My dear Jil, congrats on the birth of your baby boy. Your motherly instinct would have kicked in by now so I’m not going to advice you on some things. Boy or girl it really doesn’t matter. Or we’ll step into the cultural retrogression of a bygone era. You need to be careful though about stepping into the role of a mother but vacating the role of a wife. Don’t make that mistake. The two roles are not mutually exclusive. Remember, before the baby there were two of you. And when the children have left home there will be two of you. You want that bond strengthened. Of course, he’s got to be understanding too. Your hands will be full. A baby is a handful. Babies make selfish demands. And they cry. They don’t understand time zones either. It’s why they cry in the middle of the night. The reality is that you have more emotional capacity than Jack and so you’re better equipped to cope with the demands of a baby. Men have limited emotional capacity. It’s why they struggle with the ablutions of parenting a baby. If you see him leave the bedroom when the baby decides to belt out a shrill full-throated cry don’t be surprised. He’s probably going to look for a sanctuary. He can’t handle the stress. That’s not to absolve him of responsibility however. Fatherhood is responsibility. The best fathers are responsible.
I’m sitting down here wondering to myself what a son wants from a mother when he’s grown. The more I think about it the more I realize the answer will probably shock many. It’s important you know it so you don’t make the mistake of a generation of women. They lost relationship with their sons. Your son is going to demand protection from you. But on so many levels. I’m taking love for granted. You should love your son. And anyway, protection is an expression of love. Mothers are supposed to protect their sons. That’s the understanding sons have. And it starts early on. Mothers for example protect their sons from the harshness of the demands of expectations by dad. They hide things from dad to protect their son. This creates a special bond between mother and son. It’s important you gain your boy’s trust. If you lose that trust it’s hard to regain. Boys are wired that way. And so when he tells you something in confidence he expects you to keep it confidential. That shared confidence cements the bond. But if he tells you something in confidence and you go blabbing about it to your friends and family he’ll lose trust in you. He’ll keep you out of the loop, refuse to divulge information to you. Sons count all this as “protection.” It’s the picture of a mother hen, or a mother ready to take the fall for her son, to act in fiduciary and vicarious capacity. That’s the picture of protection from boys. If you maintain good relationship with your son chances are you’ll get to know about his girlfriend before everyone else does. You get to tease him first.
There are just those motherly expectations children have. It’s not clearly defined but it spells care. Children expect care from their mum. They expect understanding from their mum. One thing you shouldn’t do is attempt to control him when he’s grown. He’ll resent that. And when he’s married you will pose a problem. You’ll try and wrestle control of his home from his wife and she’ll resent you. You don’t want to be that kind of mother-in-law. I’m sure you’re wondering if it’s not too soon to be thinking that far into the future. Your boy is just days old. But truth is, you define the kind of mother you want to be early on. You want your son to be able to boast to his girlfriend she has to meet you, you don’t want him saying, “You don’t know my mother!”
Secondary school is a most critical phase for young boys. If he’s in boarding school please don’t dress carelessly to go and see him. Boys want their mums “hot” and “beautiful.” Not all mums can be “hot” of course but the larger point is, mind your appearance when you go visit him in boarding school. These things matter to boys. Boys tease each other, sometimes mercilessly. There’s no reverence. What I’m saying is not necessarily an Oedipus complex thing, it’s just the way it is. I’m telling you things boys don’t tell their mother. Also your son won’t want you to be an embarrassment. Avoid embarrassing stuff, like trying too hard to be young, or trying to prove you can get along with his mates. You’re mum! I’m saying be very mindful of the developmental phase called secondary school. It’s when nicknames are given, it’s when bad habits attach, it’s the most experimental phase. It’s also when drugs are tried. He’s going to be very aware of girls in secondary school. Some horrendous mistakes can ensue from that knowledge. Teach him to respect women. The girl bit is part of his emotional development. He needs it.
If you study the inscription on mini buses in Lagos – what we call Danfo buses, it’s not unusual to find some bearing “Ola Mummy.” Means mum made the entrepreneurial pursuit and bus ownership possible. You will always be the income supplementer, the one who makes certain things possible. For these he’ll be eternally grateful.
Of course I expect you to pray for your son. A mother’s prayer is strong and powerful. It’s a travail, like she’s giving birth. Let your instincts be sharp concerning him. Know your son. Mothers know their children. Each child is profiled in their heart. You want your kids to take care of you in your old age. If you blow the opportunity now, violating confidentiality they’ll never be as close to you as you’d like.
Boys don’t really care about biological motherhood. What they care about is a mum who’s mum – a protectionist and caring mum.
I wish you fulfilled motherhood.
Your mentor, LA.
© Leke Alder | firstname.lastname@example.org.Be careful about stepping into the role of a mother but vacating the role of a wife. Don’t make that mistake. The two roles are not mutually exclusive. Click To Tweet Remember, before the baby there were two of you. And when the children have left home there will be two of you. Click To Tweet Fatherhood is responsibility. The best fathers are responsible. Click To Tweet Protection is an expression of love. Click To Tweet Mothers are supposed to protect their sons. That’s the understanding sons have. Click To Tweet It’s important you gain your boy’s trust. If you lose that trust it’s hard to regain. Boys are wired that way. Click To Tweet If you maintain good relationship with your son chances are you’ll get to know about his girlfriend before everyone else does. You get to tease him first. Click To Tweet Truth is, you define the kind of mother you want to be early on. Click To Tweet A mother’s prayer is strong and powerful. It’s a travail, like she’s giving birth. Click To Tweet Boys don’t really care about biological motherhood. What they care about is a mum who’s mum – a protectionist and caring mum. Click To Tweet