I realize there is often a stigma attached to being a "Mama's Boy." It carries with it an odious implication that the boy is somehow lacking in masculinity because he is close to his mother. True, some boys are perhaps too attached to their mothers, but so are some daughters. No one gets after a girl for being a "Mama's Girl," and being a "Daddy's Girl" is one of those things that people get all mushy about and say "Awwwww!"
My boys aren't what I would consider the stereotypical "Mama's Boy" but I do believe that little boys are far more attached to their mothers and have just as much difficulty separating from them as girls do. Note: the only, and I mean only, person crying on the first day of Kindergarten was my friend Robbie Klassen.
When my third child was born, #1 son (now 14 years old) was two and a half years old. He arrived at the hospital to visit me wearing a baseball hat that was white with black polka dots and sported dog ears on the sides. I believe it was meant to look like a dalmatian. He took one look at the baby in the bassinette, heard his name (Garrett) and said, "His name is Carrot?"
I was only in the hospital a short time. I went in on Wednesday evening (in the car, the song "Moondance" by Van Morrison was playing) and I got home on Friday afternoon. Not a long time for mommy to be gone, correct? I don't know about that.
#1 Son was a little ripper for the next few days. He was surly, uncooperative, whiney and annoying. I understood that he had just had his world rocked by the presence of a new little being. I knew that part of his problem was that Mommy was now occupied feeding a little one, and wasn't able to get up and meet his needs at the drop of a hat. Mommy wasn't as available to go outside and watch him while he played; Mommy was just plain not available for those first few days. I understood that and tried to be patient, although when he snuck into the baby's room and made a mess of the change table (while I was blissfully unaware, feeding the baby) I was not impressed, and I admit, I was angry with him.
It was about ten days later when I was with #1 son in the bathroom, wiping his face or doing something else; I don't really remember. I was crouched on the floor with him so that his eyes met mine, and he suddenly looked at me and said, "Mommy, I'm so glad you came home" and he threw his arms around me and hugged me tightly. Ahhh, so that was it. Even though I had only been away a short while, he was not only disturbed that I had come home with a little person, but that I had been forced to stay away for a while in order to do so.
My little doggie hat wearer is now almost as tall as his father, and he sports a hair-do that I'd rather he didn't. He listens to music that often makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up, and he is too often quick to speak to me in a tone that needs correction. Sometimes, I wonder if he even likes me anymore. However, a few weeks ago, we got into a bit of a disagreement over his clothing for Phys Ed. I don't raise my voice a whole lot any more, but I did on this occasion. He was not angry when I did so. He was hurt. I could tell. He went upstairs for about 30 minutes, and then returned to apologize to me for his tone. Fifteen minutes later, he was giving me a long, detailed dissertation about some guitar technique he'd been reading about. That was one of those "Mommy, I'm glad you came home" kind of moments.
It's one thing for me to see my daughter growing up to be a young woman, and to be increasingly able to manage her own details. It's another thing to see my son growing up to be a young man. The whole Man-Child phase must be very frustrating. On one hand, I am his Mommy, the one who fixed the cuts and bruises, read the stories, made the Jell-o, and baked the birthday cakes. On the other hand, I'm his Mother, the one who wants to stand in the way of whatever it is that he would like; the kill-joy. I was really amused a few months ago when I saw my #1 son standing there in the kitchen talking to me. He was standing like a stork, with one foot braced against the inner thigh of the other leg. I used to stand like that and talk to my mom all the time. It's odd to look in the face of a boy and see myself. He is so like me in many ways, yet he is the male version of me. Poor thing. However, I am a firm believer in the principle that some of our worst qualities can be turned around by God and be become something positive. Some day, I may do a post about that.
Little boys do love their Mamas; they should. And we shouldn't be too quick to pull away if we think they want us to. Sometimes they don't.