Wednesday, January 26, 2011

An Ode to All Single Parents

How do they do it?

Seriously, besides all the day to day stuff. What about the exceptionally hard days. We all have them, especially when the kids are little and not able to take care of themselves.

I know that mom's are just not allowed to get sick, but will someone please tell that to my body, it seems to not have gotten that email.
I've been sick the last few days with a stomach flu. Of course it started the second my husband left for tefila in the morning. I sat there, with terrible stomach spasms for more than an hour, trying to somehow keep the kids happy. My 4 year old was really trying to entertain her little sibling so I wouldn't have to. But who was taking care of me? I desperately needed some water, but couldn't even move. So I kept holding on to the fact that my husband would be home soon. I forgot he prayed at a shive house that morning, so it took much longer and of course his phone was still off.
But when he finally did come home, he became superman, taking care of everyone and everything. Any I just lay there thinking, what if he hadn't been here. What if I was all alone, in terrible pain, with a few little kids who's life doesn't stop when mommy's does. What would I have done then?

Now, I have to say, sadly, my being sick lasted more that just that Sunday and I did find out what it's like to have to deal with the kids by myself while being sick. Granted, I could now get up and move around somewhat, but let me tell you, it involved A LOT of TV time. But still, my husband would get home in the evening and take over again.

So this post is an ode to all those who manage to do it all by themselves.
Here's to you!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Tough Times

When something good happens to us, we love to share that with our family and friends. Good news is nice to give and nice to receive, but mostly, it is easy to pass on and easy to respond to.

It's the not so good news, however, that we tend to keep to ourselves. It's never nice telling people something bad, even if it doesnt affect the recipient. In fact, even if it isnt bad news, but simply something a little less perky and upbeat than usual, we would maybe tell our closest friends. I mean, who really answers "How are you?" honestly, all the time?

And the irony of it all is that we need our friends the most when the times get tough.
I've been going through a rough patch (nothing that bad, just too much at once) and sometimes feel like I'm barely coping with day to day life. Of course there are people who could help us out, but these people don't know that there is anything to help out with. Yes, we could share what's going on, but we really don't want to. So the only thing I can do is try and live as normally as possible and hope I don't step on too many toes during my balancing act.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

A Glimpse into our Future?

Tniut is a very tricky thing.
First off, there aren't clearcut guidelines on a lot of tsnius aspects. Which on the one hand makes it very tricky to know if you're doing the right thing, and of course allows for a lot of misinterpretation.
Tsniut is dependent on your community, your minhag and mostly your notion of what feels tsnius.

Personally, I have noticed my standards change depending on whether I am in chul or in Israel. It's not the length of my skirt or that of my sleeves that change. In general, one dresses down a bit in Israel. I just put on whatever mitpachat suits my outfit best (lets face it, no matter how dressed down, it still has to match) and that's it. Here in chul I'm much more conscious of what goes on my head, since I don't want to stand out too much. But besides that, I find myself wearing jewelery and shoes that I wouldn't wear in Israel. So yes, tsnius does depend a lot on whether you'll stand out or not. At least for me it does. My hoop earrings would really have made me stand out in my yeshuv in Israel, but here, they just make me look as fashionable as everyone else. Same goes for my high heals

But in the end, I think it's very important to remember that not standing out doesnt mean becoming invisible (as much as the critics of orthodox Judaism would like you to believe otherwise). Women are allowed to look nice, be beautiful even. Yes, sexy is out, but that doesn't mean you have to dress in a big potato sack and lose all your individualism.

I wouldn't usually preach about tsniut. Yes, I believe it's important, but I respect that it's a very private and as I have already mention, personal aspect of our lives that no one has the right to impose on anyone else. However, with the burka/shawl trend that is seemingly becoming popular in Israel, I feel we orthodox women have to take a stand. The above mentioned women hide the bodies and faces of themselves and their daughters and are seemingly ever more layered than their Muslim equivalent. Therefore, we should be telling these overzealous women and the rest of the world that this is not what Orthodox Judaism is about and that it is wrong.

In fact, people are outraged, the eidah chareidit has denounced this practice and there are lots of discussions going on. However, is it such a surprise that this is happening? The separation between men and women in chareidi society is bigger than ever. Pictures of women have already disappeared from chareidi magazines and newspapers. The name Tsipi (Livini) will not be used since it is too familiar. And during the elections, there were big problems with the posters that contained her picture. Is it then so weird that these burka women have gotten the impression that they are meant to not be seen and try to disappear all together? Is this not the same as young girls wanting to be skinny, because that is what they are being taught in their magazines?
Maybe this phenomenon should not merely be condemned, but rather examined closely. Maybe, it is an inevitable outcome of the shift to the right in the ultra-orthodox world. And maybe it is the wake-up call we all needed to tell us this must stop, not every chumra is for the better. And if we don't hear the alarm, maybe, just maybe in 50 years our grandchildren might actually be walking around like this.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

My Daily Dilemma

Sorry for the absence, but I've been on a little break (yes, a point for chul: winter vacation).
I've been enjoying the mountain air (did you know it can make you extremely sleepy), the snow and the my children. My oldest has been learning how to ski and it has been quite a succes (not to mention extremely fun to watch).

The one thing that has been harder this week (besides my husband's absence) has been dinner. Actually, if I'm completely honest, dinner is always a little problematic for me. I don't mind the cooking, really, but I find it so hard to come up with new (or even old) ideas all the time. When I google quick and easy recipes, they dont seem quick and easy to me at all. I'm one of those people that tends to forget it's dinner time till about half an hour before we should be eating (an usually I only remember because my youngest is getting cranky and after trying several things I realize it's because she's hungry. And of course, making dinner with a cranky and hungry child just adds to the challenge). So now my problem is thinking of a dish that can be made quickly with the things I have at home. And believe me, this is a challenge. I even find it hard on the days I just went shopping and I'm all stocked up. Most easy recipes go as follows: Take chicken, add chicken sauce, put in oven etc. Now, chicken sauce is not an option for me. Yes, I could buy it at the kosher store. But first off, it's extremely expensive and second, I try to be minimally dependent on product one can only get at the kosher store. Yes, I can make my own sauce, but truthfully, we don't really eat meat during the week, it's simply too expensive. Yet, even if that wasnt an issue, my biggest issue is that I dont think of it in time. The same goes for fish. Since I don't plan ahead, there isnt enough time for such things to defrost. I know lots of people use the microwave. I'm just not that sure how mine works when it comes to defrosting, plus, with my sensitive stomach it just isn't worth the risk.
So meat is out. Fish sometimes works since it defrosts really quickly. But mainly I make milchig. Which really really limits me. Quiche is problematic, since I have to make the dough myself (another one of those only in the kosher store products, plus it's frozen). That leaves pasta, soup and a few other dishes.
So, this is my dilemma. Anyone have any suggestions how to better my daily dilemma?Am I the only one who is never really helped by all the quick and easy recipes out there?
I've tried to think of what we're going to eat the evening before and even discussing it with my husband, but in reality it doesnt really happen. New recipe ideas that fit the bill are also very much appreciated!