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Dear Dr. Respler,

This Pesach was very challenging for me. I ended up spending the entire Yom Tov in the kitchen or cleaning up. I worked nonstop as Chol HaMoed was Shabbos and I had to prepare so many meals. I think it was ten Yom Tov and Shabbos meals and then feeding my children and grandchildren on Chol HaMoed as well. I had a very challenging Yom Tov with children in-law, children, and grandchildren. I spoke to my friend who handled Pesach so much more effectively by delegating tasks to all her children and grandchildren. She did this early by setting up a cute chat with her children figuring out who should do what and by doing this everything was delegated early on. She was not so exhausted on Pesach and she made sure that everyone left every table clean. Please address this issue as I think by delegating responsibilities to your family everyone will enjoy Pesach and other Yomim Tovim and Shabbosim as well.




Dear Anonymous,

I appreciate your letter and I think your friend’s idea of delegating is really important. Everyone will feel more involved if they get assignments about what to do. We should all try to give tasks that people are good at doing and then compliment them for what they do. You may see creative ideas and presentations and delicious food as well as new ideas which everyone will enjoy.

You will ultimately work less hard if your children and grandchildren are involved. Complimenting them for helping you will also build their self-esteem. Additionally, they will learn how to deal more effectively with their own children if you delegate tasks to your children and demonstrate appreciation. You are, in essence, teaching them two skills. Sometimes cooking for Pesach is hard because they don’t turn over their kitchens, but I’ve had friends tell me that their married children come to their house and they all take turns cooking things or all cook together. If this is not something that one of the children can do, maybe they can do something else that would be helpful to you like buy all the paper goods or do some of the grocery shopping (even if you’re helping with the cost, they can do the work), or organize the menu. Of course our young married children are all busy, but hosting everyone does not always have to be an overwhelming disaster. Try to find a way to make it work for you to have everyone.

It is also important to make boundaries. Perhaps meal times will help (you can have one of the kids print a cute schedule) and/or ensuring you have down-time/nap-time daily without interruption. Everyone is different and has different needs, but it is imperative that you take care of your main needs, so you do not feel resentful or overwhelmed. If you make certain boundaries (e.g., everyone has to help clean the table before leaving, so you don’t get stuck cleaning by yourself, everyone must eat by the table so there are not crumbs everywhere, all the children need to clean up the toys before taking out new ones, etc.), it will help you maintain some sort of order and calm. If this is not possible for you, you can choose to split the Yom Tov amongst the children or take them away with you, but it is important to make boundaries and delegate responsibilities in general so you can enjoy. your children and grandchildren. Hatzlacha with this endeavor and may you be zoche to enjoy your children and grandchildren for many years to come!

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Dr. Yael Respler is a psychotherapist in private practice who provides marital, dating and family counseling. Dr. Respler also deals with problems relating to marital intimacy. Letters may be emailed to [email protected]. To schedule an appointment, please call 917-751-4887. Dr. Orit Respler-Herman, a child psychologist, co-authors this column and is now in private practice providing complete pychological evaluations as well as child and adolescent therapy. She can be reached at 917-679-1612. Previous columns can be viewed at and archives of Dr. Respler’s radio shows can be found at