La Mamma e Sempre La Mamma

© Tetra Images/Corbis

A mother is always a mother (la mamma e sempre la mamma) but when does unconditional love turn into a stifling cage?

They say a mother’s love is the strongest, purest, love there is. That no one will ever love you as completely and unconditionally as your mother does. But when does loving care become possessive clinginess? Is everything permitted, or are there lines which no one, not even a mother, should cross?

In today’s society, where, let’s face it, real trust and honesty are so hard to come by, a mother’s love seems like an everlasting precious gem. Yet, there is a thin line between worrying too much about your child, and pressuring him/her into denying their own free choices in life to please you and stop ‘adding more to those grey hairs’.

In big countries like America and the UK, adolescents usually leave the parental home at a certain age, in order to attend college. This is unavoidable, since most colleges are situated in other cities, too far away from home to commute daily. In Malta, this is not an option, since college/university is within, at most, one hour’s drive from any part of the country. This, one might believe, is a commodity and a plus when it comes to the development of youngsters, as they are more willing to attend such easily accessible schools.


Individual development is not about life being easy, but about the ‘child’ leaving the nest at some point, in order to learn how to be self-sufficient both physically and, yes, emotionally too. Therefore this passage into adulthood through which children fly away from their parents in order to start a new and adult life, is mostly denied to them in Malta, as the mentality unfortunately persists in stating that it is wrong to ‘abandon’ your mother… in other words, to leave the family home, shield yourself from being forever just ‘it-tifla’ or ‘it-tifel’, and aim at being your own person. And God forbid going to live on your own if you are not married!! Oh woe the maternal cries, lamentations and gnashing of teeth!

Yes, mothers are unique gems which must be cherished, yet, these quite loving mumsies are sometimes also like children themselves as they must be taught that their children DO grow up. That their opinions should be heard and respected, even though not necessarily shared.

So, when you are sick, feverish and cold; when you snuggle in bed sniffling and coughing, waiting for your mum to bring you some tea and krustini with your pills, do make an effort, and get them yourself instead. It is, at least, a beginning.