Love, Mom

Poignant, Goofy, Brilliant Messages from Home


By Doree Shafrir

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I’m much older than my computer — are you suggesting that the older something is, the more uselss it becomes Because that’s what I’m hearing (although I’m not hearing it very well…..)
your old mom

Yes, I am a pest, but I just looked at Iowa weather and it will be 5 below Tuesday night. Hope you have a hat with ears.
Love you,

Sweet, funny, endearing, slightly technologically inept, and always just a little nagging, emails from mothers to their adult children are much more fun to read when it’s somebody else’s mother. is proof of that — when it launched, this repository of reader-submitted missives from Mom received more than 100,000 unique visitors in just the first two weeks. In Love, Mom, editors Doree Shafrir and Jessica Grose have assembled more than two hundred of the best never-before-seen submissions. From school, sex, technology, and appearance to health, work, holidays, and food — and complete with a selection of celebrity emails (including Oscar-winner Diablo Cody’s mom on her daughter’s “blob”), and sidebars throughout — Love, Mom is ultimately a reflection on how our moms are always our moms . . . no matter how the message is sent. “MY MOTHER SENDS ME EMAILS IN ALL CAPS SO IT ALWAYS SEEMS LIKE SHE IS YELLING. SO IN HER STYLE I WILL SAY, I LOVE THIS BOOK!!!!!” — Margaret Cho “Love, Mom is a hilarious look at what happens when interfering, maddening, kvetching, querying, and loving moms push the `send’ button. This is a great book for anyone who ever looked at her email inbox and said, `Oh, no–it’s from my mom.” — Amy Dickinson, author of The Mighty Queens of Freeville, “Ask Amy” syndicated advice columnist, and NPR contributor “This book is hilarious and smart–a wittily organized collection that proves, without a doubt, that our moms are humankind’s most natural comedians.” — Mike Albo, author of Hornito and The Underminer



The authors would like to thank Gretchen Young and Elizabeth Sabo at Hyperion, for getting the project from day one; Kate Lee and Larissa Silva at ICM and Elisabeth Weed at Weed Literary, for shepherding us through this process; Brad Walsh, a great photographer; Lauren Le Vine, the best de facto research assistant; Pamela Peterson, for her publicity know-how; Eric Rachlin, who designed our website and patiently answered all our mom-ish tech questions; Christopher Silas Neal for illustrating our cover; Anne Schoknecht and Anna Knoell for designing our beautiful proposal; Alex Pareene at Gawker; Kerry Miller from Passive Aggressive Notes; the Foggy Monocle boys, Jimmy Jung and Erik Dane; Lindsay Robertson and Gabe Delahaye, for letting us perform at Ritalin Readings; Diablo Cody, for being so supportive; and Sara Vilkomerson and everyone at Very Short List.

Doree would like to thank Marc Kushner, Niharika Desai, Jessica Pressler, Alex Balk, Choire Sicha, Emily Gould, her colleagues at the New York Observer, her brother Michael and her sister Karen, her dad, Avishai, for not being jealous that there wasn’t a book about him, her mom, Roberta Steinberg, for being the inspiration for this whole crazy project, and most of all, Sam Cooper, for his support, love, and laughter.

Jessica would like to thank Anna Dever-Scanlon, Liz Stevenson, Lizzie Goodfriend, Mary Lydecker, David and Charlotte Winton, Anna Holmes and the rest of the Jezebels, her brother Jacob, her dad, Richard, for believing in the concept of blogging-as-career, her mom, Judith Ebenstein, for always having something smart and sassy to say, and Mike Winton, for always being there at the end of the longest days with warmth, kindness, and love.

And of course, the thousands of people who submitted their moms’ emails—and the moms who took it all in stride, good-naturedly. Without them there would be no book.


“I’m Just Being Your Mother

IT ALL STARTED so innocently: a Gchat conversation in which we were discussing the emails our moms send us. “I’m sending you a hilarious email my mom just sent,” typed Jessica, “because I think you will like it.” “Ooh yay,” Doree wrote back. “I love hilarious mom emails.” After we shared a good laugh over the content of that email (which, to protect what little privacy Jessica’s mom has left, we shall keep forever secret), Doree sent Jessica an email from her mom (the contents of which shall, alas, also remain private). “The one thing you need to know,” Doree wrote, “is she’s told me this story FIVE HUNDRED TIMES.” “That makes it better!” Jessica responded. “My mom always tells me the same stories too.”

A few minutes later, Jessica wrote: “Also our moms still both have AOL email addresses.”

Then: “OMG,” Doree typed. “OK. I just thought of a brilliant idea. We start a website called and get people to send us emails from their moms.”

“OMG THAT IS AMAZING,” Jessica wrote back. “Let’s do it.”

We mulled over a few different names, and then Jessica suggested Postcards From Yo Momma. And thus a website, and a phenomenon, was born.

There was no way we could’ve anticipated the absolute deluge of emails we started getting as soon as the site went up. To get started, we sent out an email to a few of our friends, asking for submissions from their moms, and within twenty-four hours we had received over fifty emails from best buddies, distant acquaintances, and new fans. At that point we realized we might be onto a sort of essential mom-ness that wasn’t just idiosyncratic to our own mothers—we had inadvertently stumbled on something that was universal in the modern mother-child relationship.

By the time Postcards was one week old, we had been interviewed by the largest newspaper in Canada, been blogged about from Australia to Texas, and had gotten hundreds of submissions from adult children everywhere eager to share their moms’ particular brand of humor and wisdom with the rest of the world. The floodgates had certainly been opened—but why? What was it about emails and texts and instant message conversations with moms that was so amusing and yet so touching? We turned to our own moms for some answers.

Jessica’s mother, Judy, called dealing with her adult children a “constant negotiation.” “You have this overwhelming love for your children, but you realize that as they get older, it’s natural for them to pull away,” she said. “So, as a mother you’re always completely comfortable expressing the unconditional love, but your children sometimes need to distance themselves from it.”

And email makes it easy for moms to express this love in a chatty, off-hand way. According to Judy, who is a shrink and prone to making grand sociological pronouncements, “Even though the subject matter of our exchanged emails is gossipy and very much about the moment, it is precisely this kind of ongoing interaction which is very important in maintaining a meaningful social network.”

Doree’s mom, Robby, also noted that there’s definitely been a generational shift in terms of how parents communicate with their adult children. “When I was a college student, my parents would call on Sunday morning, and the conversation would go something like this: ‘Hi. How’s everything? Have a good week? Speak to you next Sunday.’ Long distance was ‘expensive,’ and there was no chitchatting or calling at whim because we didn’t have cell phones, and I had to be in the dorm room at a certain time,” Robby said. “I’d certainly like to think I have more frequent and meaningful communication with my kids than my mother had.”

These days, email, personal blogs, and cell phones allow moms to have an ongoing—even if sometimes one-way—conversation with their grown children 24/7, as if they were still living in the same home. When Jessica’s mom emails her, she says it’s “kind of like walking through the living room and seeing you sitting there. Something comes to my mind about what I need to tell you—something that’s not important enough for a phone call, but I can get it right off my chest. If I really thought it was emotionally relevant, I would talk to you in person.” And as Doree’s mom pointed out, “When I email you or your brother or sister, I know the email will at least be glanced at. Since there’s caller ID, you can choose not to take my call, but I—perhaps naively—believe that the email will be seen.”

Technology also helps moms keep track of kids who are reluctant to be found. Intrepid moms who find that their kids have suddenly stopped responding to emails and phone calls can also turn to the Internet and find their kids’ blogs, Facebook pages, and Twitter feeds. As Doree’s mom told her, “I check your blog several times a day and restrain myself from posting comments. I did the same when your brother had one. I love it, and it really helps me feel that I’m keeping up with you.” Likewise, Jessica’s mom reads her blog daily. “I love seeing what you’re thinking about,” she said. “And that’s what makes me feel very close to you. In a not particularly intrusive way, I can be part of your life.”

When we started Postcards From Yo Momma, we worried—briefly—that our moms might think we were just mocking them, that they wouldn’t grasp the site’s subtext of sweetness and genuine affection. But we underestimated them. Not only did they totally get it, they continue to find it hilarious, and take solace in the fact that there are thousands—if not millions—of moms around the world who have very similar relationships with their adult children.

Since the launch, both our moms have been only slightly more self-conscious about what they’ve been emailing their kids. Jessica’s mom said, “I’m more aware of making sure you know when things are confidential, but I don’t care if you make fun of what I’m writing. I’m just being myself. I’m just being your mother.” And Doree’s mom added, perhaps optimistically, “I do see that I email you guys less. Maybe we’re talking more.”

Besides, our mothers know deep in their hearts that they’ll have the last laugh. One day in the not too distant future, we’ll have similarly ungrateful children who will click open their inboxes to find an email from us. They’ll take one glance at our maternal missives and groan to themselves, oh Mom.


“Your Blob Is So Funny and Clever”


SINCE THE DAWN of time, mothers have seized upon the newest technology as a means of communicating with their children. Historians say that the first extant cave painting, depicting a lone bison, is around thirty-two thousand years old. We now know that this was a message from a mother to her son, asking him if he could teach her how to use the newfangled yoke that his father just bought.

Each day, mothers around the world are learning to harness the power of technology. They start with learning to turn on their various gadgets. Once they’ve gotten the confidence to master the basics, they’re going to take baby steps into this brave new world. They’ll be naturally curious and have a thousand questions, just like an actual baby. First come the Gchats. “Can you see me?” some mommas ask on Instant Messenger, fearing that the Internet is spying on them like an omnipresent big brother.

But it’s really more like mom is that big brother. In the primitive olden days when mothers still pecked out missives on the typewriter and long before the Apple IIe made its clunky debut on the market, moms had barely any way to check up on their grownup spawn. Nowadays, they’re on Facebook, looking at their kids’ pages and judging their friends. But it’s really all over once they’ve found a child’s blog—and a sign of the apocalypse if they’ve started their own. Soon they’ll discover YouTube, and it’s only a matter of time before videos of their beloved offspring, naked in the bathtub with a rubber duckie at age three, are plastered all over the World Wide Web.


My computer has software transmitted diseases (STDs) from all the software I had to download for a class and for doing assignments in another class. I hate computer STDs.

I think my computer is more stable after I worked on it the day before yesterday but not as stable as before all the software downloads.

Computer with STDs

Hi Honey: Hope all is going well and you are not to stressed! Please take care and don’t let all the traveling get to you. And Awards!! like OMG

Jennifer Gardner was on the Today Show today and talked about how wonderful the script was and how intelligent and nice you are. I hope you enjoy Minnesota, how about the weather it must be a shock to you after all the warm weather in LA. Where do you go after Minnesota?

I hope home for a few days so you can rest. (Do you notice I answer my own questions)! I read the blog today and loved the article from the New Yorker, your blob is very funny and clever you have so much fun with it no wonder everyone Love’s it. We are all well and looking forward to seeing again soon. The cat’s are having a lot fun with this very large box, Larry has been in it and just looks out at you…he is very.. well you know…crazy?

Have a great day and remember we are thinking of you

Love Mom


me: Mom, did you watch the Sex and the City trailer?

mom: Oh Hi, can you see me right now? No where is it?

me: hi! No, this is just instant messaging. I just sent the link to you, check your inbox

mom: ok, aren’t you impressed with me on chat!!!!!!!!!

me: no, you are way too slow, stop typing and go watch the trailer

mom: Fine, is it goood?


mom: How did you type that back so FAST!

me: Mom.

mom: OK I am going to go watch it now. bye bye

me: no don’t go anywhere, just watch it and then tell me what you think

mom: ok

I CAN”T WAIT!!!!!!!!WOW!!!!!YEAH!!!! when does it come out? It probably said, I am going to watch it again…

me: May 30th

mom: I better get moving, talk to you soon, Love Mom

me: get moving where? what do you have to do today? i’m the one who has to get back to my job, I have to go

mom: Work work work

me: you’re ridic, lata playa

mom: Bye, Lata playa

me: Mom don’t copy me

mom: Word



I feel so much more confident with the computer to the point that I don’t refer to it as “stupid computer”’ I think I am beginning to like it!!!!.

Un abrazo muy grande. LA MAMA


mom: I did not look at the web site yet. I can’t do two things at once on this computer, I will check after we “hang up”

I have to go soon. It’s movie day. We got screwed out of The Savages by a different release schedule due to V day. It’s gone--replaced by The Spiderwick Chronicles

me: hmmso is that what you’re seeing?

mom: Actually, I better go. I want to look at that web site and I need to get dressed. PS I love you

me: haha ok thanks

mom: That’s the movie not a closing!! HA


Sandra and I found out that one network has passed on our project and that bummed me out, but Sandra feels very confident about our web version getting funded. I may be on You Tube sooner than you think!

“Oh God”, you’ll say, “there’s my aged mother prancing around on a hillside with a stupid wig on and carrying humiliating!”.

I say, “may we be so lucky!”




mom: why does it say “hiding”

me: because i am hiding in a cubby in the library. that’s my “away message”

mom: oh, you said it

I thought the computer-gmail did it how would they know!

Oh, you don’t have any more nazonex prescriptions, oh dear!


Please cleanup your facebook. Sex, drugs, lesbian stuff, no religion. People look at that before they hire you-Pres. Bush gets reports about this stuff, too. Listen to your mother—have a little common sense for goodness sake. Have some Christian values!

Your mother


My computer is back online. It had a virus…..gotten by using the Smiley faces, no less. GOOD GRIEF!! I told the computer guy that my sister uses them all the time, fer gawrsh sakes, and has for years. But I do it one time….….….. grrrrrrrrrrrrr!!!!!!!!!!!!

Love you all!

Michael, I think you do too many drugs and say too many disparaging things about women on your blog. Love, Mom


my computer has the flu

no mail ‘tween me and you

so here’s a big hug

to cheer up your mug

and confirm that your mom est un fou * !!!


I know you both are probably joking around on your facebook pages, but….….….….…. did you and Kate actually get married?




Hola hija querida, gracias por ser mi amiguita de facebook. Yo aun no se como usar esta cosa, pero ahi ire aprendiendo. so, see you around,

love you




Hello my beloved daughter, thank you for being my friend on facebook. I still don’t know yet how to work this thing, but there I will be learning.

So, see you around,

love you,



Hey Bob…thanks for ditching the condom picture on your blog…eeeew…not a nice thing to see.

I hop you & Elaine have a nice dinner. Love, MOM


Hi sweet pea!


On Sale
Apr 1, 2009
Page Count
272 pages
Hachette Books

Doree Shafrir

About the Author

Doree Shafrir is a senior culture writer at BuzzFeed News and has written for New York Magazine, Slate, The Awl, Rolling Stone, Wired and other publications. A former resident of Brooklyn, she now lives in Los Angeles with her husband Matt Mira, a comedy writer and podcaster, and their dog Beau.

Learn more about this author