Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

2 Av 5763 - July 31, 2003 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly









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Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network











Home and Family

Mothers of Today
by A. Ross, M.Ed.

I have listened to many complaints and grumbles from young mothers with large families. In our society, all little girls grow up with the expectation of getting married and having children of their own. Moreover, in the closer society, the girls expect to marry a man who will `sit and learn.'

Many do not realize what `sitting and learning' entails. They do not understand that this is often a sixteen or eighteen- hour day where the young man has to snatch half an hour's sleep in the afternoon to recharge his batteries for the next stint, that he cannot have many nights of interrupted sleep because he will not be able to function at his job the next day. Many of these young men are criticized for not lending a hand in the house and not taking a turn each afternoon to look after the children for an hour so that their wives can sleep. That is not part of the deal when marrying a man who `sits and learns.' If he does his job faithfully, people should in no way expect him to interrupt his learning.

Nobody told these idealistic young girls that getting married would get increasingly more demanding for the next fifteen years or more. Nor did the girls begin to conceive that it was often a lonely job with little voiced appreciation from any boss. If they are working mothers, they are tired by the time they come home and have picked up the children from the baby-sitter or nursery.

No wonder they are in bad sorts at the end of the long-tiring day. Moreover, they frequently feel guilty, inadequate and/or that they are bad mothers. In this frame of mind, they do not always make good companions during the short half hour when their husband is home for his evening meal.

There are mothers who feel they are simply wasting time when they take their children to the park. So much work to do at home, yet they have to sit there `doing nothing.' If it is a rainy day, or as in some countries, too hot to go out, they have to sit with the babies every afternoon, cutting, drawing, pasting, playing boring baby games. How dull can life get?

How can these lovely girls get job satisfaction in their new life?

Many admit that they do not mind doing the laundry, cleaning, cooking or washing sinkfuls of dishes. This is really their own time. Nobody is asking them questions or making demands on them. They can listen to tapes, speak on the phone without being interrupted, completely organizing their time as they wish. It is looking after their children which seems to drain them and leave them feeling pent up. Is there a solution to their problems?


Women must know that they have been blessed with a gift, or several, from the One Above. If they would give it a moment's thought when they are feeling unhappy, they would agree immediately how well off they were. How would they feel if they had no children?!

Second, they are not `doing nothing' or wasting time when they are out in the park or playing games with their children. They are doing a wonderful task in educating their children.

If they find that taking children to the park is a chore, they should do it less often. However, who says life has to be one long unending period of enjoyment? At school, does every single child enjoy every single subject? Even in an excellent job, there may be things which bother a person and which are not to his liking. The thing to do is to get on with the job.

For women who feel that they are mentally in the abyss, that they have no companions their own age, going to the park with a friend and her children can be a solution. They may meet other friends, too, while the children amuse themselves and each other. The mothers are there if they need to intervene, yet they do have an opportunity for some adult conversation. It might be an idea to pool the children of two families for one afternoon or even two afternoons a week, so that one of the mothers can have that day off. This can also have side benefits, as mothers see that other women have their problems, too.

A woman does not have to feel guilty if she sometimes wishes she could run away and leave it all. Nor does she need to have pangs of conscience if she feels impatient with the children occasionally. She has to recognize the fact that she is normal and that many other women feel the same way. This will make it easier for her to accept the fact that at this stage of her life, this is what she is meant to be doing, that she is doing the right thing.

Her life may be a series of dull, routine days, yet she would not want a break in the routine when a child is sick, G-d forbid, entailing regular hospital visits. If she counts her blessings and is determined to succeed in this `career,' she will get the help, strength and patience to succeed.

Above all, women should know and teach their children that it is a G-d-given privilege to educate the next generation.


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