Pinky Pie

The Jewish Mother & Me

Posted on: March 18, 2011

A couple weeks ago I wrote this blog post based on a Margaret Mead quote: “One of the oldest human needs is having someone wonder where you are when you don’t come home at night.”

I applied this to my own family and my frequent question when I come home is whether anyone called or cared. I concluded with the comment, “I am lucky to have folks in my life who care for me and about whom I care even if they don’t always call. I won’t name names.”

Michael recognized himself and said he considered leaving a comment like, “Written by a true Jewish mother.”

What he didn’t know is how true it was, particularly as I had just started reading the book:  You Never Call! You Never Write! A History of the Jewish Mother.

Author Joyce Antler takes the history of mommies like me through various stereotypes, from “My Yiddishe Mama” to Philip Roth’s Sophie Portnoy in Portnoy’s Complaint.  She described Jewish feminists, women terrified they had turned into their mothers and these same daughters later eager to learn about themselves through the stories of their mothers.

And then Antler described Jewish entertainers and comedians, including her own daughter.

“As my daughters tell me, mothers are inherently laughable,” Antler wrote, “even as the terms of what is funny adapts to new possibilities.”

So, Michael, here are the new possibilities beyond “You never call! You never write!’  It’s now “You never post! You never comment!” 🙂

But that’s OK, I’m here for you. Oy, that’s even too much for me to swallow.


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