Marrying an Italian Family


I always knew that marrying an Italian would have its challenges. I quite often joke about the extent that family is so involved in everything you do. Living with Mama has been proof of that! But I don’t recall the phrase ’til death do us part’ also including his cousins, his sister and of course Mama. Last time I checked most of these people weren’t even at our wedding!

Lately, I have been planting the seed of independence with my husband. Although I am still fairly new here, it would be nice at some point to break the apron strings with Mama and get a place just for the 2 of us. After all, I am not exactly 25 anymore. But this is proving to be a bigger task than I had originally anticipated.

It seems that my husband’s idea of me moving out of Mama’s place involves both of us relocating to another apartment complex or house where we will still be neighbours! I suppose this is better than the current set-up, but will she have a key? My North American upbringing seems to be seeping into my new life here and quite honestly I thought that my husband was a lot less traditional than he has led me to believe. I also thought that Mama was less intrusive than she has become lately.

Perhaps now that I have been here a while I am feeling a pull to regain some of my independence. I am by no means ready to tackle day to day life here completely on my own, but at some point I would like to cook what I want for lunch or dinner instead of always having to eat what has been prepared for me. Is that too much to ask for? No wonder I have put on weight! Every meal is cooked in 2 inches of oil. The beauty of Italy is in fact the food, but I am still used to having Italian food once a week and varying the menu a bit with other traditional meals from other parts of the world. It’s kind of like chocolate cake. Yes, I like it, but not everyday!

So, once again, I am finding my way through this maze of a brave new world, full of old world values, traditions and attitudes. To sum it up, Italy is struggling to “keep up with the times” and in many ways it has adopted some of the new attitudes of us North Americans. But not perhaps the good ones. Italian’s now work longer hours and wait later to marry and have kids, but for the most part they still believe in grocery shopping every day. They get fresh eggs from the dairy, fresh meat from the butcher, fresh bread from the baker and have Mama live within 200 feet of their homes. She still tells them what to eat, how to dress and how many bowel movements to have per day! Is this really necessary?

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About lmarmstrong66

I'm a blogger, painter, writer, singer. For the love of all things in nature and creativity.
This entry was posted in Food, Italian Culture, Mama and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Marrying an Italian Family

  1. eloradaphne says:

    Poor thing 😦 I can totally understand how frustrating this must be for you…it is time to make a stand babe…

  2. Alexandra says:

    This is so funny. I remember reading a post on the expats in italy forum some years back about a woman whose MIL did something to the effect of changing the tiles in the bathroom while she was gone on holiday. I hope this was not you.
    Best of luck with moving out and moving on.
    ps – does your MIL not go on the internet?

  3. Dea says:

    well, people said that italians r the asians of european continents, which means their family culture is as traditional as asians 😀

  4. ak says:

    I can totally sympathise i m pulling my hair out with my Italian husband. Why can t mammas teach them to be men and not over grown mammoni who report back every little thing we do to mamma. I m so embarassed about my husband infront of my parents and brothers who find his behaviour immature to say the least. It s hard work but they aren t all bad. Good luck!

  5. oh yes of course i can empathize. we live on the other side of the wall from my mother in law. i know she tries not to be intrusive, but she sometimes is. my father in law doesn’t even try. hanging in there and waiting for better days is sometimes the best you can do. but fight for your boundaries and independence! just because you left america doesn’t mean you have to revert to a teenager and stay that way indefinitely. are you driving? are you working! important!! good luck, sweetie.

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