Kate Siegel decided to create the Instagram account @CrazyJewishMom to share the funny texts her mother Kim Friedman sends to her. Little did she know in doing so, the pair would gain a huge fan base of followers. Suzanne Baum asks the 26-year-old producer, does mother really know best?
Despite being a married mum-of-three, my wonderful mother regularly texts me weather updates to ensure I “don’t get burnt” or “catch a cold” and despite hardly using public transport, she occasionally likes to remind me what tube lines are running just in case! I’ve grown fond of these texts, seeing it as an extension of her maternal love for me.
For Brooklyn-based Kate Siegel however, these types of texts are tame compared to the ones she receives from her mother that have touched on everything from fertility issues to her diet, number of times she has worked out and been to the bathroom. A sure fine way to make most daughters block their mother from their mobile, never mind their lives!
Well, in Siegel’s case it seems not. In fact, her mother’s daily texts –around 50 a day-have turned her into an Instagram sensation after Siegel made the decision to create an account which documents all of the blunt and critical text messages that she receives from her Jewish mother.
The decision to share Friedman’s crazy texts has gained her close to 500,000 followers since the @CrazyJewishMom account was started last November.
“It has been absolutely crazy,” explained Siegel when I ask her if she is shocked that the account has proven so popular. “I never expected it to go viral like this, and it has been so amazing to watch it grow. It seems to have struck a universal thread – I think a lot of people see parts of the relationships with their own mothers in the posts.”
But does her mother mind her sharing her texts with so many strangers?
“No, I actually asked her if she’d be ok with it before I posted anything,” added Siegel. “She’s been aware of it since day one. That said, she’s terrible at the internet, so I think the scale of it was surprising for her.”
As an only-child, Siegel was used to getting her mother’s sole attention and after her friends shared amusement in reading the texts, she decided to start posting them.
“The account at its core is a humorous idea – I’m only posting the most over the top, hilarious, crazy things she sends me! In no way, are these snippets of conversation a realistic portrayal of what is actually a really wonderful mother – daughter relationship.”
Retired TV director Friedman – who lives in New Jersey with Siegel’s father – is constantly trying to set her daughter up with a selection of professional men – even though Siegel has a boyfriend (nicknamed “Superjew” by her mother).
“We are very close as mother and daughter but she knows way too much about my life and vice versa,” adds Siegel who is adamant that her mother does not drive her mad. “My mum is a truly amazing woman and a fantastic mother. It’s actually surprising to me when people are negative about her.”
And what does her father think of it all, I wonder?
“I will say that he’s even worse at the internet, so I don’t think he realizes the scope at all. That said, he’s the best dad in the world, and I’ve told him things are good, so he’s excited for us.”
Amusingly, he does not text his daughter-not because he doesn’t want too but because he has no idea how too!
“My friend’s all love my mum, she’s been texting them since she learned to text me,” added Siegel. “My poor best friend Julia gets a lot of texts as she is very into health and wellness, so my mum is constantly texting her for nutrition and fitness advice.”
Although she refers to her mother as completely crazy, Siegel insists Friedman is her role model and wouldn’t change her for the world. Will she follow in her footsteps one day, I ask?
“Absolutely! I’ve resigned myself to that fate – I’m going to turn into her one day for sure.”
What can I say? Kim Friedman really is a text-book Jewish mother …