At first, I ignored the signs. They'd pop up occasionally, almost subconsciously, as I urged my sister and roommate to floss her teeth before going to bed and check WebMD if I didn't mistake my common cold with something far worse, like tuberculosis. (Thanks for scaring me, WebMD.)
Then, as I was lighting a candle on a casual Friday night, it suddenly hit me faster than my nephew's bar mitzvah. I was starting to act, feel and speak like my — God bless her — Jewish mother.
If I would tell you I was fighting it, it would break my mother's heart. So, instead, I decided to embrace my habit of preparing matzah ball soup on a cold day and replacing the word “assh*le” with “schmuck.” Thus, as my epiphany regarding my transformation continued, I realized a few things. Here are five common habits every Jewish mother has in common:
1. They have Monk's hygiene.
One of my favorite TV shows (after "The Big Bang Theory") has always been "Monk." It follows Adrian Monk, the brilliant San Francisco detective, whose obsessive compulsive disorder just happens to get in the way of everything. Granted, all Jewish mothers would probably throw matzah balls at me if I compared their habit of cleaning to Monk's OCD.
But, truth be told, I have not met a single Jewish mother who did not have impeccable hygiene. From the floors you can literally eat your food off of to a bathroom that looks like a crew of 20 has scrubbed for hours, you will never find a messy Jewish house. That's unless it's after a Friday night dinner, and the kitchen is covered with challah crumbs (but that's a different story).
2. They have an unhealthy interest in the dating life of their children.
If you thought people get obsessed over ABC's “The Bachelor,” imagine Jewish mothers when they're interrogating their children about their love lives and kindly reminding them (for the 1,000th time) that they would be extra thrilled if their date to the next dinner party would be Jewish.
My mom even went one step further and launched her own dating platform, Meet Mazal, for single Jews. Thanks for your influence, Patti Stanger.
3. You have an empty fridge? Oy vey!
There's no way you will ever find a Jewish mother with an empty fridge. Oh, and wasting food? Never. Let's face it: Our ancestors didn't spend millions of years in the desert so you could throw away perfectly good kugel.
4. Yiddish Cursing
Every Jewish mother I met had more class than your favorite "Downton Abbey" character, even when she started cursing. Because that way, most people won't know what they are saying. Besides, it makes it easier to deal with the world's putzes.
5. She's always anxious, just in case.
I'm not going to lie: I've become pretty good at hiding my emotions throughout the years. I can hide them from my closest friends as I plaster a smile on my face when all I want to do is crawl in my bed with the only men who will truly understand women (Ben & Jerry, obviously).
But, my wonderful Jewish mother can always tell if there's something on my mind. And, when I refuse to tell her, she always responds with, “I may not know what is going on, but I'll worry, just in case.”
Worrying has become embodied in every Jewish mother and her daughter's DNA. She will worry constantly about whether or not you have eaten and if you're warm enough. Ironically, when I call her upon this frequent annoying habit, I realized that I myself am exactly the same as I ask my boyfriend the very same questions.
So, call it anxiety or unnecessary worrying, but a Jewish mother will always be concerned about her children's well-beings, no matter how old they get.
Now, if these signs sound just a little too familiar, then congratulations. You're one step closer into transforming into your Jewish mother. Personally, as a proud inheritor of the maternal-Judeo tradition, I wouldn't have it any other way.
(PS: Call your mother. She's worried about you.)