When I refer to Jewish mothers I need to clarify that a Jewish mother is not simply a woman who is of a Semitic background and is raising her kids in a very emotional and involved manner. A Jewish mother can also be a Puerto Rican father, a Black mother or a parent of any sex, religion or color. What I am going to talk to you about today are the most desirable characteristics of a Jewish mother and what her kids should appreciate about her. Let's face it, when we think about a Jewish mother we think of someone who is willing to steamroll or mow down anyone in her path in her effort to assist her child in any arena of the child's life. The Jewish mother stereotypes are fraught with images of moms chasing their kids around with food while expressing their anxiety about all things that she can do to help her kid avoid real or existing problems. When individuals in therapy refer to their parent or parents as behaving like Jewish mothers (and by the way many of them are neither Jewish nor mothers) I know that they are about to tell me about the problems associated with having such a figure in their lives.
Well, today we are going to spend a considerable amount of time discussing the desirable characteristics of such mothers. A quick disclaimer -- these characteristics do not apply to all Jewish mamas and they are a bit stereotypical but let's have a little fun today praising the often critiqued. Everyone deserves their day, right?
Consider the following wonderful qualities of a Jewish mother and let me know what you think:
1. Jewish mothers are not afraid to express their love and other emotions. They are rarely cold and withholding. If they are they are probably hurt or perhaps not feeling well. You will always know where you stand with her emotionally.
2. You will rarely be hungry around your Jewish mother. She will frequently check on the status of your appetite. The thought of her child lacking food and energy is anathema to her. She will serve you more than enough food but also keep in mind that she does not want you to become overweight.
3. This type of mother will frequently offer advice and will consistently offer to be involved in your life. You will rarely have to complain about this mother being less than involved. When it comes to her child she will leave any activity or meeting to attend to your needs even if it involves simply listening to the minutiae of your day. She cares. She is interested.
4. Emotional warmth comes easy to these types. They will bathe their children and their children's friends in a comforting bath of sunshine. They don't even understand what it means to be emotionally detached. That is for other people.
5. These parentals encourage their kids to ask questions rather than to follow rules blindly. They encourage their kids to search for the truth and the right things to do which are not always incorporated in existing rule sets.
6. Jewish mothers encourage the value of a good and solid education for both their male AND female children. In fact, education is of the utmost important in such a household.
7. It is important for all of us to learn the importance of laughing at ourselves. Jewish mothers will teach you this by modeling self-effacing behavior. Levity is an excellent coping skill.
8. The needs of the family are highly valued. This mother is unlikely to be missing in action. Family is first and food is second.
9. Physical ailments will always be attended to. Chicken soup is often used to remedy most physical problems or even the slightest hint of their onset.
10. Emotional problems will also be attended to in a consistent manner. Talking is encouraged, suggestions will be offered and any sort of help needed will be offered often in the form of therapy with a highly-recommended therapist.
11. All professionals involved in the child's life will be highly researched and will be experts and specialists in their particular area. The Jewish mother, of course, is very concerned about credentials.
12. This parent is very detail-oriented. It is unlikely that she will forget dates or appointments. She is very fond of taking notes and keeping lists.
13. The Jewish mother would detest being accused of neglect. Hence, she is very vigilant and knows a great deal about her child's life.
14. Shyness is a rare trait in this mother's personality description. Even if she is naturally shy she will push through it for the sake of helping the children. After all, how could she look into the best activities, schools and even tutors if she allowed her shyness to interfere. Passivity is rarely modeled for the kids.
15. Jewish mothers will teach their kids about being charitable. Most importantly, no one should ever have to be hungry or cold.
16. This mother will make many sacrifices for you. She would rather spend her time and other resources on you. She will find a way to get her kids needs met. Trust me on this one.
17. These parents are natural teachers. Just as they value education they value educating themselves about all of the important issues that might somehow affect their children.
18. Jewish mothers are rarely conversation-stealers when it comes to their kids. If a child wants to talk about something this mother will rarely make the conversation about herself unless she is somehow not on top of her game from perhaps too much worrying and and a resulting lack of sleep.
19. This sort of mother will occasionally break the rules for her kids when she sees fit. Yes, she will allow her child to have a mental-health day and miss a day of school to catch up on their rest because they understand how important sleep is for the overall well-being of their children.
20. Contrary to popular and unflattering stereotypes these mothers are extremely generous with their children.
So, I leave you with 20 thoughts here. Please share yours...