Traditionally, and because of physical and gender roles, sons gravitated towards their fathers and daughters towards their moms. Occasionally we get a few outliers in families who defy the norms. Such is the case with daddy’s girls and girl daddies. To join these exceptions are Mama’s Boys and Boy Mummies. Boy Mummies abound everywhere but are not as popular as Girl Daddies.
Who is a Mama’s Boy?
A Mama’s Boy is simply a son favored or loved by, or a man devoted to, his mother. The term can connote both a healthy and an unhealthy form. However, it is more of a negative connotation to be addressed as a Mama’s boy.
It is a good thing to know a Mama’s boy because he has been trained to understand and cater to ladies, their whims, and fancies. He will be a good friend, empathetic, and domestically supportive. It is not unusual to see a Mama’s boy carrying his girlfriend’s purse or tote bag in the public or in the kitchen “correcting” her on how to cook his favorite food. A Mama’s boy calls his mother several times in a day and runs all his plans and decisions by her before making them. If Mama says “No,” Mama’s boy doesn’t challenge it. It is a “No.”
Unfortunately this sort of behavior makes him unhealthily dependent on his mother when, as a grownup man, he ought to be making life decisions for himself. It also does not allow him to think for himself nor make him the man he ought to be.
A Mama’s boy is always looking for a girlfriend or wife patterned in the image of his mom; who cooks, dresses, or does things that he likes just like his mother. Statements such as “that’s not how my mom does it,” “my mom cooks _______a lot,” “mom always does this and that” are not uncommon to be heard from Mama’s boy.
Most Mama’s Boys marry late in life or never marry because every girl has to pass through his mom’s scrutinizing eyes and unfortunately cannot measure up to her standards. Mama’s boy live hard to please their Moms.
Marrying a Mama’s boy, without the man setting boundaries, mean that there will be an unhealthy competition between the women in his life. The marriage becomes a triangle as the mom unabashedly acts as the other woman and as if the wife has come to steal his son. The question of who comes first becomes an issue. This ought not to be.
It’s equally the same with Boy Mummies. They call their son practically every second to run ideas or decisions by him before embarking. This sort of relationship exists when either the father is physically absent, dead, present in the same house but mentally and emotionally checked out because love is lost but for whatever reason neither wants to go through a divorce. The mother is needy and unconsciously or otherwise gets emotionally dependent on the son. According to researchers, “unhappily married moms develop a special emotional synchrony with their sons.”
A healthy parent-son/-daughter relationship will be for the parents to desire for their sons and daughters to be happily married, if they choose to. Not for the parents to be at the center of their sons or daughters marriage or family. No parent should “compete” for the attention or time of their son or daughter over their spouses, irrespective of whether the parent likes their son or daughter’s choice. The only exception should be for emergencies.
Unfortunately the man is unawares of the damage the unhealthy dependence on both sides is doing to him and his marriage as he misconstrues the attachment as being important to his mom.
There is a BIG problem when a son starts buying the same items for both his wife and mother or when there is always a conflict in the house every time the mother visits aka the mother-in-law syndrome.
Can a Mama’s Boy Change?
Yes, but only if he first acknowledges the unhealthy dependence and is willing to set healthy boundaries. Sometimes it takes his children to bring it to his attention to effect a faster change.
We all love our parents and believe that the love is reciprocal in that our parents love us too. There are instances when parental love has been known to be conditional such that parents only love those children who care for them or shower them with presents and affections. This is also unhealthy. There might be reasons beyond the other sons and daughters’ abilities to reciprocate love in financial terms. Love should be unconditional and should not determined by money. However, when the love bothers on unhealthy dependence or inordinate affections, we need to pay attention and establish boundaries. It does not mean that we love our parents less nor that the sons love their moms less.