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
How can these lovely girls get job satisfaction in their new
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
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
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
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.