I never liked the expression: “mama’s boy.” It always sounded more like a put-down than a description, bringing to my mind some wimpy kid. It was not until I had sons of my own that I relished the term. When Paul was around two years old I was part of a playgroup that consisted of mostly boys. As a first time mom I was nervous and paid lots of attention to every tumble. It turned out he was actually looking at me before deciding whether or not he was hurt. If I appeared concerned then he would burst into tears and run to me for consoling. Well, I always looked concerned and there was a lot of consoling.
We discovered that all the boys in our group strongly favored us over our husbands. Most of the dads worked during the week, relieving the moms on the weekends. Still, when Saturday came and it was dad’s turn to look after the kid we all had to sneak out of the house for some time to ourselves. There was no right answer to “where are you going mommy?” Apparently even the most boring activity sounded thrilling when mommy was involved. How could my pedicure possibly sound more inviting than a day at the park with daddy? Where was the male bonding?
I went on and had a second son. Even though they are two boys sharing the same genes the two are as different as night and day. My older one is afraid of everything and my younger is afraid of nothing. I can barely watch Eric as he pushes every limit, testing me every minute of the day. He is way more resilient than his big brother attempting things Paul is still too timid to try. Given Eric’s penchant for extreme sports he tumbles more than his big brother but I have still yet to see one that my kiss could not cure immediately. They have very different strengths but the one thing they have in common is the way they feel about me. They both strongly prefer me to daddy.
While I do enjoy my children’s company, it is safe to say they like mine way more. Not just more than daddy’s, I mean more than anyone’s. I can’t say I blame them. According to them I am amazing. I can fix anything. I have heard that I can turn back time. The other day I was asked to move the sun. It sounds like I can do no wrong but actually these beliefs make the opposite true. I am expected to do all of these things because, of course, I can. So when I do not do them it is because I am a “mean mommy” perhaps even the “worst mommy ever.”
I am called upon to do everything no matter what skills are needed. Ironically my husband is the handy one! It is not uncommon for them to come wake me up from a rare nap in order to replace a battery when daddy is laying right there on the couch watching baseball. Even if he offers (insists!) that he can do it the response is: “I want mommy to do it!” In our house it is all mommy all the time. Only when my children have searched the house and not found me will they allow daddy to toast their precious frozen waffles. Of course daddy is loved and appreciated for his efforts but only under the extreme circumstance that I am not there. Clearly I am better at everything than daddy.
I can’t say I don’t appreciate the preferential treatment. I was never so popular with boys in my life! While I long for some alone time there is nothing like the looks on their faces when they spot me hiding out trying to read a book. I can’t resist them and I don’t dare try. It is pretty great to be considered to be so special.
I guess there is really nothing wrong with being a mama’s boy. Mama’s boys probably make the best husbands. I have heard that in order to see what kind of mate you are getting you need to look at the man’s relationship with his mom first. I am doing my sons’ future wives a service by making them so loyal.
For now, I just wait. I look forward to that one day when I will finally hear those three little words I long for:
“I want Daddy!”