I’m 32 years old and my mom nags me.
Yesterday she told me to never put a laptop on my lap, but use a table instead. Because apparently a twenty-year study showed that if you use your laptop on your thighs, it makes your thigh bones weak.
(I fact-checked it on Google. Predictably, I couldn’t find the study.)
Anyway, I told her I always use a table when working on my laptop. But it’s to protect the laptop from my legs, not the other way around.
The best thing about being grown up and still being close to mom is that we can now joke about most things; like friends.
But she still nags me pretty often.
I think I’ve figured out the reason. It’s probably the same reason why your mom still nags you too:
It’s Hard to Let Go
Picture this: You’re a chef. You live and breathe food. You’ve owned a food business for 20 years — and seen it grow from a struggling roadside food truck to a busy fine-dining restaurant with 30 tables.
But due to some strange law of the country, on the 21st year you have to give up ownership and management of the restaurant. You can still visit it, or even eat there every day, but there’s a new owner — with new ideas, recipes and rules.
Chances are — you won’t agree with certain things the new owner does. Since you’re the founder, you have a vision of how things should be. But you don’t have any formal power anymore. Although every inch of your body wants to bend things according to your will — all you can do now is talk about it.
Welcome to the life of your mom, the restaurant owner. The restaurant is you, and the strange law of the country is the law of life — kids grow up, become independent, and move away.
Your mom nags you because she still has a vision for you. And although she doesn’t have any formal power to make you do things anymore — every inch of her still wants to do that job of molding you to become a better person.
It’s hard to let go.
Especially when you care so much.
You Will Always be a Baby to Her
I find nagging irritating because of ego.
To me, it sounds like criticism. And egotistical people like me don’t take criticism well. The reflex is usually: “You have no right to criticize me. I’m smarter, cooler, make more money…”
But mothers have no time for that ego. It doesn’t matter if you’re the President of the USA, the CEO of a publicly listed company, or Miss Malaysia World 2016. No matter who you are or what you’ve done, she’ll always see you as her child — her baby. How could she see you otherwise, after all she’s been through to bring you up?
That’s why she nags. She still thinks she needs to fix you, like how she fixed you the first time she saw you cry.
I don’t know if it’s a woman thing. If you ask me, men like to fix things but women like to fix people. Maybe it’s maternal instinct.
But this I do know: a mother never stops caring about her babies.
It’s How She Shows She Cares
If you’ve heard of The 5 Love Languages, you know that people show love in different ways. Someone may do something with loving intentions, but if it doesn’t appeal to your language — you won’t appreciate it.
Here’s an example: My dad shows his love by buying excessive food for the family. He might not be the best conversationalist — but we can see it through his actions. Dad logic: Son comes home for four days. Buys 20 large fish.
My mom shows it by worrying about the 1,289 possible ways her son might die when he steps out of bed tomorrow. That’s the source of the nagging. I hear criticism, but she’s really sending out love.
Consider nagging the sixth love language — the love language of mothers.
Because the days are short and time is precious. Especially for a person like me who stays far away; I only see my parents a few times a year. And since it’s only for a few days at a time, I get super servings of “love.” It’s like drinking orange juice concentrate straight from the bottle — super sweet, but can sometimes make me choke.
The irony is that sometimes the people who care most about us are the ones who irritate us the most. The ones who would do anything to be with us are the ones we try to distance ourselves from. And the sincerest of intentions can end up feeling like a smothering wet blanket.
But the law of life still applies: someday those things will be taken away from us. And the ultimate irony is we will long for those very things — those which once seemed so irritating.
Because if we look beyond our own egos, and the harsh sounds of words we hate to hear — we’ll see that all our mothers ever wanted was the best for us.