I’ve never fancied myself a balabusta. For the past eight years, I’ve assumed this role, however, in my relationship with my husband, Danny Lobell.
Because I was a freelance writer for most of our relationship, I would dutifully care for our two dogs, six chickens and tortoise, clean the house religiously and cook every meal. I’d make elaborate Shabbat dinners, invite over tons of people, and make the house look perfect, all the while writing for many clients and building my portfolio. On the side, I was also managing Danny’s comedy career.
Some Thursday nights, I would have two pots full of rice going on the stove and be panfrying 14 pieces of schnitzel while baking six loaves of challah and washing and drying loads upon loads of laundry. Often, I was up until 3 a.m. setting the table, then getting up around 10 a.m. and working all day on the finishing touches. I usually never left the kitchen on Fridays. Our home doesn’t have central air conditioning, so there were some fun (read: terrible) summer days I spent indoors preparing for Friday night dinner.
Danny played his own part by grocery shopping, entertaining the guests, cleaning up after dinner, and serving tea and whiskey. He did his part to help.
I decided I’d had enough of this working woman/housewife role. I applied for a full-time job, and a month later, I got it. Immediately, I felt that huge housewife burden vanish.
And although it wasn’t all bad on my end — I love cooking for Danny and Shabbat guests, caring for our adorable pets and having a clean home — I knew I was stretching myself too thin. I was getting crabby with Danny. I was anxious, tired and overweight. I didn’t have enough time for self-care. My brain was constantly in “go, go, go” mode.
Then, one day last year, I decided I’d had enough of this working woman/housewife role. I applied for a full-time job, and a month later, I got it. Immediately, I felt that huge housewife burden vanish.
As soon as I started going to work, I felt better. I knew it was the healthiest move I could have made.
Immediately, I felt closer to Danny, because I was able to focus on my work work, which I had always enjoyed much more than housework. I had money to hire a housekeeper, who made our home look sparkling clean before Shabbat. The only thing I worried about was if Danny would be able to put Shabbat together for us.
I should have learned after all these years that worrying is counterproductive. There was no need to be apprehensive.
At the end of the first exhausting week of work, I came home on Friday afternoon to a clean house, a delicious-smelling stew in the slow cooker, all the appropriate lights duct-taped for Shabbat and a table set for the two of us. A beautiful bouquet of flowers sat in the middle. As soon as I saw Danny, who was adjusting his tie in the mirror, getting ready to watch me light the candles, I hugged him and nearly cried. “You did it,” I whispered.
The next week, Danny made an even more elaborate meal, invited some of our wonderful friends, got another bouquet, and bought me a cute top from my favorite shop, Karen Michelle.
The following week, Danny’s parents came to visit, and he went all out, running to Got Kosher to buy the best challah and baba ghanoush in town, to Bibi’s to get some amazing rugelach and Yankee’s dips, to Glatt Mart to procure the juiciest brisket it had and smoked it for 12 straight hours.
One day, I hope that I have more time to cook again (cleaning, eh, not so much) and to get back to a few of the housewife duties I actually enjoyed. But right now, I know I’m in good hands with my husband, Danny, the Shabbat King, who continues to impress me.