At a crossroads


Dear Aviva,

My husband just got a great offer in a different city that would allow us to save a lot more money than we are saving now (which is none). However, I'm not sure if it's worth the move. Currently we live in the same city as my family who are very helpful to us and our kids, plus I am very close to all of my family members! Is it fair to say that family should come before saving money or is it time to cut the umbilical cord?


Dear Crossroads,

This sounds like a mighty big decision! I have to admit, I’m a bit nervous to take this one on, because I don’t want to be held accountable later if you are unhappy with your situation. So let’s set the disclaimer now: I am a mere columnist who will give you some tools to make a decision. I am not a judge who will make it for you.

Instead of tediously trying to explain how to weigh in your decision, I will share with you how my kids decided what to do when they had off from school. We made a list of all possible places to go. Anything that we thought of went on the list. Then, I told them they are going to vote.

Here’s how I framed it: say the number 1 if you really don’t want to go there, number 2 for, “Ok, fine, I guess I’ll go.” And number 3 for “Please, Please, Please can we go there?!” Then I went through the list with them and they voted. The places with the highest numbers were where we went. Thankfully, my 7 year-old knew to vote “One” in order to swing his sister’s “Thwee!” for the frigidly gusty candidate, “The Beach”.

Unfortunately, he was not as savvy when it came to the “Queens County Farm” candidate and we braved some pretty strong winds alongside a goose and a couple of alpacas just off the Grand Central. Ok, next time we’ll have an iron-tight nomination process with mommy-vetoing rights. Live and learn…

But, I have to say, it was the first time we went on a trip where the whining centered solely on the minivan’s window status and the state of the stereo. Not a single kvetch in reference to our destination.

For this sort of process to work for you, you need to modify it a bit. First, write down every single factor that would affect your life. Now, vote a 1 for bad, 2 for neutral and 3 for great for one neighborhood’s factors, and do it again for the other neighborhood’s factors. Have hubby vote too, but don’t compare your ballots. Now, add it up and the neighborhood with the highest number makes the most sense for you overall.

That’s the logical way to do it. But I am sensing that your decision is laden with emotional factors. Well, who’s to say that we can’t have logic cater to our emotions? Add all the emotional elements to the voting process too, like “Neighborhood I Grew Up In” and “Popping in on Sis Shabbos Afternoon”. Then, be honest and cast your vote.

You may hate what the numbers tell you and want to override the system. If that is the case, there must have been an emotional piece that you overlooked or misjudged.

You brought up an interesting point in your letter, though. You asked if you should “cut the umbilical cord” in reference to drifting from your parents and sibs. Within my field, there are two opposing schools of thought: One is that we must differentiate ourselves from others (especially from those very close to us). The other is that we always need a close, emotional attachment with another person, even as adults.

And I stand at: It depends.

Are you more aligned with your newer family of hubby and kids or are you more attached to your family of origin? If it’s the latter, it may be a good time to separate from mom and dad while leaning closer to your spouse.

And what better way to do that than to be forced to in another city? But, remember, you didn’t hear it from me!