As everyone has doubtlessly already learned, most parents have the tendency to worry too much about their children’s lives. They worry that they’ll never move out of the house, get married, give them grandchildren, or simply be able to survive on their own. Parents’ concern about their children’s future is a timeless phenomenon that has recently been capitalized on by an amused millennial, Kate Siegel.
A few years ago, Kate began posting screenshots of texts her mother sends her to the Instagram account entitled “Crazy Jewish Mom.” Kate’s mom, former Hollywood director Kim Friedman, puts all of our parents to shame in the worrying department.
Kim texts Kate multiple times a day and gives unsolicited advice on relationships, fashion, health, and life in general. She never hesitates to make her feelings known (especially if they involve Kate’s boyfriend of several years who has not yet proposed) and has a penchant for pretending to be Kate on dating websites and apps (in order to secure a new boyfriend). Last spring, Kate published a book entitled Mother, Can You Not? which chronicles some of the adventures of growing up with her mother.
As soon as the book was rumored to be in the works, I was desperate to read it. My sister gave it to me for my birthday, and I finished it within the span of a few days. My expectations were for an entertaining look into Kate’s life (any book that begins with a letter saying that her mother’s escapades occasionally came too close to the line of the law is bound to be hilarious), but I didn’t expect to become enthralled in a story that paints the picture of a mother-daughter relationship that is so fascinating and so close.
Throughout Kate’s memoir and daily texts from her mother, it’s evident that Kim will do anything to see her vision of Kate’s life become a reality (a desire that occasionally does not overlap with Kate’s opinions on the subject). From the very first chapter of Mother, Can You Not?, Kim’s utter determination in all facets of her life is evident. From obtaining a fake ID for Kate to be admitted into a summer rowing program to stealing a cat from the pound to prevent it from being euthanized, Kim doesn’t back down from a challenge.
Even though some of Kim’s antics and advice can be overbearing, it’s clear that they’re done completely out of love. Kate endures her mother’s overprotective tendencies with the knowledge that she and her mother share a powerful bond. Not only is Kim interested in the major details of Kate’s life, she never forgets to celebrate the little things, like throwing Kate a period party (yes, you read that right.)
In addition to actively fighting for her daughter’s happiness, Kate’s mother is a fierce proponent for refusing to be mistreated. In the book, she’s furious when one of Kate’s college boyfriends doesn’t treat her right, and she makes sure that Kate realizes her true value. Kim never apologizes for who she is and never hesitates to speak her mind. Her insistence on respecting herself is something that she has instilled in Kate as well.
Over the past few years that the Crazy Jewish Mom Instagram account has been around, I’ve had many laughs at the memorable and entertaining texts Kate’s mom has sent her. At first, I thought the account was just that, an entertaining look into the life of a woman whose mom worries and dispenses advice more readily than the average parent. But after reading hundreds of these exchanges and devouring Mother, Can You Not?, I’ve realized how much more it is. It’s a representation of a relationship so close that the two can share everything with each other; a relationship that depends on mutual love and care for the other’s wellbeing. In addition to their closely-knit bond, Kim sets an example of a mother who has consistently taught her daughter to stand up for herself and chase her dreams. This mother-daughter dynamic reminds us observers to overlook the occasionally trying qualities in relationships of our own, and to focus on how much the other person truly cares for us.
image via Daily Mail