Slow Motion Moms

Slow Motion Moms

“I don’t know how I’m going to survive 10 days without my microwave…” I said as I passed it over at the repair center yesterday morning.

The woman shrugged the kind of contemptuous shrug I might have doled out to a midwife complaining about her own stubbed toe fifteen minutes after delivering my baby.

“I seen worse than this, geveret, a lot worse!” was the silent message she sent me when she finally looked up at me with her tired waiting-for-retirement eyes.

“But you don’t understand, this is an emergency! I HAVE CHILDREN!” I wanted to plead…

10 days. 10 days of having to spend 5 or even 10 minutes heating up food for my family in a frying pan or the oven. No more 45 second nuke of spiral pasta with sauce for my three year old, or 15-second nuke of the rice from the fridge to take off the chill for my baby.

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There were differing opinions on the internet regarding putting running shoes in the dryer, ranging between “DON’T DO IT!” and “No problem, go right ahead.”

So when Hallel came home last week from a week-long camping trip with a pair of water-logged, sewer-stinky shoes to show for it, I popped them in the washing machine and then into the dryer.

And at first I paid no attention to the groaning, 4-by-4 stuck-in-mud sounds emanating from my dryer. “Must be the sound of running shoes getting tossed around…” I thought. But after about 20 minutes, I went to investigate that all was well….But all was not.

The dryer was heating up but not spinning the clothing around, so it was just a hot, wet, clumped-together mound.

OH NO! I’m a busy woman– with a blog and kids and lots of stuff to do–and dry!
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Yesterday I was heating up lunch for kids– our summer-vacation usual, spirally pastas with sauce from the fridge. So I got out the frying pan, and heated it up.

I realized it actually wasn’t so bad, not bad at all, to have to wait 5 minutes instead of 45 seconds.

And then I took the wet laundry out of the washing machine, and hung it up outside. I didn’t rush. Just slowly, methodically hung up shirt by shirt and skirt by skirt.

It actually wasn’t so bad, not bad at all, to have to spend 5 minutes instead of 45 seconds to dry the laundry.

And the weird thing was that it actually felt good to do things slower. It felt meditative, relaxing, prayerful even, to savor this chore–no, chesed for my family, like the final piece of chocolate in the package.
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Yesterday, an old and dear friend named Alyson sent me an Email with the subject line “She’s singing your anthem!:)” with a link to the article “On Momotony and Sacred Work” by fellow mommy blogger Glennon Melton.

Yep, my friend knows me well…Here’s an excerpt from this wonderful and TRUE article that I have JewishMOMified:

“[I work as a writer] but the other part of my work is the work I do as a mother and that work sometimes makes me feel isolated and lonely. A mother’s work is the application of a thousand unnecessary Band-Aids and the sweeping and re-sweeping of the same kitchen floor. The folding and creating of little laundry piles. The refereeing, and car-pooling, and dinner-burning, and constant cheering on the sidelines at soccer games.

“Being a mother is a little like Groundhog’s Day. It’s getting out of bed and doing the exact same things again, and again, and yet again — and it’s watching it all get undone again, and again, and yet again. It’s humbling, monotonous, mind-numbing, and solitary.

“It’s a [rebbetzin’s] work. Mothers are like [rebbetzins.]…We serve others. We nurse the sick. We feed the hungry and comfort the sad. We sing. We teach. We pray… The work of a mother is repetitive. We fold the clothes, we wash the bowls, and we sing the same song and read the same bedtime story night after night.

“But that work is our prayer. We express our love through [acts of kindness to others,] so that [acts of kindness to others] become a spiritual discipline. As mothers, we devote our lives to love and ask for nothing in return but peace and joy for our children.

“So, mothers, the next time someone asks, “What did you do today?” Please take the time to answer accurately. You did not “clean the bathroom.” This response would be like Annie Leibovitz saying, “Oh, I stood around and pushed some buttons.” No. Today you did the holy work of raising human beings. With each word spoken or unspoken, with each offering of forgiveness, you show your children what it means to be brave and kind. The mundane becomes holy, the ordinary extraordinary…

“So moms, the next time you feel lonely in the work of motherhood, remember, we are all in this together. Together, we are doing something beautiful: the sacred work of shaping humans and creating the future.”
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Breathe deep. Hashem is in your laundry pile. Hashem is in your kitchen sink. Hashem is in your child’s summer knees and spaghetti-sauce hands. Feel Him inside you and all around you.

Just move your foot from the gas to the brakes.

And look around.

And notice.

photo credit: Fabio Trifoni via photopin cc

Related posts:

The Chanukah Story According to a 3-Year-Old (Funny 5-Minute Video)
Dear Rebbetzin Heller: Am I Allowed to Be a Happy Older Single?
The Lubavitcher Rebbe: A Mother's Exalted Mission

9 comments

  1. Just say Baruch Hashem! it’s so much healthier to live without a microwave and better for your electric bill without a dryer!

  2. Hadassah

    I used to enjoy hanging clothes on the line for my mom. They come in smelling fresh from the outdoor air. And if the kid has to wait five minutes for food they also learn patience. Hopefully, they don’t whine and cry while waiting. love your articles. Rejoice in your everyday – busy/repetitive routine. We don’t want the kind of excitement and stress that comes from illness, tragedies, or death chas v’sholom. Good Shabbos

  3. Beautifully written and expressed. But I can’t help but pine for the old days when extended family did these things together…can you imagine bringing your clothes to the river with your sisters, the kids playing in the water, and you all chatting and laughing and cleaning… While I am so grateful for modern medicine and conveniences, sometimes I feel like we are shut up in our own houses with appliances that give us but the illusion of freedom.

    • I completely agree–I remember as a child watching in awe as my grandmother and aunts would all work in the kitchen together, cooking for family events and get-togethers. It made everything go faster and smoother, like an assembly line with pleasant conversation. A far cry from standing alone in your kitchen chopping onions…

  4. Taking Her Time Sweet

    by Bracha Goetz

    She is moving slowly
    deliberately.
    She is not going to go fast.
    Maybe because she once did
    too much,
    too quickly,
    She spreads the butter
    smoothly on the bread
    now,
    savoring
    their little joys and her great big ones.
    She rinses
    off their plates,
    humming a tune they love.
    The minutes are so happy, they
    do not want to move either.

    • JewishMom

      pretty amazing, bracha, how you have written a poem to go with almost every post I write!!!

  5. We haven’t used a microwave for years. Who knows what it really does, scrambling up all your food and changing the molecules? Convection ovens are much better and safer.

    Nofyah

  6. Great post, especially for the summertime where things seem to move so slowly. BTW Nofyah, all cooking changes the molecules of food. Why do you think an egg turns from solid to liquid when it fries? Because its proteins denature ie: its molecules change.

  7. I so relate to this. It’s true when our conveniences break down and we need to so things the old way, at first we panic about the time. But we get through it and realize we can cope quite well.
    That’s the real gift: the breakdowns give us the opportunity to see that we can cope.
    But truthfully Im always thrilled to get my “toys” back in tip top shape and time saving working order. The shorter the time it takes to “learn to cope”, the better!!

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