Recently Daddy and i watched a series on Netflix about a magician. Yes, sounds cheesey. It kind of was. But there was this bit about mothers and how they make their children feel guilty. There was a Jewish mother, and an Italian mother, among others. They tried to make it so cutesy, exemplifying the faces they make to make their children feel guilty, sharing trigger phrases they use to bring their kids to heel. At first i giggled, because i can see the humor in it. But after several days of reflection, it doesn’t feel funny anymore.
i was adopted as a baby into a family of Italians. i know all too well the phrases, cajoling, and mean looks that get passed around. And you know what? It isn’t cute. It doesn’t endear me to my family. If i am totally honest, it is sickening, and makes me quite anxious. In hindsight, the constant justifying i had to do with my family is a huge part of why i don’t associate with my family anymore. In part it is a relief, but it is also a major, devastating loss.
“He’s not good enough for you, if you elope the family will be scandalized, you were baptized as a baby into the catholic church why are you getting baptized again, hide money in your daughters bank account and dont tell your husband about any inheritance you get in case he cheats on you and you get divorced…”
Mothers especially love to have opinions. And Italian mothers for whatever reason believe that they don’t have to be responsible for anything they say. i am sure that isn’t an Italian only trait- but i only have one example to go off. My mother literally believes that her immediate and extended family exists to rally around her, worship and honor her in all ways, and make her look good. She believes the matriarch is at the top of the family food chain, and that she can pick off who she wants when she wants and destroy them without repercussions.
Here’s the thing- these behaviors aren’t cute. It isn’t acceptable. i refuse to exist in a world where people are disposable, unimportant things that live to serve one matriarch or being. i don’t view politics, family, or anything as a food chain. It simply does not compute.
As a mother myself, i am so careful, probably at times too careful, because i don’t want to give my children the impression that i am not accountable for my words or actions. In fact, it is my preference that above all- good grades, popularity, and general excellence- my children know empathy and kindness. And as a wife, it is imperative that i ensure my husband is always assured of my regard, affection, and appreciation.
None of us are perfect. There isn’t a magical remedy to the curse of humanity. Fact is, we are only human, and none of us are exempt from treating others with dignity, respect, and gentleness. Choose to live outside the stereotypes that surround you. Choose kindness.