Dear Jewish Dad Today,
I can’t take it, I feel so different. I used to be really observant but over the last few months, m workload has taken on such a load that I find myself hanging on by a thread. I miss minyan because it’s so early and my mornings are extremely hectic. I barely crank out morning prayers and then rush out to work with three small kids to take to school. It’s so stressful and it’s not even 8AM. I haven’t even started the workday which that in itself is extremely demanding but I do it because my family needs me to. Sometimes I feel like quitting and at the end of a long day to come home and deal with the attitudes of my kids can push me to the edge. I am not angry at them or my wife but just don’t know where to turn or what I can do to make it work better.
Dad in the DumpsPhoto: Rosie Kerr – Unsplash
Dad in the dumps
Dear Dad in the dumps,
I know how you feel and have been there myself. First of all, you sound like you are holding your ground and are probably going through one of those strides in your career where you have to put in extra energy but will pull out of it. I often as a teacher go through the same things where every few months there are large tests that the students need to do in each grade and it takes a lot of extra hours just to maintain. As far as your observance goes, the mere fact that you aren’t complaining and are still holding up your responsibilities is amazing. Remember that you aren’t the same guy when you had more extra time on your hands. Try rejoicing in the mere fact that you are a Jew and that this is what occupies your mind, to connect to G-d in the digital age is something so praiseworthy. Try seeing the good in yourself more. To keep yourself in a good mood you have to stay in shape. Even on those long days, find yourself an extra no mater what five minutes of push-ups, stretching, and pull ups. Plan ahead your time and stay ahead of your work schedule, that way when you are with your kids, you are truly with them and not on your phone. Try to do what you can to have a free mind to be with your wife and not worries. Get what you can get done at the office and come home knowing you did what you could, and now you are free to be a husband. Notice that I mentioned in this article try a few times, that is the main thing and don’t forget to ask G-d for help. Most of the time the challenges are there to bring us even closer to him than before. Finally in your effort of hanging on to your Judaism, try making smaller and more consistent goals instead of comparing yourself to your past self. Try setting a goal of learning one halacha every day of the week after you put on tefilin. That might seem small but it comes to 7 a week and 42 a month if you learn Sunday through Friday. On Shabbat review them! That’s a huge success from just one halacha a day. Recommedations could be the laws of Shabbat or Kitzur Shulchan Aruch. Get to it!