When you think about a religious woman, a harediyah or datiyah, last thing you have in mind is a career woman. You imagine a woman pushing twin stroller with 4 more children around her pushing another stroller themselves. Many of the secular women, who look for ways to infuse coffee via IV into their system, after being up all night with their single baby, ask themselves “how do they do that?”
Well, in today’s world, you will see religious women, who are mothers of 4-6 children also manage to run successful careers.
The Jewish religious world approves career for women. A self-fulfilling woman returns to her children at the end of the day with better feeling. A woman who feels she cannot express and fulfill herself will be irritable and impatient to her children and husband.
Since rabbis legitimate successful careers for religious women, there are haredi and dati women who works in high-tech, lawyers, interior designers, fashion designers, psychologists , etc.
In households where the husband learn Torah and the woman is responsible for providing, the possibility to make more money is very welcomed.
There is no much difference between working mothers in the secular and the religious sectors. Both religious and secular women have many roles in their lives. But “mother” and “woman” roles are much more demanding for religious women. Usually there are more children to take care of, which means more time to invest in raising the children, more attention to each and every one of them , more diapers to change, more helping with homework ,more laundry, more cleaning and cooking for more people during the week and specially cooking for Shabbat that must be made in advance.
So how can religious women have career? “How do they do that?”
Well, haredi / Dati woman who have careers don’t sleep much at night. Life begins after 10pm, much after the kids go to sleep. Some schedule meeting to late evening hours, some works from home until the small hours of the night.
Thanks to more flexibility and support form husbands it is possible for religious women to have careers. True it is the woman’s responsibility taking care of the children and manage the household. But more and more religious men are helping with cooking, driving the kids to and from school and more.
It is good for a woman to feel self fulfilled and have successful career. But we must remember that career is just the means, not the goal. Self-fulfillment is very important but we must be careful not to lose our way. The kids and husband should always come first. We need to set boundaries, a child should not be raised by babysitter, grandmother or older sibling….. As long as we keep that in mind and set our schedule right, we could be good mothers, good wives and have a career at the same time.