Eric (son) turns 18 in less than a week. Eric is a Mama’s Boy. And Mama and Son are hand-in-glove. They are cut from a similar cloth – both peaceful – both warm and gentle – both kind hearted – both intelligent and humble. And, they share a deep emotional bond.
Meanwhile, there’s Dad circling on the outside looking in.
Mom’s the Nurturer. The Protector.
Dad, on the other hand, is The Beast.
It all started with absentee Dad hearing that Mama was teaching her Son the proper way to use the toilet. (I’ll spare you the details. I still cringe.) That was enough. Ever since Eric was a youngster (after the bathroom incident), Dad has been relentless – - he’s been on the “Man-Up” bus. Tirade after tirade…
“PLEASE…Don’t baby him.”
“Don’t do absolutely EVERYTHING for him.”
“Stop wiping his nose for Pete’s sake.”
“It’s just a LITTLE scrape, let him toughen up.”
And it goes on and on and on.
So Mama happened to see this article (Wall Street Journal: Who Are Your Calling a Mama’s Boy?) on the night stand. I asked her if she read it. She smirked (with the “I-told-you-and-you-have-been-a-complete-id*ot-for-years-look) and walked away without a word. Hmmmmm…wrong again.
Thanks to his Mama, Eric has turned out to be an amazing Son.
I encourage you to read the entire article – which is excellent and written from a Mother’s personal perspective. Here’s a few choice words:
…for generations mothers have gotten one message: that keeping their sons close is wrong, possibly even dangerous. A mother who fosters a deep emotional bond with her son, we’ve been told, is setting him up to be weak and effeminate – an archetypal mama’s boy. He’ll never be independent or able to form healthy adult relationships…a well adjusted, loving mother is one who gradually but surely pushes her son away, both emotionally and physically, in order to allow him to become a healthy man…this was standard operating procedure for our mothers, our grandmothers, and even our great-grandmothers. Amazingly, we’re still encouraged to buy this parenting advice today.
…somehow, when so many of our other beliefs about the roles of men and women have been revolutionized, our view of the mother-son relationship has been frozen in time. We dramatically changed the way we raise our daughters, encouraging them to be assertive, play competitive sports and aim high in their educational and professional ambitions. We don’t fret about “masculinizing” our girls.
…many mothers are confused and anxious when it comes to raising boys. Should they defer to their husband when he insists that she stop kissing their first grade son at school drop-off? If she cuddles her 10-year old boy when he is hurt, will she turn him into a wimp…
…none of these fears however, is based on any actual science. In fact research shows…sons who were close to their mothers were less likely to define masculinity as being physically tough, stoic and self-reliant. They not only remained more emotionally open, forming stronger friendships, but they also were less depressed and anxious than their more macho classmates. And they were getting better grades…finally there are no reputable scientific studies suggesting that a boy’s sexual orientation can be altered by his mother, no matter how much she loves him.