As December 31 nears, I’ve noticed an increase in year-end checklists circulating on social media. While I’m typically a sucker for a nostalgic look back at the year in review, I’ve found I have a hard time identifying with the lists I’ve seen so far. Most of these include items that are fairly aspirational (got a promotion! Climbed a mountain!), superficial (bought a new car!), or just not relatable for me in this season of my life (ran a marathon! Went on a dream vacation!).
So, I decided to make my own year-end checklist that focuses on the events, values and lifestyle of a busy, stressed, tired Jewish mom. There are a lot of things I didn’t accomplish this past year, but, looking back, there were some good things, too.
Being a parent can mean spending a lot of time in survival mode: just getting from one task to the next. Add in the pressures of being Jewish in this current moment, and things can seem even more fraught. However, even in these times of stress and seemingly endless schleps across town there are chances for joy, growth and everyday accomplishments. They may not be glamorous or life-changing, but they still matter.
This checklist goes out to everyone who feels like they are doing the bare minimum, and who needs a reminder that just doing their best while hanging on for dear life is OK, too.
If nothing else, I’d suggest making sure you do the last item on this checklist before 2024 rolls in.
Happy New Year!
In 2023 I:
__ Took my kid/s to temple services (or really meant to)
__ Bought a book by a Jewish author (bonus points for actually reading it)
__ Found lost kippahs in weird places
__ Prevented my kid(s) from de-bunking Santa for non-Jewish kids
__ Celebrated Shabbat at home at least once (drinking wine and binging on carbs while watching trash TV after the kids are in bed counts)
__ Had to google at least one Hebrew word
__ Did a mitzvah with my kid(s) (like, literally any mitzvah. Hang out in a sukkah over Sukkot? Eat matzah during Passover? Tell them not to gossip? Yell at them to “please stop hitting me?”)
__ Read a PJ library book
__ Pointed out all the Jewish actors/celebrities that graced our TV
__ Found a great hiding spot for the afikomen
__ Kept small fingers from being burned by Shabbat and/or Hanukkah candles
__ Talked about helping others in need (tzedakah)
__ Had a hard conversation with my kids about being Jewish in today’s world
__ Worried about my kids’ safety in Jewish spaces
__ Lit a Hanukkah menorah with the family
__ Hung out with Jewish friends
__ Shared at least one moment of Jewish joy
__ Looked in the mirror and told myself: I’m doing great