Homeshuling

Homeshuling


Tell me how you do it

posted by Homeshuling

At the end of August, I’ll be going back to work full time for the first time since Ella was born, six years ago. It was too good of an offer to refuse – I’ll be teaching at the day school where Ella attends, and Zoe will attend in a year, which means that I will not  only be able to take them to and from school every day, but will also get to see them every day for many years. I’m sure it’s the right choice, but I’m also mystified about how everything will get done around the house.
I know many of my readers are in homes with two working parents. Now I’m asking (begging, really) you to share your secrets. How do you and your spouse divide up your household/parenting chores? How do you get dinner on the table at a reasonable hour? How do you get ready for shabbat? Do you ever get any sleep?
Any and all tips will be greatly appreciated!



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Lisa

posted June 30, 2009 at 5:10 pm


Amy:
Some women I know recently published a book that I think has some realling interesting findings, ideas and tools, “Getting to 50/50: How Working Couples Can Have It All by Sharing It All” by Sharon Meers and Joanna Strober.
It is not always easy for our family — the house is often cluttered, the beds not made, etc., but everyone in our house is happy — so we make it work! Also, we are truly fortunate to be able to have a nanny part-time which is really, really helpful to making our a family work. Sometimes, ‘out sourcing’(as we say here in Silicon Valley) is not only ok, but critical to making it work. Hire someone to clean every so often, to make meals, to do laundry, errands, etc.
B’hatzlacha!



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EdibleTorah

posted June 30, 2009 at 8:37 pm


Amy:
Mazal Tov on getting an offer too good to refuse in this economy!
Ah sleep. I remember it well.
I think, as Lisa already pointed out, it’s about compromise (mostly with yourself and your own internal standards) and sharing between you and your husband.
Speaking as the shar-ee in that equation, I try to cover as much as I can because my perception is that my wife has certain de-facto responsibilities on top of work that usually can be neither delegated nor deferred. Of course, things like nursing (although we’re beyond that) but also there’s just some nurturing moments where only Mom will do. Sure, we could ask our kids to make it work with Dad, but when kid’s emotions are flowing I’d prefer NOT to have to ask them to adapt. I’ve declared certain tasks off limits to Mom (dishwasher, animal care, etc. Take your pick – or have your husband take his pick). Other things I simply try to get to first whenever possible.
Our sleep cycles are slightly different – my wife goes to bed early and I stay up later. So I try to use the quiet time to pre-set things like breakfast (bowls, spoons, etc), coffee, morning medicine. That seems to put us ahead. The same idea applies to the kids. You’d be amazed at how much faster morning routines go when clothes are picked the night before, cereal is selected, etc.
I work from home 1-2 days a week, and that is a huge help as well. I’m a computer geek by profession (being a blabbermouth is just a hobby you see) so while I’m in phone meetings, or waiting for a program to compile or whatever I can throw in a load of laundry, empty the dishwasher, or get food into the oven. (If my wife reads this she’ll laugh. I am truly pathetic when it comes to cooking – another reason I eagerly do dishes, because I figure it’s kind of a pennence – so I need explicit instructions or else food poisoning is a real risk.)
As Lisa mentioned, if you can afford outsourcing, that can take another burden off your shoulders.
For Shabbat, we cheat. My wife doesn’t work on Friday, and I can usually duck out of work around noon assuming there are no major fires to put out. That gets us home in time to sweep, get food ready, and be in the right frame of mind when our Shabbat crew arrives. And of course, the fact that every Shabbat is pot-luck means we only have to prepare one thing instead of the whole meal.
Good luck. Enjoy every moment, even the crazy ones where you aren’t sure how you are going to make it work. As a currently popular country song says, “You’re gonna miss this”.
L’Shalom
- Leon



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Riqi

posted July 1, 2009 at 1:30 am


Unfortunately I cannot help you much here because it is a big mystery to me. The closest I can come to is to call rent-a-rebbetzin for the shabbos prep, and the housecleaner I have off and on every other week on thursday mornings, a life saver. I rest up hard core every Shabbat-day and savor and hog up every second with my child. You are allways welcome to do shabbos with me and then we can make it more manageable. That is the beauty of the Shabbos Day Potluck.



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Sarah Buttenwieser

posted July 1, 2009 at 8:59 am


i do not know but i am excited for you!



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Sarah Buttenwieser

posted July 1, 2009 at 5:22 pm


I meant to pass on this link: I have known Jessica a long time (since Hampshire) & I think she’s really done amazing work on the work/family/life balancing act issues.
http://www.thirdpath.org/



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Jess

posted July 1, 2009 at 6:56 pm


Congratulations!



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Avery

posted July 1, 2009 at 9:07 pm


I’m in the same boat – returning full time to teaching while still having little ones at home. I found two great resources as I stress about this. One is the Working Mother’s Book of Time, by Working Mother magazine. It is old (I got mine at the library) but had some good tips. The other one is flylady.net. She’s way over the top, but she also has good ideas and she also has a teacher journal for how to organize at school – you may have to search for it. I’m trying to think through routines, etc. now so that we have a system in place in the fall. I’m kidding myself to think that things will run smoothly, but I’m hoping the advance thinking will make things easier, and help Josh and I communicate about what needs to be done. Good luck and congratulations!



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Naomi

posted July 1, 2009 at 9:08 pm


I don’t know how we did it (before I lost the job, of course). It is totally mysterious to me. I know there were at least a few ingredients:
1. Lower your standards for housekeeping.
2. Make friends with prepared foods (Trader Joe is a good man).
3. We switched off who dropped off and who picked up the kids on a fairly regular basis, and we also managed to shift our schedules so that the kids didn’t need aftercare. We also tried to alternate sick/vacation days to cover the girls’ odd days off from school. It sounds like this will be a nonissue for you, since you’ll be on the same rough schedule as the girls — you lucky.
So glad you’ll be at the school. They’re lucky to have you.



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homeshuling

posted July 1, 2009 at 9:18 pm


I’m definitely going to check out some of these resources. (especially rent-a-rebbetzin….!) We do have someone clean the house every other week. I insisted on this about a year ago, even if it meant we didn’t have enough money to almost ever go out on a date. I realized it was more important for shalom bayit than a night on the town. I don’t think we can afford to increase her to once a week, but I am going to ask her to stay an extra hour to wash the towels and bedding while she’s here.
I hate Rachel Ray, but maybe I can find another good source for 30 minute (or so) recipes…..?



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EdibleTorah

posted July 1, 2009 at 9:39 pm


regarding fast meals (and remember, I’m NOT a cook), when we lived overseas we got hooked on a British show called “Ready Stead Cook”. The premise was an audience member brought in $7 worth of ingredients, and worked with a chef to prepare a meal in 20 minutes (the encore was to make dessert in 10).
You can find the profile here:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b006vcgr
I did some digging and you can watch the episodes via youtube (this is episode 15 but you can get to the rest from there):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ihf4eTv2zWg



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Julia

posted July 2, 2009 at 12:06 am


We are hooked on Dream Dinners. A number of places in different cities operate the same type company with different names, but the bottom line is: in 75 minutes, you prepare a slew of “homemade” frozen meals custom spiced for your family. You go on-line in advance and decide which meals you’d like to prepare, then go to the store at the time of your appointment, and they have all the stuff chopped and prepared, recipes at hand, freezer bags etc. You go from station to station, using their fresh spices with just the right measuring spoon in each, and go home with a bunch of ziploc bags ready for the freezer. It’s such a pleasure to “prepare” dinner by grabbing a bag from the freezer in the morning, and then spending 10-15 minutes cooking that night! It’s so nice to never be missing that one ingredient.



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MorahLaura

posted July 4, 2009 at 11:53 am


A good source for quick meal prep:
http://thescramble.com/ The Six O’Clock Scramble.
They email you a week’s worth of recipes with shopping lists each week, and they are almost all kosherizable or vegetarian. I subscribed for 3 months and really loved it, but found I was the only one eating many of the recipes (I have very picky eaters). Several of the recipes we all liked, however, are now in our monthly rotation. They really are 30 minutes from “What are we going to have??” to eating, if you keep the ingredients stocked up. We used the shopping lists to prepare weekly Peapod orders, which made it even easier.
Oh, yeah there’s another one: Peapod your Stop n Shop groceries! They take “scrip” and it’s just so convenient. Saved me while I was pregnant and tending a newborn.



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MorahLaura

posted July 4, 2009 at 11:57 am


PS: I am thrilled to hear you’re back teaching at Schechter. Mazal tov on the opportunity.



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Miriam

posted July 13, 2009 at 4:20 pm


To make the transition as seemless as possible you should encourage your mother, Judy, to come up for the first Shabbatot for long weekends and encourage her to make all of her delicious specialties.This will make the whole family happy and glad that you have a full time job!
On the laundry front-Each of you must have their own basket which follows them fron dirty clothes to washer, dryer/line and then folding and putting away. It eliminates sorting, encourages individual responsibilty for one’s laundry and is huge time saver.



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homeshuling

posted July 13, 2009 at 11:34 pm


I think you should cc my mom on the suggestion!



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Frume Sarah

posted August 20, 2009 at 1:12 am


If you figure it out…let me know. I just plain suck at this part. We have a housekeeper come in once a week to make certain that we don’t drown in laundry. The only bed that gets made daily is mine. We have two sitters who jobshare and they do much of the meal prep. But with my picky eaters, it’s a lot of pasta and mac and cheese.
Shabbat happens at my folks’ b/c I just can’t be mommy and rabbi on a Friday night. My husband’s commute prevents him from EVER being home with us for dinner.
Not ideal…
I think my kids will have a lot of material to cover with their therapists.



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