"Welcome to the wrong side of 25. The expiration date on your eggs is officially in sight. Tick Tock."
"Reminder, exercise ur calf muscles every other day. Unless u want to end up with cankles. It runs in the family. On your Father's side."
These are just some of the many texts exchanged by New Yorker Kate Siegel, 26, and her overbearing, over-caring, and over-sharing mom, as she documents on her viral Instagram account Crazy Jewish Mom. I had to laugh, not just because the texts are over the top but because on some level I relate. I happen to have one of those attentive moms, except she is not nearly at this level. Although once, when I was in my twenties, she called my office and asked my assistant if I'd eaten a healthy lunch.
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As amusing as the texts are between Katie and her mother, some are of cringe-worthy variety, like this one:
Looks-shaming is never OK. I sure hope that Kate's mother wasn't this critical about her when she was growing up. It's annoying to have your mother make remarks about your weight, shape, or appearance when you're a grown woman, but it can be downright harmful to hear when you're a girl. Experts consistently say that mothers have a tremendous influence on their daughters' body image.
Me, I follow in my mom's footsteps, encouraging my 10-year-old daughter to eat healthy and to be active. I try my best not to comment about her body or mine. We've had some good discussions over the years. When she was little, she asked why her stomach didn't look like Barbie's, and we talked about how healthy bodies come in all shapes and sizes. (Word, Mama Siegel.)
What's especially irksome to me about this Instagram feed: it perpetuates stereotypes. Overly involved moms come in all denominations, not just the Jewish variety. One colleague, who is Korean, notes that her mother emailed her brother the day before the recent non-blizzard to say: "I see you guys are getting lots of snow, I hope you have enough food…. Are you sure you have enough groceries?" Her brother lives in midtown Manhattan. There is literally a sushi restaurant in his building. Also: He's about to turn 40.
Meanwhile, poor Kate Siegel seems to be taking her mother's comments in comical stride. Let's all hope nobody's signed them up for a reality show.