Why I've Changed My Opinion About Mama's Boys

by Ashley Allen
Originally Published: 
raising a mama's boy
Ashley Allen

I am the mother of three little boys, who very much love, demand the attention of, and save the drama for their mama. One might even call them “Mama’s Boys,” a term I now use lovingly, though that wasn’t always the case. Mama’s Boys, that much-maligned segment of the male population, have been accused for centuries of being wimpy, obedient, soft, whipped into submission by their mothers.

I myself was guilty of avoiding Mama’s Boys in my 20s. “Who wants a wuss who, like, respects his mother? Soooo unattractive. I mean, he probably, like, even respects all women. Loser.” I’m speaking in my 20-something voice. I know. It’s making me cringe too. But in my defense, I have a long history of not understanding boys in general, not just Mama’s Boys.

I was raised in a family of five girls and one very active boy who I thought was the spawn of the devil. Boys are just not normal. They do things like run around in circles, like dogs chasing their own tails, with no end or purpose in sight. They tackle you, poke you, hit you over the head with their heaviest Fisher-Price Little People play sets, pull your hair, give you noogies, and dishtowel-snap you, all so you can’t possibly ignore their presence, which is exactly what you are so desperately striving to do. They don’t sit and play with anything, so if you are babysitting them, you are actually sweating by the time your parents get home. My brother was a legitimate pain-in-the-ass alien as far as I was concerned.

When I began to date at the tender age of 16, I found that not only brothers sucked, but also boys in general. I was 29 when I got married, so in my illustrious 13-year dating career, I kissed a lot of frogs. I managed to emerge without a single wart (ew), but (and this is a big Sir Mix-a-Lot BUT), I did not emerge without my aches, bruises and battle scars. I dated men with anger issues, intimacy issues, cheating issues, drug and alcohol issues, and, of course, your average I’m-a-Dumb-Ass issues. I dated one soldier, one stock broker, one seminarian, one mortician, and at least two drug dealers. I would like to say that I was the one who said goodbye to each of these undesirable Douche Lords, but nooo. I got my heart broken by every single one of their arrogant-loser-bastard-asses! (I’m still working out some of my resentment, but I’ve come a long way.)

Anyway, out of all these Dipshidiots, not one of them—not a single one—was a Mama’s Boy. Not a single one of them was close to their mother; they held her at arm’s length if they had any relationship with her at all. And back then, that was just fine with me. See, I was going to be the nurturing, loving woman in their life, the one who would fix these fixer-uppers right up and turn them into nurturing, loving men. Sigh. I wish I could go back and tell the old me that these guys were already a lost cause, but I had to learn that lesson—over and over again—the hard way.

After lots of heartbreak and lots of therapy, I finally wised up and allowed myself to fall in love with and be loved by a Mama’s Boy. And now I know why God decided to give me three sons, who love me unconditionally, respect me, listen to me, laugh with me, snuggle with me, talk to me, and never want me out of their reach. I know they’re still young, and I may have my work cut out for me, but I’m up to the task. My destiny was never to “fix” men; it was to raise them.

And I know my daughters-in-law will someday thank me for raising Mama’s Boys.

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