The Balancing Act

Wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, worker, volunteer—the number of roles women have to play is endless, and it leaves many of us frantic, confused, and unhappy. The following guest post offers an excellent perspective on finding balance.

Sometimes I look around and wonder how we women do it all. Every one of us has so many different hats to wear just to function in our world today. We women are at a crossroad. No longer simply housewives, no longer feminists, no longer arm candy, we are morphing into something bigger, better and more of everything. Not being a trained sociologist or anthropologist, I cannot give an accurate account of this evolutionary process, but I’m positive that I’m caught up in this feminine lifecycle, which I call “The Balancing Act.”

While society still imposes a certain role for us to play, it is really up to each of us to find those things that we need to bring happiness, accomplishment and love into our lives. Traditionally, women were always looking outward to find their place; consumed with wanting to do what our husbands and family members expected, or face rejection and even abandonment. Women, generally, want to please, even if it means switching from a baseball hat, to a beret, to a beanie and then to a fedora—a hat for every role. We juggle balls until our heads spin! We do anything to help, anything to make the lives of those around us better. But, what about our own ball? Where is it? Can we catch it? How sad and curious that women, as a whole, with the exceptions of those pioneers who had the courage to resist the stereotypical cycle, have consumed these overwhelming, stress causing, hat switching roles!

I can’t help but look to the fairytales where ladies are rescued by a man and restored to the safety of an environment where they will be sheltered from pain of the heart and expectations of others. It would be interesting to see if Cinderella and her Prince (which she only knew for a three-hour period), or Snow White, who lay in a coffin coming to life after a kiss from the Prince, really lived happily ever after! Did they switch hats as swiftly as we have come to do? How many balls did they keep afloat? Did they really have any form of responsibility? 

As young girls, we are taught that we will be saved and put on a pedestal by a handsome man who finds us, and who not only rebels against his family to have us, but shelters us from the pressures that have put us in a locked box.

Unfortunately, life is not a fairy tale and from my experience, it’s up to us, not a Prince, to rescue ourselves.

Perhaps, the new way is to finally include ourselves and our own needs. When we catch the ball with our name symbolically written on it, we take care of ourselves, not just others. It may seem like a silly analogy, but it is really profound. Women, now, have to take a turn. We are born with the emotional and physical attributes that make us females, but without protecting ourselves from becoming invisible and without purpose, we shorten our time to live. The changes within must begin now. It is time for women to pay attention to our own needs and desires; learn to juggle our own ball, our own lives.

Yes, life is “The Balancing Act,” and we must be part of the equation. Write your name and desire on one of these symbolic balls that you are juggling. When your turn comes up, you will instinctively know. But guess what? It’s really up to you to take your turn, because it’s certain no one else will do it for you.

Stacey Dorenfeld is living a life that she loves, due to the people and experiences that she has been blessed with. Throughout her life, Stacey has been involved with a variety of Jewish organizations, including serving on the executive board of two synagogues, volunteering with various Jewish outreach programs, including Chabad’s Friendship Circle, (a special needs children’s program) for which she was presented an outstanding community achievement award. Stacey has routinely volunteered for the elderly, the needy, and those with special needs. Over the last several years, thanks to the encouragement of some amazing women, Stacey has become involved with the Jewish Women’s Renaissance Project (JWRP) and is now leading trips for other women going to Israel. She blogs regularly at Stacey Inside Out.
 

Donate Leftover Flowers to the Needy

Ever wondered what to do with leftover flowers bought for a big event? I sure have when I witnessed hundreds of gorgeous roses being tossed into the trash after an elaborate wedding! (Guests were allowed to take them home, but most declined. Such a waste, huh?)

The Full Bloom is a non-profit organization that accepts floral donations for the needy. They recut, repurpose, and recycle gently used flowers into bedside bouquets for patients in hospitals, hospice care, and nursing homes.

This idea is so ingenious, I’m surprised no one has tried it before. I’ve had multiple relatives that required long-term care and it gets so lonely and depressing for the patients. Many folks get no cards, no visitors, nothing. Imagine the joy that a surprise bouquet could bring to someone lying alone and sad all day in a hospital bed! And since the flowers are already paid for, there’s no additional cost for the giver. Win-win for all.

Books I Love – The Kiddush Ladies

Throughout my life, no matter what I’ve struggled with, I’ve always been blessed with dear friends who comforted and supported me. Most ladies would agree that it’s our female friendships, not our romantic relationships, that truly nurture and sustain us. Because those friendships are so vital, it can be devastating when they sour.

Author Susan Sofayov tackles this heartfelt topic in her new novel, The Kiddush LadiesIt  centers on heroines Becky, Miriam, and Naomi—3 ladies whose shared faith and many years of camaraderie should’ve created an unbreakable bond. As each one endures her own difficulties, their lifelong friendship splinters: Naomi’s husband has left her for a man; Becky’s son wants to marry a Catholic girl; Miriam’s upbringing as an only child leaves her unable to attain the close family connections she craves.

While all of the characters were multi-faceted and believable, Becky’s story was the most interesting to me. Every Jewish mother has a fear (often kept secret) that their child will marry a Christian, that their grandchildren will become Christian, and generations of customs and beliefs will be lost forever. Becky’s intense bewilderment and displeasure at her son’s choice is portrayed very honestly.

While some may find The Kiddush Ladies to be slightly dark reading material, I enjoy “Chic Lit” about imperfect people, thrust into difficult situations not of their choosing, and seeing how they react—rightly or wrongly. This is not an uplifting book, but it will be relatable for most of us who have experienced the unexpected craziness that life has to offer.

In the end, we have to accept others as they are, not how we want them to be. That can be an exceptionally bitter pill to swallow, but nobody ever said friendship was perfect.

Super Savings Saturday – 2/18/17

Welcome to another edition of Super Savings Saturday.

Since we’ve had 3 snowstorms in one week, my main focus was on restocking the fridge and freezer. I went into Market Basket for meat, chicken, produce, and milk. Most everything I needed wasn’t on sale, there were no mark downs, and I didn’t use a single coupon. The store was completely mobbed and it was a miserable experience. Total: $72.81. This isn’t how I choose to shop regularly, but life happens, right? 

After I brought the groceries home, I headed out again to search for clearance sales that I’d read about online.

Walgreens:

I didn’t want to buy too much, since it was only 50% off, but there were a few cheapies like these exchange cards for $1.49 that I couldn’t pass up. They’ll go straight into the stockpile for next year. The Ghirardelli chocolate boxes were marked $5.99, but rung up only $4.99 at checkout. A little pricey, yet worth it since the taste is divine.

Barnes & Noble:

Because I know how to buy books for less online, I rarely step inside an actual book store (we’re talking years). I will, however, make an exception for a red dot clearance sale that’s $2.00 per item. The selection was huge and I really enjoyed taking some time to browse at my leisure. I ended up buying 8 books, plus a latte in the coffee bar. Very relaxing way to spend 2 hours for less than $20.00.

 

Have you found any good deals lately?