Home > Me > A response to a very upset commenter here at HH.

A response to a very upset commenter here at HH.

This is in response to a comment posted by Sophia on my last post.  I started to reply in the comments section but when I realized I was going to go long, I figured I’ll just make a post out of it – why not?

Sophia,

First, thanks for reading.  I do want to ask (and this if a request of all my readers) that in the future, please keep in mind that while I do appreciate different opinions from my own, I hope they can be presented in as constructive and non-insulting way as possible. That is what makes this conversation so enjoyable.

Second, I’m moved to respond to a few of your points here.  I will say that your overarching statement that it is impossible to have it all is very true.  It is impossible to have it all.  There will always be an area of one’s life that will be lacking the proper attention and care.  A friend recently told me that as well and I strongly believe it.   However, I also think you have made some assumptions that just don’t hold true.

I never (and I hope my other readers will concur) set out to deride or insult stay-at-home moms.  My true goal is to broaden the conversation so as to create space for woman to feel comfortable whatever their choice is.  Each woman needs to judge her own talents, desires, family situation, and choices – therefore, I withhold judgment except when the dialogue is restrictive of the space I want to create (as you saw from my last post.)

A common misconception that I have heard many times is that if a child is going to childcare/day care, they are being raised by someone else.  I was worried about this too when I sent my first child to the babysitter for the first time at 5 months old or so.  She was there for about 7 hours a day and with me at home for the first hour she was up in the morning and the last 3-4 hours or so in the evening before she went to sleep. I was also the one who got up with her in the middle of the night (sometimes multiple times.)   And the time we spent together was quality time.  No TV watching, no internet surfing (we didn’t have either at the time in our house – we still don’t have TV).  Sometimes we did play dates with other moms, went outside to play or just hung out in the house.  There is no doubt in my mind that she felt quite comfortable with the arrangement.  Day care was a way for her to begin to socialize and be well taken care of so I could work for the income that my family needed to provide for ourselves.

Which brings me to my next point.  Being a SAHM needs to be possible financially.  You say that a man needs to have the responsibility to bring the money home so to speak.  I humbly disagree.  There are thousands (if not more) permutations in today’s day and age which make this not true.  In our case, my husband was first in a full-time Rabbinical program (aka Kollel for my Jewish readers) and now pursuing his MEd to become a public school teacher.  Others I know have different situations  – and frankly, today, it is hard to find any family that doesn’t need two incomes to survive, at least in the socioeconomic class I call my own.

Yes, you do need to find a good man.  But can’t a good man also be one who enjoys being with his family? Or one that wants to pursue higher education before taking a full-time job?  There are some men who just enjoy puttering around the house and spending lots of time with their kids – my husband being one of them.  He even, gasp!, enjoys cooking and used to have to beg me to let him in the kitchen before I realized that there’s nothing wrong with having a night off and enjoying his culinary creations.  I slightly resent that you presume my husband would be happier if…  This is cyberspace after all and chances are you don’t really know him!

I wouldn’t say we go on extravagant vacations – the last vacation was really just driving to my family in NY for Thanksgiving.  Most of that trip was my parents’ treat (Thanks Mom!) so it was low-cost and quite fulfilling in terms of vacations.  We couldn’t afford a “real” vacation really and content ourselves with day trips or driving trips to family.

And as for when my kids are sick or sad, one of us is there.  My husband and I actually rotate who takes off (he also works part-time as a substitute teacher) when one of the kids are sick.  We also miss work/school for drs appointments and the like.  This works the best for us – after all there are only so many sick/personal days to go around.  And honestly, in the middle of the night when my kids are sad, I’m the one up with them – often for hours –  until they can get back to sleep.  Occasionally when my husband tries to help by taking care of our toddler in the wee hours of the morning, I still have to go in because she won’t stop asking for “mommy! mommy!”. And then – guess what? I go to work the next morning.  sleep deprived and all.

But really, Sophia, the point of this post isn’t to respond to your every point (although I think I might have) but to reiterate what I want this blog to be: a constructive space where everyone’s opinion is presented civilly and meaningfully, and where I can express my own personal challenges and perspectives.

I hope you read on and consider these points.  I may not change your mind, but I hope I gave you food for thought.

-HH

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Categories: Me
  1. Tracy Moldwin
    March 1, 2011 at 8:08 pm

    Well said!

    • March 1, 2011 at 8:30 pm

      hi tracy! so happy you’re reading – i’ve missed you! hope law school is treating you well 🙂 not surprised to see (via facebook of course) where you are studying… you’re brilliant after all. keep in touch ok?

  2. Amy Smith
    March 1, 2011 at 8:59 pm

    “Mah tovu, oha’alecha Ya’akov…” Chazal teach us that this is a reference to the fact that each family put their tent in such a way that they gave each other privacy. Looking at this figuratively, I think it can serve as a reminder that the way each family chooses to life its life is a private decision. While we can see the choices other families make, their right to privacy (and our obligation to give it to them) means we shouldn’t sit in judgment, from the small issues to the big. May HaShem give me the strength to build up my own “tent” in Torah and mitzvos and not to “look” into the tents of others.

    • March 1, 2011 at 9:04 pm

      beautiful amy – i really like that!

      • Miriam
        March 1, 2011 at 10:14 pm

        Very well put, Amy. Judaism is so beautiful because it’s not “one-size-fits-all”, instead it’s quite highly individualized within the realm of halacha. It’s not our place to judge the lifestyle choices of neighbors, especially in the realm of how a mom chooses to spend her day.

  3. March 2, 2011 at 7:28 pm

    Sophia,

    You will notice that I did not post your most recent comment on my blog.

    I want to take a minute to explain why – as I have said, now numerous times, my blog is about fostering constructive debate and expressing my ideas and thoughts. I welcome all opinions, even those that disagree with me, because I believe strongly that the conversation is richer and better because of that.

    I will not, however, allow comments that border on vicious and abusive. When we insult and deride other people – and when we suppose to know what is best for others – that is when we can only hurt each other, not help.

    I would like you to continue to read, but I will exercise my right to not post any comments that I believe cross the line of civility I believe is essential to this enterprise.

    Another note – I wrote to you here in lieu of emailing you because I do not want my email publicized. Please forgive the public forum, but I think this message is one I needed to share with you and the rest of my readers.

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