BY MPHO KUHLMANN
A Smart Alec once issued an instructive piece of advice to women: “Never come between a man and his mother.” A number of Batswana women who have ignored the wise counsel have learnt the hard way.
Those who have found themselves stuck with a mama’s boy have had it even worse. They drain relationships by causing the wife/girlfriend to have to live up to a standard she can’t meet. She has to try to be everything that the mother is and that isn’t an appropriate role for a wife/girlfriend. Meanwhile, she can be undermined by the mother at anytime for anything.
Dr Sethunya Mosime, senior Sociology lecturer at the University of Botswana says “when a man gets married, he has a new priority: his wife. It’s a new life, with a new woman taking the top spot in that life. It’s OK to ask for advice from your parents from time to time, but when his reaching out invades the communication between partners, that’s when you know it’s not just advice anymore. It’s reliance. And he did not marry his mom. If he always needs his mother’s input, he may never look to you for decisions, or to himself. That’s a big red flag. If he can’t make his own choices without her guidance, he may never grow into a man on his own accord. He won’t trust himself, so he’ll feel asking his mother for advice is the only way to go. After all, that is what he’s done all his life.”
A mama’s boy typically describes a guy who always puts his mother first, before anything or anyone else. Although there is nothing wrong with considering your mother a priority in certain aspects, if it’s so extreme that everything depends on her, it’s likely to cause issues in romantic relationships. A mama’s boy may need to discuss everything with his mother before making any decisions on his own. He seeks not only her approval, but he tends to lean on her for almost everything, oblivious to those decisions couples should be making together. It’s doubtful a mama’s boy has actually ascended to adulthood, as they have spent their entire life being pampered by their mother, with most decisions having been made for them.
Ms Pontsho Leagilwe at Por Vida Couselling : “It is said that the best way to learn a man’s character is to observe the relationship he has with his mother. People believe that the way a man treats his mother is an indicator of how he treats all women. Yet men who have a close and strong bond with their mothers are considered a bad choice for a life partner. A commonly assumed pro of being with a mama’s boy is the fact that you’re with a man who knows how to respect women on account of how he treats his own mother. This isn’t always the case. Respect towards his mother doesn’t equal respect towards a girlfriend or wife. Society in general stresses the importance of listening to one’s parents whilst growing up but the lack of emphasis on the treatment of women coupled with the way boys see older male figures treating and talking about women deeply shapes their outlook and perception of them, which can then manifest into destructive behavior. Don’t get me wrong. A man who respects his mother is admirable to me, but a man who allows his mother to influence big decisions that he should be capable of making triggers alarm bells.”
Many parents are very selfish and dread the thought of letting their son go. Their own existence and identity as parents depend on their son’s dependence on them. They don’t want to let go or to teach him how to be independent. At some point, a mother who has not successfully detached herself from her son emotionally becomes a meddlesome mother-in-law whose mission in life is to insinuate herself into her son’s adult life and relationships. As a result, they often act wounded and jealous when she perceives, that the levels of love have shifted. Many women have even taken the step toward getting married or engaged to one of them hoping that they could change him into the responsible, caring man they look for in a husband and father of your future children. As for the mama’s boy who you think has great potential to become the independent responsible gentleman you deserve, well he frankly has no reason or interest in being independent, if they were brought up pampered and treated like a prince for as far back as they can remember; why would they ever want that to change? He is of course expecting the same royal treatment his mama grew him accustomed to and there begins the collision course. He does not want any responsibility and wants the girl to take care of him and let him be as his mama used to do.
Parents can sometimes smother their children even when they mean well. There comes a time when it falls to the children to assert their independence. Most kids do this in their early teenage years. Sadly though, some people carry it on to adulthood. These guys certainly lack a desire to be independent and take ownership for their lives if they choose to continue indulging Mummy Dearest in such a way.
Ratang Sepako, an accountant at Seed Co International Limited in Gaborone says a lot of men don’t like being referred to as mama’s boys even when they are. “You can tell a man is a mama’s boy when he keeps asking for his mother’s opinion on anything and everything. When he keeps asking his mother for money – he likely doesn’t have enough to support himself – mom’s been handing it to him on a silver platter. Mom is still doing his laundry after he’s left home. When his mother decides how you should dress, wear your makeup, arrange your furniture etc basically what she wants/likes”.
Tapologo Medupe, an assistant at Shield Electrical in Gaborone says “To the mama’s boy, his mom can never be wrong, and he will constantly pit the two of you against each other. Imagine struggling to do something right, but always being told you’re doing it wrong? But not only are you doing it wrong, but someone else does it much better than you. That’s what life with a mama’s boy is like. A mama’s boy doesn’t understand that not everything needs to be shared with his mom. So he will go out of his way to give his mom all the details about your relationship – yes, even the not so pretty details. And every time you and yours fight, mom will always know all the sordid details. She will be right there to give him biased advice, and she will definitely be following up with him to see how things pan out. She will always stick her nose where it doesn’t belong – but only because your guy allows her to.