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Ask Shifra

Something Different... Answering questions and making curious observations (online) since 2005.


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Thursday, January 12, 2006

Mothers and Daughters and Shiurim and Pettiness

Okay, Shifra, here's my question!
I am setting up a shiur for mothers and daughters. One of the mothers, who helped me organize it, told me she doesn't want to have anything to do with a mother of one of the girls in our daughters' class. I don't know why and don't want to know. This has been going on for several months. She told me that if the other girl and her mother participate, she will drop out. I had mentioned it to the other girl's mother long before the shiur became a reality, but I didn't follow up and the shiur is taking place soon. I know my friend is being immature, but I don't have the guts to tell her so. I'll feel bad if she drops out because she helped me so much in setting it up. I figure it's a matter of time before the second mother finds out and calls me to ask if she can join. For the record, I set it up so there would be girls from several different schools so not all the mothers in the class know about it (but most do). Help please!

Mother of a daughter

Dear Mother of a Daughter-

Oy Vey that's confusing!
To sum up you have a mom with issues (we'll call her Pettimom) helping you set up the shuir but if a mom she doesn't like (we'll call her Cluelessmom) gets involved, you think Pettimom will bail on you. That's a crummy situation and I don't envy you for being stuck in the middle.

Although my advice to you may be too late to help you this time around, hopefully this experience will not put you off of volunteering on other projects in the future (for the record I think a mother-daughter shuir sounds great!) and maybe it will come in handy next time.

Firstly, stay out of it, but speak your piece- You said "I don't know and I don't want to know" I think that's the right attitude but at the same you can't really condone that kind of attitude and not expect to run into problems. While I fully understand your desire not to confront this woman you have to let her know that this pettiness doesn't fly with you. You don't need to be judgmental either just state the facts.

Pettimom: I'd love to help out with the shiur but I will NOT work with clueless mom.
You: I'd love your help, but please understand that all the mothers are invited to help.

In this way you can let her know that her help is welcome but you are not going to get involved with her personal politics. Don't let the conversation continue either. Try to work with her but if it becomes impossible then she will just have to step back.

Pettimom: Well I really can't work with that woman!
You: Understood, then maybe you'd like to do some sort of independent task like sending out flyers or setting up the room.
Pettimom: I really don't want to be involved if clueless mom will be there.
You: That's your choice but I need to invite the whole class, you understand.

That "you understand" comes from a Rebbitzen I know. She told me that adding "you understand" to the end of a statement which clearly will not be understood initially by the listener will force them to pause and consider what you have just said.
Once your friend considers that you really have no choice she will make *her* choice one way or the other, and you will have done the best you can to bring her around.

Lastly, If this woman quits because she is unable to get along with another woman for the sake of setting up a shiur you have NO reason to feel badly. Class activities and torah learning are two activities that are definitely not meant to be exclusive. If someone chooses to miss out over petty issue, or an inability to resolve conflicts you cannot be responsible for that.

11 Comments:

At 2:17 PM, Blogger Ayelet said...

Good answer, Shifra.

 
At 3:44 PM, Blogger Scraps said...

Isn't it great when people who should have grown up long ago act like two-year-olds? Sheesh. The mom who has a problem with the other mom should grow up.

That said, amen, Shifra. I think you gave the best advice possible under the circumstances.

 
At 5:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

We had a similar problem at our wedding. Bride's parents are divorced. Mother refused to walk down the aisle with bride if father doing it too. Father said he will do whatever we want. So we decided father will walk down the aisle and then mother gave in at the end.

 
At 9:49 AM, Blogger Datingmaster, Jerusalem said...

mother -daughter relationships are complicated
come and visit my site before everything spins out of control

 
At 9:54 AM, Blogger Shifra said...

Scraps and Ayelet, thanks!

Anon- sounds like you guys made the right choice. It's amazing how weddings can bring out the best and the worst in people.

Confidential to Datingmaster:
I believe your site is ALREADY spun out of control as far as I've seen.
If you want help (because you seem to be asking for it with your site and your comments on mine) you can email me privately but I'd really rather not discuss your site or my site.

-Shifra

 
At 3:54 PM, Blogger Absolute Celibacy said...

Shifra, I know you don't like it when people (like Dating Master Jerusalem) use your site for self-promotion, but my site is a site of especial importance.

If you care about Torah, you should read my site. It will give you halachic information that the gedoilim have been hiding from you.

Many so-called "rabbis" will try to tell you that sex is permitted, at least in marriage. Actually, according to halacha, the unanimous view among all true, traditional poskim was always that all sex is always forbidden! With anyone!

Don't you want to save your soul from the pernicious attempts of the Sitra Achra?

 
At 5:23 PM, Blogger Celibacy said...

Public service announcement:

My blog has been moved to the following URL: http://absolutecelibacy.blogspot.com.

 
At 6:40 PM, Blogger Shifra said...

A.C.
You've got some serious problems.
While I honestly hope you get help I do not think I'm up to the challenge of dealing with someone either as bitterly sarcastic or as sexually warped as you seem to be.

Refuah Shelema!

-Shifra

 
At 10:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

We have a mother-daughter book group going on--not exactly the same thing but it bears some similarities! My observations (there has been a little bit of what you describe, more among the girls though) is that it is okay to keep a group closed--it works better for size, anyway! When we had 13 of us (1 set of twins, and 6 moms) it was too big. When the twins' family dropped out, 10 was much more manageable. If another mom/daughter is interested, you can always offer them help in setting up a second group. Good luck!

 
At 10:46 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

We have a mother-daughter book group going on--not exactly the same thing but it bears some similarities! My observations (there has been a little bit of what you describe, more among the girls though) is that it is okay to keep a group closed--it works better for size, anyway! When we had 13 of us (1 set of twins, and 6 moms) it was too big. When the twins' family dropped out, 10 was much more manageable. If another mom/daughter is interested, you can always offer them help in setting up a second group. Good luck!

 
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