You Will Never Guess What I Use as Mirror

You Will Never Guess What I Use as Mirror

A wise neighbor told me that you never really finish renovations. And now, 2 months after moving into our newly renovated home, I understand what she meant.

To this day, to flush our toilet, you need to put your hand inside a hole in the wall behind the toilet and pull up a green thingamajigger (for half a tank) or a white thingamajigger (for a full tank).

There’s no way to lock the downstairs bathroom, but 11-month-old Yonatan doesn’t mind in the least. He has adopted the bathroom as his official office and conducts regular office hours there chewing on rolls of toilet paper until eema evicts him and gives him slices of mushy pears instead.

Our walls are still bare; the boxes of pictures from our old house are still piled up in the corner of my bedroom covered by a furry green blanket. I hope those pictures will soon make their way from these boxes to the walls of our home. Hopefully before Yonatan’s bar mitzvah…

But what I miss most of all is having a mirror.

We do have one mirror, in our upstairs bathroom. But when I’m rushing out of the house, I don’t want to run up the stairs to make sure my hat’s on straight. So you know what I do?

I look at my reflection in the dark glass door of the microwave instead.

A few weeks ago, I attended a party which a neighbor made for her 17-year-old daughter who had finished reading the entire Bible.

The house was sparkling clean (forget about the microwave, I could have used her FLOOR as a mirror) and the table she set out was impressive: an artistic display of homemade rolls and soups, cheeses, and flower-shaped slices of fruit fanned out in an spiral design.

Right away, I started kicking myself. Would I have ever thought to make a party if my daughter finished reading the Bible? Probably not…And even if I had, I wouldn’t have been able to set up a table this beautiful, even if I tried! When was the last time I made homemade rolls? Like, NEVER!

When I complimented the mother on the beautiful table she had set up, she insisted up and down that it was nothing! And all she had done was buy some cheeses at the grocery store, and it had taken her only a few minutes to whip up the rolls and soups! And she “specializes in making things that are quick and easy look fancy…”

Yeah, right.

I left the party feeling so worthless. The other mother wasn’t only a superior cook and baalabusta to me. She was, my swirling mind realized, a superior mother as well! Just look what she had done for her daughter that I had never and could never do for mine…


This morning as usual, before I left the house, I checked myself out in the microwave. And truth is, I wasn’t so happy with what I saw.

My face was looking fuller and the flower on my hat was fraying and was that pimples on my forehead? I haven’t had pimples since high school. I am really falling apart.

Funny thing, though, was that when I took Yonatan to his babysitter, I checked out my reflection in the mirror in the entrance of her building, and my face looked just fine–no fuller than normal. My forehead pimple free. The flower on my hat is fraying a bit, but it’s nothing a few scissor snips can’t fix.

Mirror mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all?

Microwave, microwave on the shelf, who’s the best mom in the ganze velt?

What? Really?

I guess, if I want to know what I truly look like, it doesn’t make much sense to use the microwave as my mirror.


  1. I can totally relate. I use parked car windows as mirrors:) Our pictures are in a box too… 13 month old Penina loves taking out the frames and playing with them.. Y’know what? In our last house, where we lived for 4 years, we never got around to hanging up much pictures!

  2. Different people have different talents and priorities. Whenever I see yet another beautifully decorated and cared for home, I remind myself that this is just what they are good at. I’m not. And that’s just how it is.

  3. Now my pictures are all down and in boxes because we are hoping/planning to move! AT least you are in your new location. Putting up the pictures makes me feel the place is mine.
    My EMETT instructor always told us that comparisons lead to ‘temper’. Everyone has different talents and abilities. Even if you did bake would your rolls or cakes reach into thousands of homes? Never put yourself down… there are enough others out there to do that! Nachas from your children.

    • thank you hadassah, and much success in your new home! will you be staying in the same area?

  4. I’ve really been struggling extra with my motherhood self-esteem lately and it makes me feel so much less down on myself to realize that a Jewish Mom like yourself – so insightful and so wise, and the mother of bli ayin hara such a big beautiful family, can STILL struggle to see her greatness. Thanks, as always, for the inspiration and chizuk.

  5. I would rather struggle with my self-esteem in humility, than to be too self-confident and arrogant. As long as we’re struggling . . . we don’t have anything to worry about.

  6. i am one of those mothers who’s house always looks great and who can put out a spread that looks beautiful but didn’t take much effort…. But I have a ghastly temper and no patience and look at mothers like you who seem so gentle and patient and loving and tell myself: don’t beat yourself up , that’s their nature, you got yours, keep working on the bad stuff and appreciate the good stuff….
    I think all of us dislike seeing our weaknesses flaunted as strengths by others: one mother winces at a beautifully laid out table, another melta down after reading yet another seemingly impossible-to-achieve parenting article….

    The comment above about accepting our strengths and appreciating others is the best remedy!!

  7. chana jenny, i can really relate to those feelings of worthlessness; for me it is related to working moms since i am home and feel very much worthless (though your quote from Rebbetzin Heller helped a bit…!)! But i think this is the great work of the yetzer hara who want s us to put ourselves down and thus feel ungrateful and disconnect from Hashem! So let’s fight the big yetser, and repeat to ourselves that Hashem loves us and is proud of us , He created our imperfections…. (this i got from Rabbi Lazer and Arush)
    big hug and thank you for your hizuk and precious articles!!

  8. Get a magnetic mirror for the fridge (like highschool kids and college kids use for their locker) cheap

    • never saw one of them, good idea!

    • anyone knows where I can get a mirror like that in jerusalem?

      • If you cant find one, you can buy any mirror that is not heavy (from a bazar store) and use a glue gun (one of my favorite things at home!) to attach a magnet…

        And, great article!

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