Why I made a career out of motherhood–The Early Years

You can find the introduction to this series here.

I’ll spare you the gory details of the mistakes I inflicted on my oldest through my inexperience, particularly the destruction of a particularly excellent breastfeeding relationship thanks to the ignorant advice of my pediatrician and others. Truth is, I blame myself for listening to them; I should have known better. Then there was the babysitter I sent him to unnecessarily because I was told that I needed “time for myself.” Let’s not forget the battles over food, toilet training, and discipline. The breastfeeding couldn’t be repaired, but I did wise up in time regarding the others (although with discipline, it took me much longer to find my way ). I began to grow up, because I didn’t have a choice. We were in Israel without my family (my husband had relatives but that wasn’t the same), my mother died, my husband worked long hours in an extremely stressful job, and I had four children by the time my oldest was six and a half. My aliyah story is posted here.

Had I worked out of the house, I would have focused on my job instead of developing my mothering skills. I know parents who can come home after work and still maintain a happy, relaxed home and a warm, loving relationship with their children. For me it would have been impossible (and I haven’t succeeded to the degree that I would like, either). I don’t want to imply that I spent every minute with my children, because I don’t feel that’s necessary or desirable. I decided to consciously make my home and my family my priority. I had to decide how much attention they needed, and learn the proper balance between my needs and theirs. I needed to read about breastfeeding and child care. I needed to spend oodles of time with my children, getting to know them and guiding them. I needed to learn to enjoy them. And I couldn’t do those things properly with the pressure of an additional job.

To be continued. . .

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  1. I can totally relate- and I feel like we’re the last of a dying breed, unfortunately.

  2. SephardiLady says

    Like you, maintaining a proper home environment and working fulltime would be an impossibility for me. While others seem to manage, I know that when I worked, I came home fairly exhausted and would need to nap or just relax. And all too often, dinner was a bowl of cereal, a yogurt, or a can of tuna.

  3. mother in israel says

    I have a friend who comes home from her job as a doctor (in Israel that means about 5 o’clock) and still has energy to do all the cooking, bake challah, and spend time with her kids too. When she went overseas for a year and didn’t work, she was miserable, but all of her kids were in school at that point.