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 little pansies, whipped into submission by their mothers. I myself was guilty of avoiding Mama's Boys like the plague in my twenties. "Who wants a wuss who, like, respects his mother? So unattractive. I mean, like, grow a pair!" 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 running around in circles, much 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 toys, pull your hair, give you noogies and dishtowel-snap you, making it impossible to ignore their presence, which 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 an alien as far as I was concerned, and it would've made my life a lot easier if he'd just gone back to his home planet.
When I began to date, at the tender age of 14, I found that not only brothers but boys absolutely sucked as a gender. I was 29 when I got married, so in my illustrious 15-year dating career, I kissed a lot of frogs. I managed to emerge without a single wart (ew), but I did not emerge without my aches, bruises and battle scars. I dated men with anger issues, intimacy issues, cheating issues and drug and alcohol issues. I dated one soldier, one stock broker, one seminarian, one mortician and at least two drug dealers, and I would like to say that I was the one who said goodbye to each of these undesirables, but no. I got my heart broken by every single one of their arrogant-loser-bastard-asses! (Still working out some of my resentment. I've come a long way).
Anywho. Out of all these jerks, 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 lives, the one who was going to 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 actually ended up allowing myself to fall in love with and be loved by a Mama's Boy. It took a lot of convincing by my therapist, my mom, my friends and even myself to accept that a man who treated me lovingly and respectfully, who I didn't have to chase because he wanted to be caught by me, was the type of man I should spend my life with. And now, 10 years later, I've ended up with three little boys who I do have to chase, but who love me unconditionally, respect me, listen to me, laugh with me, snuggle with me, talk to me and need me. I know they're still young, and I have my work cut out for me, but I know I'm up to the task. I know now that 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.
This post originally appeared on www.bigtopfamily.com.