Dear Goldy:

I don’t even know what to say or how to start. But I want to make sure I am as anonymous as possible. This account, from which I’m sending you this email, was just created for me to send this email.

Here goes: My son is in his early 30s and is dating a girl he introduced me to a while ago. My son isn’t in a rush to get married. He wants to, but he doesn’t think he has to date someone for X amount of time and then get engaged. They’ve been dating for at least six months that I know of, but something tells me that this may be “the one.” I’d love that. She’s a good girl, all the stuff you’d expect me to write about her.

A few days ago, my son came over for supper. We were just talking, having a normal conversation. We discussed how expensive everything is and his generation has it harder than mine did because real estate, cars, and groceries were never as expensive as now; but with my generation, salaries reflected the times. My generation was able to afford to buy a house or condo in their 30s and not live hand to mouth. These days, two incomes are needed, and salaries aren’t rising to comparable to what they were. You pay more for less.

Kelly (not the real name of his girlfriend) is a data analyst. I don’t know what her salary is, but my son told me that to earn more money, Kelly took on a part-time job. He said a “side hustle,” explaining that everyone does it to earn extra money. I understood what he was saying and told him I thought it was a good idea to start building now a nest egg for later. The normal follow up question is, “What’s the job?”

My son said that Kelly is putting out ASMR videos on the Internet and has almost 500,000 views or followers. I’m not really sure exactly what. He told me that because she has so many followers, she’s getting sponsors. It’s all too much. I know what ASMR is. In case you don’t, I looked the definition up on your friend Google (I pay attention to what you write), so I don’t get it wrong. ASMR is Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response, a term used to describe a tingling, static-like, or goosebumps sensation in response to specific triggering audio or visual stimuli. Just by hearing certain sounds can have people reacting a certain way. There’s a market out there for it. I looked; there are lots of people (or maybe its channels) who do it. I think the point is for people to calm down or get into a Zen state when hearing the sounds. Some of Kelly’s videos are her whispering words of a poem or story. In another, she drums her fingers, and there’s one that has her tearing up paper slowly. The videos don’t show Kelly’s face, just her hands and what she’s doing, and of course her voice.

Goldy, I consider myself a fun and with-it mother. I don’t smother my son. He’s an only child. I learned to balance checking in on him versus pestering him. He’s a good son. He calls or texts a few times a week to check in on me. We see each other every couple of weeks, whether it’s in one of our homes or we go out to eat. I never ask him about his dating life, and only listen when he brings it up. I don’t know what to say about this, because I know that not everyone who clicks on the videos needs to relax. They may be using it for other reasons. I brought that up, and my son said he didn’t care what was done with the video because Kelly wasn’t doing anything illicit or immoral and she’s getting paid for it.

After my son left, I took out my laptop. How much money could she be earning from putting out these videos? Is it really worth it? This may be a way to make a quick, easy dollar, but what if it comes back to bite her in the future? Yes, I’m looking out for my son and Kelly, but also for myself. I’m wondering what you think.




Thank you for your email, Janet.

I actually do know what ASMR is, and yes, the videos are very popular now. People watch for different reasons, and yes, many are made for the purpose of calming down and relaxing them. But just like with everything else, you get a few bad apples that take something that’s made for innocent, honest, and good reasons and they pervert it, making it into anything but what it was intended for in the first place.

I’m also very familiar with the side hustle. More and more people are taking on second jobs in order to make enough to get by or to cushion their “nest egg” for the future. Whatever the reason, it’s becoming necessary. I don’t have to remind you of the cost of houses in frum neighborhoods. But besides that, look at the price of gas, groceries, etc., and we have yeshivah tuition to think of, as well. Salaries are not rising as in the past, to keep up with the price of living. In fact, many people are losing their jobs or having their hours cut. The annual raise that employers [sometimes] give to employees across the board is 1-3%, and that’s to help with the “cost of daily living.” Help? You can’t buy a pizza pie with the amount that adds to your paycheck. Unless you are making well into the six figures for a salary, or have a spouse who works whose paycheck significantly helps out, then everyone is not living the American dream that was spoken about in earlier decades.

Janet, if you are the hip, happening mom you claim to be, then you should understand all this. However, Kelly chooses to earn extra money, and it is her decision to make. She is not your daughter-in-law (yet). You have no say over what she does or doesn’t do. Your son doesn’t seem to be bothered by Kelly’s videos. Are you afraid ladies in your Mahjong group will happen upon one of her videos or it may come up in conversation as tiles are passed? “One bam, two crack... Hey, Janet, what does your son’s girlfriend do? And is that her only job or does she have another?” If the topic of “What do your children do for a living?” comes up, you can say as much or as little as you want. And what if a friend clicks on Kelly’s video? It may mean your friend is in need of whatever help the video provides, which is nothing to be embarrassed about. But the chance of coming across Kelly’s video, with all the thousands of others out there, is slim to none.

Kelly is earning extra money doing something from the comfort of her own home that doesn’t require too much of her time, may help people (it pays well enough), and is legal. Don’t try to pervert that or what others may think of it. A hip, happening, fun mom wouldn’t care what others thought of them or their children; they don’t compare themselves to the Joneses, or worry about what neighbors whisper about; they live life as they want. I’m sure Kelly thought about what putting out these videos may or may not lead to, later in life. Nowadays, with employers roaming social media and firing employees for what they post on their “stories” because it “violates the ethical and moral code of the company” is an everyday occurrence. Stop worrying about something out of your control. Kelly has enough seichel to realize that she needs a side hustle to help her now or in the future. She’s thinking ahead. While I wouldn’t record an ASMR video (although now that I think about it...) for extra money, the idea appealed to Kelly. She’s reaching her goals through an honest but maybe unconventional way. There are a number of other ways to earn extra money that people may not want to brag to others about. The best part about this – it’s all legal. Let it be.

Hatzlachah to you all.

Goldy Krantz  is an LMSW and a lifelong Queens resident, guest lecturer, and author of the shidduch dating book, The Best of My Worst and children’s book Where Has Zaidy Gone? She can be contacted at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.