| Family First Feature |

Why We Women Are Whelmed

Family First convenes a panel to study why we’re so overwhelmed — and how to combat it

Compiled by Naomie Rubner

It’s 2023.

And we’re a generation of overwhelmed women. There. I said it.

We’re just. So. Overwhelmed.

The phone is pinging, the kids are crying, the computer’s beeping, wait hold on, that’s the microwave reminding me about the coffee I reheated for the third time this morning.

The mental load that a modern woman juggles at any given moment is astounding, and yet with every hack or machine or gadget, our life is “supposed” to become streamlined, seamless, and simple.

So why do things feel like they’re getting faster and faster? I’m not a guru. Just a (somewhat sleep-deprived) mom on a search for peace. Serenity. Sanity. Naps. You know, the small things in life.

Trust me when I say I was the queen of overwhelm. (And proud of it, too.)

Oysh, you were up till one a.m. working on a project? I was up till three, and then my baby woke up. Twice.

You cooked pasta for dinner for the third time this week? My kids have been eating toast for a month.

What’s that? Your laundry is taking over the living room? I can’t see the floor anymore.

I’m more overwhelmed, my life is more hectic, I have a to-do list until 2034. I win. I win. I win.

But clearly, I’m not the only one. If I’m winning something, it means I’m racing someone else. Somehow “overwhelm” became more than a biannual crisis. It’s become a culture norm. A status symbol. A rite of passage. The frum woman totes it like a Tory Burch shoulder bag.

So when Ricky Boles of Family First asked me to join a panel she was moderating on “how to combat feeling overwhelmed,” my answer was a resounding yes. I got together with Ricky and seven other beautiful, busy Jewish women for a long, productive discussion.


When we work hard for something we don’t believe in, that’s called stress.
When we work hard for something we love, that’s called passion.
—Simon Sinek
The language we use creates our reality. When we use language like, “Life is crazy, things are so hard, I have no time!” we affirm the reality that we don’t want. We need to work on making inner shifts of self-compassion and being vigilant with our language, affirming a reality we do want. Start by saying things like, “Time supports me,” “I get everything done with ease and joy,” “I won’t feel guilty about what gets done in a day.”
Sometimes we have an affinity towards something aesthetic, but we’re worried it’ll raise the bar for other people. If we created a society in which we focused inward rather than looking towards what others have, we’d be able offer each person the freedom to honor their creative outlets.
I think what’s happening in society is pretty crazy — the trends, the themes, the must-have socks…. We’ve gone overboard.
Be true to yourself, and you’ll create ripples that go far.
Remember that everyone has struggles, but they’re behind closed doors. As a collective we can think, “What’s wrong with me? They have it all together!” But everyone is struggling in their own way.


Things to drop if you’re feeling overwhelmed

  • Hire a homework helper! It doesn’t have to cost a lot, and it makes a world of a difference to the flow of your weeknight.
  • Pay a high school or post high school girl to do errands for you.
  • Set up an on-demand dry cleaners service. You can choose how often you want it to come, and you’ll never forget to bring anything to the cleaners again.
  • When Amazon gives you the option to return your boxes to Whole Foods for free or pay $6 to have it picked up from your door, have it picked up. Yes, it costs more, but missing the window for return because you can never find 45 minutes to go to Whole Foods will cost you a lot more. Also, you can combine orders for returns and only pay the $6 once.
  • USPS offers a click-and-ship option to schedule a pickup for your package. It might cost a dollar or two more, but it’s a sure thing that it happens on time.
  • Instacart, Walmart+, Shipt, and Amazon should become your best friends!


This is a list of small things I have done to maintain structure in my home and ensure that my limited energy is not getting wasted on things that can be delegated. All these cost a little more money than doing it myself, but my time and energy are commodities that are worth more than money.

— Chanie Nayman



our conversation continued, we — as a group — came to the realization of the core issue. We’ve simply lost the healthy sense of self. And that’s why we’re so reliant on what’s going on in society. Gadlus ha’adam, the idea that every person is a rich vibrant world unto herself, is, by and large, lost in this generation.

We’re flooded with a host of mental health issues — perhaps because people don’t believe in themselves the way they should. When we blindly follow societal norms, standards, and direction, we lose touch with who we are and what we really need to thrive.

But we’re responsible for the thoughts and action of one person only. Ourselves. We can’t control our spouses, children, or bosses (as much as we think we’d like to), and while that may feel frustrating, it’s actually empowering. You can choose what state of mind you’d like to flow through life with.

We continued to explore this idea, each woman raising details and points, and we realized we could unpack the variables for days. At the end of the day, we conceded, it comes down to every woman standing on her two feet in the privacy of her own home, and taking a deep look inward about her needs, her priorities, and her values.

There will always be 100 things to do. The elusive calm is not when all your ducks line up in a row, when things finally slow down. The laundry’s done. You’ve got a freezer full of kugels and lasagnas.

It’s a state of mind. A choice. To accept what’s on our plate with compassion, to surrender to Hashem’s control, to reframe and shift our beliefs, and to make decisions that support the values we so deeply care about.

What is that for you?


Family First thanks Naomie Rubner for taking our two-and-a-half-hour-long conversation and condensing it into something readable! If you’d like to participate in a future Family First panel, please email us at familyfirst@mishpacha.com.


Naomie Rubner is a brand strategist, business coach, and speaker, on a mission to help women lead their businesses (and lives!) with more clarity, calm, joy, and abundance. Find out more at naomierubner.com.


(Originally featured in Family First, Issue 838)

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