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Chronicles Of Crises In Our Communities – 6/30/06

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Dear Rachel,

It seems I chose the wrong profession. Frum, young women don’t really do what I do anymore. I am an anomaly in my field and I’m lonely. I’m a stay-at-home mother.

What are we doing to our children? I see them everywhere – Russian, Spanish, black, non-Jewish babysitters – taking care of our little ones. I take my baby to the park, to the library, to lunch, to the learning center, and I am alone. Oh, the parks are packed with Jewish children, but no Jewish mothers. And when I finally do see a frum mother with a carriage, I pounce on her. Who are you? Where are you from?

You – mother of young children reading this – who leaves your precious children with babysitters while you are out all day – be it for work, the gym, lunch, the beauty salon, to shop – shame on you for not recognizing that Hashem has given you an unimaginable gift that you are too selfish or foolish to appreciate.

I’ve heard all the excuses and they are all pathetic: “My husband learns and I support the family.” You, who travel from Lakewood to Brooklyn and back again and sometimes don’t see your children at all until the weekend (which you sleep through due to exhaustion), call on any Gadol you want – go ahead and I dare you to do it right now – and ask him if your husband’s limud Torah is worth the sacrifice of chinuch habanim. He will say NO.

“We need two incomes to live on.” So do I. I work part time and have a sweet Russian babysitter who stays with my baby for three hours a day. I work from home, too, after the baby goes to sleep. Part-time work, even if you don’t need it, is a great way to get out a little. I understand that mothers need a break. And if part-time work is not enough, then beg. Borrow. Move to a community with a lower standard of living. Do whatever you have to do. Personally? I would sell the shoes off my feet before I’d let a stranger kiss my precious little neshamala good night.

“I have too many kids, too close together.” I’m not even going there. If you were too stupid to figure out the ABC’s of birth control, you’re probably too stupid to raise your own kids. Maybe they are better off with the babysitter.

“I love my kids, but it’s been my lifetime dream to be a lawyer, doctor.” Your baby needs a mommy. Not a babysitter, not a grandma, not even a daddy. A mommy. You made a lifetime commitment to that child the moment it was conceived, and it’s your duty to fulfill it. Don’t say you can be both – because you can’t. If you are a lawyer or a doctor and you work full time, then you are not a mother. Simple. True. Either wait until your children are in school – or don’t have kids.

How do you all live with yourselves – knowing that while you are out working or shopping or primping, your son took his first step and you weren’t there to hug him? That while you were away getting your “me time” your daughter splashed all the water out of her tub and giggled her head off nonstop for 10 minutes straight?

Believe it or not, it is you who is missing out. There is no joy that compares to the joy of loving your children. No job will ever come close. My daughter learned how to stand today. I came to her crib this morning and found her standing up for the first time, holding on to the bars and grinning her chubby little face off. That grin went straight to my heart. It will probably stay there about a year.

I went through some infertility problems before my daughter was born, and through my experience I met some extraordinary women. One with nine failed IVF cycles another with eight miscarriages. Every one of these women would happily sell themselves as maids if they could only know the joy of having children. And believe me, when they do, they won’t be dumping them off on non-Jews to raise.

People say not to judge. I say, JUDGE!! Let’s walk into the homes and schools of our communities and pull out these mothers and judge them – for the misguided, foolish, undeserving women that they are. Why is the teenage-at-risk population growing? Why are our children growing up and turning to drugs? Have you ever asked them? I have. And many say – because I needed my mommy. And she wasn’t there.

She wasn’t there.

Are you?

A Mother

Dear Mother,

You’ve laid out a most compelling argument against the working / absentee mom, with a delivery worthy of the most reputable prosecuting attorney this side of the planet. For sure, mothers who leave their tots in the endless care of others in order to freely traipse a self-serving agenda are deserving of your tongue-lashing, and more.

However, to be fair, one cannot judge another without walking in her shoes. If a break of several hours will help restore the equilibrium of the overworked high-strung mom, her child(ren) would likely benefit, rather than suffer, from such temporary separation.

To be fair, a woman who undertakes the support of her family while her man learns (be it Torah or trade – for limited duration) has every right to her choice. Who’s to say that this arrangement won’t serve them all for the better in the long run

To be fair, your own sense of gratitude has been appreciably heightened by the ordeal you had undergone before your desire to have a child came to fruition.

That a babysitter should be chosen with utmost care and evaluation goes without saying.

Hatzlacha and much nachas to Yiddishe mammas all over the globe!

About the Author: We encourage women and men of all ages to send in their personal stories via email to rachel@jewishpress.com or by mail to Rachel/Chronicles, c/o The Jewish Press, 4915 16th Ave., Brooklyn, N.Y. 11204. If you wish to make a contribution and help agunot, your tax-deductible donation should be sent to The Jewish Press Foundation. Please make sure to specify that it is to help agunot, as the foundation supports many worthwhile causes.


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