Nov 26, 2014

Then and Now 2

continued from previous post

When the frum world talks about the tremendous changes in our society, technology is usually the focus.  And cell phones and the Internet have certainly drastically changed our lives.  But the shift in life at home is not often discussed.  It is deemed too sensitive a subject.  Working mothers will feel bad. 
And yet, the reality hasn't changed from R' Weiss' description back in 2000 of unavailable mothers.    The yiras shomayim and emotional well-being of children being raised in frum homes today haven't improved since 2000.  As someone who attends Lakewood yeshiva said, there is an off the derech child in most homes in Lakewood.  Is this true? An exaggeration? I can't tell you.  But even if it's not accurate, it's prevalent enough to seem that way.
There was an impressive article a while ago in Mishpacha in which a woman related that she and her husband decided that one of them will always be available to their children.  It's a priority for them and they do what it takes to make it work.  Most people can't or won't live this way.

The word that is commonly used to describe today's mother is "juggling."  They juggle home and work and community commitments.  It is hard to see how we can go back to women's primary focus being the home, but then I read an article (Binah Jan. 2014) about a courageous woman who did just that. 

Financial security was important to her since she was a child.  She worked as a preschool teacher and supported the family.  Then her family grew and her husband left kollel to open a photography business.  It was a hard field to break into but between her steady income and his occasional jobs, they managed.  Financially.

But she faced the reality that although she was a superb teacher, she was a mediocre mother since she did not have the energy for own children after taking care of other people's children.  She just did the basics but no longer sang with them, read them books, or did craft projects with them.

This bothered her and she thought of quitting her job.  But she knew they needed her paycheck and could not manage on what her husband earned.  She asked other preschool teachers how they managed and found that some had more energy than she did, some had different parenting goals, and some confessed that they also felt guilty.

She ultimately decided to quit.  She knew they could always hire another teacher but her children had just one mother.  It was tremendously scary for her to let go of the financial security of her job but she was convinced she was doing the right thing. 

One week before school started, her husband received a terrific job offer from one of the most prestigious photographers in town with a salary that equaled their previous combined income.

It seems to illustrate the principle ( Gemara Makos 10b), ‘B’derech sh’adam rotzeh leilech buh, molichin oso’; the path that a person chooses to follow they bring him (and allow him) to go down that road. 

No comments:

Post a Comment