Yesterday my son wanted to make challah. My first thought was ‘what a wonderful idea!’. So after naptime he was ready to get started. With great enthusiasm my son helped carry all the ingredients to the table and was more than eager to begin pouring and mixing, ‘by myself’. He climbed up on a chair and was ready to go. We dissolved the yeast, added eggs, honey and salt and were ready to begin mixing in the flour. Upon setting up my gigantic 20 lb mixer I realized we were missing the actual mixer attachment. I vaguely recalled this being used as a toy recently and started to look in my son’s play kitchen, but there was no mixer to be seen. Ok, ‘let’s try the hand mixer’ I told my son. I pulled out my high-tech hand mixer, plugged it in and began to mix. As more flour went in, the mixer was working harder and harder until it got completely tangled up in all the dough and would no longer budge. I felt hopeless and thought this was the end of our challah baking escapade. But wait! I vaguely recall that dough used to be made without such electronics, you know, back in the shtetl era. So I rolled up my sleeves and dug in; kneading, pulling, punching. I got quite the upper body workout.(By this point my son lost interest and was busy conducting an elaborate game involving his stuffed animals and refrigerator magnets.)
While I’m standing there covered in flour head to toe, with my arms deep in dough, I realized there was perhaps something to glean from this seemingly frustrating dough making situation. Sometimes I find myself aiming so high and having high expectations. I want to be the best mother ever and the best wife ever. I want everyone to be happy with me, accomplish all my tasks and still have time to grow and work on myself. Some days I achieve it all and some days I don’t. But sometimes on those days that I am sapped of energy I am able to just focus on the tiny happy things, and people, in my life. I cannot fold another pile of laundry or make that important phone call, but I can get on the floor and play with the cutest little 3-year-old around.
The mixer may not work, in fact both mixers may not work, but then I go back to basics. I let go of the gadgets and somehow the dough does rise to produce beautiful challahs and rolls. Sometimes we need to just forget about all the fancy gadgets and multitasking goals we have, and then we will truly ‘rise to the occasion’.
For more about how to conduct your daily life in a meaningful way please check out Rebbetzin Tziporah Heller’s Q&A class on Naaleh.com in which she addresses a question from a woman about how to fill her day meaningfully:
Life is indeed a balancing act. Blessed with a wonderful family and career I oftentimes feel pulled in two- usually more like five- directions. My husband and I have a unique schedule right now while he is finishing up grad school. Two days a week he is the main care taker of our son and I am able to work from home, uninterrupted, during that time. The rest of week I’m mainly mommy, but always sneaking in work between nap time, the 2 mornings a week play group, and if I have any energy left in the evenings. Let’s not forget trying to maintain a tiny, but necessary, social like, plus shopping, cooking cleaning and having Shabbat guests. There is more but I don’t want to exhaust myself just thinking about all my various duties. But, like I said, all these things are a blessing (and having a very helpful husband makes everything much more manageable!). I am thrilled with this stage of life and am enjoying every minute.
But sometimes its hard to balance it all and prioritize. I always dreamed of being stay at home mom while my children were young, just like my mother did. It has been such a joy being home and seeing my son grow and witnessing every milestone. Somehow though I realized that my little part time job had somehow developed into an actual career. But I wanted to postpone this career thing until the kids were all in school! Now what? I love the work I do and I’m beginning to see the value of being a working mom- you truly learn to enjoy your time with your kids once you are done working for the day! And let’s not forgot how nice it is to be part of the bread winning team.
So now I’m working on striking a balance. Some weeks are easier than others, depending on the needs of work and home that week, and other weeks I’m not sure what I’m doing. The funny this is is that once I get used to the current situation I know everything will change again. So, I’m learning to be flexible and thank G-d its coming together. I’m learning how to multitask and make sure I’m taking care of me all at the same time. At the end of the day my family always takes precedence and I’m thankful that I have other outlets to keep my brain from turning to mommy mush.
I really enjoy listening to Rebbetzin Heller’s Q&A series on Naaleh.com where she discusses how, as women, we can Achieve a Balance in life. In this class she addresses a number of interesting questions from the Naaleh students, one question in particular about how woman connect to their role in the home:
Please check out this page discussion and share your thoughts!
This is a question many of us should be asking ourselves this time of year. As we approach Rosh Hashana let us take the time to reevaluate ourselves as parents.
Every Friday night, as I light Shabbat candles, I pray for the strengeth to be a good mother. To be calm, protective (but not too protective), and to act as a good role model are some goals I think of every week. And now, as we are gearing up for the new year, I am looking back on this past year and thinking of ways to improve.
Let’s ask ourselves:
Are we headed in the direction we want to be going? Could we be doing better?
I’m interested to hear your thoughts, so please share!
Welcome to my blog!
I hope to share with you from my life as a Jewish Mommy in the 21st century. Please share with me your thoughts and own experiences as well. It is my hope to use this venue as a place to work on my skills of mothering. Not only this, but I also hope to grow closer to Hashem, G-d, in the process. Through drawing on a variety of sources, especially from Rebbetzin Heller’s Chinuch series at Naaleh.com, I hope to improve myself and glean from the comments of others as we work together to perfect our parenting/chinuch skills. This blog is meant to be a discussion forum and I hope you share with me your thoughts and experiences.
May all our learning, discussing and growing be a merit for all of us to raise happy, healthy, spiritually connected, mitzvah doing children. And may this future generation help bring Moshiach and the final redemption and return to Eretz Yisrael!