I recently had the privilege or reading Briefcases & Baby Bottles, The Working Mother’s Guide to Nurturing a Jewish Home, for my KosherWorkaholic series on my website. I found it to be a wonderful resource of support, suggestions and tips for all Jewish mothers, whether they work outside the house or not.
Written by a very insightful Social Worker and mom to 4, Tzivia Reiter, who lives in Passaic, New Jersey, it is a deep and professional work on many levels filling a gap in parenting guides. First, as a working mother in a helping profession like Social Work, Tzivia Reiter easily connects with the quintessential struggle of all mothers; struggles such as separation anxiety, guilt over leaving children with other caregivers, time management, burnout, balance, personal space and the desire to raise healthy, successful children. The book takes a professional approach both in the way the research was conducted, by interviewing Jewish Orthodox working mothers to discuss both their struggles and triumphs, while also offering coaching and success tips throughout.
Briefcases and Baby Bottles, ‘The Working Mother’s Guide to Nurturing A Jewish Home’, was written through the lens of not just one working mother but the hundreds of Jewish mothers who were interviewed for the book and whose quotes can be found throughout the book. For each struggle that a mother may discuss, there are also success tips to help deal with it. Some of the topics discussed in the book book include: learning how to let go of guilt, maintaining a
positive attitude, learning to create your own work/family balance, making the most of the time you do have with your children, giving your marriage the
attention it deserves. The book also offers resources for the working mother, tips on finding the right child care provider, tips on easing the morning and evening crunch and even includes insightful interviews with what Tzivia calls, ‘The Real Experts’, children of working mothers.
Reading this book is excellent therapy. To be expected as it is written by a well-seasoned therapist herself, Tzivia has a successful career as a Social Worker with OHEL Bais Ezra. The guide helps Jewish Orthodox women recognize that their struggles, fears, and guilt along with their joys and hard work are normal and healthy. The book provides us with a support system and benchmark to help us focus on successfully nurturing our Jewish homes.
While there are many, many parenting guides out there to help working mothers, before now there were none that focused on the Jewish Orthodox woman and her unique philosophical way of life. In Briefcases and Baby Bottles, the struggles and triumphs of a woman who is both striving to provide her family with
Orthodox values while also working outside the home has been nicely presented, providing our little frum corner of the Universe with a guide to emotional health and success.
This book makes for easy and enjoyable Shabbos reading. It would also make a great gift for your sister, friend, mother, daughter or spouse. Whether she works from the home, out of the home or in her home, Jewish mothers are always striving to nurture their homes and now we have a great resource to help us.