Friday, August 28, 2009

My Maariv is kaput, or I'm beginning to understand traditional gender roles

I leave the office at a decent hour and head to Manhattan's Upper West Side, picking up a few items at Supersol kosher supermarket and another few at Kosher Marketplace, plus a Koren Sacks pocket-sized siddur (prayer book) from West Side Judaica for davvening (praying), on the subway, whatever parts of Shacharit (Morning Service) I don't have time to say with my speedy Kaddish minyan (which is often every part except for the Matbeiach shel Tefillah, the core required part of the service [of which I say every word], plus the Kaddishes). By the time I get home, it's after 8 PM. I still have to enter my purchases in our computer records and download and back up my files from the office. (I've had just enough bad experiences not to trust in the continued and uncorrupted existence of files that are stored on only one computer.) I'd also like to, ya know, eat dinner.

By the time I'm finished with all the above, it's roughly 10:30 PM, (even though my husband did the cooking and dishwashing, in return for my having done the shopping), and I have to get up at 5 AM for morning minyan. (I've been rather spoiled over the summer--my husband will be teaching four nights a week starting in about two weeks, so I'll have to do almost all the cooking, whether I've also done the shopping or not.) It was difficult enough when I was getting up at 5:30 for a 7 AM Shacharit, but now that I have to take the subway to get to the nearest synagogue that not only has a minyan (so that I can say Kaddish for my mother) but also won't toss me out on my keester for putting on a tallit and tefillin while female . . . *

How am I supposed to say Maariv (the Evening Service) when I'm not finished doing everything else that has to be done 'til it's already well past my bedtime? When am I supposed to sleep?

Sigh. Been there, blogged that.

And if even I can't find time to sleep for more than 5-6 hours, how do folks still in the child-rearing years manage such a feat?

In our case, it's an interesting role reversal--it's the lady of the house who's getting up early for minyan, and the man who, for the time being, is taking care of the cooking. How do egalitarian families with young kids manage? Who "covers" the caregiving and housekeeping, when both spouses count themselves obligated to pray three days a day? Who "minds the store" when neither spouse is willing to sacrifice her/his own religious life in order to care for the kids and/or kitchen so as to enable the other spouse to have a religious life? Must we women be the other Leviim?

Sigh. Been there, blogged that, too.

*For those (probably including me, in future years) who don't understand the reference, see " Driving while Black."


Anonymous westbankmama said...

G-d gave me a perspective on the gender role problems by having me experience infertility. For the first few years after my marriage, I was "inside" the synagogue praying that I would need to be "outside" (with a stroller, of course). After a while He granted me my wish, and I was outside - admittadly feeling grateful but sometimes frustrated that I couldn't get a decent Shmoneh Esreh in edgewise. Then, after a few kids, the blessings stopped, and I found myself "inside" again. The bottom line, is that women have to take their cue from the moon, and appreciate the experience that we have right now, knowing that as time goes on, things will change.

Sun Aug 30, 10:05:00 AM 2009  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

WBM, a good friend of mine recent chided me for making things too difficult for myself. She may have a point.

Mon Aug 31, 03:52:00 PM 2009  

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