Mother. What a great word, and what great responsibility that comes with the power it gives.
And a mother can, and do use that power. A mother goes to great lengths to ensure of her daughter's wellbeing; to ensure that her daughter does... what her mother thinks is right for her to do. Whether by introducing a so-called psychological support (rarely asked for and more commonly un-asked for) in front of family members, friends, or worse yet in front of her daughter's friends, or by plain verbal abuse and bullying; mothers continue to instil the lack of confidence and an understanding of no longer working models of women's roles into their daughters' vulnerable heads.
Why such unexpected turn?
Mothers, nowadays, are rarely happy. Perhaps the only days they are truly happy are the day of their own wedding and the day of their daughters' wedding. And even then, if the wedding of a daughter puts an extra smile or two to her unkindly aging face, a well-meaning mother will more likely end up spending months of scrutinizing of what her now-son-in-law could do better. And that's in the best-case scenario.
In the worst case scenario, a daughter is approaching thirty, and remains unmarried. What a shame to the family. What a shame for the mother. She tried so hard to raise the best daughter there is, and there is no Prince Charming in sight. If at first it's an open critique towards your daughter's current choices, then it's a cry-out-loud from "What have I done wrong, that you can't find a husband?" to the "If you continue being so fussy, you'll end up with no husband at all! And you'll die alone". And if a daughter is particularly lucky, then her mother will add some honesty "I just want grandchildren! Can you give me at least one? With or without the stupid husband you can't pick?"
If only that was the solution. The minute you are married, your mother will become the endless source of rules, advice (also un-asked for), and other guidelines to poison your already-facing-challenges marriage. Because, her marriage is often over by now, or at least she has nothing left to change or manipulate in there. She is stuck with an-empty-nest syndrome. And often, given that she comes from the generation of its-all-about-my-children, she has no life of her own. And she'll go to great lengths to ensure you will have none either.
Here are just a few examples of the relationship advice mothers give to their daughters; with the relevant explanations.
"Annie, you should never ever date Greek men! They are the worst!"
Annie, is a 3 year old girl. Her mother, Liz is still heartbroken after her Greek husband left her for another woman the day Annie was born.
- Mother's bad-luck in her relationship doesn't mean her daughter will face the same issues. At least if that mother stops feeding her own failures or unlucky events as the-facts-of-life.
"Because it's not for you. It's not a pretty girly shop!"
Mum asked her daughter to wait in a car, while she takes her son out shopping to the musical instruments shop.
- So many angered women fight about equal rights and behave rather aggressively towards men, when really, they should look into their own upbringing. Perhaps it was your mother (or even your father), who taught you that you are second best to men. And in that way, unknowingly, you supported the very situation you are not happy about. I.e., feeling inferior... to men.
"You are about to become a woman. As a woman you have to know how to cook and to clean the house."
Mum, when arguing on the phone with her daughter, was explicitly stating whose task it is to clean the house: her daughter's or her son's.
- Who said that? Who said that's a woman's task to clean the house? What if she goes on to grow-up a business-savvy woman who can afford to recruit some help to aid her with every day chores? Including such as cleaning the house? Where did the equality go? Perhaps the generation of next mothers will learn to distribute all tasks equally within the household. That would for sure help us to speed up the gap between women and men, and there wouldn't be any need to call a child "it" (sort of similar to what they introduced in the Egalia pre-school in Stockholm).
"Being a good mother to your children and a good wife to your husband is the only accomplishment that really matters."
A mother made this statement to her daughter, when the daughter announced that she wanted to explore her career options first.
- You'd think that stopped? But your mother, more likely than not, wants what's best for you, i.e. what she was taught was best for her and she failed (usually) at. For a mother doesn't want what's best for her daughter. A mother wants what would make her a good mother in society's eyes. Your happiness is never at stake here. If you want to argue, feel free. But the amount of women who would be perfectly happy where they are now, if not for the constant nagging from their mothers "When will you get married already? I can no longer wait for my grandchildren", is ever growing.
"Darling, you really need to learn to cook!"
A mother said to her daughter while gifting her with yet another cookery book.
- The fact that there are men out there who are amazing cooks, just doesn't cross our mothers' minds. Or if it crosses, it never relates to their daughters. "What kind of mother are you planning to be if you can't cook for your own children?" perhaps the phrase many girls heard during their upbringing. Yet, believe it or not, if your mother poses that belief that could become her way to poison your 'yet another Christmas lunch'... "How I wish my daughter could cook as well as I do!"
"You should always agree with your husband, if you want your marriage to survive."
A divorced mother was explaining to her married daughter.
- Wives are not husband's properties, well at least not anymore. Even if the man is the main provider in the household, that doesn't mean that a woman is a doormat. If you are married, it is more likely because you wanted to be together, and the financial arrangement that you have is also more likely to be mutual. Perhaps you are temporarily a stay-at-home mum. Or perhaps that's just the way you wanted to be, for whatever reason. That still does not mean that you are meant to be your husband's doormat, quite the opposite, you are both equal in your rights when married to each other, and each opinion in the family should be accounted for.
- In fact, the opposite is the truth. The minute women become the doormat, such as with their apologetic and guilty behaviour, their once-madly-in-love-with-you husband will be off with the search for his amazing woman he once met, and lost her to a... doormat.