THE mama's boy narrative often paints the picture of an unhealthy mother-son relationship — the culprit being a domineering, meddling mother whose talons are so far sunken in her son's flesh, that he is incapable of acting in his personal life with her input or approval. But this stereotype, while it may bear some truth, is rubbished by some men, who cite numerous benefits of sharing a very close relationship with their mothers.
Below, four readers who proudly identified themselves as mama's boys, share why they aren't ashamed of being called the usually insensitive moniker:
Jerry, 42, food chemist:
Well, I don't believe in self-praise, but you can ask my wife. I am every inch of a mama's boy, but if I were to be honest, it has made me the best man that I could be. I am sure I am more understanding of women's needs. I was taught to be empathetic, to be kind to, and support a woman. If that's what being a mama's boy does, then I want my sons to be mama's boys too. In addition to that, not all mothers are meddling — my mother is a mother to my wife, she does not overstep, and we are quite happy.
Jaye, 29, computer specialist:
The word mama's boy in itself is meant to ignite some type of ridicule — you know, a man who cleaves to his mom and puts a woman second, a man who can't enjoy all his wife does because he is so busy comparing them to how his mom does it. I won't say I never compare, but not in a way to offend my partner, and I won't say my mother's happiness is not important to me, but so is my wife's. My mother from early taught me the importance of balance, prepared me to be a man, husband and father in a way I don't even think another man could, and I know I am good at all three. Right now my mother coming over is equally exciting to my wife. I won't say there are not flaws, but as for character, the lessons taught by my mother [ensured I would make] a great partner.
Tyshaun, 28, accountant:
Have you ever heard that your mom can smell the vampires from a mile away? Well, you'd better believe it. My mother helped me to find the woman of my dreams while helping me to avoid two heartbreaking, gold-digging experiences. My fiancée loves the values and the principles she instilled in me and is every day in awe of the way I treat her. All those things I learnt from my mother in the absence of a father. I think that even as I have lived with my mom and is used to her doing it all for me, I will learn to allow my wife to help and to help her. I honestly think this whole mama's boy stereotype is very often taken out of context.
Errol, 32, mechanical engineer:
When most people said mama's boy I used to be annoyed because I felt like I was acting like a sissy and being 'puny puny'. Then I realised that it was just because they always saw my mom and I, and just wanted to automatically assume that I depended on her for everything. But with my mom, God rest her soul in peace, she didn't just do, but she taught me. Unlike with my dad, she didn't just beat me when I was getting things wrong in school, she helped me to identify where I was falling down and found out what areas I was strong in. She encouraged me to be kind too; to help people, to appreciate kindness towards me no matter how small, and importantly, how to treasure, protect and nurture a better half since my father's actions failed to do that. I do miss her and I wish I could still be learning from her, but I believe she made me a certified mama's boy and I can actually live a fulfilling life and build the environment for a fulfilling marriage by utilising the skill set she equipped me with.
— PENDA HONEYGHAN