The Google Maps Mom

The Google Maps Mom

Two mothers on a playground bench.

One checks her watch every 5 minutes and snaps at her kids like an alligator if they dare come too close.

The other one sits happily like a mom on a Hallmark “Congratulations on the Birth of Your New Baby” card.

So what’s the difference between these two moms?

Is one just naturally a grouch and the other one a Sara Imenu?

Are her kids monsters and her kids angels?

The difference between them is how far they’ve pulled back.
Let me explain…

You know when you look up a street on Google maps? You can either focus up real close on Main Street, so that Main Street is all you see.

Or you can pull back, way back, until Main Street is swallowed up by the whole city and then state and then country and then continent and then the whole entire world.

Our alligator mother’s problem is that she can’t see beyond that afternoon at that playground.

But the Hallmark mother has pulled back, way back, from that playground. And from that afternoon. And from that summer vacation.

In fact, she has pulled back from this year, from this decade, and even from this century.

“Over 3000 years ago,” she remembers, “my people received the Torah from God Himself. And one mother passed that Divine Torah on to her daughter who passed it on to her daugher who passed it on to her daughter…”

“Who would believe that today, over 3000 years later, I would be sitting here passing on that same Torah to my own son and daughter, raising them to love Hashem and to keep His laws?”

“Look at my little Leah’le, who bears the name of our Matriarch Leah, and look at my Moshe, with his tsitsit flying as he runs up the slide, maintaining Jewish traditions dating back to giving of the Torah itself.”

“What joy. What nachas. I could sit here, on this park bench, watching these children, these Jewish children of mine, for eternity.”

*This post is based on a lecture given by Rabbi Pesach Wolicki.


  1. Miriam Friedman

    Very well said!

    It’s so true!

    Thanks so much for sharing that.
    I really like the analogies!

  2. Refreshing insight. Thanks

  3. Please provide the link for thee original Shiur by Rav Wolicki

    • this was inspired by a davar Torah I heard from him at a wedding, not an actual class

  4. Of course first mom could be extremely nervous about upcoming medical appt, and second Mom could have just found out she’s pregnant after a long wait.
    Although, point taken. Message is beautiful. Pulling back to our place in Jewish History is of course ideal, but even pulling back a little and thinking about one’s own life can create the wonderful joy and patience. I got married at 31, had my first child at 34, and second child at 38. When I watch my two delicious children I have only to remember my 30th birthday when I had not yet found my bashert, crying to a friend of mine, wondering will it ever happen? And then I see younger Moms (of course not all) taking their children for granted, and I feel the wait was so worth it because I appreciate every moment. (or almost every moment, admittedly I get tired and groggy too at times…)
    Anyway thanks for the beautiful message. Next time I will try to pull even further back!

    • the point of Rabbi Wolicki, whom I heard this idea from, was of the importance of placing our lives in a larger context. He said it at a wedding, and was talking about this couple of American Olim who had returned to Israel, and how this wasn’t only an important decision for them, but that within the context of all of Jewish history (the destruction of the Temple, the exile, the millenia of persecution and now the return to rebuild Israel) it takes on profound meaning. And how always, when we want to add more meaning to our lives and decisions, the way to do this is to pull further back, and see our lives within a larger context.

      Just to clarify, that however we manage to do this is great– doesn’t have to be exactly the way I wrote in this article. I love the way you add meaning and “pull back,” mazal tov!

  5. This was a great read! I’ve been having a hard time recently wondering why I can’t wait to ship my kids off to GAN and get a bit of “me” time while another mother I know with two little ones at home is seriously upset about her son (who is very old for israeli standards) starting GAN this year.
    I am constantly wondering what is wrong with me?! Maybe I just need a bit of perspective 😉 thanks for this

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