Ask Wendy

Jewish World Review / Sept. 11, 2000 / 10 Elul, 5760

Bris brouhaha breaks my heart, LET ME SLEEP! --- and Why can't I hold a job?

By Wendy Belzberg -- Though my mother broke off all contact with her parents years ago, I get along very well with my grandparents. Eighteen months ago, when I gave birth to my first son, I decided to invite my mother and my grandparents to the brit and let them sort it out for themselves. My mother informed me that if her parents attended the brit, she would not. I told my grandparents and suggested instead a separate celebration in synagogue after my mother left town (my rabbiís suggestion). They passed on the whole thing.

Baby number two is due this summer. Any suggestions for alternate or better ways to handle what will no doubt be a similarly sticky situation?

I suggest the same approach you outlined with the birth of your first son; only this time, stick to it: Let them sort it out for themselves. Brit or baby-naming, call and invite your mother and your grandparents. Then hang up. If you have to leave the phone off the hook for the next week, so be it.

Your mother and grandparents should be the ones "trying to be good" so you can celebrate the birth of your second child, anxiety and worry-free. It is your job to parent your own children, not to parent your mother and your motherís mother.

* * *

I am a mother of 2 young children and I haven't had a good night's sleep since they were born. I thought we were the only parents in this spot and that we must be doing something wrong. Then I talked to a friend who said she too is up at least once most nights. Can I be doing anything differently? I'm tired, and frankly, rather cranky a lot of the time.

Didn't you read the job description before you took the job? Where's your partner? And if you're the only one getting up, what do you need a partner for? The way I do the math, you are entitled to at least 3 and a half full nights of sleep a week--even if you have to sleep in another room.

There isn't a parent out there who isn't, or hasn't been, in the same boat as you. Nursing, teething, night terrors, bed-wetting: This is a short list of legitimate reasons your child may need comfort and company in the night. But if your child cannot fall asleep without you in the bed next to him, or is up several times a night for no apparent reason and cannot go back to sleep without you, that is something different. First timers should consult their pediatricians. The next stop for everyone may be "Solve Your Child's Sleep Problems" by Richard Ferber.

While I'm sympathetic, I know far too many well-rested women who have been unable to conceive who would change places with you in a heartbeat.

* * *

I'm frustrated. I'm a smart, hardworking guy. I have a good educational background. In every job I hold, I accomplish a great deal. I'm known for speaking my mind and moving quickly. I arrive early and leave late. At the same time, I "don't suffer fools gladly." Why should I? The problem is, I continue to get fired. Is this just bad luck or am I missing something?

You don't need me to solve this mystery: Go directly to any or all of your former bosses. Now that you are no longer on their payroll, they shouldn't have a problem being candid. Have you considered that you're just not cut out to be a company guy? Perhaps you should go into business for yourself. At least that way you couldn't get fired.

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09/05/00: Righteous anger, 'dissed' daughter --- and how not to make a match
08/21/00: When one spouse becomes more religious than the other; "But the cleaning lady is part of the family!"; Why He invented 9-month gestation periods
08/21/00: 'Fessing up to granny about abandoning one's people, non-kosher sis-in-law, and 'my niece is marrying a loser'
08/14/00: Marrying 'in' for questionable motivations; Should a do-gooder be reimbursed?
08/07/00: Communing with the clouds, betrothal, and banishing bosses
07/28/00: Small-city guys, self-centered siblings
07/21/00: When a child takes religion seriously, marriage obsession, and guests who just don't get it
07/14/00: Divorcing brother-in-law, uncampy kids, and a dot.comer who makes it big time
07/07/00: Hypocrites, reality checks, and the 'real estate challenged'


© 2000, Wendy Belzberg