Wanna be “Single Again?”
I laughed out loud when, while searching for birthday plates, I came across a party plate that read “Single Again!” with a cheerful ball and chain breaking in two.
I guess I laughed because it just seemed so ridiculous to be in a Jewish country and to see such ridiculously NOT Jewish plates for a “getting divorced” party. I can understand a person feeling relief or even joy about his or her exit from an awful marriage. But this plate seems to imply that marriage is a drag and single life as the ideal. YAY! I’m single again! No more ball and chain! No more being responsible to anybody but ME! Now I’m going to have some FUN!!!!
So when nobody was looking I snuck some “Single Again!” plates into my shopping cart. And for the last few days I’ve been thinking about those plates and the heavy-handed post I was going to write about this disastrous approach to marriage and singlehood vs. the healthier Jewish view.
But then I remembered the former CEO, and decided to take this post in a different direction.
For the past two years I’ve participated in a panel about motherhood and career at the women’s yeshiva where my husband teaches. And both years I have sat next to Edna, a religious mother of 5 children, AND the former CEO of a large company with hundreds of workers. Today Edna is a highly successful business woman, and she looks it.
So I was pretty surprised when Edna lamented the fact that between her full-time job, her children, and doing all of the cooking and cleaning, she doesn’t have a moment to herself. It turns out that Edna doesn’t have a cleaning lady or any help whatsoever in the house.
If there’s anybody who needs and can comfortably afford a cleaning lady etc. it’s Edna.
So why doesn’t she? Good question.
But don’t most of us do this?
I agree that motherhood and managing a home is hard work. But most of us insist on making it harder than it needs to be.
We are pregnant and exhausted, but instead of getting help in the afternoons with the kids, we suffer.
We are stretched to our limits with 3 children under the age of 4, but instead of buying a kugel we make one, and suffer.
We were up with a nursing baby in the middle of the night, but instead of resting while a cleaning lady cleans, we scrub our own toilets, and suffer.
Why don’t we take better care of ourselves? Why don’t we think that we deserve at least the same loving care and consideration as the family members we nurture with so much self-sacrifice?
Why do we abuse ourselves and ignore our needs to such an extent that we can’t help but secretly look longingly at the plate above and miss, G-d forbid, the good old days?