Since 1901

There’s no shame in being a mama’s boy


I am nothing if not a myth-buster. In my latest bid to battle disinformation, I have resolved to treat anyone who uses the term ‘mama’s boy’ in a derogatory manner with the most withering glare I can manage.

A mama’s boy, these jokers will have us believe, is an unenviable person who has suffered the unconditional affection of their mother throughout their life.

They have been doted on, provided with perpetual hugs and showered with the kind of affection only Chihuahuas are used to. It is apparently a crime to have a functional relationship with the woman who ushered you into the world.

It is much better to have come from a household where the mother was toxic in ways only an African mother can be. If she was the kind who yelled from across three rooms. If she threw utensils, slippers, and random objects lying around.

If there was a collective clenching of butt-cheeks when she returned home from the market. And if even her husband tiptoed around her anger like a soldier ducking land mines.

All of this is fine, for some reason, because it means her son will have just the right combination of narcissism, insecurity and emotional incompetence. He will be aloof and dismissive, cold and unaffected, stubborn and impatient. He will be, in short, the kind of man women drool over.

But if that man does not hate his mother, then women are instantly on high alert. If they had it their way, their man would tumble out of the womb and never love any woman until they meet them. I think they want that man to be a blank sheet, so they can dirty it with their own scorch marks.

The f**k! I cannot for the love of me understand why a sane woman would feel threatened by affection towards a parent.

Think about the kinds of qualities women look for in a man. Once you get past tall, dark, handsome and wealthy, you will hear traits like empathy and confidence, traits which are developed through a healthy relationship with one’s caregivers.

The naysayers will argue that mama’s boys are overly dependent on their mothers, that they idolise them and put them on a pedestal that no other woman can realistically mount.

They will argue that marrying such a man means you have to become his mother too. Which is usually code for “I will have to take care of him.” God forbid you to take care of your partner.

And then there is that silly argument that the wife will have to fight tooth and nail to usurp his mother from his life, to step out of her shadow.

Setting aside the polite reminder that it might not be a bad thing to get close to the person who raised your partner because they know them best; you are not being asked to fill Sir Alex Ferguson’s shoes. Only to understand why his mother was so influential in his life. Beyond that, you’re allowed to freestyle. This is to say nothing of the ‘daddy’s girl’ dynamic, which is similarly scoffed at. Have we become so cynical that we punish people for loving their children?

Are we so jealous of parents and kids being close that we rush to sexualize happy, healthy relationships? Or are we simply desperate to perpetuate the cycle of distant parenting that we saw from ours? Perhaps it is an indicator of your own issues with your mother or father.

Perhaps you never figured out how to relate with your own parent, so you make it a point to raise eyebrows at those who do. Perhaps, while others were getting patted on the head and encouraged, you were ducking flying saucers or wondering how to defrost a cold shoulder.

And so I must put a foot down. These mama’s boys are too well-adjusted and emotionally balanced to kick up a fuss, so I will do it for them.

Calling someone a mama’s boy is not the insult you think it is. You’re accusing me of being close with my mother? Burn! Ati I cannot do anything without consulting her? I mean, she has it on her CV that she raised me. Experience, my friend.

We are sorry we were shown affection growing up while your own mama was raining Ukraine on your poor backside with crude weapons. So we will no longer apologize for it.

Hopefully, you, too, may do just that— grow up.


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