Italian Mothers Versus Jewish Mothers.
Italian mothers give Jewish mothers a run for their money. I should know – I’m Italian, and Jewish.
Everyone is familiar with the stereotype of the Jewish mother. There are no mothers like Jewish mothers, right? Well, not so fast. If you ask me, Italian mothers give Jewish mothers a run for their money. In fact, Italian mothers may be more “Jewish” than Jewish mothers – if that makes any sense. And I know from what I speak, because I’m Italian. And Jewish. Let me show you what I mean. And don’t worry, I will keep score so you won’t have to.
Italian mothers may be more “Jewish” than Jewish mothers – if that makes any sense.
Jewish mothers have a special bond with their children, and an even more special, long-lasting one with their sons.
Italian mothers have one and only husband: their son! And an Italian man only has one wife: his mother. An Italian man will spend hours every day on the phone with his mother. If she lives nearby, he will see her every day. If she lives far away, he will talk his (second) wife into moving closer. The best compliment an Italian man can pay to his wife is: Even my mom would not have done better. A little creepy? Yes. But don’t worry; this compliment is very rare. Like an Italian Unicorn.
Point: Italian mothers
For Jewish and Italian mothers alike no woman will ever be good enough for their boy. Nonetheless a Jewish mother can’t overcome her yenta instincts to set up every Jew on earth with every other Jew on earth. They’ll brag about their unmarried sons with every unmarried Jewish woman or Jewish woman with unmarried daughter(s) or granddaughter(s). And when the time comes to accept the idea of their beloved leaving the nest, they already taste the naches of grandchildren to take pictures of.
On the other hand Italian mothers will never really give up their boy. Their “welcome” to their new daughter in law is really a cease-fire in disguise. And if God forbid, he every gets divorced, he will be right back where he belongs: in Mamma’s arms!
Italian mothers – 2; Jewish Mothers – 0
Let’s talk about the use of a Mother’s secret weapon: guilt.
A Jewish boy is technically free to do whatever he likes, but he may make his mother cry. And a half of the things he thought he wanted to do will make her cry. And his mother won’t yell. She’ll just cry. Quietly. In front of him. Staring at him. Repeating: “Please do it, if that’s what makes you happy. I’ll overcome the pain, don’t worry about me.”
So, you are wondering what Italian mothers do to take guilt to the next level? The answer is nothing. Nothing compares to Jewish guilt. Italian guilt is a pale imitation.
Jewish mothers: 1 – Italian mothers: 2
Jewish mothers like cooking, love feeding their beloved, and adore complaining about how tired this made them.
No one can cook as good as a boy’s mom. He knows it (although he might not always admit it), his mother knows it, and she knows how unhappy he has been since he got married to that (other) woman who can hardly put scrambled eggs together. She invites him for Shabbat and Yom Tov meals and she cooks all those delicacies he would never be able to enjoy otherwise. Bountiful four courses meals, followed by two or three desserts. The best reward for her is to see him eat in delight; he shouldn’t worry about how much trouble she went through. Or at least he should ask, right? Be considerate, she’s a retired lady, she should have the right to relax and enjoy life a little shouldn’t she? And what about her back pain that’s killing her? That her feet are killing her? That she woke up at 6 am to start cooking for him? That after he leaves she will still have to clean up – and, “no, please don’t bother to offer any help!” A Jewish mother wants her son to enjoy. She just wants him to feel a little guilty about it.
Italian mothers do all of the above cooking, but seven times a week. They invite their beloved son and their grandchildren, and don’t mind if a few of the leftovers are taken home for that other lady, who for sure is enjoying being alone and doing nothing – lazy as she is! And as mentioned above, the guilt not nearly as sophisticated.
Jewish mothers: 1 – Italian mothers: 3
So there you have it. That stereotype about Jewish mothers may need to be updated. Now, if your mother happens to be Jewish and Italian, let me be the first one to apologize for what you’ve been through. I’d offer you the number of a brilliant therapist I know, but unfortunately, it won’t help!
I dedicate this article in memory of my dear late mother, who taught me how important it is to laugh about one-self.