Monday, March 17, 2008

Mommy Duty

It's been a little while. I've been incredibly busy lately; it's got something to do with babysitting a toddler and an infant. A lot.

I assure you, my awe of full-time mothers has grown from this experience. So has my determination that I don't know if I could ever be one.

Maybe it's different when it's your own child and when I have children, G-d willing, I will want to stay home taking care of them all day. As of now, though, I really don't know if I have the right temperament. I was exhausted just from watching these kids for a few hours a day and it threw my schedule off because I wasn't used to:

a) Having to wake up so early
b) Having a hard time taking care of all my other responsibilities because I was so exhausted

I adore these kids, (and I'm not just saying that in case their parents read this blog - I really do,) and appreciated the time that I had with them, but it was not easy. I only had to do it for a few hours a day for a week and a half; I can't imagine doing it all day permanently.

That's not to say that I couldn't do it. I worked in a preschool for two years and, though it was excruciatingly hard work, really loved the kids and, (without sounding too egotistical,) know that did a pretty good job taking care of them. I also know that I took excellent care of the children in my charge over the past week and a half.

But it was so hard! How anyone could do that all day, I really don't know. At the same time, I do believe that if you're going to have kids, you'd better be ready and willing to do everything that you have to to take care of their best interests.

I just wonder whether it would really be in the best interest of my children for me to be a full-time mother. Isn't it possible that I would be a better mother if I wasn't completely exhausted all the time from taking care of a home and children?

I know that this isn't an opinion valued in the frum community, but could there be any validity in it?


  1. When it's your own children, it's different than taking care of someone else's because (1) you're doing so out of absolute love for them and (2) you get used to it and learn tricks for making it easier (or you just accept that you will always be exhausted and move on). I don't think there's anything wrong with working part-time when your kids are young. But the problem with your logic is that when you're a mother, you're always a full-time mother, even when you are at work. You wouldn't be any less exhausted!

  2. Okay, let me clarify. When I said, "full-time mother," I meant "stay-at-home-mother." You're absolutely right that all mothers are "full-time mothers."

    Are you really no less exhausted? If you have a job, hopefully that will help you to afford help, and can't that make a big difference? Here's a nice dream: having a full-time housekeeper. Just imagine; she could even help do all the hard work for the cooking (cleaning, cutting etc)...

    Wouldn't that be nice?

  3. That is a nice dream! :-)

    Unfortunately, it's not reality for most of the people I know. Yes, having a full-time housekeeper would dramatically change the equation. But after having to buy a house in an expensive neighborhood to be in a Jewish community and paying for day school tuition, that's not in the budget.

    And maybe I'm more exhausted because I'm having my cake and eating it too. I have my own business, which I work on when the kids are at school and after they go to bed at night so I don't have much down time. It's probably easier for those who can leave their work at the office. Wouldn't change a thing though - it's worth it to have the flexibility to be with the kids when they need me.

  4. Well, first of it, it's not permanent. It's only for the first couple years or so, and then your kid is in school most of the day.

    Second, if you didn't have so many other responsibilities, it might be easier. Read: If your only responsibility was the house and children.

    Now, I am a work-at-home mother, and it is pretty tough. But that is mostly because I need an outside schedule, because I am a chief procrastinator, and because working on the computer isn't too exciting. If my husband was earning enough money (one day, hopefully, he will - he is learning to be a rav right now, yes, in kollel, but it is temporary - then I will quit working and just take care of the house. We are both looking forward to that day.

    Also, it is kind of boring to be at home all day with a toddler, and not very stimulating. But, because I have to work, scheduling presents a problem. If I weren't working, I imagine I would be more willing to just go out, and find some mommy/toddler friends for us.