We treat our sons like princes.
But sometimes, they have the tendency to be the men of the house. From the time they come out of the womb. OK, maybe not that soon, but not much longer afterwards. Pretty much when we realize that their fathers are dead-beats or just not the right type of men for us. Or maybe we, as women, are difficult and want nothing to do with the father and have the child and keep him from his father out of spite and live our lives being completely bitter because we know nothing else at that point.
But we do know that we have our sons and they’re our joy and pride because everything else was taken away from us. (Either that or we never had anything from the jump, or we just gave everything away because we didn’t know any better. Or another option is that we could have had other things but didn’t work towards it because we became lazy and complacent with life and always blamed other people for it.)
Yes, we want to give our boys everything because they ARE our everything, but we didn’t expect that they would be the only royals living in the house. Nor did we expect that we would degrade ourselves in the process.
As black women, we’ve seen it time and time again when a mother’s son is the main male figure in her life. It can seem sweet and endearing initially: How much he caters to her and dotes on her (if she actually spent more time on him than chasing another man), how he uplifts his mother because she is the queen in his life and the first woman he ever loved.
Yes, in theory, it sounds amazing. It sounds like a dream-come-true. A man who finally understands women and can get in touch with his sensitive side, right?
But when it comes down to it, this young man has not fully become a man. Instead, he has morphed into a weird, son-lover hybrid who is only loyal to his mother — think of the Oedipus complex but just without the father as an obstacle.
Instead, yes, YOU are the obstacle.
The mother has taught her son to be loyal to her. She talks to him, coddles him, babies him. He’s practically still sucking at her teet until he’s 30 — IF he stops then. But because this woman has not fully had a healthy relationship with her offspring, he has also become her male confidante and non-romantic lover.
When you first meet this man, sure, he’ll probably be great. He will wine-and-dine you; take you to amazing, prestigious places — probably venues he found with his mother or something he knows she’d like; and he will be affectionate and caring towards you. Of course, he will. Naturally. It’s a date and this is how he was taught to treat a woman when he’s first dating her.
But these types of mommas’ boys never seem to be taught what to do after that initial dating period: What to after the honeymoon stage when pulling out the woman’s chair or opening doors has become a mundane, daily activity because he has to keep it up. What about respecting her in conversation? What about making her dinner? What about expectations from her as a woman when the relationship progresses?
What this man-child is looking for is someone like his mother. A woman to cook and clean for him as she’s always done, someone to clean the brown streaks out of his underwear, how to bake sweet potatoes like how SHE made sweet potatoes because there’s no other way to make sweet potatoes, and it must be done like how his mother had them done. You can’t argue with him because he’s always gotten his way. His mother never told him when he was wrong except when he was 14 and flunked a math test. But math tests don’t exist now. Now, it’s life. And heaven forbid if you tell this grown ass momma’s boy that he’s failing some areas in life.
No one will ever be his mother. No woman will ever compare to his mother. Maybe some women who like completely doting on their man and having his mom tell her everything that she does wrong and the proper way to fold clothes and the proper way to add marshmallows to the sweet potato and the proper way she should get up and out of bed every morning and be thankful that she has this man to serve.
Now, this isn’t every man who classifies himself as a “momma’s boy.” Some men are genuinely respectful to their mothers, take care of them as they get older. They become the man of the house AFTER becoming an adult. Not before their voice changes during puberty.
Instead, the before-mentioned momma’s boy will never let you win because you will never be his mother. Anything that you do differently will not be accepted. And if you go too far outside the boundaries, you’ll be nothing short of “the devil.”
It’s a frustrating cycle because as women, we deal with heartbreak so much that when we do have children or our own, we want to protect and guide them. Love them more than we ever could have loved anything or anyone else. They’re our prized possessions. Our children can be more than who we ever dreamed of being. Of course, this is coming from me — a woman with no kids. And, as black women, sometimes I think that we forget that we can then turn our sons into the “no-good pieces of shit” that we spent so much of our youth complaining about: About the dead-beats, about the immaturity, about the guys who would only be loyal and consistent to their moms. And then, we repeat the cycle when it becomes our turn. Do we ever not take a look in the full-sized mirror to get a complete glance?
Of course, a man loving and respecting his mother is a necessity — as least to me — when it comes to the dating world. But a man who has his ideals already laminated about the woman he wants based off of his mother and all that she did for him, he still has some growing to do. He still needs to find himself ON HIS OWN without being a son-lover hybrid.
And women, we cannot repeat this unhealthy cycle. Your sons will always be the prince of the household, but don’t confuse them of being your king as well.