If you grew up with a Greek mother, let’s face it—you’re spoiled and you don’t even know it. It is a universally acknowledged fact that Greek mothers are overly attentive in the least and completely obsessive to the max. Everyone has been spoiled by a Greek mom; the question is to what degree.
If you want to know if you are spoiled or still spoiled, answer these 10-11 simple questions:
1 Does your mom cook/do laundry/pick up your dry cleaning for you?
2 Does you mom call you on average three times a day to ask you if you are hungry or are feeling OK?
3 Does your mom pay your credit card bill? your car insurance? Or any electric/heating bill?
4 Do you live within a 5-mile radius of your mother? (Double Yes, if you still live with your mother).
5 Is your Sallie Mae student loan in your mother’s name and is she still making payments ten years later?
6 Do you assume all holiday meals, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s, your birthday, will be arranged by your mother?
7 Does your mother keep “secrets” from you just so that you will not be upset?
8 Does your mother cover up for your lateness/absences at school/at work because she wants you to “kserouasties” or “get the tiredness off you”?
9 Does your mother easily and without qualms make up excuses for your lack of responsibility?
10 Was the last time you heard your mother ask you to do something on her behalf over a month ago? (Eating your dinner does not count).
11 Does your mother still call you a “kalo koritsi” or “kalo agori” even after you have crashed the car/run the family business to the ground/dropped out of high school or college?
If you answered Yes to at least five of these questions, then, nai, you are a spoiled Greek child. And child you will remain even into your late 40s or 50s.
Now, there is nothing wrong with the “good” Greek motherhood thing. Of course, it is wonderful to have a mother who cares for you, who makes you “avgolemono” when you have a cold, who treasures you for the special person you are. But, the problem unravels when a spoiled child grows up. Then, you are stuck with an obnoxious, self-centered, arrogant piece of skata. On both sides of the sex.
It is unconscionable that a 35-year-old cannot take care of his own car payment but must rely on his widowed mother’s pension. It is disgusting that a 40-year-old thinks he is the center of the universe and is incapable emotionally of forming healthy relationships with women outside his mother. It is pitiful when a grown-ass woman cannot make a single decision on her own without consulting her parents.
The problem with mothers taking their goodness to the max is that they raise spoiled brats. There is no greater sin than raising a spoiled brat. The word in itself says it all. It’s like God giving you a perfectly fine batch of food and you spoiling it. It’s no good for anybody then. Nobody wants to eat anything that’s spoiled. Of course, both sons and daughters are spoiled but the sons get more of the dose.
When a Greek mother is too good, she is inevitably raising men and women who are selfish, self-centered, self-entitled, emotionally stunted, dependent and arrogant. Who would want to be near such people? They are a scourge and menace to society. Like the monster Frankenstein, they even turn on their own parents.
“Agori mou, min mou fonazeis,” I hear a kakomira mana plead with her 18-year-old son. He was screaming at her to open the car door; she was taking too long as she was burdened with several bags of groceries. Is there anyone who can stand such a spoiled brat? No, no one, except, of course, his mother. Everyone else listening to a brat’s antics would want to slap the living sh** out of him. Once these monsters are created, the mothers must serve themselves on a silver platter as victims to appease their fiery temper tantrums.
The other problem with raising spoiled brats is that Greek mothers are ultimately doing them a disservice. They are not raising them with the skills and values needed to succeed in life. Children who are spoiled wind up disgruntled, unhappy or angry. They are ill-prepared to face the challenges that come with the facts of life without mommy as a safety net. They do not want to struggle, nor do they have any incentive to. They are not used to struggle so even if they have to, they easily give up. They are not emotionally healthy; any success they gain is inherited and not genuinely a product of their own making. As a result, they rarely harbor a healthy sense of self-esteem. No wonder so many family businesses go bankrupt after they change leadership to the son’s hands. A spoiled son has not inherited the qualities of hard work, perseverance, gratitude, empathy, discipline and self-control–values that are cornerstones of any viable business.
The other problem with doing the mother thing too well is that Greek mothers are zapping their own energy, neglecting their own chance of self-actualization, and creating a horrible role model for their Greek daughters. They become the “patsavouri” or “rag” and they perpetuate this pattern onto their daughters who repeat it with their sons and daughters unto eternity. I have seen so many Greek mothers fall into the mistake of neglecting their own needs to cater to the whims of their children. Of giving up their own careers and setting aside their dreams to cater to the whims of little monsters of their making. I know. I am one personally.
I gave my daughter more than what was necessary. Perhaps to compensate for her lack of a father. She buys lacy French underwear that gathers dust under her bed, tags intact (Did I read it right? $200! Would anyone spend $200 on underwear?) Instead of cleaning her room, she just collects everything in a garbage bag and throws it away. She has no idea what it means to work for a living. It’s been almost two years since she graduated high school; she is “taking a break”; she still has not applied to college. She has low self-esteem, gets easily frustrated, and shows little discipline. She uses foul language and treats me with little respect. I know some of it is her personality, but to a certain extent, it is my fault. I had something to do with the way she turned out. I wish I could go back when she was just two and scold her when she was being willful, take away toys until she deserved them; only praise her when she deserved it. I take responsibility for creating a monster.
Let this come as a warning to you, dear Greek mother or mother-to-be. Don’t raise a spoiled brat by being too good to him or her. Raise them with respect, let them struggle to appreciate what came hard for you. Don’t let them take you for granted. And gia onoma tou Theou, make them into real men (and women)—the kind of men who would make good fathers/mothers, righteous husbands/wives, and decent citizens of the world. Our society is loitered with too many spoiled Greek prince and princesses. Brats who cannot get through college, or who run the family business to the ground, or who divorce at the slightest trouble in a marriage. Enough! It’s time every good woman to become more conscious of her choices in child rearing so that we break the cycle of obnoxiousness in our culture.
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