The Challah Bake was scheduled on Thursday. On Wednesday, I realized that my husband was scheduled to work the 2 pm to 1 am shift on Thursday. Though I did see some pictures of friends who took a kid with them, I didn’t have the energy to shlep all my kids, and I didn’t have the energy to get a babysitter, either (for some reason, finding a babysitter takes a Herculean amount of effort). So I watched from home as my newsfeed filled up with pictures of thousands and thousands of women across the country participating in this amazing event. It looked tremendous, really tremendous!
As for the Shabbos Project, we almost hosted a couple boys for meals, but in the end they went somewhere else, so it was just us. And since I was still recuperating from the holidays, and a little under the weather, and also having zero energy from, Baruch Hashem, being in the last month of pregnancy, I was a little relieved to not have guests this week.
And when our daughter ended up being sick multiple times Friday night (poor thing!), I was even more grateful for the lack of guests. Maybe that was the reason that our guests cancelled.
But as I write all this, I feel apologetic and guilty about not participating, about being too tired to do more. On the one hand, I truly don’t have a lot of energy right now. And knowing when to say no is an important skill. On the other hand, I love having guests. I love participating in big events. I do get energized from these things, and maybe if I had risen to the challenge, I would have managed. I’m very disappointed that I didn’t get to participate in either of these events. And there’s this niggling voice that says, “but so-and-so tzadeikes was able to host 570 guests for Shabbos even when she was on bedrest and had 27 children of her own! You’re just a slacker!” (that’s hyperbole, obviously)
Those of you who have been reading my blog for a while will likely recognize this struggle. It’s not the first time I’ve felt this way, and it probably won’t be the last.
Now I’m just going to ramble for a few paragraphs
Sometimes there are mitzvos that I really want to do, and don’t have the capability to do. Sometimes taking care of my family is the most I can do. I really don’t like not being able to participate in communal things, to not be involved in All The Things. I’m well aware that as a Jew, I should always be doing (and yes, I’m aware that just being pregnant is actually being in a state of constant doing, even when it doesn’t seem like I’m doing anything).
I also want to be realistic about when trying to do all the things will cause me to be a less patient mother and wife, and I’ve gotten a lot better at that. I’ve learned what I’m able to make time for and what is really outside the realm of realistic. People ask me how I have time to write. It’s because I can sit in my house at 10:13 at night, in comfy clothes and scratch out a little time to write. Yes, it means I’m ignoring the dishes and the toys strewn about the floor, which I will need to deal with eventually. It’s the events that have set times, that require me finding a babysitter. Those just feel completely out of reach most of the time.
But I have a difficult time differentiating between can’t and won’t. You know? While I’m on the topic, there are other things I’m also not doing that I feel like giving everyone an apology for. I’m sorry for not reading your blog posts. I’m sorry for not promoting your idea. I’m sorry for not submitting that article in a timely manner. I’m sorry for not writing that letter, picking up the phone, sending the email….the list could go on for quite some time.
Still kind of aimlessly writing here…
I was wondering if there was even a point in publishing this post. Maybe I’m just feeling kvetchy. Maybe I’m rationalizing my non-participating. Maybe I’m absolutely making the right decision to conserve my energy for my family. Not being able to tell which is which makes me feel very frustrated.
So, I’m sorry for this disjointed, confused and not-so-polished post. Except I’m not entirely sorry. Sometimes that’s just where I’m holding, and why shouldn’t I show you that part of my life as well, right? Maybe that’s why I didn’t get to participate in either event. As a reminder for myself that life is messy and unclear and doesn’t always take the shape I might want.
But the shape it takes is really quite wonderful (even if, at this exact moment, I’m listening to my sons complain about having to clean up all the legos they dumped out. At least they’re actually cleaning, even if it’s super whiny!). So while I will try to always strive to do as much as I can, appreciating the wonderful is enough for right now.