Forward Thinking

Six Words for the (Bad) Jewish Mother

By Naomi Zeveloff

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Mommy Dearest: Some readers’ mothers left a strong impression.

For Mother’s Day, the Forward challenged you, our readers, to write six-word memoirs encapsulating your mothers — and then we picked 12 winners who penned sweet and silly salutes.

In the process of sifting through your six-word submissions, we learned something important: mommy issues abound in the Jewish world. While most of the memoirs were warm and loving, some were downright disdainful.

Read the Forward’s full coverage of Mother’s Day, from stories to blog posts.

Below, we’ve published the best (or perhaps worst) angst-ridden submissions. We’ve kept the entrants anonymous this time in hopes that they will be able to patch things up with mom later on. Till then, here’s what we discovered:

Some of you think your mother isn’t the brightest crayon in the box:

Yes Mom, I do smoke “marinara.”

Stop texting reminders to call you.

Some of your mothers lay on the guilt and criticism:

Sacrificed her own happiness for ours.

Pressure? Criticism? Guilt? Russian-Jewish mother’s expertise.

Guilt is her paintbrush. Masterpiece. Me.

She expected me to be perfect.

You’re 25! Where are my grandchildren?

That’s not very becoming young lady.

Some of you feel mistreated by your moms:

“My whole family is dead.” Hello??

My mother was an insane monster.

“I’m bored.” “Go play in traffic.”

Mom raged, for she wasn’t adored.

Some of you find your moms supremely irritating:

Mom, why are you so obnoxious?

Listen. Mom is always right. Always.

Mom says, “What’s wrong?” for hello.

Some of you have contentious relationships with your mothers-in-law:

Righteously earned her Gold Meddle Award.

Evidently, I’m not bad for shiksa.

But no matter how you feel about your mother, all of you can probably relate to this one:

It’s complicated, yet I love her.


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