The top definition of “Jewish Mother” on Urban Dictionary is: “An unstoppable force of nature that will feed you, pamper you, and pester you at the slightest provocation, known to spout Yiddish randomly. Be warned: if you come to my house, you WILL leave with a full stomach and a bag of leftovers.”
I could not have come up with a better definition of a stereotypical Jewish mother if I had tried. However, from my experience, Jewish mothers come in a variety of different forms that cannot all be encompassed in this definition. These are the four Jewish mothers I have encountered during my twenty-six and a half years of life.
Do you have that one friend who has anything you could ever possibly need at a moment’s notice? In my group of friends, this has 100% been me. Do you need a Band-Aid because your heels are giving you a blister? Check. Do you need some snacks because we are not eating lunch for another hour? Check. Do you have a headache from lack of sleep and need some ibuprofen? Check. I pride myself on being prepared for any situation that may arise and my friends know this about me.
Being the “Jewish mom” of your friend group in action
I had a coworker who was moving to a new home and had anxiety about stocking his kitchen. I of course took this opportunity to take him grocery shopping after work for anything he may need, and stocked his freezer with easy-to-make meals.
One time, I was with some girlfriends on a weekend trip and one of my friends met a very nice man. He walked her home, but then didn’t get the hint that he was not invited upstairs to our hotel room. I was the friend standing at the door telling him it was time to go back to his own place. This is not the first time I have done this for a friend.
As a young adult who does not live close to home, I always seem find coworker who has decided to become my “Jewish mom away from home”. Is this a perk of working at Jewish nonprofit organizations? Maybe. But I take full advantage of it!
Being a “Jewish mom” at the office in action
At one of my previous jobs, I dog-sat for one of my “Jewish moms” from my office. Now, just having a cute puppy to spend time with was enough of an incentive to make this worthwhile for me. But every time I went over to my coworker’s house, she always had my favorite snacks ready for me. One time, she had my favorite – Chicago style popcorn (caramel and cheese popcorn mixed together) in her house. After I left that day, she realized that all the cheese popcorn was gone and only the caramel was left. The next time I was over, there was a whole bag of cheese-only popcorn waiting for me. When I moved to DC, she made sure I was prepared by sending me off with a calendar of her adorable puppy, some dried mango, and a gift card to Bed Bath and Beyond.
I have met some of the best pseudo “Jewish moms” who have invited me to their families’ homes for the Jewish holidays. Whenever these incredible women see my favorite foods at the grocery store, they buy it and bring it into work the next day. They are the reason being in a city on my own, away from my family has not been as difficult as I thought – and I am beyond grateful for that.
I have been excited to have kids since I was young. I always thought I would be a young mom and start this chapter of my life shortly after college. Of course, you cannot plan these things, and I did not end up being a young mom. But, at the age of 24, my first Jewish friend officially became a mother, and I cannot put into words how excited I have been to spend time with her little mush.
After spending hours on the phone with my friend, learning about her new life as a mom, and then spending four days watching her daughter while she was at work, I find that I am no longer in a rush to be a mom. I am in constant awe of my friend’s life as a mother, and truly have no idea how she finds enough energy daily. She takes care of her adorable baby, works, and runs her household. She has an awesome husband who equally supports their household, but I still do not understand how she has time for it all, while also finding time to create a song about me moving to a new city – to the tune of “Elmo’s World”, of course – and sleep.
As insane as this statement is, I did not realize how much having kids changes your life.
I am exhausted after a long day of work and going to a gym class. How in the world will I make it through sleepless nights with children? Needless to say, I am beyond impressed by my extraordinary friend, her endless stream of energy, and complete patience with her daughter at every moment. Right now, I am enjoying my current stage of life and no longer rushing to be at the “kids stage”. Until I get there, I will enjoy any babysitting time I get with my friend’s photogenic and hilarious daughter.
Last, but certainly not least, is the Jewish mother for whom Urban Dictionary’s definition was tailor made for.
Being THE Jewish mom in action
The Jewish mom is the person who raises you to be the unique snowflake that you are. The Jewish mom is the woman who lent you her shoes when you accidently got in the car to go to school without taking off your slippers. The Jewish mom is the woman who sent you with Cheez-Its and Rolos to every youth group convention because those were your favorite snacks – even when youth group conventions were four weeks in a row. The Jewish mom is the woman who you woke up at 2:00 a.m. because your college boyfriend decided this was the best time to facilitate a breakup, and there was just no way you were going to end up sleeping that night. The Jewish mom is the woman who you can share shoes and clothes with when you forget to bring the right outfit home for the weekend.
While your Jewish mom may know how to lay on the guilt about the fact that you do not live close to home, she is also the amazing lady who you can call anytime you need to vent, laugh, or gossip.
Whether I need someone to help me move, or I need someone to keep me company while I am walking from one class to another, I always know my incredible Jewish mom will be there any time I need.
So, in time for Mother’s Day, I’d like to take this opportunity to to tell all the amazing moms in this world – no matter what their religion – thanks for being you. I would not be where I am today without these amazing women – but especially my own mom. Whenever someone tells me I am just like her, I know that is the best compliment they can give me.
About the Author: Marisa Briefman is a part of our “Gather the Bloggers” cohort of talented writers who share their thoughts and insights about DC Jewish life with you. She is a recent DC transplant who was born and raised in Sarasota, Florida – likely where your grandparents live. Her love of all things Jewish began at overnight camp and continues to thrive in her role at ADL. She is coffee addict, lover of Mexican food, and on a permanent mission pet all the adorable dogs in DC (if someone is in need of a dog-sitter, email me).
Editor’s Note: This article is meant to be taken as satire. We acknowledge that all mothers, regardless of religious background of upbringing, have their own unique parenting styles, personalities, and behaviors.
The views and opinions expressed in this blog and on this website are solely those of the original authors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of the organization GatherDC, the GatherDC staff, the GatherDC board, and/or any/all contributors to this site.