The traditional Greek Mother

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greek womanThe traditional Greek Mother still exists in spite of changes in Greek society regarding the position and role of women. The traditional Greek Mother still exists and is represented by mothers over 40 years of age.

The Greek Mother Hen

The traditional Greek Mother is like a broody hen who smothers her young in wings of care, love, overprotection and oppression.

She has certain distinctive features which make her unique the world over. Here is a list of her main characteristics:

She makes the best dolmades (stuffed vineleaves) in the world.

She screams hysterically if little Kostas escapes at the seaside and runs into deep water, meaning deeper than the approved 15 centimetres.

She is always right and of course knows better than anybody else what’s good for her children.

She carries binoculars to spot the slightest cloud that may threaten bad weather and dresses her children to face polar temperatures.

She has the nose of a hunting dog and is the first to scent cigarette smoke on her teenage son or daughter.

Every week she sends tupperware food parcels to her children who are studying in another city, whether in Greece or abroad.

She calls the police if she hasn’t been able to contact her student children for 24 hours.

She teaches her daughter that boys are devils in disguise and should be avoided at all costs.

She warns her son early on that no other woman will love him as much as her, and of course there are lots of artful minxes lying in wait to entrap and marry him, so he should be careful not to get any of them pregnant.

She has a heart attack if her son wants to live in his own home after he’s 20.

She has a heart attack, stroke and conniptions combined if her (grown-up) daughter wants to live alone.

She calls in the priest for an exorcism if her children fall in love with a foreigner, according to the quaint saying, “Better a shoe from your own place, even if it’s patched”.

She digs up grandpa’s gun from World War 2 if the prospective bride or groom is not a member of the white race.

If a child remarks that motherly over-protectiveness is a widespread problem in Greece, the Greek Mother replies with the unshakeable argument: “If it’s so widespread, then it must be normal”.

The children of Greek mothers never grow up, and their mothers will always see them as small and helpless. No matter whether they’re 5 or 55 years old, their mother will always worry if they’ve eaten enough and well, if they’re warmly dressed, if they’ve been ill, if anyone’s been mean to them (kindergarten classmate, spouse or mother-in-law).

The Greek Mother may exasperate and infuriate us, but we love her because she’s the best mother in the world. We know very well that she’ll always be there when we need her and will do anything to help us, forgetting her own needs.

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  1. Such bullshit!
    The father and the mother are completely devoid of empathy. Every action their child takes is followed by ‘oxi’ then a ‘how will this affect me. There is absolutely no warmth, compassion and tactile affection. It is obligation. No desire to learn about the child and nurture emotional intelligence. Who can scream the loudest wins. Humiliation, threats and beating. Severe beating. They’re both narcissistic beasts. Yell and scream when they don’t like something. No teaching the child about emotions. They find huge emotional outbursts funny – the child is belittled taught to fear “outsiders” trust no one except the parents and do exactly as they are told or else. There is definitely no consistency other than chaos – never knowing if they are happy one moment (usually indicated by silence but no smiling or any tactile affection – none!) or rage. They laugh everything off. No bad behaviour is apauling as it falls in the ‘We do all these things because we love you’ game/trick. The child is brought up not knowing cause and effect because there is no consistency. Reaction of a behaviour is completely dependent upon the mood swing of the parent. The mood swing changed rapidly with no warning and frequently within a day. No jokes were ever permitted unless the father told them and only then were we expected to laugh until he said ‘siopi’ !! Step out of line and be threatened, verbally insulted and slapped or beaten. What is good one day is horrific the next. Complete selfishness. The parents openly tease each other and the children – one child is played off agInst the other. They had no understanding of what a parent entailed. They did it because it was expected of a married couple.

    In my family – my sister was t-Rex. She would go nuts at anything. They would say she had spunk some days yet other days the exact same behaviour would invite verbal and physical abuse in order to keel her in line. They’d then look at me and say this will happen to you if you’re like this. Other days I was criticised for not being like her.

    This is not a loving family!

    If you were really “lucky” (sarcasm) the parents would dump you in Saturday Greek school where the teachers aim was to brainwash the students into hating the Turkish people. Fearing all other races and being taught that Greeks are the best. For anyone who was slightly different then the “delight” was being slapped sworn and kicked at by the teachers. These weren’t teachers these were thugs who belong in prison!
    Yeah so don’t tell me about Greeks! Other cultures tried to integrate with the cultures. Greeks were horrid. Horrid. Thugs.

    Oh of course the ‘ you’re nothing without us’ pep talk. And the nice as pie in public. The image was everything to Greek parents. The reality at home was very scary and lonely.

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