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Mar 27 2014

Being a Marine Wife Feels Like a Throw Back to the 1950s–But It Works

By at 11:58 am

marine-wife

Talking to one of my fellow Jewish Marine Corps wives recently, I realized we became wives and mothers in a different culture than our civilian peers. The norms in our social groups are to stay home with our children and to support our husbands’ careers. Sometimes it seems we are more like 1950′s housewives than liberal 30-something moms.

This is not to say we lack the education, resources, or drive to work outside of our homes. Almost all of the Marine wives I know have college educations and husbands who view them as equals. Most of us expected to have our own successful careers right along side of our Marines. What we didn’t expect were the demands that a military career would have on our families and on us.

Just the moving alone makes finishing a degree program or starting a career more challenging. I married my Hillel sweetheart right out of college and proceeded to move four times in less than three years. Read the rest of this entry →

Mar 3 2014

Ten Tricks for Staying Sane as a Stay at Home Mom

By at 2:12 pm

thrift-store

I am a stay at home mom. And holy crap do I love it. I mean, wow! FOUR human beings call me mom! I am blessed, lucky, honored. In total mothering bliss! But, as being a SAHM seems to be an increasing rarity in my circle of friends, I often get asked how I manage to keep from feeling bored.

Can I tell you something? As much as I love these kids of mine, and as much as I cherish every hair on their beautiful little heads, sometimes, yes, I get a little bored. And sometimes I even start feeling like my whole identity has been consumed by my role as mother. Read the rest of this entry →

Feb 21 2014

Not to be Cliche, But Raising a Child Really Does “Take a Village”

By at 10:35 am

day-care

This post is part of our Torah commentary series. This Shabbat we read Parashat Vayahkel. To read a summary of the portion and learn more, click here.

I was recently hanging out with a mama friend who’s been staying home with her toddler. She’s starting to look for day care, to her own surprise. As she put it: “Before I had kids, I thought, why even have kids if you’re going to give them to someone else to raise them? And now I’m like, oh yeah–he needs to do his thing and I need to do my thing and then we’re both happy to see each other in the afternoon.”

I didn’t think I expected myself to be a full-time mom. Although my mom stayed home to raise me and my two sisters, we were taught we could do anything boys could do. Which by implication means we could grow up to be a parent and still continue our careers, right? Just like our dad. Read the rest of this entry →

Feb 17 2014

I Got Laid Off During My Maternity Leave

By at 5:03 pm

When you get laid off during your maternity leave

I used to fumble my words when someone asked me what I do for a living. Having a baby and being laid off while on maternity leave will do that to you.

My self worth bailed right along with my sanity. I was set to return to work 12 weeks postpartum as a counselor working with patients and families dealing with a terminal illness. I loved my job. As depressing as the population I worked with sounds, it was one of the most humbling and gratifying jobs I have ever held. Then, about four weeks into my maternity leave, I received notice that the company I worked for was restructuring and I was out.

The true story is that they tried to get me to quit so that I would not be eligible for unemployment. I held my own and finally got a statement from the new COO (who I never met as she started while I was out), conceding to the fact that they were indeed laying me off. I could have been over the moon to be laid off while on maternity leave, approved for unemployment, but instead I found myself deflated and defeated. Read the rest of this entry →

Nov 6 2013

I’m the One Who’s Ruined Facebook with All These Pictures of My Kid

By at 10:07 am

camera

It took me a long time to admit it, but I’m the person everyone has been talking about. I’m the person who uses Facebook as a world-wide picture sharing site, a 21st century baby brag book. It’s me; I’ve “ruined” Facebook for the cool kids.

I wasn’t always this type of person. In fact, before I turned into me, I used to hate people like me. You know the people I’m talking about: the kind of people who post funny things their kids say (or things they think are funny), share anecdotes from playdates, or statistics from doctors’ visits; the kind of people who (gasp) use their kids as their profile picture. You’re not your child, I would silently fume as I would see yet another one of my friends fall victim to the rampant child-picture-appropriation on Facebook. Your child is not your identity! Your role as a parent doesn’t solely define you! I would swear that I would be different–I would still be ME (as signified by the oh-so-telling Facebook Profile Picture). And yet, as soon as my baby was born and was big enough to wear a hat with ears–bam, he was my profile picture. I mean, come on, how could I resist? He was wearing a hat. With ears!

So how, after consciously trying not to, did I turn into this person? Read the rest of this entry →

Aug 6 2013

I’ve Got a Bad Case of Mommy Cabin Fever

By at 1:51 pm

baby about to cry in car seatMy intention after my daughter was born was to return to work four months later. My employer, however, had other plans and let me go while on maternity leave (citing downsizing…which yes, is apparently legal).

I never thought I wanted to be a stay-at-home mom. Somewhere in the back of my head, I kept seeing the stay-at-home mom painted as an uninspired lady who ate bonbons all day. (I have never actually seen anyone eat a bonbon no less multiple bonbons.) You’re home with a baby who can’t walk or talk…what could you possibly be doing all day?

But now, eight months into it, I realize my job is getting a crazy, irrational human to eat, sleep, and not sit in her own excrement for prolonged periods of time… all while distracting her when she cries by being a complete doofus, singing or dancing, plus trying to teach her “no,” (while allowing her to explore her environment) to be gentle, wave, the difference between a red ball and a liger, balance, and to understand the English language. And when she naps, there are clothes to be laundered, fruits and veggies to be steamed and pureed, preschools to be researched, and writing that attempts to get done. I quickly learned that this is the hardest (and most rewarding) job I’ve ever had.

And I never realized just how much time I would spend literally staying within my home.  Read the rest of this entry →

Aug 1 2013

Life as a Summertime Stay-at-Home Mom

By at 11:53 am

stay at home summertime momBeing a teacher is one of those jobs that is SUPER-challenging from September to May, and then SUPER-easy from June through August–because having the summer off is a huge perk! In the past, I haven’t been the biggest fan of this unpaid vacation, because I like to keep busy and this two and a half month break tends to lag after the first few weeks. In the past, I’ve taught summer school or gotten a summer job doing something full time, anything I could do to make money during the break.

However, this is my first summer off being a mommy; it’s super-busy, super-fun, and it’s a whole new world! Read the rest of this entry →

Apr 5 2013

When a Working Mom Spends 10 Days with Her Kids

By at 11:56 am

hotel signI recently returned from spending Passover at a beautiful hotel in California with my two kids. One of the great perks of being married to a musician (and don’t throw a virtual shoe at me; there are negatives to being a wife in music life, too) is that so far, I get to go away for Passover, and thus bypass all the meticulous cleaning, multi-meal cooking, and various other daunting tasks that the holiday entails.

Now, I had realized that once we returned home,  if we wanted to eat, we’d have to actually cook something ourselves; there would be no lavish tea room to quell hunger pangs between meals and I correctly anticipated seven loads of laundry (my baby likes to spit up on a brand-new dress approximately three seconds after I change her into it). Read the rest of this entry →

Feb 5 2013

My Children Think I’m “Daddy’s Helper”

By at 9:39 am

scrubbing the toiletI, the cool and interesting mama, have been demoted. By my kids.

Exhibit A

Unnamed child, age 9, invited me to participate in Career Day at school. Then uninvited me because “Daddy works for Crayola and you just stay at home now. I don’t think the kids at school will find you very interesting.”

For those who don’t know, I was a pulpit rabbi for 12 years before off-ramping to stay at home full-time to do a better job of caring for our kids, one of whom has autism. A difficult decision at the time and many days since. Read the rest of this entry →

Jan 23 2013

Embracing My Inner Old Lady

By at 12:06 pm

My friends like to tease me that I act like an “old lady.”

I go to sleep by 10 p.m., wake up with the crack of dawn, and love naps. My skirts have elastic bands and I refuse to wear anything that isn’t comfortable. I don’t like to clutter my days with too many activities. For instance if I have a doctors appointment, and I have carpool, I will tell my friend that I can’t meet her for coffee, because my day is filled up. I hate surprises and repeatedly remind my husband never ever to make me a surprise party.

For that matter, I don’t much like regular parties either–for myself or others. I get nervous when something unplanned crops up (I know, I am a mother of four and it happens all the time, but I still don’t like it). Read the rest of this entry →

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