This is a site for the purpose of finding inspiration and gaining insights to help become better wives, mothers and people and to learn how to deal with various issues that confront us in life.
Originally I was planning to start a site called Frustration Station. But I decided not to use that name, for various reasons. However, I guess my first topic will be …can you guess? Frustration!
Nowadays many people seem to find life frustrating. Why is that so? I think one main reason is because we are in galus for too long and we all truly need redemption, we need geulah! There is nothing more frustrating than remaining in galus!
I was discussing the matter with my children (who all go through different levels of frustration at different ages) and they laughed and told me even in the school it seems little children are frustrated these days. They told me to start a Frustration Station site….which I was actually planning to do, but instead I decided it is a nice idea to discuss various issues and worries that the average housewife/mother out there has to deal with , including frustration, depression, boredom and other challenges.
I also think it is very important to learn how to handle our children and bring them up properly so we will see yiddisher nachas from them…..and so they will also learn how to deal with these last moments in galus without falling prey to confusion, depression etc.
I definitely do see a lot of frustration and depression in society these days, more than in the past. People are worried, nervous, depressed. I don’t think there was ever a generation of so many people on anti depressant medications! But is the world really so depressed? Can it be that so many people have lost their ability to feel happy anymore?
People want to do things but feel unable to carry out their dreams. People wish to buy things but do not have money. People want jobs but find it hard to secure a good job. People need to get married but are frustrated because somehow finding a spouse is more difficult than it used to be. Many married couples want children but often go through the frustration of infertility or fertility treatments or simply waiting and not seeing the results they wish for. Everyone seems to suffer from some form of frustration. It has become almost the “norm” of society these days! Frustration and depression. They seem to go hand in hand very often. And I might add, frustration seems to have an underlying anger with it….anger often stems from frustration.
The other day I entered the room and saw my little daughter playing a game with her older sister and she was laughing and saying “I just said that because I wanted to make you frustrated.” She is only 9 years old! What does she know about frustration? I found myself standing there, almost in shock, wondering why a nine year old girl would find it amusing to make her older sister frustrated.
Even when I attempt to discipline my daughter or to emphasize something I want her to work on, she often laughs and makes jokes until she sees that I am far from amused and in fact I am bordering on becoming angry and then she says “ I just wanted to make you frustrated.”
Why is it so interesting for her to make everyone frustrated? Is it because she herself feels frustrated and feels powerless to do anything about it?
Then I started to think to myself. Aren’t most of us frustrated? But why are we all so frustrated in life? Is it because we have expectations from ourselves and others and cannot live up to those expectations? We cannot fulfill the dreams we have always dreamt of? Is it because we do not appreciate the things we have enough? That could be part of it, but somehow, it is not the whole picture.
Or is it because we do not feel a sense of purpose in life? Somehow we have lost track of truth. Somehow we have lost track of our true purpose. Somehow that idea hit home more .
I was learning Tanya the other day and I was reading the part about how we have to love G-d and fear G-d and I started to feel so inadequate. Why was I so busy thinking about buying a house? Or how I would love to live near the ocean and escape from the pollution of the city? Why was I so busy with material matters instead of spiritual matters? And why does the fact that I have lost some of my spiritual sensitivity not bother me more? That really started to disturb me. The thought gave me no rest. I started to realize how far I am from truly serving G-d the way I should.
But why have I gotten to that level in life? I started asking myself questions. Why is it that I do not feel as excited about praying or learning as I do about moving to a new house? I started to feel ashamed. Where were my priorities? Have I really become so much a part of the physical world that I have lost my spiritual perspective?
I see people talking everywhere about the global financial situation. And I again wonder: why is G-d putting everyone through that global financial crisis? That universal “frustration”?
I think the main reason is so that we have to break all the idols that we build up in society. People worship money. People run after money, as if it is the most important thing in the world. Granted we do live in a world that functions on money. One needs a proper livelihood in order to survive in the world. But do we have to pursue money as an end in itself? Certainly not. We have to get our priorities straight. Materialism is not something to pursue vigorously. It only leads to emptiness.
But I see that lately across all segments of society people are going through different crises. Many have to do with finances. And I think the message is that we all have to start appreciating the important things in life: our families, friends, and do something about our spiritual growth, about adding in good deeds…..
I am a housewife and mother and I love my role. But, like everyone, I too get frustrated in life at times. I get discouraged sometimes. I feel down at times. Finding zest in life is sometimes a challenge….
When I was younger and surrounded by little kids in diapers, I was busy constantly. I did not have any time for myself. I could not even go to the bathroom alone, there was always somebody knocking on the door and crying to let them in! I had no privacy. I did not even have time to brush my teeth, I was so exhausted by the time I went to sleep. Yet I don’t remember feeling too frustrated in life. Maybe once in a while I felt flustered and overwhelmed, but not really frustrated. I was happy. I was fulfilled. I was busy.
And all the time my kids would complain they were bored. That was their favorite word. Boredom was not in my vocabulary in those days!
Now my kids are more grown up (the youngest is 8), many are married and out of the house, and now I have plenty of time to myself.. Not that I ever really longed for time to myself. I was always the happiest when I was busy doing for others. When I had to nurse a baby, feed a toddler, juggle twins, cook, clean and look after my husband I felt totally fulfilled. Now that I have privacy, lots of time for me, I cannot figure out how to use my time! Now I find myself feeling bored….yes, I admit it. I am bored. It became part of my vocabulary and I feel terrible to say that. I don’t think anyone should ever be bored. But, the truth is, I am bored at times. I wish I did not have so much time to myself! Plenty of women tell me they wish they had more time for themselves, they feel that all day they are busy carpooling or cooking or shopping or doing errands. But I really feel all of that is a blessing in disguise! Nothing is better than being busy and active.
When my grandchildren come over, I am delighted. It reminds me of the days when I was surrounded by all the little ones. I thank G-d that I still have little ones at home….but they are not babies. I think it is the babies I miss the most. Babies are so demanding, need so much…yet they are a constant delight. Despite the dirty diapers, the crying, the colic, the constant nursing, they are still wonderful. They keep you busy, happy, and never a dull moment.
I dream of having another little one of my own…but wonder if I have the strength to handle another little one! Could I wake up four times a night to nurse again? Could I shlep a baby around all day? Would my back hold out? I would love to try and see….but I don’t know if G-d will grant me another one. I am ready and willing if He is….
Every child is such a blessing. Yes, it is sometimes hard to look at it that way when they scream , throw tantrums, wake you up at all hours of the day and night….but they truly are a blessing. I appreciate now what I took somewhat for granted then….
But I also realize and acknowledge that G-d created the world in such a way that having babies does not go on forever. Therefore I have to learn to adjust to life as we age and to appreciate what each stage of life has to offer.
So despite my boredom, I am trying to utilize the time to develop my talents and to use my time wisely, to help others, inspire others…whatever I can do. Because to live for me is selfish, is not fulfilling. I don’t want to concentrate on me. I hear so many people say that they just want time for themselves. I don’t feel that way. I don’t like time for me. I want to do good things with my time, to help others, to accomplish something good in the world. “Me” is self centered. The idea is to grow and get out of ourselves. To become selfless. Having babies forces you to get out of yourself. You have to take care of the demands of your children. You cannot be into yourself. And that is wonderful. It is the healthiest stage of life. But when you get older you automatically focus more on yourself: suddenly your body does not function as smoothly as before, you notice the aches and pains, the stiff joints, you don’t have the same energy as before….you notice and focus on the negative things. I suppose maybe the purpose of that is not to make one self centered or focus on oneself, but perhaps just to remind one that life is not forever and we pray to be on this earth for at least 120 years but we do have to realize our priorities and work on doing teshuvah and rectifying things that we really want to fix in this lifetime.
Certainly when it comes to living a fulfilling life, one does not want to be self centered or focus on oneself. One has to keep busy and do for others, at all stages of life, even though what you do and how you do changes as you age.
Well, I comfort myself with the thought that I do have thank G-d my husband to look after. Husbands are like children in a sense and need nurturing and care…and let’s face it, when the kids are small, the husbands get sort of pushed aside and lack some of that nurturing. So as we age we are able to spend more time with our husbands, really grow together, pamper each other…..I guess that is an important aspect of life. After all the kids are grown up and married, we are left with our husbands and therefore it does pay to put some effort and invest some time and emotion into our marriages so we can enjoy each other’s company in our “older” age (we never truly grow old, do we??).
I know the Lubavitcher Rebbe’s wife, Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka, was an example of a truly selfless woman, with tremendous self sacrifice. She lived her entire life for the Rebbe and for the Chassidim. And that is what we should strive for. To emulate that idea of being selfless. That idea of being devoted and sacrificing for our beliefs. Sacrificing for our husbands. This is what a wife has to strive for. To be truly botul to Hashem, botul to our husbands and to fulfill G-d’s will in creation.
So now that I am adjusting to life as I get older (although we women never really age, do we?…. as long as we don’t look in the mirror)I am trying to figure out how to fill my time with good and worthwhile actions.