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Everybody Loves Raymond, which aired on CBS from 1996 to 2005, followed the lives of Ray and Debra Barone as they navigated life with three kids and Ray’s overbearing family. While fans loved the realistic depiction of life inside a close-knit family, there was one element of the series that never seemed to make much sense.

Debra was overburdened, often angry, and terribly put out by Ray’s parents, but part of the problem seemed to be how she could never escape the Barones. Fans have often wondered why Debra never got a desk job as a way to avoid her irritating in-laws.

Debra seemed to resent her role as a stay-at-home mom

Actors Ray Romano and Patricia Heaton during filming a scene during the television show 'Everybody Loves Raymond', January 7, 2005 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Getty Images/Bob Riha, Jr.
Actors Ray Romano and Patricia Heaton during ‘Everybody Loves Raymond’ | Getty Images/Bob Riha, Jr.

Debra’s decision to stay at home never sat well with fans because, at the end of the day, her personality didn’t seem well-suited to life as a domestic goddess. Patricia Heaton has noted that she likely would have played the role of Debra much differently today than she played it 15 years ago.

In the series, Heaton gave Debra a sarcastic, bitter spin. If given the opportunity to do it all over again, Heaton has said she’d soften Debra’s response a bit.

Fans seemed to zero in on the fact that Debra would have likely been happier if she had some reprieve from her hapless husband and his overly involved family. Going into an office on a daily basis probably would have given her the space she needed.  Staying at home seemed to wear on Debra, especially as she was forced to dodge Marie’s daily verbal assaults.

Debra actually had the perfect setup to return to work

While many families make the decision to keep one parent at home to offset childcare costs, it doesn’t seem like that would have been a problem for Raymond and Debra. Marie and Frank Barone lived just across the street and spent a painful amount of time hangout out at Debra and Ray’s house.  

Marie would have been more than happy to cover any gaps in childcare had Debra chosen to return to work, fans theorize. Based on a flashback episode, it sounds like, perhaps, that’s what Debra had once intended to do.

In season 1 of the series, it is revealed that it was Debra’s idea to move in across the street from Frank and Marie when she was pregnant with the couple’s twins, Michael and Jeffrey. One of the major selling points of the home was its proximity to Marie and Frank.

Debra noted that having them close would be nice, as they could help with the kids. If that was a significant selling point, one has to wonder why Debra never bothered to utilize their help to return to the professional world. She did have one failed attempt to take on a part-time job, so the interest was there.

Debra and Ray would have needed a second income to survive financially

Aside from the fact that Debra seemed to enjoy working, based on flashback episodes, the couple actually would have needed Debra to work to make their finances work. Ray, as a sportswriter, would have earned around $60,000 per year. The family’s home was valued at around $500,000. Considering the duo was carrying a mortgage and caring for three kids, they literally needed Debra to bring in a paycheck.

Prior to marrying Ray, Debra worked in public relations for the New York Rangers, a professional hockey team. According to Glassdoor, a public relations specialist would have earned around $50,000 per year during the years the series was on the air. Adding a $50,000 salary to Ray’s writing paycheck would have made their budget a lot more realistic.