| Family First Inbox |

Family First Inbox: Issue 843

I also hope my children realize my love for them even though I wasn’t perfect
Remember You're Only Human [Words Unspoken / Issue 841]

I’m writing about the “Words Unspoken” where a therapist wrote a letter to her children about how hard she’s working to do right by them. I related to so much of what she wrote and I want to tell her thank you for her eloquent words.

In my professional life, I help women heal from childhoods where their mothers didn’t give them what they needed. I also support mothers with their parenting, so they give their kids more of what they need. And at home, I try my best to be the mother my kids need and worry when I can’t measure up!

Something I share with clients that I also try to internalize is the reality of the following dialectic: How I treat my children has an enormous impact on their well-being, and I’m a human who is by definition limited, and the outcome isn’t in my hands. I can try my best because that is my job, but how much I am capable of and how they “turn out” is really not up to me.

Hope this helps,

Tzipora Schiffer, LCSW

Monsey, NY


Change Is Needed [Words Unspoken / Issue 841]

To the mother who wrote that letter to her children:

You sound like an accomplished, competent, growth-oriented person with uncanny self-awareness.

Yet what if you were a pediatrician and your letter stated that although you educate mothers about health and safety during the day, when you get home, you’re often too busy to watch your toddler as he plays on the front lawn, too tired to take your kids for their annual checkups, and too stressed to attend PTA or listen to voicemails from your children’s teachers? You truly feel bad when your preschoolers are sticking knives into outlets or when your daughter (who has never been to an eye doctor) can’t read a sign a few feet away, yet you have a myriad of responsibilities and can’t find time to parent as you know you should.

Obviously, all readers would be up in arms regarding the blatant hypocrisy of your negligent parenting contrasted with your day job. Perfection isn’t the goal. However, you describe a family where the children seldom feel safe and seen. You describe moments where you feel it’s too difficult to love your children. And, incredibly, you’re magnificently aware of the severely detrimental effects these behaviors will inevitably have on children.

Without more information, it’s difficult to know whether more cleaning help, fewer office hours, therapy, or other means of support would be the right help for your family. One thing is crystal clear: You have the luxury of knowing the tragic results of emotional neglect, and you’re currently not capable of giving your children a calm, present mother. You have an obligation to figure out what changes must be made so that the precious souls Hashem has entrusted to your care don’t suffer from the lack of attachment that has broken so many of us.

Change is monumentally difficult, and this process may be one of the most challenging endeavors of your life, yet it’s far more crucial than your day job. Your clients can retain the services of another therapist; your kids only have one Mommy. Your eloquent writing attests to your inner strength, and I’m confident that the feedback from your article will be the impetus you need to change.



You're Speaking to All of Us [Words Unspoken / Issue 841]

What an amazing letter this social worker wrote to her children. She should know that she wasn’t only writing it to her own children, she was writing to every mother across the world. Every mother wants to tell her child that she did the best she could with the tools she was given.

There’s no such thing as a perfect mother. It only exists in our childhood fantasies. When we grow up and feel disillusioned with our upbringing, we tend to blame our parents instead of realizing that we have to take responsibility for our own destiny, and that our parents tried their very best.

I have to remind myself about this regarding my feelings toward my own mother. And I also hope my children realize my love for them even though I wasn’t perfect.

Thank you once again to the mom who desperately wants to be the perfect mom.

Mrs. Chana Flam


A Major Omission [When Mommy Has Cancer / Issue 840]

As a young mother who is currently undergoing chemotherapy, I empathize with a lot of the points brought up in the article, "When Mommy Has Cancer." The fear, the pain, the unknown looming in front of you, running to doctors, and the need to put on a brave face for one's family and for the world. And, of course, the important factors of vigilance and timeliness with proper screenings, such as mammograms and colonoscopies.

However, I found the tone of the article to be very morose and fatalistic. I think that the omission of something gave it that tone, and that is the omission of Hashem. He is the One Who decided that this nisayon was for you, just as He gives other people different challenges. Of course, one has to maintain a healthy lifestyle and take all necessary steps for disease prevention. But that doesn’t guarantee that one will not get sick.

The article ended with, “Please make sure you’re never (like me).” That’s such a scary thought. To believe we can control our future? How much more calming it is to know Hashem is in charge.

We need to accept what comes our way, seek out the best medical care possible, and try to be positive. We shouldn’t focus on depressing and counterproductive thoughts, such as deciding whether or not to take pictures in advance of a simchah in case they won’t be there, or videoing themselves so that their children will remember them. Instead of counting how many people left the support group chat due to death, count how many left due to being cured!

To all those out there suffering from public nisyonos or private ones, please take the burden out of your control and place it directly on Hashem. Do your utmost hishtadlus, daven hard, stay positive, surround yourself with upbeat people, and trust in the only One Who can help. May we see refuos and yeshuos for all.


Lakewood, NJ


In Your Zechus [Dying to Be Me / Issue 838]

I was so moved and touched by Batya Sherizen’s story of her brush with death and the changes she made to her life in the wake of it. I was humbled by Batya’s honesty and openness. I really felt awestruck by the way her journey changed her life and the active steps of growth she chose to take and implement in her life as a result.

It empowered me to reflect on my own life and my priorities, how I choose to use my time and energy, and on how trapped I can feel at times by the things in life that aren’t the most important.

Since reading the article, I’ve slowed down, taken a step back, and allowed myself to enjoy the glorious treasures in my life, instead of always racing to do the next thing on my list. I feel inspired to appreciate, to live with greater presence, and to connect to Hashem through it all. This piece provided me with strengthened inner peace.

Thank you.



(Originally featured in Family First, Issue 843)

Oops! We could not locate your form.