Oct 25 2012
My overworked, exploited child.
If dispatches from the 8th grade trenches are to be believed, when it came time for everyone to go around the room and answer–en Espanol!–what chores they did around the house, my 13-year-old son was the most overworked in his peer group.
He loads the dishwasher. He takes out the garbage. He sweeps the kitchen floor. He sorts and folds the laundry after it’s been washed. He takes his younger brother to school in the mornings and he babysits both his siblings in the evenings when we go out. He also, on those rare weekend mornings when my husband and I try to sleep late (i.e. until 9!) has been pressed upon to produce a toaster waffle or a bowl of cereal for the younger two. Read the rest of this entry →
Oct 19 2012
As part of our month-long series dedicated to Women, Work & Money, Alina Adams talks about the changes in her family’s income over time.
Every subsequent child born into a family is supposedly better off. Their parents are further along in their careers, and there’s more money to go around for everyone.
Not exactly true at my house. When it comes to our October focus on Women, Work & Money, my third child is actually the most underprivileged. Read the rest of this entry →
Oct 17 2012
As part of our month-long series dedicated to Women, Work & Money, Adina Kay-Gross talks about her “money personality,” and how it clashes with her husband’s.
When you met your significant other, in those early heady hyperbole-riddled days of Sunday morning brunches and trips to bucolic B&Bs, what did you talk about when you fantasized about your lives together? Did you dream about where you’d live? How many kids you wanted? Perhaps, since I’m talking to you, here, on Kveller.com, is it safe to assume you discussed religion and whether either of you cared enough to build a sukkah or join a synagogue?
I bet you discussed all of those things. Maybe you even went so far as to get into the nitty-gritty of your future kids’ education and if they’d play sports and how much time you thought you’d spend with extended family and where you’d vacation, if you were lucky enough to take one. Read the rest of this entry →
Aug 16 2012
It seems as though lately, everyone is talking about money and how to make it, save it, stretch it, invest it, or just not spend it in the first place. It has even gained popularity in the Jewish community–check out Kosher on a Budget, which daily posts a long list of coupons, sales, and even tips on how to get the most for your money. Being frugal isn’t just for the poor anymore, either. It’s hip now to wear hand-me-downs (so long as you call them “vintage wear”, of course) and recycling isn’t just for post-depression grandparents–it’s the only politically correct thing to do! In fact in my county it’s mandatory and you can be fined for not separating the trash from the recyclables, which actually leaves personal conviction for being “green” totally out of the equation. Read the rest of this entry →
Aug 2 2012
Every year on July 11, 7-11 offers free Slurpees. And every year, I take my kids to get some. This year, since we were staying in Brighton Beach, the annual acquisition required marching my 13, 8, and 5-year-olds half an hour each way in the midday heat, over a highway underpass, through a vaguely sketchy neighborhood–and back, all for a gratis cup of crushed ice, sugar, and water.
It was at this point it occurred to me that my lifelong, complicated relationship with money might stand some… reevaluating.
Because it’s not just free Slurpees that make me do crazy things. I also have marked on my calendar National Free Doughnut Day, Ben & Jerry’s Free Scoop Day, and Haagen-Dazs’s, too. I know every free movie screening in New York City, the best public library theater, art and science programs for kids, which museums are truly pay what you wish (MET) and which ones will pretend they don’t know what you’re talking about (MoMA). Read the rest of this entry →
Jul 31 2012
One night, my husband, Heath, and I talked about how the pace of life with two kids would be easier than three. We noted how cramped our bed becomes with two extra little people in it on Sunday mornings. Where would a third go?
I had just read a New York Times article about preserving the environment by having no more kids than would outnumber the parents in order to maintain, instead of increase, the carbon footprint. I thought it was a very solid argument. It helped to justify our satisfaction with two kids. Read the rest of this entry →
Jul 19 2012
One day my kindergartener came home from school and excitedly announced, “Our class is collecting canned foods for the needy!” to which I snidely replied under my breath, “We ARE the needy!”
Of course as soon as I said it, I wished the words had never left my mouth. Especially when my son’s teacher stopped me the next day at school to report that he had repeated my exact words to her. Luckily, she had a great sense of humor and found it pretty funny. “You’re telling me!” she said with a look compassion and irony. Of course I felt myself blush. Read the rest of this entry →
May 15 2012
What I wouldn't give for a washer/dryer set...
As a nice Jewish girl, I’ve encountered this bit of wisdom from Pirkei Avot (popular Jewish text known as “Ethics of our Fathers”) time and time again: Aizehu Ashir Hasameach B’Chelko. Translated: Who is rich? He who is happy with his lot. I understood the words, but the deeper meaning never really sunk in. Then a few weeks ago I had an epiphany, with the help of a kitchen renovation and Shel Silverstein.
Now I’d been feeling a little down lately, thinking about the things that we can’t afford yet, and eating my heart out about updates on Facebook: this one got a new car, that one a new house, etc. “Why are we the only ones not living the dream?” I wondered with no small amount of angst and marital haranguing. Read the rest of this entry →
Feb 8 2012
Ssh. Don’t tell anyone, but I have $100 in my pocket.
Not literally. What I actually have is two gift cards, one for an online bookstore and one a pre-filled credit card. I found them when I was decluttering the shelf in the bedroom with all the wedding cards.
Things are tight around our home. My husband spent three years unemployed after his last layoff; six months ago, he nailed a terrific contract position that was supposed to go permanent, but the company got sold, and the bigger company dismantled the team, and… well, you know the drill. Now we’re back to the double-freelance life, otherwise known as “Ack! Panic! 3 a.m.!” Read the rest of this entry →