Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Shanah Rishona Guilt

Gluten-free enchiladas, granola bars for Mr. T, gluten-free pizza and fries,
pasta with sautéed spinach, sundried tomatoes, and mushrooms. 

One of the toughest things about having a full-time job, being pregnant and energy-less part of the time, and having a busy and awesomely ravenous husband is figuring out the proper balance to my day so that Mr. T doesn't end up eating pita and hummus for dinner and I don't end up gorging at one meal and feeling sick/exhausted the rest of the day.

After the first trimester, where I spent a lot of time sleeping and laying about (which I could do because I was under employed), I got a boost of energy and appetite -- for about two weeks. Yes, there were two glorious weeks where I was a machine from dawn until dusk and was able to eat just about every last bit of what I craved.

Those two weeks were short lived and a huge tease.

Now my energy levels wane from day to day. Some days I am more than eager to get up at 6:30 a.m. when Mr. T's alarm goes off and work all day and stay up late watching TV and having a nice homemade dinner. Other days, I pull myself out of bed at 9:30 a.m. and am crashing around 6 p.m.

So what's the big deal? I'm rocking a lot of "shanah rishonah guilt." What, you ask is this phenomenon? Shanah rishonah is how Jews refer to the first year of marriage (it literally means first year). For religious Jews, this first year means you're like a king and queen, you can hand out brachot (blessings) and instead of dipping your challah in salt you dip it in honey so everything will be sweet.

For very religious Jews -- who often don't date long before marriage and definitely don't live together -- it's also the chance to really spend time getting to know the other person, and the truth is that for Mr. T and I, it's been very much "getting to know you, getting to know all about you!"

Before we got married, I'd cooked for him a few times, and he cooked for me a few times, but we never shared a bathroom or bedroom or closet or space. We've been incredibly blessed that the transition has been smooth -- he's very easy going when I rearrange the entire kitchen or move things around in the closet. There are bigger fish to fry, as it goes.

But for me, there's still that feeling of needing to perform. I might work full-time now, but I'm home all day sitting at a desk near the kitchen, which makes me feel like I should be able to put up a four-course meal every night when Mr. T comes home from a day of hard-labor (he is an electrician after all). I also feel the need to make sure he's got healthy and filling lunches to schlep in every day to work. The guilt I feel when he comes home and I'm still tapping away working is probably unnecessary (he's even said it's unnecessary), but I know that the first year sets you up for life.

And with a tiny alien growing inside me, I have to wonder: What are things going to look like in six months when husband's working full-time, I'm working, baby is chilling out with me at home ...? And what about Erev Shabbat (Friday) when I basically stand up in the kitchen cooking from the moment I wake up until Shabbat comes in?

The truth is, I could probably take a huge load off of myself by not insisting on having an adventurous kitchen and palette. We have a vegetarian home, meaning that it's a constant battle to find protein-packed options for my most ravenous Mr. T (who can eat and eat and not gain a pound). So between work tasks, I'm scanning the web for gluten-free black bean burger recipes and ways to cook spaghetti squash and tips on using tofu that doesn't involve stir-fry (we over did it a few months ago). I don't like to replicate dishes too much, because I don't want to bore myself or the husband (or iBoy when he's around).

So what do you do? How do you rejigger things when your energy is up or down to keep things running at home? How do you fight that relationship-performing guilt?