Briefcases and Baby Bottles
In this essential guide, social worker Tzivia Reiter, a Director at OHEL Bais Ezra and a busy mother of a growing family, addresses the unique challenges and issues faced by Torah observant women who work outside the home. Based on in-depth interviews with over twenty women, Reiter recounts tales from the front lines of real-life frum working mothers of many stripes, and culls their most effective tips for reducing stress, maximizing time, enhancing shalom bayis, and more. Part how-to-guide, part chizuk booster, Briefcases and Baby Bottles covers topics that every working mother will identify with, and does so with sensitivity, insight, and humor.
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- a well researched guide for working mothers-a wonderful baby presentTzivie has filled a gap in the frum world with her well researched guide for frum working moms. She interviewed women from across a myriad of professions and backgrounds so that all types of readers are sure to find valuable suggestions, guidance and advice on how to manage raising a frum family while working outside the home. And, she managed to do this while working and raising her own family. There is a lot to be learned in this book and it makes a wonderful baby present! Thank you Tzivie for your wonderful commitment to helping others juggle successfully.
- A really great gift idea!"Finally, a book that understands my life as a working mother. Most parenting books describe lives that just don't sound like mine, and this book really "gets it" - what it's like to come home 6 or later and first deal with supper, connect with your kids, do homework, make Shabbos, and everything else. I really enjoyed it and am so happy there is finally a book out there for us frum working mothers."
- Comforting!This book is a comfort to those of us who try to balance work and family every day. It helps to know we are not alone and that even though there is no perfect solution, we can all find our own path. I highly recommend this book to the working mothers out there who feel overwhelmed and alone at times.
- reassuring and helpful!As a first time expectant mother who will have to return to work after my baby is born, I found this book to be extremely reassuring and helpful. It gave me a lot of ideas on how to prepare myself and my family, including help on practical things like hiring a babysitter, which I am so nervous about. A really great read, thank you!
- Finally a book that is in touch with reality.I found the book to be the first truly contemporary book for working orthodox Jewish women. Long needed to help those of us working moms through some of the challenges we face with juggling so many things and wearing so many hats. For me personally it was cathartic, validating and comforting. I and my grown children were interviewed for the book. Hence the catharsis for me in expressing my thoughts and feelings, validating and comforting to see my children's perspectives and last but not least, comforting to know that my experiences may provide some help and support to other mothers facing similar challenges.
I think that Tzivi did an outstanding job of presenting the challenges and her and her interviewees insights and experiences. It is very grounded in reality, humorous and touching. A must read for any working mom. My children enjoyed reading the other kids responses and I think that it is a good idea for the spouses of working moms to read as well as it may give them a new perspective on how their wives are feeling and perhaps help them to provide the necessary support and encouragement.
Thank you Tzivi for your time and effort in bringing this out for all of us!
- Working MothersIt’s the end of another day and I’m finally home from work. I gently close the front door behind me and tiptoe inside. It’s past bedtime, again. With a hushed good night to my babysitter, I lay down my bag, slip off my shoes and carefully make my way upstairs to my kids’ room. As I smooth damp hair back from soft foreheads, adjust blankets and plant feather-light kisses on pink, flushed cheeks, the insufferable tentacles of guilt slowly come creeping back up.
In the fast paced world of the twenty-first century, our roles are constantly changing as we attempt to find our place. As people, we all strive for balance, an equilibrium that allows us to seamlessly shift from one responsibility to the next. And no existence is, perhaps, as delicately complex as the working Jewish woman’s. Straddling the wobbly tightrope between mogul and mommy has always been complicated and often been uncomfortable. Until now. Enter Feldheim’s new book by Tzivia Reiter, Briefcases and Baby Bottles.
In her own words, Tzivia “wrote this book so [she] could read it.” As a social worker by profession and a full-time mom (does our position as mother have time constraints?), she was looking for a way to reconcile the multiplicity of her everyday life. Written from this perspective, the book is deeply honest, a product of months of meticulous research and interviews with Jewish, working women from across the spectrum. Each chapter begins with a personal anecdote or observation, and direct quotes from the interviewed women, identified by first name and profession, are interspersed with grayscale boxes filled with applicable, realistic, hint and tips. The result is a cross between a comforting conversation with an old friend and a panel discussion with like-minded women in a similar situation. Reiter covers every topic I have ever considered in my years as a working mother – from facing negativity, like outsiders’ (and insiders’) opinions of our choices and the guilt with which we torment ourselves, to proactive suggestions for a happy and healthy attitude and finding the elusive “balance” we all seem to seek, and practical recommendations for safeguarding our marriages and navigating often chaotic morning and evening routines. As I read through the book I began to get the feeling that she knows me better than I know myself.
Tzivia truly leaves the best for last, where she interviews the offspring of working mothers for the final chapter of her book. In the words of grown (and almost grown) children she pieces together a mosaic of the good – My siblings and I felt very proud when we visited my mother in her office…I thought my mom was cool…I have learned a lot from watching [my mom] juggle everything…”, the bad – “I didn’t make friends as easily when I was growing up because my mom wasn’t part of ‘the circle’…There were times that I…wanted to speak with my mom right away when I came home, but she wasn’t there. That was hard…”, and the helpful – “I think it’s important to make sure the family eats some meals together…Do fun things when you are home together…Try to come [to school functions] at least once in a while…,” spoken with such candor that it brought tears to my eyes.
Because the next time I come home too late to tuck my children into bed myself I’ll know that the women interviewed in the book such as Sarah, Barbara, Mindy and Chani have all been here before. I’ll know that the choices I have made for my family are right for us and nothing anyone else says matters, I’ll know that my children will be okay and perhaps the better for it and I’ll know that I’ll be okay – ready and happy to place one foot steadily before the next as I make my way across the tightrope, with the knowledge that I am part of a community of women who are a strong network of support that I can always rely on.
- Insightful to humorous – a great read!I found this book to be insightful, humorous, thoughtful and stimulating - addressing the challenges of the working mother – from the perspectives of many diverse women. Most welcomingly, I found the book to drive no hidden agenda but a welcome addition to the discourse of the many challenges our community faces in the modern world.