How the Italian mamma has changed

When people think of Italy and the Italians the first world that comes to mind is “la mamma”.

The Italian mamma has always been known for being a mother hen: very protective, affectionate, caring and kind and always there for her children. She cooks incredible meals for her offspring and works really hard to fulfill every need her children might have even when they are adults.

The reality has changed over the last few decades though.  Since Italian mums have began to work and since the decline of women as a domestic drudge, modern mums also love to have their own hobbies, they work hard to have a fulfilling job or career and something for themselves too.

Italian mamma

Image credit: Blitz Quotidiano

This has certainly made an impact on family life with Italian mums becoming more permissive. For some this is seen as detrimental to our society but it doesn’t mean that the mother won’t be there for her children to cherish and love them and to fulfill all their needs, what it really means is that probably she won’t wash the underpants of her 25 year old son anymore! She would be off shopping with her friends instead!

Everyone knows how Italian mothers have been able to produce what is worldwide known as the “mammone” or mamma’s son which is unique to Italy. These are sons who stay at home until they are past their 40s who get fed and their washing gets done by their mum.

Equality is as important in the home as it is in the workplace and it is at home that the mother sets an example to her children and this is more important than any lesson learnt at school. Cast yourself in the role of humble servant and you will produce little lords with little or no respect for the opposite sex.

When I moved to England I encountered a very different mentality altogether.

Italian mamma

A British mother would love her children in the same way as an Italian mother would but then, when the time comes, they go to make their own way into the world.  Once children have finished their full time education they would have to start looking after themselves and it is then that they really grow up.

It is also fair to say that we are talking about two very different cultures here:  Italy has a Latin culture where the family comes first and above everything else whereas in Britain there is a strong concept of independence and it is a more individualistic society.

A mixture of both would be ideal. Now there’s a thing an ideal world – wouldn’t that be great!

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5 Responses to How the Italian mamma has changed

  1. gloria

    Love this Alida, really interesting!

  2. Choclette

    How interesting Alida to hear your Italian perspective. I hadn’t come across the term mammone before, but I know exactly what you mean. I think I’m with you and a mixture of the two would be good – oh for a perfect world!

  3. Louise

    Hi Alida!
    I guess you could say I’m like an Italian Momma, lol…It doesn’t seem to bother my children or me for that matter and of course there’s always those Sunday dinners to remember:)

    Thank you so much for sharing such a nice story on this beautiful first day of June, Louise

  4. Rosa

    Ciao Alida! What an interesting post! I completey agree with what you wrote. I find that the German culture is the same way about raising kids to be independent. I grew up the old fashioned way, where the girl stayed home until she got married. I think you still find that type of mentality in smaller towns in Italy that still hold onto their traditions, but not much so when it comes to children growing up in larger cities. I’m raising my boys the Italian way, where they come first and then me. I try to be there as much as I can and I find that I can be over protective at times. My German husband is the complete opposite. A couple of years ago, he was telling me that he wanted to send our oldest son alone to Canada (my father and brother live there). I immediately put an end to that. There is no way I was going to send a 6 year old child across the ocean, unaccompanied by an adult. Germans and Italians don’t think alike sometimes. It’ll be interesting how my three boys will turn out when they are adults. I can only hope for the best. Thanks for sharing!

    • Alida

      Ciao Rosa!
      I understand you very well. I would not have sent my 6 year old away on his own either! Far too young for that.
      We Italian mothers can be overprotective at times but I think this is changing with the new generations. I love many aspects of British culture but I would go halfway: a bit of the Italian and a bit of the English way. I love how the British can promote independence and self confidence and I love the way an Italian mum can nurture her children.. usually through food. How can you ever forget the beautiful smell of homemade minestrone or lasagna when you were a growing up? You never do. This is nurturing. An Italian mamma knows that!
      I am sure your boys will grow confident and happy and will get the best of both cultures. Ciao!

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