THE BLOG
05/21/2010 01:03 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Kim Porter and the "Mommy-Wife" Syndrome

Kim Porter, (Diddy's "baby-momma"), is catching fire because she's pictured kissing her teenage son, Quincy on the mouth, which some say in inappropriate. This got me thinking. Does this kind of mother-son affection subconsciously create skewed ideals of what a young man begins to look for in his mates? Is this why some men are looking for a "Mommy-Wife"?

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When recounting the traits a man looks for in a woman, I've heard many men express that they like to be taken care of. (This also seems to be a primary factor when I've heard black men express their attraction to interracial dating, citing that Asian and white women in particular "know how to take care of their men.") Coming home to a hot meal, clean house, ironed shirts and a partner whose ready to "get down to business" whenever the mood strikes him are all examples of the kind of expectations some men seem to have for their potential mates. Could this desire to be pampered stem from a subconscious ideal that's based on treatment from a man's mother?

Supposedly we all search for traits in mates (consciously or subconsciously) that emulate our parents. Or, if we didn't have a mother or a father, we are constantly searching for that mother/father figure respectively. So with that said, are mothers who are overly affectionate/attentive to their sons blurring the lines between parental and romantic love subsequently creating a confusing depiction of relationships?

Once upon a time a married woman's primary job was to take care of the home front-raise the kids, clean the house, and make a nice roast. But those days are over. Today's economy doesn't support that lifestyle leaving most families dependent on two salary incomes. And those days never really applied to black women. During the women's lib movement, where white women were fighting for their rights to work, among other liberties, black women were already in the workforce having to provide for their families, whether or not they had the financial support of a partner. So that ideal of a black woman who can cater to a man's every need while keeping her own life in tact requires revision.

I find it disturbing when I hear black men complain about how black women don't cater to men. (Of course you rarely hear these same men talk about how chivalry has virtually gone by the way-side.) Men should not be looking for a partner to take care of them. It's a grown man's job to take care of himself. (And I also don't believe a woman should wait for a man to take care of her.) From where I sit two people in a relationship care for each other, emotionally, mentally, spiritually and physically, but it shouldn't be a woman's job to make her man happy by performing gender based stereotyped functions founded on a man's affection for his mommy. No modern woman has time for that.

It boggles the mind when I come across these types of black men who seem to be stuck in a time warp that has not allowed them to understand the complex lives many black women are living that doesn't leave temporal or mental space to bothered with making sure the collars are creased and the casserole is cooked. Many black women are already taking care of other people, whether they're single parents taking care of their own children, the children of a sibling, their ailing parents or even grandparents. And there are also single black women who are just trying to make a place for themselves in the world and trying to navigate all the professional, emotional, social, and financial entanglements that can come with that. So instead of a man coming to a woman with the mindset of "What will she do for me?" let's try, "What can I do for her? What can I bring to the table to lessen her burdens and add to her joy, while also receiving my share of love and support?) How about that?

The men who are looking for the quintessential "Mommy-Wife" need to reevaluate their expectations. And maybe mothers who are raising sons need to instill the distinction between mom and mate early on by modifying some of their behavior, (like stop referring to their little boys as "my little man"). And have conversations with their sons about what they will want in a future partner to develop evolved expectations. Let's keep the lines between moms and mates clear, so that young men can attain a reasonable idea of a romantic partner, and women can be who they are and not be criticized for not being able to meet her man at the door (every night) in a thong, holding his cognac and slippers.

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