When I found out we were having a boy, a slew of thoughts ran through my brain. I felt a surge of responsibility. I wasn't just having a baby. I was having a son. A son who would someday get married and have a family of his own. A husband, a father, a leader, a friend, a......mama's boy?
Let's think about this, people.
The Mama's Boy Myth
What exactly does the term "mama's boy" mean, anyway?
It's usually thrown around with a universally negative connotation to describe men who are "excessively attached" to their moms. The term "Daddy's girl" is used as a sweet observation, but "Mama's boy" is more of an accusation. (Double standard? Methinks yes.)
As a proud boy mom, I'd like to challenge the notion that a close mother-son relationship is a bad thing, and I'm not alone.
I recently read a TIME article by Kate Stone Lombardi, author of "The Mama's Boy Myth." She starts by saying:
"For generations, mothers have gotten the same old message when it comes to raising sons: beware of keeping him “too close.” A mom who nurtures a deep emotional bond will prevent him from growing up to be a strong, independent man. By refusing to cut those apron strings, she is on track to create the archetypal, effeminate, maladjusted “mama’s boy.” There’s one problem with this theory: it’s just not true."
The Mother-Son Relationship
YES, when boys are young, they need their dads. But they need their mamas just as much. They need us to encourage them, to listen, and to ensure they know it's okay to talk about their thoughts and feelings. Their future loved ones will thank us for it.
|Telling me slobbery secrets at six months old.|
Don't get me wrong; it's also a priority for his super-handy daddy to teach him 101 ways to fix a car, how to squash bugs, catch (and release) geckos, and the like, but there's more to a boy than snakes and snails and puppy dog's tails.
I want him to be strong, independent, kind, and fun, and I'll do whatever I can to help him get there.
The Mother-in-Law-in-Training Survey
I want to be a good mother-in-law, not just a good mom.
It's a high probability that my son will get married in his late 20s or 30s. That means that for most of our relationship, he will be married, and I'll be a mother-in-law. I believe that his wife should be the #1 woman in his life (thanks for reminding us, Genesis 2:24), and I wouldn't dream of anything different!
Still, I hope our relationship continues to grow and change once he's grown. I don't want to be what I would call the "mom on the shelf." Go with me on this one:
She only shows up for the holidays, and instead of being real, everyone tiptoes around her on their best behavior. She doesn't change much from year-to-year - just looks a little older and brings back the same old memories.
So. Because I'm slightly nerdy and yes, genuinely that curious, when I was still pregnant, I started dreaming up a mother-in-law-in-training (MiLiT) survey for three special groups:
- Moms who are happy with their relationships with their adult sons. I imagine they'll be happy because they talk to them enough, see them enough, and love each other for who they are now - not just who they were in the old days.
- Adult sons who are happy with their relationships with their moms. I imagine they'll be happy because they feel loved, supported, and encouraged, but not smothered by their moms. They'll be happy because their wives and moms get along well, and the kids love to visit grandma's house whenever they get the chance.
- Daughters- and mothers-in-law who enjoy their own relationship. I imagine they'll enjoy the relationship because they love and respect the man their mothers-in-law raised, and they genuinely enjoy their company. They'll be happy because they can trust their mothers-in-law with the kiddos, and appreciate the healthy boundaries they all respect.
[There's oh-so-much more to be said and explored on this topic, friends. I know you're thinking it.]
Call me, maybe?
So that's that.
Time is moving so quickly. Someday soon this little fella will be out of diapers and into preschool, then high school, and then I'll blink and he'll be bringing my future daughter-in-law to our home for Christmas. (WHAT?!)
I treasure this time for what it is. I value my front-row ticket to the early years. I relish the opportunity to be here for him every single day. I get to be here for just about every bump, bruise, boogie night, and bedtime routine that shapes him into who he's meant to be.
I'm not worried that I can be too close to him. I'm not worried he's too attached now, or that he ever could be. All-too-soon he will be out on his own, living the life he's meant to. Independently.
So for that reason and those that preceded it, I would now like to make a direct appeal to my son:
You can call me "mother."
You can call me "mama."
Please just call me on the weekends.
Great Resources for Boy Moms: An Ever-Growing list
- The MOB Society: For moms of boys, by moms of boys.
- The Mama's Boy Myth by Kate Stone Lombardi
- What a Difference a Mom Makes by Dr. Kevin Leman
- Stop Worrying About Raising a Mama's Boy by Motherlode's KJ Dell'Antonia
What do you think about the mama's boy myth? What makes a mother-son relationship work for a lifetime? Share your favorite boy mom resources here in the comments!
P.S. This post is not related to my business, which is about helping bright entrepreneurs attract their dream clients, one brilliant message at a time. HOWEV - if you like my writing and want help with your own, sign up for free tips at www.nikkielledgebrown.com!
chalk photo credit: pacres via photopin cc
elf photo credit: Bernzilla via photopin cc