Yes, it’s that time of year again when we’ve turned back the clock, with super long Friday nights to relax and enjoy, but how can we beat the erev shabbos rush that comes with it?
Turning back the clock, is rather exciting to say the least. Kids waking up an hour early (until they can readjust their internal clocks), going to daven at a minyan where you put on tallis and teffilin before Yishtabach (if you’re running to the city at 7AM), or being able to daven maariv as early as 3:40! (That is, if you’re davening maariv at Plag Hamincha. Of course, Tzeis Hakochavim is as early as 5:30PM or earlier as the winter progresses towards Chanukah).
But, perhaps from the most challenging scenario for every Jewish household is getting ready for Shabbos in time without killing each other. Now, this doesn’t mean that nothing is ready. It simply means that things are flying and there’s a lot of pressure to be dealt with.
These are some of the things us husbands can do to ensure that the Erev Shabbos rush is somewhat slowed so that everyone comes in a little but calmer.
- Get cleaning help for Friday mornings. Yes, I know this should be a given for every growing Yiddishe Mishpacha. But, sometimes, we schedule our cleaning ladies differently based on their current needs. It goes without saying that most lively houses with a lot of kids need cleaning help at least twice a week. Make sure one of those days is Friday. It’s a real game changer to have someone washing the floors and folding laundry so your wife can focus on other Shabbos related needs.
- Prepare the night before. You’re running off to work or Kollel in the morning? Don’t leave your wife stranded to deal with everything. There are some things you can do to alleviate the stress by putting in some effort the night before:
Putting out the Shabbos tablecloth and/or silverware and dishes
Setting the Shabbos candles right away (don’t put it off till candle-lighting!)
Sweeping one room and/or taking out the garbage/recycling
Last-minute shopping (if still necessary)
Make the cholent (unless one of your kids can do it)
This may not guarantee that there will be nothing last-minute Erev Shabbos. But anything that can be done right away, should be done right away. If need be, make a list of things you can do to help your wife so you can better gauge what you can get out of the way. Trust me, you won’t regret making the extra effort.
- Bathe your kids first thing in the morning or the night before. Of course, this depends on your level of availability in the morning. If your job or other responsibilities allow you the time in the morning, bathe your kids before they go to school. Friday is a short day anyways so there really isn’t much chance for real outdoor recess where they can get sweated up or dirty. This way, you’ve gotten one of the biggest stresses out of the way which is making sure that everyone is bathed and ready for Shabbos on time.
- Don’t use your laptop/iPad/tablet at home once you leave work. Oh! Aren’t the words of Abie’s famous song ever so true regarding this. “So, throw away your hammer/There’s nothing left to do/Go on home and find the gift/That’s waiting there for you.” Consider emails, calls, notifications, etc. about work halted and blocked as soon as you cross the threshold of your home to get ready for Shabbos. It totally clears the air for you to prepare without interruption and get everything done in a timely fashion. Just like “those nails won’t run away”, your work will not either. Everything will just sit there until you come back after Shabbos. You’ll be able to prepare for Shabbos in more relaxed and enjoyable fashion when your wife and kids see that you are focused on them instead of work you are leaving behind for the weekend.
Have an enjoyable and restful Shabbos everyone!