Girl Talk

This post will probably be more interesting to those readers with just x chromosomes, but who knows? Maybe the guys will like it too….

 Until about three weeks ago I was almost exclusively a stay-at-home mom. I worked part time in the evenings as a mikveh attendant, I did some freelance writing and translating (from Hebrew to English), and I babysat here and there. I worked outside of the home for a number of years before my first son was born, and I worked for one year part-time out of the home when my kids were younger, but mom-at-home has been the norm for most of the past 18 years.

Now I am out three days a week, and I can report about the differences, most of them pleasant, some of them less so.

First the good stuff.


Don’t get me wrong, I am probably the farthest thing you can imagine from a clothes horse. I hate shopping, especially in Israel, because I find it hard to find things that are both modest and in my taste. Here in Israel you can find nice clothes that are too short, or too low-cut, etc., and are unacceptable to a religious woman to wear – or, you can find things more appropriate for women about twenty years older than I (in my opinion). If you like the color black, or if you want to hide an extra twenty pounds – you are in luck. Otherwise it is hard to find nice stuff.

On the other hand, I have been able to find some nice things – but until now I haven’t had a chance to wear them. For most of the past 18 years, my daily clothes have been ……things that I didn’t mind a baby wiping his nose on! As you can tell, we are not talking about stuff you will see on the runways in Paris….

Now, I can get dressed in nice stuff – and it isn’t even Shabbat!

Of course this means jewelry, especially earrings. Anyone who has ever had a baby pull on an earring (yeoww!) knows that it is much safer not to wear them at all. Now I don’t have to worry.

This also means lipstick. Until now my kids almost never saw me wear it, and when I would dress up for a wedding the my boys would beg me to kiss them on the cheek, so they could run giggling to the mirror to see the marks. Now it doesn’t excite them anymore.

That is the fun stuff. The less than fun stuff is of course the housework that needs to be done at the end of the day, instead of during. I am a morning person, and I don’t like doing things late at night. So I have quickly learned that I have to get the laundry in early in the morning, in order to hang it up before I leave for work The makolet being closed on Tuesday afternoons takes on more meaning, so I have to remember to buy the bread and milk early also.

My kids have been ok with this too. They call in to report that they have arrived home and that they have eaten the food I left for them. I tell them to do their homework before they go out to play. So far we have both been lucky as the teachers seem to be more concerned with putting together report cards than assigning a lot of homework. I see a bit of conflict coming down the pike, though.

For all of those women out there who fight with each other about what is harder – staying home with kids or going out to work, I have an answer for you. Physically, it is much easier to go out to work. Psychologically, it depends on the ages of your kids. If you have little ones, it is easier to stay home than to worry. When your kids get older, it is great to get out.


9 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. mominisrael
    Feb 07, 2007 @ 06:45:10

    I wish the answer were so simple. Anyway, what about your 10yo? Is he on his own when you are at work?

  2. mominisrael
    Feb 07, 2007 @ 06:51:26

    P.S. Nice format!

  3. aliyah06
    Feb 07, 2007 @ 06:55:33

    Hah! Finally found you! My own fault–I kept typo-ing when trying to find you.

    Interesting observations–I never had the choice to stay home. We both needed to work if the mortgage was going to get paid (California mortgage–’nuff said). I’m doing this in reverse of you–I’m finally retired and able to spend time with my family, something that was really tough in the past. I learned to carve out the time, though, in order to make the important things like school recitals, therapy appointments, PTA meetings and so on. I am blessed with a husband who also believes that marriage includes sharing the housework–so most nights when I got home, he had dinner ready, and I washed the dishes. He would put the laundry on, and I would put it out to dry. Etc. And he told his daughters (my stepdaughters) that if you live here, you help–and that included cleaning bathrooms, vacuuming, folding laundry, and so on. As teens, they hated this but they’re both hard workers and responsible women today. It didn’t kill them and it helped us, the working parents, a lot.

    And I was here for six months before I got dressed up — a reaction to almost 30 years of “looking professional” with the requisite suits, stocking, sheitals and makeup. I’ve recovered now, and I’m back to looking nicer but I wallowed in grunge when I first got here and LOVED it!

  4. SnoopyTheGoon
    Feb 07, 2007 @ 20:03:02

    Hey, WBM, mazal tov with your new place! The link will be corrected in a jiffy.
    And mazal tov with your new job – be shaa tova.
    Why such animosity to Google?

    Observations are interesting, although I (almost) do not have an opinion about lipstick. The little I have is not absolutely positive, as you can guess 😉


  5. SnoopyTheGoon
    Feb 07, 2007 @ 20:07:45

    Oh, and I like the blog name West Bank Mama much better. It is a) more personal and b) has character, like, for example, Billy the Kid or Mad Jim from Milwaukeee (I hope you see the positive side in these comparisons).

  6. Ozymandias
    Feb 11, 2007 @ 02:37:27

    Mad Jim from Milwaukee. Better than Crazy Chris from cleveland.

  7. bec
    Feb 11, 2007 @ 19:07:11

    great new blog. blogger has now hit my blog, so i’ll have to see if i stay with them or not….!
    it’s good to see that you’re getting into a routine with the new job. at this point with three kids under five, i cannot even imagine being able to get it all done AND get to work. when they’re older, i can definitely see making it work.

  8. WaysofZion
    Feb 11, 2007 @ 21:24:49

    I like your new site! I’ve abandoned (sp?) blogger as well….it was a pain. While we were in Israel I found a shop on Ben Yehuda street (sorry I don’t remember the name) with wonderul long skirts in different colours and such. I bought some thin cord ones (they looked tiered) to bring home. Don’t know if that helps you any.

    When we were in Israel I thought that the clothing was much more modest then over here, though we did only shop in Jerusalem so that might have a lot to do with that observation.

  9. westbankmama
    Feb 12, 2007 @ 15:41:24

    waysofzion – you are right, it is easier to shop in Jerusalem. I don’t live near there, though.

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