yom tov dresses and suits are soooo much less important, people. Oy. i just am completely dumbfounded by the ridiculous approach to this subject by many in the modern orthodox and yeshivish world. complete ignorance. and the rabanim keep crying out about tznius. nebach on our generation. the biggest danger to our children's spiritual and emotional well-being, self efficacy, success in school and life is the fact that their mothers are no longer taking care of them. but, tznius is much easier to scream about.

bitterness, anyone? anger? angst? frustration? disappointment? confusion? this issue just strikes a nerve with me. always.

Mo'ah Kemo Efro'ah said...


if this is becoming a trend. perhaps your community can organize youth programming for shababt. or what about groups like bnei akiva, etc.?

Mo'ah Kemo Efro'ah said...


"What do you think our European great grandparents would have said if we told them that Jewish children would be watched by non-Jewish babysitters on a daily basis while their mother's worked?"

it was not unheard of in europe to have non-jewish nannies. but then again, that's how edgardo mortara became a catholic priest.

Mo'ah Kemo Efro'ah said...

on a tangent . . . we had a non-religious jewish babysitter. sometimes i think it would have been easier to have a non-jew. we had to watch her more carefully than a non-jew because she thought she understood kashrut and could take certain liberties. a non-jew has no idea what it is and just follows your instructions.

Tamiri said...

SM, what you experienced is just indicative of the generation currently raising children: they can't be bothered (here in Israel as well, to a lesser degree). Child raising (aka parenting) is hard work with little to no instant gratification, you can't quantify it like real estate and cash bonuses, and if peace and quiet means having a cell-phone-carrying-non-Jew attending to your children's every whim on Yom Tov(don't imagine there is chinuch there) - then so be it. It also may be a status symbol. If you follow current parenting trends, you should not be surprised to see what you saw. Who wants to be caught caring for their children when the hired help does it for you? What surprises me is that the kids are not turning out worse than they do, really that is all! Maybe parents investing their neshamot in child rearing should step back and let go :-)
Gmar Tov

Chaim B. said...

Linked to you and added a point based on Yerushalmi here

Gmar chasima tova

miriamp said...

Of course there is chinuch there -- it's just negative chinuch!

twinsmommy, you said "I think it would be a shame if I had so many children that I couldn't possibly be alone with them and keep them all safe and fed and happy without hired help." And I totally agree. Luckily I don't have so many children that I need hired help.

I am often alone with my eight, and I like to think they are all safe and happy. (Fed would be easier if they would all agree to actually eat food. Well, I guess they're fed, I just don't always agree with their food choices.) I don't have hired help, period. I don't have hired childcare help and I don't have hired cleaning help. Which is why my house is always a mess -- not because there are so many kids, but because I choose to give them my attention rather than it.

I had them all in shul with me on Rosh Hashanah, both days, in time for Shofar and we stayed until the end. They were in when they could sit quietly, and went out (also pretty quietly) when they needed a stretch or a snack. The older ones kept an eye on the younger ones (knowing they could call on me any time if they needed me.). None of them are over bar/bas mitzvah, so while I did encourage them to stay in and daven, I didn't insist. And I do have more of a chiyuv to hear shofar and maybe do a little davening. It's a small shul, there was no childcare and only about maybe 20 children there (and mine were almost half of that) but all the children stayed in the building and were all pretty well-behaved. Some even stayed in the sanctuary for most of the service.

The first day I got to actually say the musaf shemoneh esrei, and the second day the baby needed to nurse then, so I didn't even try, although I took her back in for kedushah.

Sephardilady, I don't know if I should say thank you for that peek into a strange and different world, but it is a good time of year to examine my own parenting practices and find I'm doing pretty well. I agree that frum children don't belong in the care of non-YomTov keeping people (Jewish or not) on Yom Tov especially. I've heard too many horror stories about non-Jewish nannies in general (The glass of milk on a milchig placemat next to the beef or chicken something on a fleishig placemat, served to the same child for the same meal comes to mind.) but putting children in that environment on Yom Tov? [shudder] They are trying to raise frum children, are they not?

SephardiLady said...

Mo'ah-We have regular programming on Shabbat. We have some programing on Rosh Hashana/Yom Kippur, including babysitting for young children. What was going on is something totally different.

Tamiri and Anonymous Mom-I hear you loud and clear.

I know someone who has state that all babies need is feed and changed. Women in our own communities have devalued their very presence from MO to Yeshivish and it is a shame.

Jacob Da Jew said...


We haven't even considered it. Da Wife stays home on R"h and Y"K with our 2 yr old daughter.

I suspect that she like it that way :) She isn't a Shul person.

Anonymous said...

Let me suggest something. A non Jewish nanny, if the Kashrut/Shabbat laws are explained to them, can be valuable as it can teach a child that there are different kinds of people in the world, not everyone is just like us and thats ok. Having nonJewish friends, nonJewish nanny etc, can introduce the child to the nonJewish world.

twinsmommy said...

miriamp--- KUDOS to you that you have 8 children and don't even consider using outside help and feel that you can be alone with them and take good care of them! We have a friend who really let my husband have it because my husband always tries to daven with a minyan (he misses a minyan and davens on his own maybe 1-2 minchas or maybe maarivs a week but otherwise is always in a minyan)....... he (his friend) asked "what about yom kippur-- you'd leave your wife home alone ALL DAY LONG with 8 month old twins?"

um, yep. And I'm PROUD to have a husband who takes his davening seriously and will be in shul all day on yom kippur. The kids and I will be just fine.

Mo'ah Kemo Efro'ah said...

any relation between the nanny phenomenon on shabbat/haggim and the fact that women are working (out of the home) more than ever? or are we talking about communities where the women don't work?

queeniesmom said...

Shanna Tova!
This is a sad but true reflection on the families' values and choices. Unfortunately, the reflection is one of me first and self centeredness; many of these adults are reflecting the values of the society at large instead of a Torah based society. It's once again form over substance, we must be seen in shul davening so the kids stay home with the nanny.

As someone who has had to work since my children were young, I've had a number of babysitters. I took a decession early on that on Shabbat and Yom Tov the nanny wouldn't work as these days are strictly family days. We also refuse invitations to things on Shabbat if the kids aren't included. We have made it very clear that Shabbat/Yom Tov is for the family. Yes, we've incurred stares of disbelief and others have taken umbridge with our inablity to participate in their simcha but that's the way it is in our house. Sadly, some "friends" no longer speak to us because of this decission and many others repeatedly take us to task for our misguided and warped beliefs. I find this incredulous.

Our nannies weren't Jewish but we never had any difficulties. It's all a matter of respect, me for her and her for us. How many of the "horror stories " occur because the nanny is being taken advantage of or being treated poorly vis a vis hours, wages, living quarters, etc. Unfortunately, to my mind the way many of my neighbors treat their nannies is a Chillul Hashem. Even worse for many of these women this is their first interaction with Jews and they aren't forming favorable impressions or worse the stereotypes are reinforced and "proven" true.

On RH I made it to Shul for the last hour to hear shofar with the boys. They knew that they had to behave appropriately and rose to the occassion. My daughter went to shul earlier with her grandmother. On YK, I will go with the boys and leave when they get antsy. My daughter will go with her grandmother and come home either with me or later with grandma. Daddy will come home at the end, which is fine with me. There's a very sound reason for the Zman Gramah Halachot but once again in our quest to be more ..... (fill in as you wish) we seem to have forgotten this wisdom.

Wishing you and your family an easy fast and a wonderful year filled with joy, happiness and lots of laughter.

mother in israel said...

Many mothers genuinely need extra help at times. It's not always a case of having more children than they can handle or not trying hard enough. It's no mitzvah not to get cleaning help or a babysitter when you need it, if you can afford it (and even sometimes when you can't).

SephardiLady said...

Mo'ah-I'm sure there is a connection, although I think on of the mothers in the park is home with her children. Two of my other friends who do the babysitting thing do it in their home and they work.

SephardiLady said...

QueeniesMom-Unbelievable that you would be criticized for spending time with your children! But I believe you.

Ahavah B. said...

Anonymous mom 11:43, and others:

Since my kids do not spend a single hour in daycare now either before or after school - and certainly not when they were preschool age, I obviously agree with you 100%. However, that being said, there are many young women today being bamboozled, er, I mean, being taught that it is a great service to Hashem to work one or two jobs while supporting a lazy, er, I mean, "learning" husband and at the same time told they have to, er, I mean, "are encouraged" to have as many kids as they possibly can.

Since it takes a while for them to figure out that this arrangement - well, I can't think of a polite word, but eventually they find themselves trapped in a situation not of their own making. They need help, even if they just have one or two children. I was only saying that the help should be girls from other frum families, as it used to be and should still be.

IMHO it's the husband's job to support the family, and I am entirely against dumping kids into herds to be raised by strangers, or even to be individually raised by strangers. These women are talking on their cell phones - which probably also have internet access, so who knows what else your child is being exposed to while you're not looking. This is the reality. Pretending having someone besides the mother and a frum helper to take care of the kids is just fine is a fantasy.

Tamiri said...

Many Orthodox children are being raised under bizarre circumstances these days. Whether it's the pressure of school tuitions or the "gotta have it" mind-set of the parents, or the me-mes (mom comes first and only), something very odd is going on in many families and it does not bode well for the future. The park incident (children being minded by a non Jew on a major chag, and not being taught about shul) is just indicative of a larger problem. If this bothers you, start with chinuch at home and teach your children what's right, what proved itself for generations, even if it's old-fashioned. You can't fix the rest.

Anonymous said...

As a slightly different voice here, I have to say that at least in my neck of the woods it is a huge luxury to be able to have one spouse stay home, even if there are no children to support. But for a couple with children? It's simply not a financial possibility to be a stay-at-home parent. And I don't mean if you want to live in a mansion, I mean just to make your rent.

Ahavah B. said...

Anonymous 5:08

It is entirely possible - you just have to decide what your priorities are - if you choose second cars, multiple cells phones, expensive simchas, etc., then no, it can't be done. We have been doing fine with one car, one cell phone, and simple celebrations for over 20 years now. Once the kids are all in school, you can work part time during school hours, or work from home - many women do it. But don't say it can't be done because I and many others have proved that it can be - and are still proving it every day.

SephardiLady said...

Anon 5:08PM. I feel extremely fortunate to be a homemaker. I understand some people have to work. But other women only break even and a handful even loose money.

I have helped friends do an analysis of the income of the second earner and if the differential is low, it is best to find a working schedule that coordinates with your husbands so a parent can always be home, or IF possible freelance from home (which I do here and there).

Here is a blog post that looks at the second wage earner's income:

twinsmommy said...

I postponed having kids until I knew I'd be home full time. Now I work from home fewer hours than my husband and make more than he does. Do I regret postponing starting a family? Not really, because if I had gotten pregnant when I just WANTED to, and not when I was truly ready, I wouldn't have the kids I have. HaShem had a big say too--- when WE decided we were ready (2002), He STILL didn't get us pregnant until 4 years later (2006) after in vitro.

So we could have started a family years ago when we were both working outside the home and living in Los Angeles where nobody can afford to breathe. But someone else would have raised our children while we both worked, and we wouldn't have the family we do now.

Tamiri said...

Anonymous 5:08 it can be done. You don't have to live in the greater NY/NJ metro area or LA. I did it for 13 years in the States. If the price of living in a specific area is so high that it's affecting your neshama (all work and no play) it's time for a move. No?

Ora said...

Everyone's saying "it can be done" to making it on one salary. You need to remember, it really depends what salary! Not everyone's husband is a professional. I have been extremely blessed in that I'm able to work from home while my husband is home, so while we miss some time together :( at least I can be with my baby girl :). But I have full sympathy and understanding for those who need to work outside of the home, not because they want two cars or expensive weddings or whatever else some people assume everyone's spending their money on, but because their husband is a teacher/social worker/ plumber and they just can't make it without at least a small second salary.

Anonymous 10:10--There's a time and a place to teach multiculturalism. While it's important for kids to know a bit about the non-Jewish world, that doesn't mean they need to be raised by a non-Jew! even if it's only part-time. Jewish children need Jewish mothers.

In general, though, I can understand the mothers who hire these babysitters for Yom Tov, although I disagree with their choices. I don't like that everyone's condemning them for being "selfish" or the like--they're in shul, not on the tennis court, so I doubt they're hiring a babysitter for their own personal hedonistic pleasure. My guess is there's some kind of warped communal values, where women assume that their presence in shul is more important (halachically or socially) than their time with the kids. That's probably not an idea they invented themselves, it's part of the general problem in American Jewish society.

If this is just a Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur thing, then I can definitely understand them because, IMO, it's not always obvious that child care is more important than shul time. The choice for many is: be in shul on Rosh Hashana and enjoy amazing and uplifting prayers (on one of the 2/3 days a year you'll make it to shul) or else stay home and feel as if it's just any other day. It's hard to feel there's some kind of educational value to staying home when your kids are still too young to really listen and learn about the chag. At which point you start thinking, what's wrong with a single day of babysitting? Not even a full day, just three or four hours? To be honest, if I had a Jewish or non-Jewish family member around for the day, I would probably leave my baby with them for an hour or two and try to make it to at least one service. After all, I would let the same family member play with the baby in my presence, and I trust them, so why not let them play with her while I'm just down the block at shul?

Hila said...

As the baby-sitter, I have to say that I have had nothing but great experiences with families. And I've baby-sat for Shabbat AND Yom Tov before.

Just to clarify, I am not Jewish, but I am in the process of converting (out of my own desires, not because I "need"to because I want to marry a Jewish boy). Anyway, I am somewhat religiously observant (it's complicated--see my blog if you want to know more) but I try my best to learn more each day and grow in my Yiddishkeit just like every other Ba'al Teshuva and convert out there.

I guess my point is that while I'm not "technically" Jewish, I am much more observant than a lot of my born-Jewish friends who are Jews mostly in culture but not so much in faith. Thus, the rabbi of my shul probably has more faith in the fact that I will not do anything to disrupt his children's learning of Shabbat/Yom Tov observance because I am also learning the way to do so.

Maybe that's what these frum parents should do....Or, not ;-)

Gmar chatima tovah

Mo'ah Kemo Efro'ah said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mo'ah Kemo Efro'ah said...


"You don't have to live in the greater NY/NJ metro area or LA."

you don't have to, but there are often compelling reasons to do so. leaving NY might (and i stress might) mean lower costs of living, but you often have to sacrifice in other areas.

Mo'ah Kemo Efro'ah said...


It is entirely possible - you just have to decide what your priorities are . . ."

i am curious as to what your situation is. e.g., what does your husband do and how much does he make?

for many people i know, it is not possible to live on the $ that the husband brings home. and they are not living extravagant lives.

among my friends, when wives don't work it is only because they have multiple young children at home and it is not worth it to work because of the cost of day care.

"if you choose second cars, multiple cells phones, expensive simchas, etc."

i agree with you to a certain extent that many jewish families could do on much less (especially when it comes to house size and simchas) rather than complain about tuition, etc. but second cars and cell phones are often necessities.

maybe you live right across the street from the pediatrician, grocery, library, etc., or you have parents that can chauffeur you around and you kids around. others don't and need that second car.

regarding cell phone, i can tell you that that when i didn't have a cell phone for a short while i spent more on quarters for the pay phone. (of course no one says you have to get the fanciest cell phone. personally i take whatever they offer for free plus i get a cash kickback.)

just because something is a new development does not mean it is unnecessary. you could also save on your water tax bill by using an outhouse and have your dentist reduce the bill for a root canal by forgoing the anesthesia. personally i don't recommend you try either out.

queeniesmom said...

Mo'ah you're correct in your statement re: working mothers. I work because I must, my salary is constant and comes with health care for all of us. Husband is once again unemployed. Moving is not an option, so yes I'm stuck working and doing the best I can. Believe me, we don't live an extravaggent lifestyle; we have 1 car, 2 cellphones and haven't taken a vacation in years.

anonymous mom said...

Let us resolve this new year to take a moment to just look at the women we know who are staying home either full or part time and are not well-off. How are they doing it? I will volunteer examples from the women I know including myself.

a. work part time, spend double the amount on babysitting by hiring a Jewish woman to come to your home and babysit.

b. work part time, send young children to a frum woman who is at home babysitting her own kids. IMPORTANT: avoid "cattle care" at all costs (6 or more kids of all ages including infants being dumped at the home of one harried woman)

c. work at your children's schools so you can get tuition breaks

d. stay at home, use limited government assistance

e. live out of town where standard of living is much lower (this does require planning ahead with your spouse, but should not be so easily shunned--sometimes all you need to do is move a half hour to an hour more away from the city to get a better deal on a house.

All of the above options are much more doable if the couple goes into the marriage with the goal of the woman staying at home with children. This is no longer happening. If the husband gets a secular education, it is more doable even though many delude themselves into thinking that they need two full-time incomes, the most that is really necessary if the husband is a professional is a part time income for the woman. And, if that is necessary, it is possible to hire a Jewish woman to babysit. It will probably mean that she will not clean your home and that you will be paying more for the service, but women are doing this.

Bottom line: Are young women in the dating scene (either Yeshivish or MO) actively planning ways to stay home with their kids and presenting that priority to their future husbands? Are newly-marrieds doing so? Are we looking around and seeking options, new perspectives, ways to make this work? Be honest. Most mothers are not. They have been brainwashed into their current attitudes on mothering and they do not understand the negative ramifications for their children.

New Year/ New Perspective. Let's educate our daughters at least. Shana Tova.

Halfnutcase said...

I would like to marry someone who is both educated (religiously and secularly( and wants to stay at home.

but g-d forbid I should force her. from what I understand for a woman to stay at home means that she has to trust her husband very much to be honest with her and value her contribution, because along with his control of finances, he has alot of power.

then on, my father always told us that in such a case, tatti brings home the pay check and gives it to mommi, who handles things and gives him back his allowence.

and besides, if I understand correctly it is also alot easier to be a stay at home mom if you forgo lots of ready made things, and do stuff like only by basic supplies and make everything, from cookies to ice cream.

Which of course tastes better and is way healthier, but also takes alot of time, although it gives sons and daughters and husbands lots of bonding time helping in the kitchen.

anonymous mom said...

Let's clarify. No one should be forcing anyone to do anything. But our daughters need to learn that this is an important priority and our sons need to be told to support that. If one is already in the dating game, then it would be nice if one was already clear with potential mates about this issue before marriage and it would be nice if the girls who actually value this already would be directed toward those potential mates who can support them while being Kovea Itim L'Torah. Some financial counseling and workshops on this in both the Yeshivish and MO seminaries is in order. It is revolutionary in both worlds, but it is absolutely fair and square that it happen. Let's at least put this on the table for our girls, folks.

anonymous mom said...

I think the focus should be an economic one. The workshops should be geared specifically to practical ideas and practical examples of how it is done in the real world. Ideally, it should be a town hall style meeting with mothers who are balancing this act talking about their own experiences openly. Women with a background in accounting or finance could present some numbers and different scenarios. People could discuss different occupation choices and what they mean in dollars and sense. What are the bills like before kids? After the first? With apartment rent? An average mortgage? How much is a down payment on your average house? In different communities? How much does child care actually cost? Health care? How do people make wise choices in purchasing food, clothes, running a home? They used to teach teenage girls home ec. It's pretty passe, but basic money management, why not? Even if a young woman wants to work full time and does not want to be "brainwashed" to stay home (which is a problem in my book, but I'm living in 2007 not never never land) then what would the harm be in just teaching the money facts of life to her as well? We are so dodging our responsibilities on this issue.

moah kemo efroah said...


"Believe me, we don't live an extravaggent lifestyle"

i believe it.

Anonymous Mom:

i have issues with most of your suggestions, but especially,

"d. stay at home, use limited government assistance"

are you kidding? you are advocating ab initio to become an anshe mofes? this is one of the things we need to fix in the jewish community, not to encourage it ab initio!

miriamp said...

Well, I won't say I never need help, but on a regular basis, I manage just fine. And personally, yes, I'd rather stay home with my kids (and will on YK) then hand my kids over to someone else, especially a non-YomTov environment, so that I can daven in shul. I'm blessed that I am able to take them to shul on most Yom Tovs without them being disruptive to anyone's davening other than (possibly) mine.

Just an fyi about cell phones: there are cheaper options than monthly plans, especially if you only have a cell phone to avoid having to find a pay phone. I need a cell phone because when I'm out with the kids (and kol v'chomer in the late stages of pregnancy) if anything happened, or even if I just got lost and wanted to call my husband to explain to me where to go (I have actually done this several times) I needed to not have to search down a pay phone and hunt for change. I barely use it, so a monthly plan was just throwing money out the window. Especially since we had two phones and were trying to share minutes we still didn't use up, at a cost of $70/month. So as soon as the contract expired, we switched to a to-go plan that didn't have any extra charges for daily usage, just a per-minute charge. (Some of them do have a daily charge also, making it cost as much as or more than a monthly plan anyway, but with fewer minutes.)

So to keep a phone number active, I have to buy at least 30 minutes every 90 days, at about $10 each time, or spend $100 once a year, and that gets me 1000 minutes for the year. If I use them up, I buy more, if I don't, then it's only that $40-100 per YEAR! So some minutes might expire without being used -- we had that problem with the monthly plans anyway. My husband uses slightly more minutes than I do, since he calls into meetings on his commute sometimes. He uses those 1000 minutes up in about 9-10mo instead of a full year. We're still saving about $600/yr on two cell phones by not having a monthly plan.

There might be other ways to cut corners and not give up our "necessary luxuries," ways that no one ever thinks of.

anonymous mom said...

Moah, please watch your Kanaus. My mom was a single mother who did her very best to support our family with no help from my dad. She made the choice to accept public assistance so she could remain at home with me during the first three years of my life and she never regretted it. She did not lie, cheat or steal. She merely told the truth about her income and financial responsibilities. We lived simply and I remember--even at that young age--standing in line with her in the "room with the squares on the floor" (the welfare office). My wonderful, inspiring close friend is a mother of 9, K"AH, and wanted to have a large family and stay home. Her husband worked and still does work like a dog to support them as best he could, but he never went to college and married young so he does his best. In the last few years now that her youngest are in school, she has gone back to college, earned a degree in a desirable field and works part time. Those years of public assistance were earned and she is not ashamed of it. Personally, I think that educating our sons and sending them to the dignified and Torah-ordained task of working to support their families is preferable to the public assistance route, but we do need to be a bit more open minded about this and about the entire concept of the value of moms at home. This is really politically incorrect territory in the Yeshivish and MO world and it is well worth the storm of resistance that you and others put up.

Ahavah B. said...


If you must know, my husband is 57 years old, never went to college. He got his current job at age 21 and has worked there ever since, so including "seniority" he brings home $1484.23 in take-home pay. We have four natural born children and one legal ward, and will soon have a daughter-in-law. When I need the car, I get up and take him to work - and that meant in the old days that if the kids had to go too, then so be it. Right now I don't even have a cellphone, because I accidentally left it in a pocket and it went through the washing machine (a senior moment, I guess) - but we still have to pay for the plan anyway. It will take me 1 more month to save up for a new battery (the phone itself seems to be ok, B"H). We put $25 per paycheck into savings for the holidays all year round. We have always taken full advantage of free museums, libraries, parks, swap-meets, etc. I taught myself to fix ordinary plumbing leaks, switches, outlets, replace light fixtures, and even to lay tile from library books. I have a sewing machine (it's over 25 years old) and I repair torn clothing, and have even in the past sewed clothes from scratch. And I cook just about everything from scratch - packaged foods are not cheaper. We make a menu for breakfast lunch and dinner every two weeks and I buy just what I need and little else. I don't buy toxic petro-chemical commercial cleaners - there are literally dozens of inexpensive home solutions and you can find them on the web easily. (And my kids are less sick than their friends, too. Those "anti-bacterial" products just make the germs stronger, they don't help you at all.) I always donate outgrown clothes to the clothing bank. I buy all my books and music used - locally or even from I grow my own herbs in pots on a windowsill - it's way cheaper than buying them. We have desserts only on shabbat and other special occasions - it's much healthier, too. We don't buy junk for between meal snacks - if anyone is truly starving they can have some fruit or cheese. I don't wear nail polish or perfume, I only use some powder and mascara for make-up, and years back I bought a set of clippers so I could buzz the boy's hair myself. We use the printer only sparingly and I always have the cartridges refilled until they are so old they can't be. And no, we don't look like we are dirt poor, either. We appear completely normal. It's simply a matter of being a good steward of the resources you have - and when you do have to use a credit card for a "big ticket" item, you re-do the budget to get it paid off as soon as possible, more than the minimum payments, even if that means a whole lot of mac&cheese in the meantime or tons of babysitting or typing. I don't know what all else you want to know - I'm sure you already know about coupons and sales and calling all over town to find the best prices on everything. You just have to keep your eyes open - and think outside the box. But most of all, you have to be willing to say "no" to things that are too overblown and be willing to settle for a simple life. If you have a specific question, you can always email me privately, and I'll do my best to help you think of a solution.

Ahavah B. said...

PS - that was bi-weekly net pay. He receives 26 paychecks for year, and we put the "extra" two into savings or pay off any credit cards loans with them.

Halfnutcase said...

ladies, you really don't have to out do each other. Please!

noone has to play that "i've suffered more card".

Anonymous said...

I *want* to have a large family too. But I won't because I can't afford it. I'm really NOT so open minded about public assistance. Chas V'Shalom my husband dies and I'm suddenly the only income with no warning, then yes I can understand needing some temporary help. But going into child rearing having child after child KNOWING that your only option WILL be public assistance? I don't understand that.

Anonymous said...

I work, and my husband has been out of work for 10 months. On Rosh Hashana, we went to my inlaws. Their shul doesn't allow children under the age of 6 in the sanctuary during davening. So he davened and I heard shofar during lunch. Yom Kippur is my favorite holiday. I find Kol Nidre incredibly spiritual. I also find childrearing spiritual, but in a different way. Despite what you may believe, women do have an obligation to daven. I find I cannot concentrate while I am trying to rustle up my kids. So this year we have a babysitter for Kol Nidre. Last year I was pregnant so I couldn't run around after my older child and I had a babysitter for part of the day so I could nap. I don't regret it.
I believe women have an obligation to rear their children, but davening b'tzibur and childrearing are not mutually exclusive. The babysitter doesn't have to be there all day and the babysitter can be told not to engage the kids in not yontif-dik activities.

queeniesmom said...

Kol Hakavod to everyone on the choices that they have made; the reality is that economics dictates the choices that many of us make. When i say economics, please understand that in many cases we're talking about food, shelter and the other basics.

We've come full circle and until the tuition issue is dealt with, many women have no choice but to work. You can live as frugally as you want but it is still almost impossible to live on one salary when you are paying tuitions that start at $10,000 for elem. school and are around $16 -$20,000 for HS.(moving is not an option, so we're stuck with these tuitions.i don't set them, only attempt to pay them.)

Mo'ah - sorry, i didn't mean to imply that you thought we were being extravagent. That's what I get for trying to blog at work.

Gov't assistance is there for those who need it because of very unfortunate circumstances. i have a real problem with the fact that i'm working all hours to support those who have made life style choices. Why should this be ok for one group and not ok for another? Racism , bigotry? Please look closely at what some of you are advocating and ask yourself, would this be ok for all races or only "ours"?

Wishing all a very easy fast. Gmar hatimim Tovim

Anonymous said...

many women have no choice but to work? what about the choice to get a heter for birth control if you won't be able to feed your children without dropping them in daycare?

anonymous mom said...

"Gov't assistance is there for those who need it because of very unfortunate circumstances. i have a real problem with the fact that i'm working all hours to support those who have made life style choices. Why should this be ok for one group and not ok for another? Racism , bigotry? Please look closely at what some of you are advocating and ask yourself, would this be ok for all races or only ours"

I am a MO registered Republican. I have friends of all stripes, including non-Jews, but I will say that my closest friends are Orthodox Jews. This is too funny. You guys sure live in a black and white world (pardon the pun). I don't care who needs it. I'm ok with people getting temporary assistance or limited long term assistance like WIC which is what my friend was getting. I'm OK with my Orthodox mother of 9 friend getting this assistance and my black neighbors getting this assistance. I couldn't care less who gets help as long as it falls within certain parameters, as long as it is temporary, and as long as the people getting it are not lying, cheating and stealing. And--guess what? I don't like it when Orthodox people lie, cheat, and steal from the government. I couldn't care less if they are "family." Now, my husband is with you guys. Staunch conservative Republican. Very against government assistance. We try not to discuss politics. He's satisfied that he slowly infiltrated my brain and got me to admit that I'm really a Republican at heart even with my "warped" views on public assistance and the death penalty. Now, all that said. Public assistance is not the only way to go as I mentioned. I'm well aware of the cost of living as a frum Jew. I get that many people need two incomes to survive. I also have too many friends from all circles who made the choice to stay home and made it work without public assistance. They did. And no one asks them about it. No one talks about how to make it work. They just do a lot of whining about why it doesn't work. Some like me had to work part time. I know of many, many women who do not employ non-Jews to care for their children. I truly think that I can make the blanket statement that that option should be completely off the table. As an educator and student of psychology, I find it difficult to ignore the research on the critical years of 0 to 3. It is really beneficial for the primary caretaker, the person spending the most time with the child to converse with that child (even the infants) and interact with that child in a very physical and emotional way. As Frum Jews, we understand that we have an even greater responsibility to also instill a love of Mitzot and Judaism. That can be done in very young children. So I think that it is pretty clear cut that a person who is not of our faith (even if she is a kind, wonderful person) is not the appropriate choice. A person who does not speak the child's language is also not an appropriate choice and most nannies do not speak English fluently. The person who has the most investment in your child is you, your husband, your parents. Those are the ideal people to care for your child. Beyond that it should at least be someone who shares your basic values. Whenever a blogger touches on this subject, I can't just let it go. And I won't concede and I won't give up. Partly because I know it works and partly because I teach your children and I see the difference between those with stay at home moms and those without. And please spare me the speeches about the stay at home moms who are lousy moms. We know that they exist. I'm just calling it like I see it. After 20 years in education, I am seeing more and more kids in therapies and more and more kids needing regular tutoring. I see a lot of disconnected families. The nanny thing, the day care thing just annoys me to death. And the silent heroines are all there at PTA conferences too. Those women who are working hard to make it, to stay with their kids, to be home when they get home from school, to work only part time. They are there. Don't pretend it's impossible.

Anonymous said...

"d. stay at home, use limited government assistance"

Healthy People who consider taking goverment assistance reasonable to indulge their lifestyle choice, be it have many kids or drink and drug or what have you are committing a crime and doing a chilul hashem.

anonymous mom said...

"to indulge their lifestyle choice, be it have many kids or drink and drug or what have you are committing a crime and doing a chilul hashem"

For some people--people better than I--the idea of a large family is not an option. The ones I know with 6, 7, 8, 9 kids all used birth control to space their children. They married young and wanted to continue to have kids. The one that chose partial public assistance is not a Chillul Hashem. She is actually the most humble, sweet, righteous, down to earth woman you could ever meet. And she's no dummy either. The others didn't use public assistance, but rather lived their lives similar to Ahavah B. Yasher Koach to her. Oh and the one on public assistance lived exactly the same way. Made everything from scratch, bought everything on sale, bought clothes from the second hand store. And her kids always looked good. You know, do what you want about the public assistance issue. But the child care issue is a non-negotiable. And please, for G-d's sake, do not compare those who opt to have 9 super kids over 25 years of marriage to drug abusers. It isn't a crime when your income is below a certain level to get discounted milk and cheese for your kids. Do you know anything about this?

anonymous mom said...

My wish for all is primarily good health and with regards to this issue--an open minded perspective change. Someone above said to think outside the box. That's all this is really about. Feminism and current Chareidi cultural norms have conspired together to confuse the masses into thinking that mothering can be done in small doses and that infants and small children can get their needs met from just about anyone. This is just what it sounds like. A conspiracy of lies.

Mo'ah Kemo Efro'ah said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mo'ah Kemo Efro'ah said...


"I grow my own herbs in pots on a windowsill"

so you get by on 39k a year because you supplement your income by growing "herbs"?

but seriously, thanks thanks for clarifying with some details. but a family of 6.5 on 39k a year? god bless you. i have no idea how you do it. i'm not even sure where to start. even with skimping on the other things you mentioned, i just don't get it. those are just the small change items. but do you rent a basement apt.? how did you pay tuition at a decent yeshivah?

"We use the printer only sparingly . . ."

unless it is an assignment for school or something work-related, i use the economy print mode on recycled paper. and i NEVER print in color.

re. the cell phone . . . i lost 2 cell phone this past year and replaced them with "teaneck shuls." one i got for free and the other for a nominal price. you should try it. or craig's list. or ebay. (for more on this, please see my post at

re. some of the examples you give to save $ . . . some of these examples are very time consuming. there is a point where it is better to just pay for the service. of course everyone has to determine what their cutoff point. as i mentioned in a comment on an earlier Orthonomics post, we waste $ on using paper plates, plastic cutlery, foil pans, etc. because it is literally not worth my time to do the dishes when i get home so late at night. so you mention:

"And I cook just about everything from scratch"

so do i, although not for economic reasons. i try to stay away as much as possible from processed foods. but anyway, i waste a lot of time doing this; dollar per minute, it would make more sense to just put some frozen stuff in the microwave.

or "calling all over town to find the best prices on everything"

my wife believes in this. but it is really not worth it to travel across town to save ten bucks.

Mo'ah Kemo Efro'ah said...

ANON 7:13

"Moah, please watch your Kanaus. My mom was a single mother . . ."

you either misunderstood me or you simply did not read what i wrote. i said nothing about needy individuals (like your mother) who due to unusual circumstances find themselves in dire circumstances.

i was simply responding to an irresponsible suggestion that couples begin their lives on the assumption they will live off the government.

you consider this kanaus? i consider the original suggestion to be kanaus. i AND my wife work hard for our money to support ourselves, not to support someone else who ELECTS not to work. plain and simple.

". . . I am seeing more and more kids in therapies and more and more kids needing regular tutoring."

unless you can cite some lit on this, i think this is correlation, not causation. there are other explanations besides nannies.

Mo'ah Kemo Efro'ah said...


"If you must know . . ."

i did not mean to pry. i just wanted to understand your situation. if your real identity is known to other bloggers, you should probably delete that comment (or at least the specific numbers).

Anonymous said...

"The ones I know with 6, 7, 8, 9 kids all used birth control to space their children. They married young and wanted to continue to have kids."

I want to continue to have kids too. But I'm going to stop before I'll need to depend on others to meet my kids' basic needs.

Birth control is not just to space your children. Sometimes it can be to STOP the breeding.

And yes, I have children--- just enough that my husband and I can support them fully.

--wants more children anon

Tamiri said...

Tachlis: I think that the investment needs to be made early on, to hopefully ensure a nice income for one spouse (hopefully the father so Mom can stay home if she wishes). This means that even if you get married young, you start your education NOW, not start buying a home and furnishing it. No fancy shoes and shietels. No expensive meals out. It means living frugally. It means saving as much as you can while getting the best education possible. And if it means putting off kids for a bit or spacing them, so be it.
I write from experience. Married in Israel at 21 and parents at 22, my DH never lost focus on his education (he was still in the army when we married, no 18 year old going to college here, he started 1/2 year after our marriage). No one bought us an apartment here, we rented. FIL subsidized the miniscule rent. We had to save to buy a small fan and after three years got a clunker of a car which barely drove... you had to start it with a push. We did not feel sorry for ourselves. I did work at that time, but there was just one child. DH kept going, acquiring his BA and 2 MAs. We had a low standard of living for the first 11 years of our marriage: another clunker, another home rental, never new furniture, always bargain shopping including second hand clothes stores. We got minimal assistance from his family which we diligently tried to save, not use to better our lifestyle. We applied for heating assistance while we were in the States, but drew the line at WIC.
His first job offer after school was for around $50k in 1993 in the greater NY area. We felt we could not live off that and pay tuitions in that area, and let the offer go. A while later, 1994, we got a similar offer for the southwest, where that sum worked for us. I don't recommend moving there for any amount. Three years later in 1997 he was offered close to $90 for the Midwest. We rented there, not bought and lived okay, albeit with tuition assistance. When he was offered 120K in the greater NY area we took it, only to find we couldn't make ends meet. He got another job at $135K and that was his final salary up to the time we left the States in 2003.
At 135K we were "working poor" in the Orthodox Jewish community. We had no help in the home, no summer programs, one older car (paid off over 5 years) and we bought an old falling-apart home with 20% down leaving us with a $2500 monthly payment. We refinanced to put on a new roof, but never spent anything on the house: no curtains, new carpets, new bathrooms etc. Nada. We lived with what was there and shoveled the sidewalks ourselves (hard, corner lot) and mowed and raked that yard year after year until we left. By 2003 we realized that we were no longer viable there on 135K.
Our most important move was to NEVER buy anything on credit. What we could afford, we acquired, what we couldn't - we didn't And this on a very respectable salary.
So I understand people needing two salaries, "bedievad". Today I understand that around $200K can be the level of qualifying for tuition assistance....
How about planning a bit so that it can be done? How about moving to less expensive places if you see the salary doesn't make it in your area? There are great communities out there and life is so much better and less stressful.
Plan in advance. Talk to your children. Have them map out a life plan. Teach them that a kalla and chatan don't NEED all new stuff and fancy sheets and jewelery and clothes and head coverings and a van the second you are pregnant with #2. Teach them that there is quality of life outside an expensive area. Teach them they can rent and save on home maintenance. Teach them teach them teach them and don't feel bad that others "have more". The time to start is NOW so they don't end up richy and **tchy with little thought to how their actions affect your grandchildren.
BTW - to this day, every expense is noted on our Quicken program. We have 5 children, 2 in University this year and one in Yeshiva HS. 3rd grader doesn't cost, Baby who is 3 stays home with mom and BTW saves 800 shekels/month (around $200) by being out of preschool. The University boys are paying for their education on their own (one gets it from the government as an Oleh Chadash, the other attends the Kollel in Bar Ilan for 16 hours/week and thus earns free tuition - what a bargain!)
Sorry for rambling but the hand wringing gets me. I know it all can be done because I lived it.
Gmar Chatima Tova

mother in israel said...


"re. some of the examples you give to save $ . . . some of these examples are very time consuming."

Yes, they are, but a two-career family is the most time-consuming and pressurized thing there is, especially if you have a few kids. The extra time I take to cook from scratch is done on my own time, not my boss's. With experience you can cut time cooking, dish-washing, and shopping to a minimum. Put the dishes in a tub of soapy water after dinner, wipe and rinse after ten minutes. If you get a bargain across town, wait until you need to go in that direction anyway and stock up for a month or two. Maybe I would earn more by working outside the house than I save by cooking from scratch, but while I cook I am available for my kids. Sounds like a bargain to me.

Tamiri said...

Dear SM: Do you think you could put up a post on "how to save money so you can possibly work outside the house". Things that are Orthodox Jewish specific, which can be put to actual use in families who are interested in having extra money? Or spending less of what they don't have? I am seeing that people have shifted the "must have" standards and are willing to work to pay for things that are really quite simple to do on your own. I love reading Ahava B's post on what they do to be frugel: these things should be pretty standard in most families. Imagine the savings!!!
Gmar Chatima Tova

queeniesmom said...


You hit the nail on the head when you spoke of salary, at $135 you were the working poor in the metro area. There are many families who with both parents working don't earn that much. Economics is the issue. As one presidential candidate said "It's the economy..."

Both parents need a good education. Both should understand how to save and everyone needs to be more realistic as to what is "necessary". Some reality checking is needed, not ranting at mothers who work.

As an educator and a mental health professional, working mothers DO NOT cause the host of problems that were attributed to them. There are many reasons. If anyone is truly interested in the hows and why, read Rabbi Horowitz's columns. they are truly insightful and filled with many wonderful suggestions. (SL has a link on this blog to his columns.)

Tamiri said...

You guys are lucky I can be honest with numbers since there is no gaavah/shame involved anymore because we don't live there.
It's funny, 135K doesn't FEEL poor but insanely enough... it is!!!
That's when you know the mishegass has hit the roof and it's time to move on. If you can't even earn THAT much (or little?) then why bother trying... move on to another system, this one is not for you!!!!

SephardiLady said...


Thanks to all the commentators. Excuse my absence while I nurse a small cold Eruv Kippur. But I will be back.

An easy fast to everyone (especially me).

Tamiri said...

There was an article over the weekend in the Hebrew paper Yediot about a new Yeshivish community in Waterbury, CT. There is affordable housing and many Jewish ammenities. Has anyone on a budget (Yeshivish, of course) checked it out???

Mo'ah Kemo Efro'ah said...

conincdentally, on the way home tonight from my mom (where we went for yom kippur), my wife mentioned that she had a very bad yom kippur because she spent too much time running after our son instead of davening.


hope you feel better and had an easy fast

i also had a cold on friday and was worried about the fast. but it mostly subsided by the morning and the fast was easy.

Tamiri said...

I had a great Yom Kippur because I stayed home with my almost 3 year old and did not have to worry about him getting hurt or worse outside the shul and I did not have to worry about running after him in the heat (not good for fasting mom). Is my YK less meaningful? Am I less spiritual? Should I have chucked him over to a babysitter?
I did get to Kol Nidrei with him, which is where I realized that it's sakanat nefashot for me to be in shul and him outside even with tons of other kids.
I don't feel bad at all, this is how I was brought up: mom stays home with the kids and if need be runs to shul for Yizkor then comes back. No harm done.

aononymous mom said...

First of all, Gmar Tov to all. I wish everyone first and foremost health for them and their families. In my passion for honesty, I included one option in my list of how women I know are making the stay-at-home option work or the work part time and employ a Jewish babysitter . That caused some responses that took away from my overall message which is really important for this new year. Most of these women are not on public assistance. Most are doing this and managing either by employing methods as described by Tamiri and Ahava B. above. The focus must be on the practical, the Tachlis as Tamiri mentioned. No more comments about how it's almost impossible for most. Rather, HOW CAN IT BE DONE? How are women doing it? Because they are every day. And how can we get the word out--with emphasis on economics/finances to our daughters and sons in seminaries and Yeshivas? Who is talking to them about credit card debt, about car ownership over car leasing (we are one of the only couples we know who have never leased a car), saving for a down payment on a home, ways to save money on utility bills, clothing, advance planning for having a parent at home with children from 0 to 3 or more. I know this is really the parents' domain, but today more so in the Yeshivish world-- many parents are ceding a lot of contol to the Yeshivos and Seminaries. If that's their choice, why not support initiatives like this in those places? In the MO world, these workshops could be set up as well. It's a different challenge in that world, but again, it's doable. Consumer ed and money management are worthwhile pursuits. The secular magazines are full of money advice, but usually for those who are already steeped in debt. Why not emphasize preventative strategies?

anonymous mom said...

Some great examples of Tachlis:
Check out the following link on how to turn your stay at home mom fantasy into a reality including very specific strategies for saving money:

Also see:

And an interesting article from USA today about recent efforts by lawmakers to make it more financially doable for women to stay at home:

By the way, there is a nice blog for Christian stay at home moms called CSAHM with great suggestions. That said, we Orthodox Jews, should try something similar. We need to catch up.

BTW, for the research-minded on years 0 to 3, you can use the internet or your local library. The literature is teaming with information about this stage of life and the positive effects of stay at home mothering or at least part time mothering. Also, check out the link between childhood obesity and those critical first years.

OK. I'm done for now. Until someone starts that well-needed blog.

SephardiLady said...

Anon Mom-I am planning to write as much as I can about staying at home. I WELCOME any guests posts on the subject here on how any homemakers made it happen.

I've wrote a number of budgeting and money saving tips posts in the past. The most important piece of information you need to know is how much you will be left with after taxes and childcare and additional expenses. Once you know this number (and it might not be high) you will be able to form potential solutions).

anonymous mom said...

great. thanks. i will catch up on your tips.

Ahavah B. said...

I wanted to elaborate a bit on the idea of "swap meets." You can have swap meets for "stuff" but you can also have them for "time" and especially for "skills." If you need something done around the house, for example, that you have no idea how to do, or need a consultation on some financial, legal, medical, or whatever problem some professional can do, then a swap meet is perfect - you offer to do whatever you can do: typing, laundry, transcription, cooking/baking, flower arranging, painting, or whatever, anything, and they offer a checkup or an hour or whatever from their profession and you swap. You get what you need without paying cash - sort of a barter system. If your community does not have a swap club, then you should form one.

Ahavah B. said...

Sephardi lady - we did just that years ago, and it turned out that by the time the need for a second car (and gas and especially insurance) and more "professional" clothes for me and after school care and all that, it just wasn't worth it. What I "netted" from a regular secretarial job would have been negligible - if anything. You have to be especially careful not to accidentally bump yourself into a higher tax bracket. I don't recall exactly what the figure was, but we laughed when we saw it. There's a book out there called "the two income trap" and amazon has used copies available for about $5.00 the last time I checked for someone. It's a good book - and there are some workbooks out there to help people who need help budgeting and organizing. I have a spreadsheet that has every single monthly expense on it, how much is budget for various things we're saving for, which I have divided up as "first paycheck" and "second paycheck" amounts. When I pay bills, I go right down the checklist - nothing forgotten, and if a bill doesn't show up you know it right away. Unfortunately, we do have a couple of credit accounts, but I am following the budget diligently to pay them off in a timely manner. (Nobody is going to "swap" a refridgerator - LOL) Our budget is almost literally down to the penny - the "unallotted" money is seriously less than $10.00 per paycheck - enough for some candy "treats" for the kids and that's it. My husband's "spending" money is only $30.00 per paycheck right now because of the credit accounts we're paying off - and if an unexpected expense comes up we either have to 1) reduce the credit account payments to the minimum that month, 2) take it out of the grocery money, 3) raid the savings for the holidays, 4) use credit. [or some combination of these] I have also told my oldest son that he needs to get at least a part time job and start contributing some. The kids have been involved in the budgeting process ever since they were big enough to start asking about buying things - they get it, and I think that is the most important thing that we have done. They understand there are trade-offs and that things usually can't happen immediately.

Tamiri said...

Ahava, it all sounds GOOD!!! Do your kids complain that others are so much luckier than they are and aren't on a budget blah blah blah?

One great idea I participated in years ago: babysitting co op. You got adult sitters, your freinds, to watch your children and each hour was worth a certain amount of points (certain times were worth more points than others). You used your earned points for getting a sitter for yourself and earned them by sitting. It worked well until the kids started growing up.

Anonymous said...

I don't see what a non-jew's cell phone has to do with anything. Do the kids not see/hear non-Jews driving cars, honking horns etc?

SephardiLady said...

Anon-The non-Jewish Nanny is the charge of a Jewish child. The caretaker's position must entail basic respect for the day. Would you allow a non-Jewish friend or neighbor to turn on the TV in your home on Yom Tov? I wouldn't. But, it doesn't bother me that my non-Jewish neighbor gets in her car on Shabbat while we head to the shul.