Think your mom is the most intrusive and overprotective of them all? Rachel Ament knows 26 Jewish daughters who beg to differ. There’s actress Mayim Bialik, whose mother’s soothing mantra did more to confuse than console her, and writer Abby Sher, whose mom gently suggested a nose job. Ament, a Dupont Circle resident who edited their stories and others into “The Jewish Daughter Diaries,” will discuss moms’ good intentions Thursday at Sixth and I Historic Synagogue.
In these stories a cross-cultural theme emerges: Love transcends guilt, annoyance and smothering. Why?
They realize that all this over-involvement and over-concern is all rooted in love, and I feel like when you put so much love out there to your children, it comes to you in return.
What about the stories surprised you most?
I always thought my mom was the most extreme version of the Jewish mom, but it turns out there’s all these moms that could totally take her on. There was one mom who impersonated her daughter on [the Jewish singles network] JDate. There was another mom who took her daughter to a Jewish summer camp consultant, which is a career that I never knew existed.
Today we have tiger moms, helicopter parents and whatever Kim Kardashian is. Where do Jewish moms fit in?
I definitely think there’s overlap between tiger moms and some of these other mom tropes in other cultures. I think that Jewish moms tend to worry more and panic more and live in extremes. I also think Jewish moms are known for their humor. They have these exaggerated personalities. They tend to be really hysterical and they have a sense of humor about themselves.
What have you vowed to avoid if you have kids?
I always thought that I wouldn’t be overprotective and that I wouldn’t be a stereotypical Jewish mom, but then I was student-teaching and I realized that most of these things I thought I never would do I will do. I would be watching the kids at recess and think of every conceivable way they could possibly hurt themselves.
When did you last speak to your mom and what did you talk about?
I talked to my mom last night, and I told her about this interview. She was really excited.
Sixth and I Historic Synagogue, 600 I St. NW; Thu., 7:30 p.m., $15-$20 (admission includes a copy of the book); 202-408-3100. (Gallery Place)
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