Tag Archives: jewish mom

Resolving to Keep my New Year’s Resolution

1 Feb

Written by Tracy Beckerman of Lost in Suburbia 

  Last year I made a New Year’s resolution not to make any New Year’s resolutions because I always immediately break them.  Of course I didn’t remember making this resolution until I was in the car one day sitting in traffic and getting really steamed about all the rude people on the road.  After someone cut me off and my daughter yelled out, “Watch where you’re goin’, you moron,” I realized that I might not be setting the best example for my children. I decided then that I was going to break my last New Year’s resolution and resolve to work on my road rage.
When I lived in New York City, I didn’t really have a problem with road rage.  This was most likely due to the fact that I didn’t have a car.  Once we moved to the suburbs, though, we got a car and I actually had to do quite a bit of driving.  I s

oon learned that the suburbs are filled with bad drivers.  And most of them, it seemed, w ere always right in front of me.  Or behind me.  Or cutting me off.  Or stealing my parking space.  My usual calm response to this was a few choice words, some fist-shaking, and an occasional, full-blown hissy fit.


Although I came by my road rage both genetically and geographically (us New York Jews are notoriously hostile drivers) I realized that I might live a little longer if I resolved to be a kinder, gentler driver.  For a while, I was much better.  When people cut me off, I would just smile and wave them on.  If someone tailgated me, I would pull over and let them pass. When somebody else swooped in and stole the mall parking spot I’d been waiting for and there weren’t any other spots within a mile of the mall entrance, I just let her have it (the spot… I let her have the spot!).
Then one day I found myself behind a car that was going so slowly, it might as well have been going backwards.  I immediately took note of the fact that the car was a big, old, cream-colored Lincoln Town Car with Florida plates and a bumpe r sticker that said, “Kiss my Tuchas.” It also seemed, quite mysteriously, to be driving itself. Well, that’s not exactly true.  I could see a pair of hands on the steering wheel, but there was no head.  It was a headless, Floridian driver doing 10 miles an hour in a 35 mile-an-hour zone on a one-lane road and I was stuck behind it, losing my mind.
If ever there was a recipe for road rage, here it was.  Of course, I was very late for an appointment, to boot, so what little patience I had wore thin after two miles.  All we needed was a couple of floats, a marching band, and some Snoopy balloons and we could have our own suburban parade.
For five miles I tailgated the headless driver, getting more and more frustrated, and mentally willing him/her/it to pull over, or turn, or be beamed up to an alien space ship and flown away. Finally, we got to a major intersection, and the Lincoln pulled over to make a turn.  I pulled up next to it and looked over.  There, behind the whe el, was a very old lady, about 110 years old.  I immediately felt awful for tailgating her and belatedly recalled my New Years resolution.  I gave her a weak smile and a little, apologetic wave of my hand.

The itty bitty old lady looked over at me, raised her hand in return…
And gave me the finger.
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A Wedding Two Births and a Funeral

25 Jan

By Tracy Beckerman of Lost in Suburbia

I had to go to a wake recently. I was a little apprehensive because I haven’t been to that many wakes before.
Actually, I have never been to any.
However, since I am Jewish, I have made my fair share of shiva calls. I wasn’t sure if a shiva call was like a wake and I felt a little funny asking the bereaved what the proper wake protocol was, because, after all, they were, you know, bereaving.

I did know that the deceased is in attendance at a wake, but not at a shiva. I think this is because Jews like to eat at a shiva, and the general consensus is that it can be a real appetite-killer to eat when there is a dead person in the room.

With no one to ask, I decided to Google “wake” to see what I could learn. I found out that originally, wakes were held to watch for signs of life and to confirm that the person was dead before burial.

Personally, I would think it would be a good idea to determine this fact a little earlier in the process, but that’s just me.

I also learned that a wake is kind of like a party for the deceased. Of course, my mother taught me that you should never go to a party empty-handed. So I did what my people have done for thousands of years when someone dies:

I brought a brisket.

Now here’s what I learned when I arrived at my first wake. There are lots of flowers. And sometimes, a fair amount of booze. But no briskets.

This is not to say the family wasn’t very appreciative of my brisket. They just thought it was a little odd.
I’m not sure if the same is true for a wake, but funerals are important in the Jewish religion because it gives us the chance to patch things up with family members we’ve been feuding with since our wedding over something really important like the seating arrangements.

We don’t talk for ten years and then someone dies and all the same people who were at the wedding show up at the funeral.

Everyone cries and eats brisket, and suddenly the feuds from weddings past dissipate and all is harmonious once again.

That is, of course, until the next grandchild in the family is born… and then someone gets angry again because the newest member of the family isn’t named after the last member of the family who died. This is a Jewish custom that goes back as many thousands of years as the brisket tradition.

Meanwhile, back at the wake, I noticed that everyone seemed to be getting along just fine, no one asked the engaged couple which table they were seated at for the wedding, and no one seemed bothered that the new baby was named Blue Sky.

And,

surprisingly,

..no one seemed to mind eating their brisket with the dead guy in the corner.

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Are all Jewish Moms Germaphobes

23 Jan

Written by Jenny From the Blog of  The Suburban Jungle

Yes, I have problems sitting on the “sick side” of the pediatrician’s office.   Yes, I assume the person before me at every restaurant, arcade, amusement park, and grocery store shopping cart has picked their nose and wiped it somewhere within reach.  Yes, I want all tables wiped down before I’m seated, but I’ve convinced myself that the germs spread from those over used rags are far worse than the left over food residue that currently contaminates the space.

I’m neurotic.  I get it, but am I the only one?

I think not.  After talking to a few friends about poultry, my worst phobia, I realize that I’m a member of a very large crowd. A very large, very disturbed crowd. Is it odd that most of them are Jewish?  I don’t know.  Maybe those non Jewish folk are more laid back about germs, maybe it’s in the New Testament.  I know some eat those wafers and I imagine I could never do that as I would be sure the person giving them out had just been picking something or scratching something.

I can tell you that I seemed to be the only one for miles who was horrified by the Euro Bubble, which in my opinion  may be the worst offender of them all.  Oh, have you seen one of these things?  Seriously, who thought of this petri dish in the first place?  For those of you not lucky enough to have encountered the Euro Bubble, it’s a clear plastic beach ball that rolls on water and can fit someone up to 150lbs, though I saw teens much larger attempt to walk on water at the local Party Playground.

This is how it works: you pay a fee to have your child stuffed into a plastic bag while a man with no more than 7 teeth shoves a tube pumping stale air into a leak proof hole to blow up the ball.

Hypocritical?  Well, I did just spend the last 6 years saying, “NEVER stick your head in a plastic bag” and now I’m like, “Well, if the toothless guy says it’s okay, go for it.”

There’s something suffocating about watching a child crouch into a plastic bag in the first place.  Getting past the horrible mental images and the daydream where you imagine this floating ball may be the best babysitter ever.

Yes, in the midst of all my anxiety, I did imagine how cool it would be to have my own CLEAN bubbles… for playdates, when I have to work or clean, to get them worn out before bed etc… Unexpected visitor and you have work to do? No worries, simply stuff em in the Baby Sitting Bubble and send them out into the pool to bang into each other and hamster around for the next hour.

What? they can’t go anywhere, everyone would be happy, work would get done -  But then it dawned on me that there’s probably only so much air in that bubble. Ugh, chest tightening feeling at the thought of forgetting to set them free.  Forget it; I’d rather miss my deadline.

Back to the party.  Sure I could have opted not to let my daughter go, but every other mother at the party seemed quite ok with it, making me yet again, the most neurotic mom in the room.  As the only Jew, I did feel I should represent.  You know, give us a good rap – make us seem as easy going as the next mom.  The truth is I should not be an ambassador, in fact I might as well wear a  sign to alert everyone that I’m Jewish and neurotic oh, the redundancy!

I’m sure the nail biting I was doing as my my daughter waited in line probably gave me away, plus I was wearing 4inch wedge ankle booties and a chunky sweater to a kids party, there was no arguing my stereotypical-ness.

As my baby entered the bubble, the hand sanitizer I so diligently carry in my bag actually committed suicide.  It knew it could never disinfect a child after such a feat and jumped from my pocketbook splattering its last ounce of dignity on the Slushee stained carpet.  I was in this alone.  I looked down at that sorry tube of Purell and wished I had the forethought to have brought a can of Lysol instead.  Let’s face it, my child was not the first to enter this ball, no she may have been 10th person in that bubble in the last hour.  A bubble which at no point contained an attendant holding a bottle of Windex and some paper towels.

To make matters worse, shoes and socks were not allowed… for better traction.  Nor was there an internal release of any kind, well, if you don’t count the electrical tape patches sprinkled about. You know what was allowed in the “germosphere?” Runny noses, coughing, falling on your face where the last kid or drunk adult’s feet left sweat marks, their butt left crack marks, or any orifice left any residue of any kind. Yep, those are the rules.  Have fun while crazy moms, like me, try to figure out where they can give you a “Silkwood” style scrub down when you get home.

As luck would have it, my anxiety was interrupted by another stress inducing revelation.  SHE’S WEARING A DRESS!  Come on, really? I realized as my daughter crouched in her bubble that she in fact was the only child at the party in a dress, in other words:  we were about to get a peep show at my six year old’s Justice undees,  which I fear is the very reason every childless adult in the joint was there in the first place.

Look, if you go to a party and entertainment center that happens to serve beer, and you don’t have a kid in tow, you are without a doubt flagged on a data base of sexual predators… and you wonder why you never get any trick or treaters?  I stood with one of the dads who was equally as horrified at the germ fest and when I revealed my newest concern he burst into laughter and then pointed out at least two childless men sipping beer by the end of the pool.  I spent the next 7 minutes and 15 seconds giving the international sign for “Close your legs.”  A sign that many young starlets would benefit from learning.  My proper princess understood immediately, which either means she is really good at charades or we need to talk more about sitting like a lady.

When my little LiLo was done with the ride, I was able to focus on the germs again.  Phew, I was worried I had forgotten to worry about that.  I considered hosing her down at the sink, but it was time for pizza and all the kids, unsanitized, unbaby-wiped, un-dragged to the bathrooms by insane parents ran joyfully to the tables and drank their hydrogenated, high fructose corn syrup filled fruit punch and licked their fingers… and mine did too.

Like my bottle of Purell, I had given up.  As one of the moms who let her daughter ride in the bubble 5 times said, “They have to be exposed to this stuff or they get the allergies.”  I don’t know if I agree with that logic, but the part of me that wanted to tell her she was being a bit of an extremist realized we may have more in common than I’d thought.  So, I shut up, ate my pizza without patting off the grease with a napkin and enjoyed being a renegade for just one night.

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So, I Have a Cleaning Lady – No Need for Verbal Assaults

9 Jan

Written by Jenny From the Blog of THE SUBURBAN JUNGLE

This story ended up in a book of hilarious Mom essays, but it was originally run when I first started blogging, by a major newspaper and their coordinating website, I will not name where.
No, stop asking, ‘cuz I won’t.
Don’t tickle me… stop it.  
ENOUGH.

Ok – the response was a mostly a verbal assault and a judgmental lashing from people who would never spend their hard earned money to have someone else help around the house.  Personally, I have no problem spending my husbands hard earned money to have someone do that.  (What, you think blogging pays a ton?)  

Ironic, comparison right 'cuz she was the hired nanny.

Frankly, I would consider spending my last dollar on it.  In fact I would clean someone else’s house to make the money to pay someone to clean my own.  I feel I don’t need to apologize for the sanity and extra time I get to play with my kids or the joyful feeling I get from walking into my home- like Julie Andrew’s character feels in the Sound of Music when she’s spinning on the mountain top singing, “The Hills are Alive.”

Oh, you can picture me doing it right?
Cuz I do.  
With song.  
And a flowy 1940‘sesque dress.  
Every time I walk in and smell the fresh scent of Lysol “Fresh Scent.”

I thought I would let you all decide if you can relate or if I’m a horrible person  – for liking a clean house – for putting this extravagance in my budget – for wearing frocks…

Here goes: [...]

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