Almost five years ago, I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. She lights up our world in a way that nobody else could. Her beaming smile radiates love and happiness to whoever she crosses paths with. She is fiercely independent, she inspires me daily, and I don’t think she will ever lose her childlike enthusiasm for trying new things. The bond I have with my daughter is irreplaceable, happy-go-lucky, loving, giving….I could have ten kids like her and be overjoyed for the rest of my life. I didn’t think a mother and child could ever have a different kind of bond than the bond my daughter and I share….until I had a boy. Nothing could have ever prepared me for the reality of having a Mama’s Boy.
When my son arrived, I actually didn’t feel the same instant, over-the-moon bond that I felt with my daughter. I felt love, of course, but the bonding took longer. He was colicky. He had feeding issues. He was more of a restless baby in general, and no matter what I tried, it was difficult to soothe him. About six weeks into the weeds of having a colicky newborn, however, after a late night of exhaustion and tears, he snuggled into me in a way he hadn’t before. I’m not sure if his energy shifted, or if he finally began to trust me, or if he just reached a phase of development where he knew I was his mom – but right there and then, I knew with that snuggle that the intensity of our bond was quite unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. I knew, in that moment, I had a Mama’s Boy.
As the days and years pass, I realize that even as my Mama’s Boy gets older, there are some common threads with his behaviour, and with our bond. Here are the things nobody told me about having a Mama’s Boy:
- A Mama’s Boy will look at you in a way no man ever has before. This started as early as when my son could open his eyes and focus. When he was a baby, I would say to my husband “I’ve never had anyone look at me that way. He looks at me like I’m his lover or something!” Still, almost three years later, the look in my son’s eyes when he gazes at me says it all. I’m convinced he thinks I hung the moon. And it never gets old.
- Your arms are your Mama’s Boy’s safest space. This. Right. Here. When my son is happy, he shakes with delight and cannot help himself from grabbing my hand. When he is on the verge of having a meltdown, he comes running for mommy to ask for hugs. When he is tired, uncomfortable, or otherwise bored, the only thing he wants is mommy snuggles. When I put him down to sleep at night, his primary stall tactic is to ask for more hugs – and not just any hugs – he wants intense, snuggly, tight embraces. I didn’t think one human could be capable of asking for so many hugs, until I had a Mama’s Boy.
- You will simultaneously adore and feel SO OVER being your Mama’s Boy’s favourite person. Having a Mama’s Boy is one of the best things that’s ever happened to my ego – but it’s one of the worst things that’s ever happened to my productivity. At least three times a day, I shout: “Houston, we have a Stage-Five Clinger here!” Most of the time, having a Stage-Five Clinger refers to a boy who wants UP while I’m trying to work, make dinner, clean up, or otherwise accomplish something of value.
- Disciplining your Mama’s Boy will require exceptional effort. My Mama’s Boy also just happens to be nicknamed Wrecking Ball. Impulse control is NOT his thing, and every day it’s an effort to keep his behaviour in check. Want to know what makes disciplining him painstakingly difficult? When he decides to go full-throttle on assholery, and then looks up at me with That Gaze. That Gaze that reminds me that I’m his One and Only, the person that hung the moon, and his favourite. There’s nothing more difficult in the world than holding firm on discipline when your Mama’s Boy is trying to hug and cute his way out of any form of punishment.
- You know your Mama’s Boy will one day look at his future spouse the same way. This one is important to me. As much as I love being the apple of my son’s eye, I want to raise him to adore the future mother of his children so much more than his Mama. I hope that our bond will last forever, but as the years go on, I trust that the nature of our relationship will change. What is the saying? “A son is a son ‘til he takes a wife. A daughter is a daughter for the rest of her life.”
So, Moms of Mama’s Boys – let us unite. Our bond with our Mama’s Boys isn’t greater, or more than our bond with our daughters, but this bond is undoubtedly different and unique. We are lucky to experience the love of a Mama’s Boy in this lifetime – and to those of you with more than one Mama’s Boy – I’d love to hear your experiences. Here’s to raising good Mama’s Boys that grow into loving, giving, confident men.