Here’s What I Don’t Do

Here’s What I Don’t Do

Lots of moms have already shared what they don’t do for the Anti-Superwoman Contest (deadline for submissions is Tuesday midnight EST).

And what about me? What do I not do?

Looking at the answers submitted, I could relate to most of them. There are so many things that I don’t do that it’s hard for me to even know where to start…

Over the last decade or so, I’ve made a concerted effort to whittle away at my life, so there’s almost no extras. Almost nothing left that’s not connected with my top priorities (thank you Rabbi Nivin!). And here they are:

1. Parenting/family/home
2. Learning/personal growth
3. Inspiring Jewish mothers through writing and speaking
4. Self-care
5. Learning to cope with challenges
6. Connecting with Hashem

And in general, I’m pretty good at not comparing myself with other moms, especially Supermoms. Keeping my eyes straight ahead at my ultimate values rather than comparing myself with mothers who are more accomplished than me spiritually, professionally, domestically, etc.

But there is one situation in which I find it nearly impossible to not look to the right and to the left.

My husband teaches Torah to young women, and at least once a year I am invited to participate in panels where he teaches. Generally, these panels are populated by Superwomen–who balance impressive, high-paying careers with innovative volunteer projects, rigorous Torah study, marathon running, and (by the way) mothering larger-than-average families.

In my regular day-to-day life I usually feel just fine about being an Anti-Superwoman. But by the time these panels are over, I am always in shambles.

The fact that I live a life dedicated to my ultimate values is suddenly insignificant–since I am not a CEO nor done a siyum on Shas nor run a marathon nor taken in juvenile delinquents as foster children.

And that’s why, if someone wants me to speak about my Anti-Superwoman life choices, I’d be happy to oblige. But on my own, please. Cause what I don’t do anymore is panels.

10 comments

  1. yes yes yes! i love the antisuperwomen

  2. Nechama Koren

    Good for you!!! I still think your a superwoman:)

  3. jenny this is pure yetser hara i cant believe in woman succeeding in everything!otherwise my life of only sahm would be completely meaningless has veshalom! and thats contrary to my avodat hashem because it arises ungratefulness and negativity. i dont think we can achieve real connection to our husband or to our children if we are always busy even in mind with many projects or with business or with daf yomi(what an idea daf yomi! it s even so difficult for a man to achieve it daily why would i put energy in that when so much energy iis needed for my family preparing shabbat and making my home function?)
    i think you should not go to these panels which reinforce the yetser hara and dim
    inish the connection to husband and kids..too much waste of energy

  4. and this is why i object to panels presenting “the life of a frum woman” to potential baalei teshuva. as a potential baal teshuva, i was also presented with such panels more than a few times.

    what the panel organizers seemed to miss in putting together these panels is figuring out “why” anyone would want to “give up” that high-powered high-profile lifestyle for one of endless sacrifices for religion.

    well, for this once-potential baal teshuva, all that high-powered glitzy stuff was missing something: a deep sense of fulfillment on a minute-by-minute, day-by-day, month-by-month basis. the minutes spent in davening, speaking to Hashem, the miriads of minutes devoted to buying/cooking/eating kosher, the ebb-and-flow of weeks that center around Shabbos, the months focused on taharat hamishpacha, the year swirling around the holy days, the years dedicated to growing and nurturing future generations in the time honored traditions of our holy matriarchs….

    so, being presented with UberAcheivers on a panel to convince me to take on more mitzvos would send me slinking back to my cave. The modern world is filled with superpeople, and us regular folk are suffering from major insecurity issues. we all want to know that we each can live a life of personal growth and achievements, not compared to others, but only to our own potential.

    after all, we must remember that famous story about the holy Reb Zushe of Anipoli. He said, “when I die and face the Beis Din shel Maalah, I am not worried if they will ask me why I wasn’t as great as Avraham Avinu, for I am not him. I don’t worry if they will ask me why I didn’t achieve what Moshe Rabbeinu accomplished, for I am not him. I am worried what will be when they ask me why I didn’t achieve what Reb Zushe should have accomplished…”

  5. One of the most important lessons I ever was taught (and am still trying to learn!): whenever you say yes to something, you say no to something else. Just today I said yes to creating a clean home and making a delicious healthy lunch for my family. And I said no to spending time with my baby who was hanging out with his granddad instead for the whole morning instead of having any attention from me. Maybe tomorrow I’ll say yes to playing with him all day and forget about the dishes. The Superwoman just doesn’t exist: saying yes to more pursuits, you say no to doing every single thing with more precision/being more relaxed/getting enough sleep etc.

    • brilliant advice. thank you keren

    • yasher koach for giving granddad quality time to bond with the baby. some of us grandparents are not zoche to spend any time with our grandkids, so I personally bless you and any other JewishMom that shares her children with the grandparents.

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