Excerpted from Rebbetzin Tziporah Heller’s Question and Answer series on Naaleh.com
I am responsible for cooking, cleaning, and childcare, along with pursuing a demanding
career to support my husband’s learning. At times this leaves me sad and angry as I feel
unable to succeed in any area. Do you have suggestions for how I can be b’simcha even when I am tired, frustrated and overwhelmed?
You do not always have to be b’simcha. It’s ok to be frazzled when Shabbat starts at 4PM and you’re racing against the clock to finish on time. You don’t have to start dancing in the supermarket when you notice that the treif chickens cost a fraction of the kosher ones. The gemara says, “Lefum tzara agra. The reward is commensurate with the pain.” This means that your values are such that you’re willing to suffer a certain amount of frustration and difficulty to get something you want even more.
It is admirable that you consider worthwhile this struggle so your husband can dedicate himself to Torah. Of course, a person should work at acquiring simcha shel mitzva. Appreciate that the trade-off you’re making is worth it. Look forward to reaping the fruits of your labor, a worthy husband, children who value Torah, and a home where the yetzer hara is defeated because “Torah tavlin lo.”
It’s ok to find the going rough at times. Try to make it easier by drastically lowering your standards. Your house does not have to look perfect. Prioritize what needs to get done. I’ve spoken to respected Rebbetzins who told me that there was a good deal of disorder in their homes when they were raising young children and supporting their husbands in learning. You need to work b’emuna at your job, but you don’t have to be the star of the team.
Give yourself permission to define success as working within the parameters of your real goals which are to build a warm Torah home, support your
husband in his spiritual growth, and raise happy, healthy, well adjusted children.