The Temptation to Create Mama’s Boys (and Girls)

Apparently there’s a new reality television show in the works called “Mama’s Boys of the Bronx.” It focuses on adult men who still live at home and allow their mothers to coddle them. According to this article,

The show follows the escapades of these men at work, at home or enjoying New York’s nightlife before they come home to their doting moms, who spend their days trying to keep tabs on the partying, dreaming and scheming of their sons.

It’s easy to poke fun at these men, and I’m sure most young women would look at them as poor marriage prospects. I mean, who wants to compete with a guy’s mother for his affection?

That said, I can see how a mom might end up in this position if she isn’t careful. It’s hard to let go of our kids, especially with so many dangers in the world that we hear about every day; it’s natural to want to keep our chicks safely tucked under our wings. Then there’s the fact that raising kids to adulthood means losing control of their lives. That’s how it should be, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy to do.

Those of us who homeschooled our kids to adulthood spent many years in control of our kids’ schedules, their meals, their activities…let’s face it, we were in charge of them 24/7. But once they become adults, we have to relinquish that control. (It’s easiest if you start letting go, little by little, when they’re in their early teens, but that still doesn’t make it pain-free for us moms.)

But if we don’t let go, if we spend our days “trying to keep tabs” on them, or even if we just try to weigh in on every decision they make, or prevent them from achieving independence by offering free room and board, free car use, and spending money, what we effectively do is cripple them, emotionally and financially. Doing so also keeps them from enjoying their freedom (hopefully in a God-pleasing way) before they start their own families. So even though it may go against our mama instincts, we need to cut them loose for their own good.

It’s also for our own good. Mothers who spend their time caring for adult children that are perfectly capable of life on their own are crippling themselves. Once the child-rearing years are over, it’s time for these women to go back to other productive pursuits in their lives. Perhaps coddling their adult children helps them avoid the reality that their day-to-day job is over and they need to figure out what’s next.

That’s a scary thought. It requires waiting on God to show us the next thing that “He planned in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:10). It also means letting go of our desire to control our own lives as we wait for our next assignment. As a recently retired homeschool mom, I struggle with this all the time.