Caffeinated musings on my place within Judaism, feminism and community. Pontification on political and social topics. Definitely not decaf.

07 November 2005

Starring Sally J. Freedman as Herself

So last Shabbat was a bust. No progress on issue #1. I did think about the issue and felt I should XYZ…OK, wait, this line of thinking brings me back squarely into issue #4.

But, before I wax rhapsodic on why this past weekend I was unsuccessfully Conservative or Orthodox, I thought I’d take a moment to introduce the players in this little drama.

Me: Among other things I am a spouse; I got remarried a little more than three and a half years ago after a nasty divorce complete with get issues and ongoing custody crises. I’m a parent. I work full time. I also attend graduate school full time – hence the need for copious amounts of coffee. When I’m not working, stuck in traffic or writing a paper, I’m known amongst my hevra as the “Jewish Martha Stewart.” I love to cook, bake, knit and needlepoint.

I enjoy these domestic arts but I have to separate these interests from the notion that I’m stuck in the 50s. I’m working to balance the shoulds – as in “I should have all the laundry done and not just sitting in bins for a week” or “I should have a six course dinner prepared and not just for Friday night” or “I should manage to fit in time for learning, volunteer at #1’s day school, have intelligent conversation with the spouse and play on the floor with the kids without thinking of the zillion chores that have to be done or that I’m completely exhausted.”

I’m working on the notion of good enough. I’m not there yet.

Spouse: Smart. Professional. Infinitely patient. Tremendous parent. Challenges me, prods me, helps me to grow…maybe one day I’ll have it together as much as the spouse.

Child #1: Day schooler. Insightful. Balanced. Manages to exist in multiple worlds (observant Jewish home most of the time, completely assimilated home at the other parent’s) and can reconcile the two better than most adults.

Child #2: Day care. Loves to run up to the bimah to see the Torah. Favorite word: “why?” Least favorite word: (being told) “no.”

Enough with the dramatis personae. Here's the intellectual portion of this post. I just read the following article in Commentary. Peruse and talk amongst yourselves.

03 November 2005

So, why now?

If not now, when?

Typical to start with a question and respond with a question, no?
I’ve been reading blogs for quite some time. Nu, why another one? I’ve learned a thing or two and I’ve picked up some decent suggestions from my browsing. Now I figure, it’s time to jump into the fray. Along the way perhaps I’ll even get some clarity about some of my questions, issues, concerns and ideas. I mean, it’s not like I really have anything else to do.
So, here goes: topics needing resolution.

  • Issue #1: Determine where I stand Jewishly. I’m not fully Conservative and I’m not really Orthodox. I’m kinda Conservadox but what does this mean?
  • Issue #2: Figure out how to have an egalitarian relationship when you realize that you’re bound by an outdated notion of gender roles.
  • Issue #3: Don’t pass on limited gender roles to offspring. OK, minimize passing on those gender roles. Start contributing to offspring’s therapy fund.
  • Issue #4: Break out of being stuck in the land of the shoulds.
  • Issue #5: Come up with a way to be a little less compulsive, somewhat less coveting and a lot less negative.
  • Issue #6: Realize that work-life balance is a myth. Go with it. Accept that fish sticks and mac and cheese are good enough some of the time.
  • Issue #7: Admit that skipping going to the gym or not finishing the entire daily New York Times do not mean I’m a moral failure…at least most of the time. But, not actively improving myself, learning, growing and working on good character traits just might be.
  • Issue #8: Learn how to make the perfect non fat, no foam, extra hot latte at home and save the $2.50. Currently I make my daily Americanos. They’re not as good, but hey, I’m still not forking over cash each day to (insert name of McCoffee chain here). And think what this is doing for my retirement fund.

So there you have it. I've figured out the questions. Now I just need to come up with the answers. Thoughts?