Mama's Boy

I’ve always thought of the bond between my mother and me as being something special, just about sacred, and based on what I’ve seen in recent weeks it really is. Not unlike most African-American males I was raised by a single mother, with emphasis on raising and imploring my growth and development as a man, not being the man of the house until I was ready to go out on my own. I’m her oldest and only boy, so I was spoiled (still am), but not babied and definitely not treated as her man. After seeing Jumping the Broom and Jim Jones’ mother Nancy’s behavior on this season of “Love and Hip-Hop”, I was forced to evaluate my relationship with my mother, to make sure it was conducive for me heading into a marriage. It took all of about two seconds to reassure myself that our relationship would not interfere with my marriage and she would in fact, be a driving force behind my union.

Unfortunately, too many brothers raised by a single mother have alternated between being son, de facto boyfriend, head of household and crutch for their mom, leaving the women they plan to spend forever with in the precarious position of breaking up the mother and son. At least that how it plays out to the mom; she’s not gaining a daughter, she’s losing her son, the only man to love her through and through.

I constantly hear women refer to their sons as their “little man”, disregarding the fact that he’s a child and your job is to raise him and his is to be your son, not grow into the role of your man, fiercely dependent on you, as you are on him. When our fathers decided the responsibility of raising their kids wasn’t their idea of fun, it left women to play the role of mother and father, often causing sacrifices to relationships and other aspects of their social life. Now that little boy who looks so much like his daddy learns life at the feet of his mom, bearing witness to her struggles and is constantly reminded of how his father and every other man abandoned her. She’s unknowingly drilled in him that leaving her side is abandonment, not realizing that when he chooses a wife, the predicament she’ll put him in.
I’m not sure we recognize how troublesome this dynamic is until you see how it plays out on film or television. I truly feel for Jim Jones, he’s stuck between the woman that’s given him life and bent over backwards to provide for him and a woman that he loves and obviously loves him, but his mother’s selfish refusal to allow him to leave her cleavage for another is causing a strain on his relationship.

The effect of absentee fathers in our community manifest itself in various forms: High crime rates, declining sense of masculinity, more absentee fathers and extremely poor marriage rates. The fear of failing at marriage weighed heavily on my mind for years, until I was able to realize that my mother had been training me to unconditionally love, care, protect and spend my days with another woman my entire life. Sad to say, there are too many mothers like Nancy Jones or Pam Taylor, Loretta Devine’s character in Jumping the Broom, that are holding on too tight to their sons, because of the fear of being alone.
At some point, you have to trust that you’ve done a good enough job with your son to know that because he is marrying, does not mean that he’s leaving you. If anything, he’s bringing additional love into your life, with his wife and possible grandchildren, advancing the philosophies he’s learned from you over the years. I guess it’s hard to accept the new position of being number two in his life; but don’t tip the scales on the delicate balance he has to find with the two most important women in his life, he has a hard enough job without you adding to the mix. Trust me, he knows there’s no love like his mama’s…but you can’t love him the way he needs to be loved as a man.

Leave a respond