Women Who Inspire Us

Women Who Inspire Us #10: My neighbor and colleague

Today’s post is the tenth in the Women Who Inspire Us Series.  You can read the previous posts here.  You may also want to subscribe to my RSS feed, or “like” my Facebook page to catch the upcoming posts.  As always, if you would like to share your inspiration by participating in the series, please contact me.  I would LOVE to hear who inspires you, and hope to keep this series ongoing!

I’m happy to bring you this post from my friend, Penina.  She lives in Miami Beach, is a mother of two girls – an energetic toddler and happy infant, and is trying to balance motherhood, wifehood and being a part-time first-time kindergarten teacher.  Thanks for taking the time to share with us, Penina!

Who is a woman you find inspirational?

My neighbour and fellow teacher

What is her relationship to you?

She lives in the Yeshiva building where my husband learns and works, and she teaches in the same preschool with me.

Where did you meet her?

In Miami Beach, she used to live in the same apartment building as my aunt and uncle.

When did you meet her?  Do you think the timing of your meeting affected her impact on you?

I really only met her after I was engaged.  She was the first family I went to for a Shabbos meal with my (future) husband.  She was one of the first influences on me at a time when I was starting to REALLY think about the family I was setting out to build.

What is inspirational about her?

I’m impressed with so much about her.  She has, B”H, 8 children, between the ages of twelve and 8 months old.  She keeps her house not spotless, but ordered and neat.  Her kids are dressed nicely and clean, smiling and happy, and always ready to help out at home and taking care of the younger children.

As if that wasn’t enough, she runs a business out of her home.  Each week, she bakes challah, cookies, brownies, cinnamon buns and other treats and sells them in the community.

What really inspires me is how normal she is, how normal the entire family is.  They’re not perfect, but they keep trying and smiling.  She invited us for a meal on Shabbos the week before school started, when we were BOTH stressed, frustrated and exhausted from setting up.

How has this inspiration affected your life?  Do you think it has made you a better person?  How so?

She has definitely affected how I look at the giant job of being a mother, wife and teacher.  After talking to her and getting to know her over the last 2 1/2 years, I know she doesn’t always do what she wants – sometimes laundry gets finished a different day, or all the floors aren’t mopped each week.  Sometimes her husband makes lunches for the kids, and sometimes kugels burn because something else came up.  And sometimes she’ll bake a batch of cookies late at night so she can read books and play with her children.  But she shows me that it is possible to be smiling at the end of each day, to have happy children, an appreciative husband and content students, no matter how many minor setbacks there were that day.

She inspires me to keep trying.  That no matter what happens, just to do what I can and be satisfied with that.  To spend quality time with my family above every other “pressing” need.  And to keep smiling through it all.

When do you find yourself thinking of this person?  How do you feel when you think about her?

I think about her every time I find myself getting overwhelmed with things I “need” to do.  I remember how she sacrifices her nights so she can spend time with her children by day, and most of the time I’ll do the same.  When I first met her, I admit, I felt a little jealous that she manages to do so much with so many other things going on in her day.  But now I see that it’s possible, and she inspires me to try harder, not to give up, and do the best that I know I can do.

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