As this is the first post on my blog, I would like to begin by introducing myself and the purpose of my blog.
I am a married mother-of-three in her twenties who has recently begun having serious doubts about the validity of Orthodox Judaism and has thus joined the ranks of the orthoprax, the despised subculture of secret heretics who remain within the Orthodox community for various reasons.
I entered the frum community as a young teenager when I, together with my mother, decided to become more religious. My mother was always religiously-inclined and would have likely become frum earlier if it were not for her living in a southern town with only a tiny Orthodox community. I became interested in Orthodox Judaism as a young teenager when I realized that since I believed in Torah min Hashomayim, it was hypocritical for me not to keep the mitzvos. My mother followed me, at a slower pace, and ultimately became mostly-Modern-Orthodox. She would, and still does, break shabbos when her elderly mother calls and in other such situations.
I, on the other hand, became charedi--very charedi. I orginially became frum at the only Orthodox shul in our town, a Chabad shul. Then my mother remarried and we moved to a big city and I went to a "modern-Yeshivish" girls high school. I ended up deciding to go back to Chabad, went to a Chabad seminary, and married shortly thereafter. I took yiddishkiet very seriously and was very machmir in many areas. I kept a very strict standard of tznius, was very machmir about hilchos shabbos, and I davened and learned a substantial amount every day. I did not go to college because I thought that it was assur to do so and then I had three kids by age 23.
At that point my world began to crash down on me. I had grown up in the self-esteem generation, believing that I could be whatever I wanted to be if I tried hard enough. Therefore, despite being the intellectual type who also has severe ADD, I figured that if the Rebbe said that women should primarily be wives and mothers of large families that I could do so if I tried hard enough. After having a breakdown after the birth of my third child, I realized that is definitely not the case. Parenting is not my strong point, to put it mildly, and housekeeping is even less so. I found that I had little in common with other frum women who primarily wanted to discuss child-rearing and recipes, and I felt like the proverbial fish-out-of-water. I began to hate myself and feel like a worthless human being as I couldn't do even the minimum expected of me.
Starting college literally changed my life. I originally decided to go back to college in order to get a decent job, because I was fed up with the "bitachon method" of earning income. However, going back to college saved my self-image by allowing me to do something that I was good at--really good at. I quickly made my way to the top of my class and excelled at every class that I took (except for one class this semester, which will likely be my first college "B"). The fact that charedi Judaism tries to fit everyone into a mold, along with the economic problems inherent in the system, made me question the charedi system as a whole (I had already decided way earlier that I did not agree with Chabad), and once the questioning began, it made me realize that Orthodox Judaism as a whole is built on a very shaky foundation.
Now I feel trapped. I am married to a super-frum husband and have kids in the Chabad system. I want to be able to focus all of my energies on college because it is the only thing that I am living for these days, but I can't totally neglect my kids and my husband. I do not want to be frum at all, but attempting to leave a frum lifestyle would cause emotional and financial chaos for all involved. However, as a person who hates hypocrisy, living a lie is killing me psychologically. I also worry that if I stay then my kids will be stuck in the system and forced to fit into a mold into which they may or may not fit.
So here I am, sitting on the fence.