top of page
  • Writer's pictureJodi Samuels

The Crazy Mom

My kids think I am crazy. Probably also quirky, obsessive and a scatter brain. I guess I am all of these! Those of you who know me probably think of me as a responsible, capable and passionate person who can do whatever she puts her mind to. Those who know me a little more know that I am actually quite shy, and I really have to leave my comfort zone to be a public personality. I guess I am like a musician who can perform on stage in front of a crowd even though naturally shy. People who know me from high school and university are astounded when they meet me now. The shy, quiet girl who came out of her shell. The people that know me best, my family, live between cracking up at me, exasperation and admiration. I am not scared of taking on a challenge whether it’s organizing a Challah bake for 500 people one week after making Aliyah or taking on a whole community who denied my two-year old daughter with special needs the right to enroll in the local community day school. I recently traveled to Ethiopia with the three kids without Gavin. Our friends and family were shocked. Traveling in Africa alone with the kids? And then even more shocked when I tell them that we are going to Myanmar (Burma) in the summer without Gavin too! I am the most organized-disorganized person you will ever meet. I am comfortable organizing 25 events simultaneously, but I am always searching for my misplaced credit cards, keys and my phone. Recently I hid our passports as the safe was not working and now I can’t find them. Gavin was not impressed when I told him the upside is that if we can’t find the passports, neither can the thieves. In Ethiopia we turned the hotel room upside down and had to unpack every bag for my credit cards that I hid over Shabbat. On the topic of disorganized, a few months ago Gavin asked what we were doing the next night and I explained we had a JICNY event. The next morning I asked him to pick up ingredients on his way home from Shul. He asked what it was for and I explained a cooking class that I was teaching that night. I was organizing, planning and managing sign ups for 2 events on one night and it just never occurred to me that there was an issue. On my last trip to NY I made Shabbat lunch plans to go to a friend. On Wednesday night someone sent a message asking me what time lunch was planned for on Saturday. Just as well she asked as I had 33 people coming to my house and I had simply had a brain lapse. My most famous story: I asked someone to speak at a JICNY event and he agreed. We promoted the speaker. On the night I mention to Gavin that I am concerned the speaker has not arrived and Gavin points out that he is right next to me. I think he is shorter and thinner than I remembered. I introduce him and mention the speakers name and read his bio. He thanks me and mentions that I exaggerated his bio and he did not in fact interview all the Israeli Prime Ministers since Golda Meir! I had confused 2 people with the same first name and similar last names.  I am the the most capable-incapable person you will ever meet. Basically, give me any challenge except changing diapers or putting fuel in the car. Actually, I can’t iron either. Early in our marriage I once ironed Gavin’s shirt for work. One of the nurses where he worked suggested that he gets his wife to do the shirts. He explained that his wife had in fact ironed the shirts and I have not used an iron since. I am the bravest-scaredy-cat you will ever meet. After living in South Africa as kid and having many things like break ins-and held up at gun point I still am terrified and fears of being alone. Recently the door was left open and the wine store delivered wine. The door was ajar so he just came in. I was alone, and our dog started growling. When I realized someone was inside I gave a blood curdling scream. I am also a little obsessive. I have exercised a minimum of 4 hours a week (not one minute less) since 2000 including when I had a broken leg. If I go on a walk, I have to walk to the end. If I am at the sea I swim no matter the temperature. I can tell you what I spent to the cent in a given week. My most obsessive characteristic is my obsession with lists. Everyone gets a list the cleaning lady, my kids, Gavin, my staff. In my notes section of Outlook I have about 500 lists including what I would do if I won the lotto, where I plan on traveling to next year, weight loss goals and my latest shopping list. When Meron was little he would draw a picture and give it to people he loved and say here is your list! I am not sure if it is more amusing or exasperating living with me, but I certainly get a lot of eye rolling from Gavin and “Imma! Seriously!” from the kids.


bottom of page