Today I have the honor of introducing you to Keshet – a wife, mom, lawyer, Orthodox Jew, scrapbooker, coffee-shop aficionado, and lover of all things creative. She lives in New Jersey with her husband and two little ones (Eliana, 2.5 and Moshe, 10 months) and blogs at www.keshetstar.com.
Here’s her interview:
1. What is your typical day like?
Monday through Thursday, my typical day goes like this:
7:00 – Wake up, dress myself, dress the kids, then have breakfast while the hubby takes the little ones to “school.”
8:30 – Drive to work
9:30 to 4:30 – Work! (Phone calls, meetings, strategy sessions… always tons to do!)
5:30 – Pick up the kids. Take them home. Then pjs, dinner, and some playtime and storytime before bed. My kids both have very dry skin, so we try not to do baths every day unless we have to.
7:30 – Bedtime for kids
8:15ish – Dinner. My husband works late often, so this is me alone usually.
9:00 – Household stuff. We observe the Jewish Sabbath, so I cook the equivalent of a Thanksgiving dinner every week! Monday, I menu plan, Wednesday I receive my grocery order and start to cook, and Thursday I am a cooking machine! Tuesday, I do everything else. 😉
10:15 – Hang out and relax.
11:30 – Bedtime. Which should be earlier, but I’m working on it.
Fridays I am off work, so I take that day to run errands, see friends, have time to myself, and catch up on life!
2. Why do you work?
In a word – because I love it. I have always been passionate about social justice, and I’m fortunate to basically be working my dream job. I really like my co-workers and office environment as well, which is huge. I also think that a career is a long term investment – even if you’re not making THAT much more than daycare initially, as time goes on your salary will go up and the experience you have gained will be more and more valuable. Since we are planning on sending our children to private Jewish day schools, me having a career makes sense for us. (I love the idea of a career being a long-term investment. I totally agree!)
3. What’s the best part about being a working mom? What’s the worst or hardest part?
Best – Getting to explore other parts of myself, which makes me SO much more patient and happy to be with my kids the rest of the time. Also, getting to do work that I love.
Worst – Missing time with my kids. Feeling SUPER guilty whenever I’m frustrated with my kids because my time with them is limited. And the very worst, for me, is worrying that one day I will regret my choice. (This is SO hard, because we just don’t know. That’s why I think it is important to always know our answer to #2 and be confident in that.)
4. What items or tips do you recommend to help “make it work”?
– Be creative! Sometimes you can get into a routine about something, and it’s hard to imagine there are any other ways to do it. For a long time, grocery shopping was a huge source of stress for us since both of us were out all day and my husband often worked late at night. Finally, we decided to purchase a big freezer for kosher meat and dairy products and then do a grocery delivery for everything else. It has worked out well and relieved a ton of stress!
– Do it your way. It’s so easy to compare yourself to other people — but it is really the biggest trap with working motherhood. Everyone’s arrangement is very different, and so are their personalities. Focus on what you like, what makes you happy, and what is working for you – try to shut out the rest.
– Accept that live involves being behind. It’s ironic that I’m including this, because I kind of need to write it on my forehead – but it’s SO true. YOU WILL NEVER BE COMPLETELY CAUGHT UP. Take a deep breath, accept it, and go relax on the couch for a few minutes. (Oh man, this is hard to accept, but absolutely true!)
5. What encouragement, scripture, etc. has been important in your life and might be meaningful to another working mom?
I once heard a really interesting Torah thought about the matriarch Rachel: Rachel was trying desperately to have children, and in her grief she told her husband Jacob, “Give me children, or let me die!” Surprisingly, in the next verse, the Torah tells us that Jacob felt angry when she said this. One commentator notes that the core problem with Rachel’s statement, despite her deep grief, is that she forgot that although being a mother is a strong and important part of a woman’s mission, it is not as important as her ultimate mission of being a person.
Motherhood is a huge, vital, life-affirming part of me. But it is not all of me, and that’s ok!
And thanks to all of you for sticking with us through this series… Two more days!