Don't miss

5 Reasons Why Mamma Actually Knows Best

By on May 8, 2015

“Mamma knows best” – the cliché that haunts you every time you find yourself engaging in verbal war with your mother. What makes anybody think that a mother could possibly know best? She could know something, or know well, but for her to know best seems a bit ambitious don’t you think? Let’s talk about one kind of mother in particular – the Jewish mother. We’ve all heard the stereotypes; we all understand what embodies the “sMother” and how she operates, right? She’s overbearing and incredibly difficult to deal with. She nags; she is controlling; she constantly sticks her nose in everybody else’s business; she is overprotective; she infantilizes her children well beyond the time they reach adulthood. Essentially, relative to American familial hegemonies, the prototypical Jewish mother served to raise her children in an abnormal manner.

Personally, I was raised by a Persian-Jewish mother, which is a whole other phenomenon. My mother definitely fits into the stereotype of the typical Jewish mother, but not in the way you would assume. My mother is the single most incredible human being on this planet. She is a certified “boss lady” and she totally runs the show – both at home and professionally. She is both bad cop and good cop; she kills others with kindness like a Persian, female Bruce Lee. My mother has this way of asserting authority, expressing disappointment, and suggesting a fitting solution all in the same breath, and with the most tact possible. I tell her all the time that she’s a superhero, because I literally cannot comprehend how one human could, on his best day, accomplish half of what she does on her worst. I hold my mother in the highest regard, and although she sometimes drives me absolutely insane, I hope to one day be for my kids exactly what she has been for my sister and I – and I feel this way, not in spite of, but because of the way she fits into the stereotype of the sMother.

Here are the five stereotypical qualities in her that most prove sMother knows best:

 1. She Pays Attention

No matter how busy she is she finds time to smother you. She is constantly asking you what you’ve eaten and whether it was enough; when you went where with who; and why you aren’t dressed warm enough for the evening time, even though it’s 80 degrees outside right now. She notices when you neglect to brush your hair and tells you that you look homeless every time she sees you in anything that has begin to fade. She knows when something’s wrong with you and one way or another, she’ll figure out what has been bothering you by the end of the night. She’s nosey, but not in a gossip-hungry kind of way.images-1

2. She’s Always 10 Steps Ahead of You

It doesn’t matter how different you think it was when she was your age, you’re wrong. She has experienced every hormonal, romance-related, identity-revealing conundrum you’re living right now in her own way at her own time – she gets it, and she can get you through it. She is not concerned with what will be the most fun for you right now – which no doubt, can sometimes make her seem like an absolute monster whose goal is to ruin everything – because every decision she makes with regard to both herself and you are solely based on what is in your best interest long-term. She looks toward the future and conditions you to do the same. She rags on your high school boyfriend because let’s face it, he sucks, and although you haven’t quite figured out how you deserve to be treated yet, she has. She teaches you how to expect more and accept less both for yourself and from yourself; she never allows you to settle.images-3

3. She Leads by Example

She knows the most effective way to lead is by example. She expects excellence by way of maximum effort, which is justified by her achievements and work ethic. She shows you how to carry yourself and how to treatothers. She has got it all together and even though she can come across as total show off and it can all be a bit much at times – I mean honestly, how could anyone ever actually be that presentable all the time – you’re glad to have such a flawless illustration of grace and hospitability to follow.images

4. She Values Honesty

She is brutally honest with you because she knows that what you don’t know actually does hurt you. She calls you out, always, for every seemingly insignificant thing you somehow find a way to screw up. She reminds you that being a slacker will get you nowhere when she sees that you’re not doing your best; and she makes you change before leaving the house when you’re not aesthetically enticing enough to impress your potential Prince Charming, incase you happen to run into him at the store. She’s annoying, but it’s okay because all of her critiques come from the most loving place possible, and she pushes you to be the best version of yourself in all facets.images-4 (1) images-5

5. She Has What You Want

She is a functioning adult with a family. She may not have everything you want, she may not have attained her goals in the way you hope to attain yours, her goals may not even be remotely similar to yours, but she is well put together and she has a life. She is family oriented and deeply involved in the lives of her loved ones. She overextends herself and is received well by others as a result. She has impacted many lives in simple and significant ways – she makes a difference, just like you want to. Fundamentally, she is at least part of what you aspire to be, so she must have done something right.images-1

It’s true, Jewish mothers are generally more involved than most – they really do criticize and nitpick and smother constantly, but the reason for the overwhelming negative connotation with regard to these qualities is something that I don’t understand. On the surface, these things seem exasperating, but in reality, when you think deeply about the stereotypical characteristics of Jewish mothers, you come to realize that these are rare and favorable traits. Jewish mothers are the foundation of their families; they hold everything and everyone together, and their initial instincts are always to serve others. Jewish mothers inundate their children with both grief and affection because they care more about their offspring than anything else in the world; they deny us of instant gratification, because they know that sustainable happiness is worth much more; they nag about appearance and tableside manner, because they know that in the future we will be the hosts and they want to be certain that we are prepared to entertain; they raise our awareness with regard to our shortcomings so that we can constantly grow and improve; Jewish mothers raise their children to be informed, caring, and selflessly selfish individuals who are prepared for anything at any time. We are so incredibly lucky to have them. I am so appreciative of every crazy culture driven thing my mother hassles me with, and I know that one day I will bother my kids with the same kibbitz. Getting schmaltzy? I apologize, but come on; our mothers are much less aggravating than they are astonishing – let’s give them some credit, eh?


About Lillian Feder

Lillian Feder graduated from UCSD in the Spring of 2014. She majored in communication and is looking to pursue creative writing. She is an ex-collegiate athlete, a writer, and a gym junkie. You can follow her blog at