On my way to the supermarket, I was accosted by a friend who practically seethed with righteous indignation.
“I was going out of my mind when I read that story with the daughter and the mother!” she said, gnashing her teeth. “It just can’t be true! Can people be so, so inane?”
The thing is that “people” are not inane. They are perhaps misguided. Their judgment may be occluded. They might even be ignorant, or operating from a place of pain, resentment or overload. Whatever the case, the plight of our newlyweds and their parents begs for clarity and plenty of wise counsel. This week, we’ve got just what the doctor ordered.
Rebbetzin Rochel Lubin is a noted teacher and mentor, as well as a sought-after speaker who travels extensively around the world, giving chizzuk and clarity on many topics related to marriage, motherhood and other aspects of a woman’s life.
As Rebbetzin Lubin addresses Nechama and Chevy’s story, she does not simply hone in on the superficial issues and give us a soundbite solution. Instead, as you will soon see, she zooms out to explore the biggest picture possible, giving a totally new perspective on parenting and avodas Hashem.
Judging by the deluge of emails we received, there is a tremendous thirst for direction on the subject of how to balance the parent-child relationship after marriage, as well as the wider topic of the dos and don’ts of communication between parents and marrieds.
This week it’s Rebbetzin Lubin who gives us direction on this important relationship. We invite other experts, including communal rabbanim and rebbetzins, chinuch experts, mashgichim and therapists to share their guidance and viewpoints on these complex, critical topics. The goal of this column is to give practical, authoritative advice as well as compassionate support to our readers, and we are very grateful to any and all who can be part of this important mission.
The account of Nechama and Chevy is a perfect portrayal of many of the factors that come into play when parents marry off their children. The mother is suddenly confronted with a reality that calls into question her deepest thoughts about raising children, about parenting, and about her own avodas Hashem. It’s as if now that the child is married, it exposes the mother’s inner core; everything that comes out after the wedding can be seen as an outcome of the 20 or so years that preceded it.
Let’s take a better look at what’s happening.
First of all, Nechama, you sound completely and utterly exhausted. You just made a chasunah a short while ago! You married off your only daughter! This must have really wrung you out. Just the physical preparations are enormous, but there’s also the emotional component that can be so, so difficult. And then on top of that, comes Yom Tov when there’s so much to do. Above that, you have a new son-in-law and it’s only natural that you want to impress him with good food and work even extra hard. So my heart really goes out to you and I understand where you’re coming from.
When a mother’s gas tank is empty, she can’t handle anything; she loses proportion and is set adrift. Having a worn-out battery is like trying to breathe underwater. A few years back, when my husband was a cancer patient (baruch Hashem, my husband is healthy today!), he had to be treated for water that accumulated around his lungs. He described the sensation as what one may feel when underwater, when the person is drowning and desperately flailing to receive oxygen. The exhaustion and terror are unimaginable. This is how I see you, Nechama. It is for this reason that it’s of paramount importance for a mother to keep herself feeling energized and full.