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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

A Three Pronged Approach to Desperate

This post is related to the last post.  What does one do when they are desperate for money/income?  This is just the latest post asking for advice on imamother: expenses exceed income, husband can't sleep as he is burdened with worry, wife has  to working because she doesn't want to "kill herself".  After all, where do you find the perfect job that fits right into one's schedule?

Here is where I like to say, "let's start at the very beginning."  The beginning is not at all where any of the imamother posters started, although to be fair they were addressing ideas for income, not an approach to desperation.

First some notes:

*This approach is a healthy approach not just to current desperation, but to other financial hits from unexpected health issues to necessary big ticket purchases that drain resources you'd rather have on hand.

*While I believe that too much work and too little time with family is not great for family life, when the financial situation spins out of control as evidence by tremendous worry that impacts on mental health (and likely the physical health) of one spouse, concerns about neglecting the house, the kids, and oneself are misplaced.  Financial damage is real damage and impacts the home in a very real way.  Barring extreme circumstances, I think that putting the financial house back in order will ultimately strengthen the household, even where it is weakened in the short term.

*A team approach is a healthy approach.  I noticed that this post and similar posts have an "I" approach not a "we" approach which points to a deeper issue.  Since the impact is on the whole, all hands should be on deck to stay above water and hopefully steer the ship to dry land.

Step 1:  Free up money now.  Generating more income is certainly important, but when you are sinking, making money should be a secondary priority, not a primary priority.  Freeing up real money now with help clear the mind and offer important respite.  

Determine how much money needs to be freed up and piece together a plan to free up funds now, biting off a small bite at a time.  Take a look at your spending habits, your eating habits, your entertainment habits, the services you pay for and try to trim from every area of your budget in a methodical way.  Move quick enough to gain momentum and slow enough that you don't hit a brick wall.  And do organize your home because it clears your mind and you might uncover stuff that if sitting waiting to be used (or stuff you can sell for a few bucks while you clear your mind).

Step 2:  Find an hourly or salary job.  Once you have freed up some funds, you can begin to think clearly about a job.  It is tempting to try and generate some quick income, but "quick income" like suggested by so many of the imamother posters seems to come with an investment of sunk time and resources the desperate can ill afford to part with.  The $55 you might be able to generate writing for a website, the $5 you might pick by writing a poem for someone, the dollars you might be able to earn down the line through a blog portfolio and affiliate marketing in the long term, the money you could generate with an energy company that will remain unnamed here (please, oh please, do not get involved with that!) are going to take away precious time and money from your emergency situation.  The goal here is to find more money and improve the mental situation in the home, not sink time and money chasing an unknown entity.

A note on work:  I'm not sure when it was decided that you have to work in a field you can excel in, where it was decided that you should enjoy work, or how it was decided that certain skills aren't ones you excel in.  Yes, it is wonderful to enjoy the work you do, but often enjoyment falls under the Yaakov vs. Yitzchak conundrum.  Should you love someone before you marry them, or can you build love? When it comes to marriage, I recommend marrying a person you call friend.  But when it comes to work. . . well, work need not be forever.  Unlike marriage, it is a-ok to take on an hourly job that you don't "see" out of desperation.  You don't need to marry the job, just use it for whatever it is worth:  making money primarily, discovering talents, getting an employee discount on food, and building some skills, a resume, and some contacts.

Step 3:  The Side Hustle 

After all of that, the reader might think I don't respect the side-hustle.  Nothing could be further from the truth so long as the business model isn't predicated on bothering friends, relatives, and random people that had had a shlamazel moment and said hello to you.  I've seen personal and academic interests turn into successful businesses.  I've seen real estate experiments turn into a great additional sources of income.  I've seen hobbies turn into nice secondary and even primary sources of income.  

But, if you want to turn a passion or interest into a business, do so with a clear mind.  And you can't have a clear mind when people in your home can't sleep at night.  So, get yourself onto two feet, put a few dollars in the bank, and then decide what side-hustle you want to pursue and do so b'simcha. 


JS said...

I think the way the original person asked the question really indicates what the real problem is.

The person starts by saying they are a SAHM. I'm sorry, but it's 2012. I only know two types of families with SAHMs in 2012: the super wealthy and the struggling. I just don't think it's possible to be "comfortable" middle class in 2012 with only a single working spouse. Double that for an Orthodox family with lots of kids and expensive religious requirements including, of course, tuition.

An income is not "pretty ok b"h" if it doesn't cover your expenses. Yes, expenses need to come down, but wake up and realize things are already really bad and a part of that is the fact that his income is too low for your lifestyle.

Franky, I'm sick of the "I can't work too many hours because I cannot kill myself as I have a family to tend to" attitude. Guess what? The financial well-being of your family is part of tending to your family. I won't even get into the issue of having a family too large to be properly financially tended to. I cannot stand the attitude in the frum community that women are somehow too delicate or fragile to work outside the home. The attitude is often held and shared by women themselves, which is doubly frustrating. There's only so many people who can work successfully from home and 9.9 times out of 10 it's not some cockamamie get rich quick home business scheme. Thank God my wife works and earns a good income. But, even in our LWMO community there are so many women who don't work because it's too "hard" and often give a patronizing comment to my wife such as "You're lucky it doesn't bother you to be away from your children all day." What kind of attitude is that? We're just throwing away 50% of our community's earning potential because of these ill-adapted attitudes.

And then the need for "perfect" hours and working in a field you're "passionate" about. Seriously? What kind of entitled nonsense is this? How out of touch with reality is this woman? She's clearly never worked a day in her life and was never taught what working entails. Her husband can kill himself and suffer a mental break down but she needs a perfect job she's passionate about.

There is a serious attitudinal problem in our communities. A 1950's attitude towards women, no job training, unrealistic expectations, entitlement, and looking to get rich quick instead of work hard. My advice: you have no job skills and desperately need money; work as a cashier at the local supermarket. That's what a non-frum person would do in your situation - they wouldn't whine on some stupid forum to try to find a zero effort and fun way to get paid big bucks.

tesyaa said...

Well said, JS. We'd all like magical jobs in which we can pursue our passions, make a ton of money, and take as much time off as we want with no repercussions so we never have to inconvenience ourselves.

Mark said...

JS, I agree. In short, if you need to work, go work. Don't screw around with get-rich-quick or dream-job-work-your-own-hours-at-home schemes that never really work. At best you break even, at worst you end up deeper in the hole (and maybe with a closet full of useless products that you couldn't sell).

Pragmatician said...

" had a shlamazel moment" loved that line :)

And indeed it's weird that people expect to do something they're passionate about, work shouldn't be fun or fascinating , if it is; then lucky you, but if it isn't then it's just work, nothing less.

Anonymous said...

my frum coworker told me that every single friend of his who "invested" in a MLM scheme lost money.

AztecQueen2000 said...

I've had less-than-fulfilling jobs before (retail AND office work).
But there is such a thing as the cost of working. As a SAHM, I spend less on childcare, transportation and clothing (professional attire is far more expensive than a five-year-old denim skirt with a cotton T-shirt). I once tried to get a job when my older child was still a baby--and found out that my salary would be so low that the required expenses of childcare and transportation would actually cause me to LOSE money.
Are all of the OP's children school-aged? If not, she could end up spending whatever money she makes on childcare--thereby breaking even of even spending more. However, if all the children are in school full-time, there would be nothing wrong with getting a part-time job.

Orthonomics said...

The mother does mention how hard it is to mind the perfect Part Time job with the right hours, so I do believe there are some hours. But she is right, it isn't easy which is precisely why she should consider babysitting, which she dismisses.

After I left the workplace and was home with very little paying work (wow has that changed!), I regularly babysit for friends who needed babysitting backup. Without even trying I made some nice pocket change. It has even crossed my mind to provide last second care again even though I can and do bill much more that I can for last minute babysitting.

And, at least in my experience, it hasn't sapped my energy, but allowed me to rest a bit while my young one and the babysittee play together.

Time to think creatively. Is there a late night shift the mother can pick up? A Sunday shift if the husband is home? Can she exchange babysitting with another mother to free up time to work? Can she get on the sub lists and pick up some extra work?

tesyaa said...

Why does no one suggest that young women train for careers that pay enough to cover babysitting and leave a nice amount left over? True, most of these careers start out requiring full time hours; but in many fields, a mother who has full time experience can cut down to part time at the same hourly rate as full time when she wants to spend more time with her kids. The key is proving yourself by working full time and gaining experience for at least a few years. I don't know why people act as if this is an impossible feat to pull off.

tesyaa said...

While substitute teachers and babysitters are indispensable service providers, unfortunately they are often dead-end jobs. Rarely is a substitute hired as a full-time head teacher; rarely does a babysitter become a household manager or a home-care agency owner. Please, let's suggest career paths for women instead of short-term, low-paying, dead-end "solutions".

Orthonomics said...

tesyaa-The post is a three pronged solution to **desperation.** :)

It would be fantastic if the couple had just lived within their means and had put away some money every year.

Dave said...

Look for a night shift job.

She works nights. He works days. That covers your need for childcare.

tesyaa said...

Dave, great point. In fact, I have a part-time babysitter whose husband works nights while she works and goes to school for a nursing degree during the day. She works in a day care facility where she can bring her child at no charge if necessary. This is a hard-working immigrant family and I'm sure they live frugally. I don't generally see frum people living this way. There are too many excuses why it's not feasible, instead of just getting it done.

JS said...

Thank you tesyaa for saying two things I wanted to say so excellently.

There is just a fundamental problem at work here relating to lack of education, lack of job skills, lack of motivation, and lack of responsibility on top of a tremendous sense of entitlement and living in fantasy land.

tesyaa nailed it right on the head - these women never trained for any type of career that could earn real money and never put in the time necessary before children to gain the credibility and likability in the workplace to be offered part time work while maintaining a good salary. You can blame this on religion and say we're "required" to get married young and have kids immediately, but that's a real cop out both on an individual basis and on a leadership basis. Halacha has always shifted and evolved as the times have demanded. There's just no demand in this area to summon up the courage needed to give people the support needed to make these decisions more comfortably (not that lots of people don't already take the decision into their own hands).

If we're going to have a religion that requires this much money to be an active, full-fledged member, then we need to support the means necessary to acquire the necessary salary. That means two spouses working in good jobs and putting in the long hours before having kids so that childcare can be accommodated and more easily paid for.

That said, for this particular woman she can say whatever she wants, but she's not "desperate." Desperate people don't whine on a stupid forum about their passion for poetry seeking ideas about how they can turn that into instant cash. Desperate people work any job they can get their hands on. Desperate people work multiple jobs and multiple shifts. Desperate people get their hands dirty. Desperate people think of their families first and themselves dead last. Desperate people aren't too proud or too dainty or too entitled. Desperate people don't look down on an opportunity to make some money honestly. Desperate people have a work ethic.

These people should open their eyes up and see what their cleaning help, maids, nannies, etc. do - how hard they work for so little. Maybe start a conversation with the landscaper, mechanic, tow truck driver, etc. and see what number shift this is and when they head to their next job and how little sleep they get and how they don't have weekends "off".

This woman is a joke and far too many people in our communities are just like her.

Mark said...

AztecQueen2000 - my salary would be so low that the required expenses of childcare and transportation would actually cause me to LOSE money.

This is a problem. Similarly, investing in education is a problem because it increases your current expenses causing the current imbalance to get worse. But this alone is still not a reason to not work, because it takes years of work experience to increase your value such that your salary increases to the point at which it is very worth working. I happen to have a friend who when she started working "lost" money (or just barely broke even some months) after childcare and the other extra expenses involved in working full-time, but now 7 years later has become a valuable employee at her office and is paid much more. Not only is she paid much more, but her younger kids have since entered school and the full-time babysitter expense has gone way down to part-time, just for the 2 hours or so between when school ends and when she gets home from work. Now working is suddenly even more "worth it".

JS - You can blame this on religion and say we're "required" to get married young and have kids immediately

I would also argue that we can indeed get married "young" and have kids immediately just as was done 2000 years ago. It all depends on how you look at it. 2000 years ago, people married and had kids about 1/3 of the way into their life (on average), then at 2/3 of the way into their life (on average) the kids moved out and started their own families. We can do just about the same thing today - a woman's life expectancy is 82 or so. She gets married and has kids around the age of 27, the kids move out and start their own families at about the age of 54. It's pretty close to the same if you look at it that way.

JS said...


True on both counts. There's no long-term view at work here. It's like it's some kind of surprise that life is really expensive and that one meager salary isn't going to pay the bills. There's no willingness to work hard and slowly climb the ladder. If it's not paying a lot now, it's not worth it. There's no willingness to invest in yourself through education and sweat. So, these people look for short-term solutions or various schemes because they're already behind the 8 ball and think they're simply more clever than everyone else who schleps into work and grinds out an honest day's pay. When you can't see more than a week into the future things look bleak and not worth it. But, as you pointed out, hard work is eventually rewarded and family circumstances will change as kids get older. This collective myopia needs to be corrected.

As to the second point, halacha is simply out of touch with reality. People live far, far longer. Fertility has been extended far longer even without special procedures due to better nutrition. Reproduction can be controlled for years with no ill effects. The notion that a 25 year old is an old maid is ripped out of the history books from the beginning of the last century. Even without getting into the inaccurate and unscientific understanding of reproduction in traditional halachic sources, there's no reason why, in the aggregate, families cannot be started in the late 20's and early 30's while still being able to have large families.

Having 5 kids between ages 22 and 30 is devastating to any career options. But having those 5 kids between 28 and 36 dramatically changes the entire financial trajectory of a family.

Dave said...

You can blame this on religion and say we're "required" to get married young and have kids immediately, but that's a real cop out both on an individual basis and on a leadership basis.

Build a house. Plant a farm. Then get married.

The Halacha is perfectly fine. It's just that the Orthodox world has chosen (in very large part) not to follow it.

AztecQueen2000 said...

To all those who commented--the job that would have caused me to lose money? Teaching in a yeshiva. I have a BA, office skills and work experience in education. I also save our family two tuition bills by homeschooling our children (my older child is school-aged, and my younger one would normally be in preschool.)

tesyaa said...

AQ, obviously homeschooling is akin to a job, given that you have to do it full time. If you were looking for a job, it must have been before you made a decision to homeschool, correct?

Miami Al said...

AQ, I'm pretty sure that when people here talk dismissively of a SAHM, they aren't referring to someone full time homeschooling, that's a job, albeit one in the house. It's more about the SAHM with their kids in preschool by age 2 and in summer camp... that's not being a SAHM, that's being a wealthy kept woman.

Anonymous said...

I read the original post by the SAHM (oh how I deplore these abbreviations!) who sought a perfect part time job because her DH (there it is again) wasn't able to sleep for worrying about money.

She assumes she should follow her passions, writing and poetry. Oh, how much damage has been done to the psyches of ladies who have been told all their lives to "follow your passions"!

Those are my passions, too! And guess what? I'm a legal secretary, making excellent money, with profit sharing, 33 days off plus Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur. In return, I type like the breeze and handle the needs (idiosyncratic) of three busy attorneys. I work full time, and have little time to tend to home and family.

But we are financially solvent, even prosperous, due to my job. We can put away money for retirement. We have financial security based on my additional income.

When I have time, I tell stories to the children, write them poems, and make up songs for them, which they find delightful. I'm using my talents and making money, but not from writing and poetry. Forget making money from writing and poetry. You have to hit the jackpot, and believe me, the number of people who are writers and poets are legion.

Try for a job that's realistic, where you are needed. Only your nearest and dearest need your writing and poetry, believe me. It's sad but true.

Add some realism to your mix. You can't make money at a demanding full time job and tend to a family as well. So juggle - let the family go for awhile until you're out from under. You don't say how old your children are. Elementary age children can manage after school without you. It's not ideal, but you can't have everything in this world. That much I've learned.

kweansmom said...

You're wrong about biology. Starting a family in your early 30s will usually not result in a large family. Pregnancies in later life are also harder on the woman's body, and there are higher probabilities of genetic abnormalities. Paying for infertility treatments and/or adoption put another financial strain on the family.

Science has done amazing things, but there are certain biological facts that you're going to run up against.

You can argue that small families are just as nice as large ones, especially if they are financially solvent. But encouraging young people to start having 5 kids in their 30's is bad advice, in my opinion.

Mark said...

Starting a family in your early 30s

No need to wait that long to start. Basically, finish a meaningful education*, start working for a few years to gain experience and value in your field, then start to have children. Can start at, say, 27 or 28, and then have a pregnancy every 2 years if you so desire (obviously assuming all goes well) - that would bring you to 4 children by age 33, or even 5 children if one of the pregnancies happens to be twins. That's almost what my wife and I did, a pregnancy about every two years and the last one was with twins :-)

* This also implies not wasting years "finding yourself" at seminary or in basket-weaving classes :-)

JS said...


I said 5 kids between 28 and 36 as opposed to between 22 and 30. That's 1 kid every 2 years: 28, 30, 32, 34, and 36.

Life is full of trade offs.

Statistically speaking, you can have kids very young and struggle financially or you can have kids in your late 20's and be far better off financially. Statistically, you likely can't have kids very young and be financially well off. So, it's a trade off.

There's no denying the 20's are the prime time to build a career and get on the right track financially. Decisions made at this point in your life can really set the tone for decades. Meanwhile, there's likely only a small increased risk in starting a family in your late 20's vs early 20's.

If you're wealthy or don't care about constantly struggling, by all means do whatever you wish. But, for the rest, I think this is pretty sage advice and should be embraced by the community - especially since I haven't seen all too many struggling families that don't mind and don't seek out communal funds from scholarships and other charities.

JS said...

Just speaking personally for a moment (and you can take whatever you wish from one person's experience), we would be far, far worse off financially if we had married young and had kids right away.

By dating for a while and waiting to get married we were both able to finish college and I was able to work and live at home and save a ton of money while repaying student loans. My wife was able to go to graduate school and focus more seriously on studying which led to very lucrative employment. By waiting to have kids we were both able to put in long hours in our respective careers that would have been impossible with young children. I was able to switch career paths and go back to school which, again, would have been impossible with a family - the risk would have been too high and I wouldn't have had the time that was required.

When we did have a family my wife was able to negotiate a very good part-time schedule given her profession with a very good salary and I was already transitioned into my new career and making more money.

All of this would have been impossible with the accepted "frum" way of doing things. We would likely be communal charity cases if we had followed that approach. Instead, we're doing very well, thank God.

While I'm on the subject, I'll just circle back to the first points I made on this post - my wife's salary is a major part of the financial success we share (especially when I was switching careers and going to school). Again, the frum approach would have made this all impossible.

Dina said...

There ARE work-at-home jobs that are for real... but you don't start them once you have a houseful of kids!

I've been doing freelance graphic design since I was a teen. It took a while to break into the market, but I am now making a very respectable part-time salary, with my houseful of kids (mostly homeschooled, partial online schooling - total tuition cost for 3 is less than 1 "real" school tuition).

As my husband is also in a flexible time position, we are able to make this work without paying for babysitters or cleaning help (usually!)

I'm a big proponent of big families, but we do have our sacrifices, like not paying for brick & mortar school, reliance on hand-me-downs (we're lucky to have lots of cousins), a smaller apartment than we would like, and lots of saying "no" to things.

As the saying goes, you CAN'T have it all. Something has to give. It doesn't HAVE to be the kids, but it does have to be something! The original poetess would do well to remember this.

kweansmom said...

Well, if you managed to have a kid every two years for ten years, kol hakavod, but not everyone can handle that - biologically, physically, or emotionally. Not every woman's biological clock ticks so regularly.

I'm not saying waiting to have kids is a bad idea. But I think people have to be realistic about the effect of advanced maternal age on fertility. It's unrealistic to count on having two kids back to back in your mid 30's.

Anonymous said...

Nobody thinks that you can have a large biological family starting in your 30s... If you start @ 30, then 3 is VERY doable, if you push 35 for the first, then more than 2 is dicey.

HOWEVER, there is a HUGE difference between getting married during undergrad and having your first child before graduation or soon after, and 5 years later. If you start for children by 26 or 27, then 5 is very reasonable.

When my secular friends started having kids, a few made jokes about "joining us," not ONE talked about "catching up" in a concerned manner, yet I hear that all the time amongst frum couples.

For those that aren't in the high powered professions (and don't have peers that are in it), here is how it works:

MBA Path:
Undergrad @ Ivy+ School (Ivy, MIT, Stanford), Age 22
2 Years @ Competitive Firm (Consulting, Investment Banking, etc)., Analyst Level if you are a superstar, invited for 3rd year, Age 24/25
Full Time MBA Program @ Top 10 Program, 2 years, Age 26/27
3 Years @ Competitive Firm, Associate Level, Age 29/30

The 3rd year as an analyst is/was a rarity, but those people often when straight to Top 2 B-Schools (HBS, Wharton), and got choice Associate Level positions

After that, you either make Manager (more money, less grunt work, more responsibility) or at any point along the way you wash out. These organizations don't "fire" people the way normal firms do, they have "alumni" networks that people tap for decades.

Accounting Track:
Undergraduate in Account (Age 22)
5th Year Masters (Age 23) -- Option, makes life easy
3 Years @ Staff, get Masters @ night if you don't have one, otherwise, straight to CPA prep, want to get CPA in this time period, Age 26
3 Years @ Senior, Age 29

Lawyer Track:
Undergraduate in Prelaw (Age 22)
JD (Age 25)
4 Years @ Big Law Firm miserable (Age 29)
3 Years @ Big Law Firm moving up ranks (Age 32)
Partner or off to smaller firm as super star

These are the career paths to be making 250k-500k salaries + bonus in your 30s.

In all of these cases, the years from 22 - 29 are HEAVY into getting credentials that help you earn more money, and doing it WHILE putting in long hours at work. Not one of these things is terribly doable with babies/toddlers around the house.

In all these tracks, you are earning the income necessary to support a nice Modern Orthodox life with 3-4 children in Day School, or a nice secular life with 2-3 children in Prep School.

When I was wrapping up B-school, the people that were returning to their firms were largely getting pregnant in the last term, but most of those women were "late" B-schoolers, they were age 30-32 when finished. The younger women were starting to get serious with the guys they were dating.

According to Facebook, plenty of them have 2 children now and are contemplating a 3rd... these are NOT religious people, not people thinking of 4-5 kids, just normal educated people.

And not one of them is complaining about the costs of food, child care, etc. Many are sad to leave maternity leave and go back to work, but they are picking out nice nannies, good private pre-schools, and talking about prep schools whose tuition bills put Day School to shame.

Now, in these paths, in the late 20s/early 30s, you are still working, but now your job is to be more senior, not a kid. @ 22, you don't know anything, the way you add value is to sit at your desk or client site for 70-80 hours, since if half is wasted, it's still a full week. @ 30, you know things, you're there to direct the armies of 22-24 year olds. You might still work, but you're not expected to work every weekend.

The two years in Israel + the pressure to have kids by 24 instead of by 29 totally derails these paths.

And Mom is STILL working, she's just working for way less money, and paying for mediocre child-care that wipes out most of her earnings. In contrast to paying for top-notch childcare that may use most of her earnings, but is being used to enhance the children.

Nephew of Frum Actuary said...

Miami Al:

And the key to all of them is to start when 19-20, not 24-25.

You can even have the children at 23-24, because at that point you will get maternity leave, etc. and then go right back in.

Anonymous said...

Recession probably already here in the US. Worsening conditions expected.

The excellent job opportunities for today's are far fewer.

JS said...


Pretty much agree. I think it depends on what you define a "large" family as. If you're talking 10 kids, then yeah you need to start young. That's a trade off you're making - large family is better than financial security. But, if a "large" family is 5-6 kids, I think it's reasonable to have that even if you start in your late 20's. After all, the people having 10+ kids are having kids well into their mid to late 30's. Again, all about trade offs.

But, you can't push off college 1-2 years in Israel, get married in college or right after, have kids within a year of marriage and keep popping em out regularly and then wonder why you're poor and struggling and why you can't afford child care and have no job skills that allow you to enter the work force and net some money and why your husband can't sleep and is on the verge of a nervous breakdown.

What you said about high powered professions is also true in other jobs. It's going to be really hard to get part-time work when you haven't built up a good reputation from a few years of work. A job doesn't owe you anything, you have to prove your worth.

Going back to an earlier point, there's an attitude in frum communities that you have to learn now when you're young or you'll never have the chance later in life. So, people push off college for 1-2 years in Israel or do kollel for a few years in their 20's. Meanwhile, these people destroy their entire earning potential. They put themselves constantly behind the 8 ball because they're raising a family on next to no income and they're ruined any ability to get ahead in life. Meanwhile you work until you're dead because you have no money to retire, your kids followed the same path and need/demand support and you have zero free time and are constantly stressed.

Consider the alternative: college immediately, marry a bit later, wait on kids, build a career, then have kids. Done with kids by late 30's. You have the money to actually afford your frum life. You can save for retirement. As you become more senior at work and your kids get older, you now have time to sit and learn. By the time you hit late 50's or early 60's you're pretty much done with all the child-rearing, your youngest is 20ish. Retirement is right around the corner and you're set. Statistically, you have 25+ years to sit and learn full-time and to do so with the advantage of complete security and a more mature outlook on life.

Why do we do the former and not the latter? Because we still seem to think people die in their 40's.

Anonymous said...

But, if you went to Queens College and/or Touro, and your highly educated friend went to Yeshiva University before "becoming religious" you simply don't know that these options exist.

The fact is, Modern Orthodoxy on a larger income is simply a more pleasant experience. You have more time and patience for your children. You appreciate it more.

When you are established and not running ragged all the time, it's bet.

If we had waited just a few more years to start, we'd have probably even had another kid or two, but the ragged financially strained experience and trying to get final credentials with kids and work aggravated us.

BTW: this approach isn't working. I know plenty of MO families (day school educated through and through) that are pretty opened about being 2 and done. One is even open about being 1 and done.

All the wives I know that realized that they needed income and had to take 2-3 years to get a credential like nursing AFTER having kids are totally fed up with being exhausted. The ones that took a few years to get their credentials and start a family between 28 and 32 are all much happier with their family life and the situation.

JS said...


I've said before I know many families who are open about being done with kids after 2. Many more that have gone several years since kid #2 and are likely done (I imagine they won't want to deal with a crying infant in their late 30's after finally getting on track financially).

Life is a lot better when you plan for success.

tesyaa said...

It is quite possible to have a large family if you start at 30; you just have to be willing to accept a somewhat higher probability that it won't occur than if you start "trying" at 20 or 21.

But as a mother of 6, I don't know how young frum couples can predict that they will actually enjoy parenting a large family, or that they'll even be able to, when they're in their early twenties, just married and have known each other for all of three months!! We've discussed before the "peer pressure" aspect of having a large family. Having a lot of kids because just your friends are having a lot of kids is a terrible idea.

If you're a young married person stressed with 2 kids and your friend is having her 5th, don't assume "if she can handle it, I can too". Maybe her kids are easier. Maybe she has family resources for money or childcare that you don't.

I do not know why everyone thinks they "must" have 5 kids and that they can handle it. (I'm not saying I CAN handle it... but my kids are already here).

I did it said...

I actually did the reverse: got married at 19 and started a large family right away, but was done by 32. I got all the necessary schooling done during the time I was having babies by going to school at night. When my youngest was 2, I was able to start working in my field. I put in my "dues" same as the people a decade younger than me just starting out, and we made it work during those 2-3 years of proving myself because my husband- who had been working hard and long hours during the previous decade- was able to negotiate a more flexible schedule without taking too much of a hit in salary. At this point, we're both making high salaries and have some control over our schedules, and life is very busy but not frenzied. B'H everyone is cared for emotionally and financially. Joining the work-force late has not impacted my career in any way; in fact, it's not at all unusual for people to embark on second careers and such. Maybe it would have been a different story had I been older than my early 30s, but I was (and still am) young enough to have a solid career trajectory ahead of me.

The way we chose was NOT easy- it took A LOT of planning and sacrifices- but it worked. So you can start young and have a large family and still manage financially. But there are definitely trade-offs: the early years will be HARD; you have to have a career path in mind and at least get the credentials out of the way- you can't be just starting your masters and internships/fieldwork at 32, they need to be completed by the time you're ready to work; no time for flakey majors, and very little margin for error- you have to figure out early on what to do and stick with it; you also do have to pick a point at which you're done with having babies- B'H we have 7, and it's great, but we're done- I can't imagine going back to the baby stage now at 40, and it wouldn't have been so great 3 years ago either.

I don't think we have to resort to marrying/having kids later, but we do have to stop starting early by rote.

JS said...


Yeah, another benefit of starting later in the baby-making department is you have a much better sense of who you are and what you want out of life and care less about peer pressure. You're also far more secure in your marriage.

Unfortunately, a lot of this is more "halachic pressure" than peer pressure (though I don't discount the latter). You need a heter for birth control, for whatever reason. So, the way it works is you have 1 kid immediately and another shortly thereafter. You're then completely stressed from 2 kids under 2 and having no money, a stressful marriage, etc. and then you can finally beg for that birth control heter for mental health reasons.

It's a good approach.

JS said...

I did it,

Very interesting and congratulations.

I'm happy to hear of your success. I'm speaking in the aggregate - what would be best statistically on a communal-basis. Obviously your approach worked out very well for you and your husband, but would you advocate it as a communal approach? I think the option I proposed of starting later and building a career up front is more traditional and more likely to mesh with how the rest of the working world operates.

Anonymous said...

I did it,

Absolutely wonderful story. Let's NOT lose site of the fact that people that choose family immediately CAN get their career on track, like you did.

But's it WAY harder on the parents.

It also meant more frazzled childbearing.

Watching my secular friends that started their families just a few years after we did having a much less stressful experience. My secular friends that started around when we did found the same stresses and freak outs as we did.

I did it said...

JS- I would not suggest it in the aggregate unless the aggregate is willing to make the requisite sacrifices. I'd REALLY like for it to work for the masses (I am more on the RW end of things), but I doubt it will. You have to plan ahead (obviously to the extent that life can be planned); you have to be prepared to live uncomfortably for awhile, because the financial success won't come until you're closer to 40. As much as I march to my own beat, I must confess it wasn't always easy hearing about my peers buying houses nearly a decade before it was a consideration for us, and watching my neighbors wheeling their kids in bugaboos and dressing them in Jacadi while I was using pretty much all hand-me-downs with Carters filling the gaps. Now, I can look back and say I'm glad we stuck to our guns. I got to be home all day with my kids when they were little like I wanted, to nurse them as long as I felt necessary (all nursed at least 18 months), I was the one there in those early, formative years. During the years that I couldn't be there as much, my husband was able to be the one more there, so I didn't feel guilty, because a loving father is just as important as a loving mother, so they weren't lacking in parental love or attention in any way. But having the security we have now, while still managing to raise our kids according to certain priorities we felt important was SO WORTH forgoing the bugaboos and living in the same 3 bedroom for 8 years.

Anonymous said...

I did it: Congratulations. I'm so glad this worked out for you. The question I have about following this approach is before mom is an earner, how does a family pay for school for 7 kids and for several years of night school tuition for mom? It sounds like this plan would only work if there is family help/inherited money, dad is a very high earner from early on or the family is getting tuition or other help.

Nephew of Frum Actuary said...

I did it: Sounds like your husband was in Law or the type, and you could have been a SAHM (and still paid full tuition) had he not cut back. Good for you that you were willing to do so and give your husband a break.

Most people can't do that. Anon 1:19 is correct, that had your husband not made the quarter million that you needed in your 20's (or had you nod had family support), you may have gone under.

Furthermore, the fact that my wife & I think that those who need to "wheel their kids in bugaboos and dress them in Jacadi" quite literally have mental health issues, certainly creates a mindset of savings, both for ourselves & our children. It would help for others as well, but part of the Frum World is to "keep up with the Cohens'", either on the money or frumkeit sides (and sometimes both).

I did it said...

Anon 1:19: keep in mind, I went to work when the youngest was 2, so we did not have all 7 in school before I was working. Among other things, we did not send to school before kindergarten (as I was home, although the last one did go to preschool), so we actually "only" had 5 tuitions to worry about before I started working. I know, it's still a lot, but I'm just showing how it still wasn't all of them.

We do send to more RW schools, so that helps too. These schools are quite a bit cheaper.

My husband was making a good salary the entire time, but yeah, with all those kids, it was very difficult, even doing all the usual frugal-y stuff (although again, since I was home, I had more time to do all that frugal-y stuff). We went without a lot of things we would have liked to have, all with the end goal in mind. We did have help from family, but not in the form of a monthly check- it came in the form hand me downs (clothes and baby gear) and free babysitting (my husband could not always make it home in time for me to get to class), and us going to them for every YT- I "paid" them back by going over there very early erev YT to do most of the cooking, and B'H continue to pay them back by hosting THEM in our home now that we have the space and the means to do so :-) They still babysit a lot though, because they love their eineklach (even though my older ones can and do babysit, I don't like to rely on them- I don't want them to feel forced to always babysit).

Commenter Abbi said...

I'm fascinated by the tone of these comments. Someone finally talks about a frum success story, really working hard and making it honestly and the regulars here still find (very subtle) ways of taking her down. Unbelievable. I know it feels good to rant about community problems, but this really takes it a bit too far.

Orthonomics said...

I did it, Thank you for sharing your story. I think there are some advantages to starting a career later. . . including some life experience and knowing that what you are embarking on is what you actually want to do. For me, I just got lucky that it fit well.

Mark said...

Abbi - Someone finally talks about a frum success story, really working hard and making it honestly and the regulars here still find (very subtle) ways of taking her down.

I'm not sure what you're talking about. The person is desperate for more money, can't sleep at night due to worry, and likes writing and poetry (and thinks she can make an income from that). That isn't much of a success story, is it?

Commenter Abbi said...

Mark, I'm talking about the commentor "I did it". Read through the thread. The reactions to her story are basically "Well, you got lucky, not everyone can do this, this isn't a solution for the whole community, etc..."

"I actually did the reverse: got married at 19 and started a large family right away, but was done by 32. I got all the necessary schooling done during the time I was having babies by going to school at night. When my youngest was 2, I was able to start working in my field. I put in my "dues" same as the people a decade younger than me just starting out, and we made it work during those 2-3 years of proving myself because my husband- who had been working hard and long hours during the previous decade- was able to negotiate a more flexible schedule without taking too much of a hit in salary. At this point, we're both making high salaries and have some control over our schedules, and life is very busy but not frenzied. B'H everyone is cared for emotionally and financially. Joining the work-force late has not impacted my career in any way; in fact, it's not at all unusual for people to embark on second careers and such. Maybe it would have been a different story had I been older than my early 30s, but I was (and still am) young enough to have a solid career trajectory ahead of me."

Dave said...


I'm not seeing "I did it" being put down.

What I am seeing is people pointing out that that is the harder way, and the way less likely to end up meeting with success.

After all, while winning the lottery may solve an individuals financial problems, that does not make it a good communal solution. Similarly, people succeeding at low-odds career or life paths does not mean it is wise as a general piece of advice.

Mark said...

I don't see any put downs either. In fact, I see mainly congratulations.

Recognizing, as even "I did it" does in one of her responses, that what she did is neither typical nor easily done, is not a put down!

Mike S. said...

But there are lots of ways to remain financially sound and successful while raising a family. The notion that there is one communal solution for everybody is just silly. My wife worked while I was in graduate school, then went back for a masters and finished just as our 1st kid was born (I mean she took her written quals for her PhD on Thursday, handed in her thesis Friday, went to the movies (Out of Africa) motzaei Shabbat and had baby on Sunday. Then took off a few years while our 3 oldest kids were little, went back for a PhD (MIT), had another child, and is now the chairman of the engineering department at a teaching college. Is that a good path for everyone? Heck no. But it worked for us, and similar things worked for others we know.

There are all kinds of ways to make your life work financially and, aside from not spending money you haven't got, there isn't one way to do it. You can postpone a family, or have a small one, or go back to school afterward, or home school or teach at a school that takes faculty kids without tuition or .... None of these will work for everyone, and they all work for some people.

Anonymous said...

I think that I Did it's story is an important one, not because it justifies the economically destructive societal norms -- it doesn't, but because it is an inspiring reminder that even if you did things "wrong" life is not over and you can turn things around.

Far too often, one throws up their hands and suggests that they "can't" do something because of a bad decision, bad luck, etc., or some other calamity that came their way.

It's garbage.

You can learn from the past, but you can't change it.

As her story is a reminder, even if you find yourself behind the eight ball, it is NOT a life sentence to poverty. When we decry social forces that encourage bad behavior (a scholarship system that discourages adding a second/third income), it does not change the fact that moral individuals can overcome bad circumstances.

I find her story inspiring.

I just wouldn't make "policy" based upon her story.

Commenter Abbi said...

I don't even understand the concept of a "communal solution" for the problem of chronic underemployment. Who exactly will sponsor such a solution? Whom is this community of which you're speaking? Right wing? Yeshivish? Modern Orthodox? How and why on earth would a solution that works for a modern orthodox family work for a yeshivish one with barely the same educational background?

Of course I did it's career path wouldn't work for everyone. That would require a fundamental shift in attitude by the right wing towards the value of secular education, work in the "outside world" and approach to kollel learning. That's not happening any time soon. But look at that, Mike S reports that his family also successfully navigated higher learning and growing families. The trick is to figure out why these families have succeeded and try to apply that to the rest of whatever community you're talking about.

When you question the value of I did it's story because it doesn't seem like an easy solution for the rest of the community, I consider that a takedown as well as myopic.

PS: SL, anyway you can adjust this captcha verification? It's really hard to complete.

Anonymous said...

There is no one "right way" to support your family. What is important is that the family do it.

Things to consider:

1. Education is harder to achieve when you have responsibilities vs. older, this is why schools encourage "traditional students" and the Yeshiva world pushes years in Yeshiva/Kollel.

2. Secular Education towards a profession is an ROI decision, in some ways its vocational training, as in qualifying for your professional vocation. A JD @ age 25 will provide 40 years of legal career for an ROI. A JD @ 40 will provide 25 years of it. This is compounded by the fact that the "fast track" earnings tracks assume long hours simply not available to people with family responsibilities (they cater to the young and childless), such educations provide a greater ROI the earlier they are achieved.

3. Learning for its own sake can take place anytime.. whether that be serious Talmud Torah OR esoteric liberal arts. My grandmother took University courses into her 80s, she enjoyed them and wasn't pursuing a degree, and paid cash for them at a state school. People that love learning can put their kids into adulthood and move on to daily learning, there is no ROI issue there.

4. "Second Careers" happen, work, and can help a family navigate life. Families that choose to do that, whether the first career is home making or kollel, you absolutely should make the best decision you can.

5. Someone born to a well to do family, attended great schools, etc., is more likely to do well than a person without those advantages. That is part of why we admire the stories where someone overcame adversity. I am far MORE impressed with "I Did It"'s life story than JS's story, which is in turn more impressive than mine.

That said, if I were able to set communal norms for impressionable 18 year olds, either my pattern or JS's pattern has a higher expected value.

If I am writing inspirational articles, I want the "up from the bootstraps" story that "I Did It" brings to the table. But if you want to look at the economic plight of the Frum community, it's NOT a great strategy.

Anonymous said...

The Frum community's meta-problem is the standard American one: spending more than one earns, compounded by the Frum one: much of the overspending is communal and therefore socialized, and others is destructive social norms masked in religious obligations.

Tuition = Cost per Student / Collection Rate

You can help the tuition crisis by reducing the Cost Per Student OR Increasing the Collection Rate. The former is a function of cost containment, the latter is a function of increasing incomes. Falling incomes are partially socialized via scholarship, that's dangerous.

Replacing "year in Israel" with "senior summer in Israel" and possibly "sophomore summer" in Israel would seem to me the biggest bang for the buck.

A community college + Yeshiva/Kollel path in RW communities would be the next biggest bang for the buck. There are lots of career paths that require certifications/associate degree level programs, particularly in health care, that provide a solid middle class income without a ton of schooling. That won't create your machers, but if you increase the percentage paid by the scholarship level, that would have a big impact.

A K-4 Charter School solution would seem to be the higher risk move, but potential reduces the day school burden dramatically, especially if you did your Jewish Studies component BEFORE AND AFTER SCHOOL. Not only would you reduce the per-child private school expenses by a third, that ought to boost your collection rate and therefore drive tuition down further.

A smaller improvement, but less risky, would be to me a diocese style approach. OU/YI/Agudah affiliated synagogues should divert some funds to establish synagogues in nearby by more affordable neighborhoods, perhaps even simply cheaper areas of the same city. This would help young families stay within their means LONGER and therefore might boost your collection rate some by reducing outlays for housing. There is tremendous pressure and incentives to move into a neighborhood you can't afford. This wouldn't touch the incentives, but would reduce the pressure.

I'm not sure where else you can get really good ROIs, those seem to me like the biggest ones. Arguing about Simchaot seems pointless. I don't think you can affect change there, and I don't think it's a cost driver. I think it's a function of extreme economic diversity, so it's a symptom and not a cause.

The teacher and doctor making the same simcha is not a function of the doctor overspending, it's a function of the teacher erroneously thinking that he's an economic peer of the doctor. Separate them into sister Shuls in different towns, the teacher naturally drops the spending down toward teacher levels.

I went to a regional middle school, and grew up Reform. I went to Reform Bar Mitzvahs in various areas. I assure you, we all celebrated our Bar Mitzvah in 7th grade, but the modest families threw VERY different affairs than the wealthy families... but we lived in different cities and attending different synagogues. I'm guessing the people that stretched to belong to the Synagogue and City that had Doctors/Lawyers overspent dramatically.

Mike S. said...

Miami Al,

Not all careers are like law. In the sciences the ROI for grad school later in life is much better, since you typically are not paying tuition but even receiving a small stipend. In my wife's case it covered the needed extra childcare. A downside is they aren't as used to having adult students.

Sending my kids to Israel for a year was a great investment. Two of the three made aliyah, which I support ideologically. College is a lot less at Israeli prices than US prices. Especially if the student serves in the army. Just pick a Zionist program.

I know my choices aren't right for everyone. But neither is going straight through school and spending your mid twenties as a resident or an associate at a large law firm. Or any other fixed paradigm.

SL, either I am a robot and don't know it or you've got the difficulty on the captcha turned up too high

JS said...

My comments all stem from the original post: a family at its wit's end with a SAHM who is undereducated, likely never held a job, entitled, and seeking get rich quick schemes centered around her passion for poetry while turning her nose up at real work. I see this same attitude even in my LWMO community with the many, many women with zero job skills who patronize my wife when they tell her how great it is she works.

There's a communal problem and it exists across the spectrum, though it manifests differently, perhaps, in each community. The problem stems from a maladapted communal attitude that is better suited for the 1950's than today. Part of this is an attitude towards women and their place in the family and in society and part of it seems to be based on the notion that the average life expectancy is 50ish.

The "solution" I proposed is simply what the rest of the world does - how the rest of society finds success in the workplace. They don't do it by marrying young, having kids right away, starting careers late, or having one spouse at home. Maybe that would work in other parts of country or with religions that don't mandate expensive private school and other expenses.

I did it and Mike S's approaches are wonderful and it's great to hear stories of people busting their butts and swimming upstream and finding great success.

Even with the "communal approach" I was suggesting (that it's possible nowadays to have large families later and to learn later, instead of earlier), there's always room for other approaches. The problem is the default communal approach and the default peer pressure. No one is pressured to marry later or wait to have kids or to get a great secular education and work really hard at a career. The peer pressure and societal norms are all in the OPPOSITE direction. My point is simply it would be nice to have a shift whereby the pressures lead to success, on average, and not failure.

Mike S. said...

JS: We never felt we were swimming upstream. Sure, it wasn't always easy but that was a function of MIT not being easy for anyone more than a function of age or life status.

Nor do I see the attitude you mention at all; almost all of the women in our circle work for pay in fields at which they have at least an undergraduate degree. Some worked pretty much straight through, others took some time off to work and went back. Nor do my kids or their friends or my friends' kids feel pressure to get married young. A couple of them married young despite parental concerns, but I don't think it came from communal pressure.

Anonymous said...

I give a lot of credit to I did it and Mike's wife, but we have to be realistic. How many people are capable of getting into a master's or PhD program at MIT (let alone undergrad) or some other grad program that will pay a stipend and not require a huge outlay for tuition and be able to handle such a high powered, intense program while raising a family. My grad. program required full days of classes, clinicals, study groups and nights and Sundays studying. Maybe I was a bit slow, but I barely saw my husband for the 3 years. I never could have cared for a family at the same time, even with the most helpful husband. Let's also not forget in a tight job market that many night school programs (i.e. law, mba, accounting) are not nearly as well-respected in the job market as full time programs from good schools. It's going to vary a lot by field and area of the country. Further, even if everyone follows the plan - get a degree and experience in the field before starting a family - as much as we might like to think we are a nation of superstar intellects, only a percentage are going to have the ability and skill (and yes, luck on timing of entering the job market) to get those lucrative careers to finance several yeshiva tuitions and MO lifestyle. While I do think that everyone should mazimize earning capacity to a reasonable degree, the frum life as currently structured is just not sustainable. There needs to be both a big increase in earning power and substantial changes in acceptable schooling models and options. Besides, who wants a religion that is only for those with two professional high earning families. What type of religion doesn't have room for the 50K auto mechanic married to the 40K secretary?

Anonymous said...

For those advocating delaying child bearing, don't forget that some of you may also have an extra almost full-time job taking care of a parent or grandparent when you are in your 40's.

Mark said...

Anon - What type of religion doesn't have room for the 50K auto mechanic married to the 40K secretary?

It's not a problem with religion, it's a problem with location and expectations. In Teaneck, you can't easily be a mechanic* married to a secretary, but in other places (all of Israel, for example) you can be.

* Unless you own the shop and have 10 mechanics working for you :-)

JS said...


By swimming upstream I just meant doing something difficult that requires struggle.

The women we know from the universities and graduate schools we went to all tend to work and are career (and family) driven. Most of these people have "high powered" careers.

In the RWMO community we used to live in people got married very young and had kids immediately (and have lots of kids), but the women tended to work, mostly in the PT/OT/ST professions and would work very part-time schedules once they had kids.

In the LWMO community we live in now people marry later and have kids later (and fewer kids), but the women mostly do not work and are married to men with "high powered" jobs.

It's an odd mix in my opinion. If I had to choose, I'd say the RWMO community we lived in has a healthier attitude towards work in terms of both sexes, but the average income (even with only one spouse working) is higher in our LWMO community.

Anonymous said...

Repeat after me, one is obligated to keep Shabbat. Ideally, one lives in reasonable walking distance to Shul. On is NOT obligated to live in Teaneck, there is no inherent holiness of the greater Fort Lee area.

Science Graduate school is a special case... the positions are usually funded, especially at a well funded place like MIT. Science graduate students get a stipend and a tuition waiver. While the earning potential isn't that high compared to the professional degrees, you take on no debt post undergraduate, and it's a serious respectable income whether you go into industry or academia.

MIT happens to have tons of well funded science research positions, but all research universities have them.

Anonymous said...

Al: Of course one is not obligated to live in Teaneck, but judaism without at least some community is pretty hollow and how do you raise kids to love and value judaism without a community. The killer is not the Teaneck zipcode - its tuition. The tuition requirement is what makes MO judaism the most expensive religion in the U.S. All these brilliant rabbis and leaders and no one has figured out how to make public school become accepted and work.

Michaltastik said...

I know this post is old, but I couldn't sleep and I want to comment on it.

"DH can't sleep at night worrying how he'll pay his bills"
They're your bills, too, sweetheart!

"I'm desperate to help. I can't work too many hours because I cannot kill myself as I have a family to tend to."
Then help! So, it's ok for your husband to be up nights, but not ok for you to "kill myself"? Oh, and I guess you didn't think about the fact that you are posting this on a site meant for mothers? How many mothers reading that have full time jobs AND a family?? I'm sure they were annoyed by that.

"The only passion I have is for writing and poetry. I can see putting myself into it as a side income. But I don't know where to begin."
Just because you're passionate about something doesn't mean it's the only you can do for pay. In fact, writing is something that almost as many people are trying to do as become a famous actor/singer whatever. Just like those fields, most people trying to break into the field aren't good enough to break into it. I can't even tell you how many students I ran across in college who wanted "pie in the sky" type jobs like writing. I read the papers many of them had written. They had no business trying to write professionally. They had serious spelling and grammar issues with their pieces. They didn't know their conclusion from their introduction, sometimes even their your from their you're. Oh and most people who get paid to write have AT MINIMUM a bachelors in English, usually some sort of masters or PhD.

I'm also curious, I would bet she is chasidic.

As pointed out by commenters here, she should just go get a part time job in retail, restaurant or at a grocery store. Or she can learn to wash sheitels at home. Isn't that what most chasidic women do, anyhow? Also, in the olden days, poor women used to work in the homes of rich women doing their housework or even mending their clothes. If a woman knows how to sew, she can use this for side income. She can make home made craft items to sell or bags or something. When I was in high school, I bought book bags from another student's grandmother that I met at a craft fair. My own grandmother used to crochet blankets, scarves and hats for our family, but you could sell something like that.

I find it annoying that she says she can't babysit because she barely has enough patience for her own kids. Also, if the kids are in school and she gets something full time, just hire a high school or college girl to do the after school and morning like everyone else does or pay a SAHM who lives nearby to do it. My grandmother watched our landlord's kids before (@30 mins) and after school (a couple hours) when I was a kid. If you are working full time, you can afford to pay for some help and many women take on extra kids for very little money because they are home anyway.

Anyway, I'm with everyone else: her attitude is annoying-oh whoa is me, help me get a job for which I'm not qualified.

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