Wednesday, February 20, 2008

No Mama's Boy, Role Models for My Little Man...

Ok, I ditched 3 of the 6 Bob the Builder videos that I found most troublesome. I'll keep the other 3 unless I feel they need to go. Also, I just wanted to reiterate that just because I'm tossing Bob doesn't mean I think everyone should. We all have our little pet peeves and quirks. I know parents who are fiercly against any TV whatsoever, but that doesn't mean I'm a bad Mama for letting my little one watch a little tube.

But, back to the original premise of my post:

I was at a baby shower this past weekend and was able to bring along my son. The other children at the shower just loved playing with him and he had a grand time. A couple of times, he just went off onto a rug by himself and made boy noises with a toy truck and some toy cars. Over all, he just enjoyed himself. During the playtime with the other children, a balloon literally burst right in front of his face. It frightened him and he started crying. There was a collective "awwwww" from all in attendance. I made a quick assessment of the situation and realized he was scared and not hurt, so I just held my hand out to him and had him come to me. He came and sat on my lap for 45-60 seconds while he calmed down and then was off playing again. As he left, one of the ladies asked (very cheerfully) if I was raising a "mama's boy." I was struck offended for a second and offered a rather cutting "no" before collecting myself and explaining simply that I was raising a man.

Now, in my effort to be better understanding of people, I realized that this woman (who I know quite well) comes from a background where the ultimate joy of motherhood is having at least one "mama's boy" in the family. She tried it with her only son and he rebelled fiercly and to this day their relationship is highly strained at best. So, I have compassion for her.

Back to the situation....hubby really makes sure I don't coddle our son, but there are times when comfort is needed. Comforting a frightened toddler who's not even 2 years old yet is not creating a mama's boy monster. I just didn't make a big deal of it, made sure he was ok, and when he quickly collected himself and jumped down to join the play, I praised him for being a brave boy. I didn't go running to him with puckered baby-talk of comfort. He had to come to me, I gave him a hug and a kiss on the head, told him I knew he was scared, but he wasn't hurt and that he was all right.

I think some of the ladies were rather shocked at my mothering. Thankfully, there was a mother of 3 young boys there who just sat back and smiled at the whole situation. I had her approval, and the approval of a few other older ladies who raised men, not mama's boys.

How often are our children today viewing celebrities, and even fictional characters as role models or heros? Too often, I think. Also, I don't like the idea of TV being a moral basis for our children either. While I thought I was above the influence as I watched teen-shows as a teenager, but looking back, they really did influence me. Even today, if I watch too much TV and/or read popular magazines, I find myself discontent with my life and influenced by that media.

Who do I view as role models for my children? My husband, my brothers and my father and father-in-law. Thankfully, I'm blessed with good men in my family. These are true role models.

4 comments:

Shan said...

Aren't people funny? You are just a wonderful Mother! My boys, ages 23 and 18, are both kind and generous, funny, considerate, and most importantly, always treat their Mom with respect. They model their wonderful Father who is just the same.

Kisses and hugs are love made visible. All of us need that! So you just keep on letting Bubby know he is loved and he will grow into a fine young man.

Have a wonderful day,
Shan
Honey Hill Farm

Emma said...

It sounds to me like you did a great job!

I was just thinking about how "feminine" men are getting. I was watching American Idol last night and it was sad to see how girlishly styled some of the guy's hair and clothing was and how "pretty" their faces were. I also thought that most of them had very feminine speaking voices and body movement. Very strange!

Kate said...

Emma,

That's funny you should say that because I watched American Idol last night, too and actually kept a tally of who I liked and who I didn't. Looking back, the ones I liked best were the more masculine ones.

I have a feeling the kid who sang "Jailhouse Rock" is going to become another Sanjaya.

Courtney said...

You handled that situation just perfectly, I think! This is such a peeve of mine. I had someone (my DH's grandfather) make the "mama's boy" comment to me when my son was FOUR MONTHS OLD! Umm...it's 100% normal and natural that a BABY, girl or boy, at that age needs mama. I would be worried if he didn't! At that point, he was getting 100% of his nutrition and comfort from ME, mostly at the breast.

Now, of course, it's much different, but like you said he's not even two and meeting his needs appropriately isn't going to create a coddled, girly-man. A hug and a kiss for a bumped head, and a "There you go! Just a little tumble," restores smiles, meets his needs, and helps build his confidence and independence. Sometimes the hug and kiss isn't even needed! Just a laugh or a smile and “Uh oh!”, and he knows it's not the end of the world and carries on. At this age, girls AND boys are still looking to their parents for information on how to react in a situation. Ignoring such needs, though, might have very negative consequences down the road!

In my opinion, it's absent fathers (physically, emotionally, and spiritually) more than overprotective mothers who will do the most damage. A mama is naturally going to want to soothe her "baby," and some mothers don't know when/how to stop. I'm sure I'll always want to "make it all better,” but there will come a time when I can't and/or SHOULDN’T. It's a father's influence and demonstration that will temper that and what will help mold our sons into men.