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Why Didn't Anybody Tell Me: Mothers and Sons

Why Didn't Anybody Tell Me: Mothers and Sons

There's just something about mothers and sons. When the groom and his mom took to the dance floor at a wedding I attended last weekend, a friend of mine burst into tears. Her reaction had nothing to do with the newlyweds, but the fact that she can't imagine someday handing off her own son who just turned one. To hear my experience,


During my second pregnancy, knowing I already had a daughter — many women said they hoped I'd have a son explaining that it begets a relationship unlike any other. I hadn't a clue what they were talking about until I delivered my lil guy. Even in his first days of life, it was obvious that our bundle of joy was nothing like his sister who is so similar to me. When we welcomed our daughter to the world, I felt like I grew another limb —I intuitively knew what she needed, understood her personality and took how easy going and delightful she was for granted.

My son was another story — he has always been a combination of sheer independence and huggable neediness. A lil rascal that runs with reckless abandon and then curls up close to me to fall asleep. A child who scales anything he can manage and offers kisses for absolutely no reason. I watch him in awe — amazed that the unpredictable and incredibly lovable human being has come from me. And, I finally understand that men and women are completely different creatures.

Do you think the relationships mothers have with their daughters are different than those they have with their sons?

Join The Conversation
peepshow peepshow 9 years
This is kinda tricky for me b/c I have a 2 month old baby boy... I think it's a little disfunctional at a wedding for a Mom to be SO overly upset. I mean, their adult son isn't dying, isn't leaving, and isn't loving Mom any less. He's getting married to a woman who he loves and probably gonna contribute to Grandkids... and I would feel like somewhat of a failure if my grown son were interested in living with his Momma the rest of his life and not dating anyone b/c Mom's all he needs. Ick. I think I'll cry more when he goes off to school for the first time, and then actually moves OUT to go to college or the military or cosmetology school... whatever. Then I'll cry even harder because I'm proud when he graduates or is commissioned or wins the hair design competition.
Sun_Sun Sun_Sun 9 years
well im not a mother so maybe my idea doesnt matter but this whole subject has me a little ticked off this whole male superiority is just oozing out of this article, and so blatantly and thats why most men are irresponsible and immature cuz mama not only babys them but in mama's eyes, he can do no wrong and what kills me is THIS......the wives who complain about their husbands, turn around and raise their boys the same way tsk tsk
alethia037 alethia037 9 years
I don't have children yet, but I know that the relationship that my mom has with my brother is different than the one I have with her. He is also the first born, and my half brother - she had some really difficult times as a single mother with my brother until she met my dad. So, that could be part of their special connection. My brother can do no wrong in her eyes! That being said, my mom and I do have a special bond as well - she is my best friend now that I am an adult, but I have always seen that amazing bond that mother and son can have with them, and I hope that I have a son one day to share that with. (I also want a little girl that I can so girly things with, of course!)
ufshutterbabe ufshutterbabe 9 years
Thank you uptown_girl and graylen! I wasn't referring to anyone here, and definitely not to anyone with a normal, healthy, close relationship with her son. Of course there's a part of you that would be sad because your baby is all grown up. That is emotionally healthy. I'm talking about the ones that can't view their children as capable adults. The ones who actually ARE obsessive over their sons (again, not referring to anyone here, no need to jump to conclusions). For example, my husband's mother has a very difficult time seeing him as an adult who can make his own decisions. She still views him as a child who needs to be checked up on multiple times a day. She calls to ask if he's taking his vitamins (he'll soon be graduating medical school - he knows how to take care of himself) and it drives him crazy that she's like that, which in turn makes him shut down to her. It is sad to see the way she relates to him, because she is missing out on having a relationship with the awesome, interesting, caring adult male that she helped him grow up to be, rather than the child she is still overly attached to. I've seen it with other friends as well. And as far as the "giving away" thing - yes, I realize it is a wedding term. But some people, myself included, find that term offensive. To me, it does have connotations of ownership. Can you give away something that does not belong to you? Hence the reason my father did not "give me away" at my wedding. Even when he walks my sister down the aisle at hers next summer, the words "give away the bride" will not be used. That's just how I was raised.
anniekim anniekim 9 years
A lovley tribute to the mother son relationship. I have 2 girls--soon to be 3 girls--and sometimes I feel a tug of sadness for missing out on this experience.
uptown_girl uptown_girl 9 years
I just wanted to speak up in defense of "ufshutterbabe" as well. I don't think she's talking about anyone who posted on this board, and she wasn't speaking of the sadness of giving a son away.
graylen graylen 9 years
I think ufshutterbabe isn't referring to the "tug of sadness" of giving your child away- that's completely normal and healthy- rather the mothers who never actually give their sons away- you all know someone who has "that mom"! I dated someone for 4 years who had the mother that couldn't let go. It's unhealthy and really effects the son's future and future family. Being married and a parent is supposed to be between two people... not between you, your husband, and your mother-in-law! I think that mothers (of sons AND daughters) do feel it's hard to give their children away (whether it's to college or a new job in a far away city or marriage). I think that feeling is amplified for those who've had special needs children that require that much more love and dedication and responsibility. Kudos to all of those mothers. I've always firmly believed that God gives special needs children to special parents... I know He did in our family. And that mother and son relationship was a beautiful one.
Silverity Silverity 9 years
TwistandShout Did your mom get depressed b/c she had to girls? Even though I did not go to the doc's for it, I know I had a pretty good case of postpardum depression. I've heard though that women who have sons have a higher chance of being depressed than those who have girls.
TwistandShout TwistandShout 9 years
My mom always wanted a son... Instead she got two daughters and depression.
Silverity Silverity 9 years
There is definitely a difference in the relationship between a mother and her son & a mother and her daughter. Boys are wired, for lack of a better word at the moment, differently than girls. Also I believe the environment that each is raised in has an affect on them. I have a son who will be 2 in July. I love him to death and hope that as he gets older we can have a close relationship but not to the point of smothering him. I always wanted a son first because, if I had another kid & it were a girl, she would have an older bro to look out for her. I know I'll be sad the day my son marries but I will also be happy because I know that I will have done the best I could to get him there and that he will continue to be in my life.
macneil macneil 9 years
It's making me weepy too. The awful truth is, I really want another daughter because I just can't imagine loving a son the same way. I suppose I can hardly imagine loving ANY other child the same way, but I don't want that to be true. It's just that the love I have for my daughter is so intense and so complete. I don't know what's going to happen, and I'm scared about it, but this article gives me a lot of hope that the love can be different, but just as amazing.
Greggie Greggie 9 years
My first son is his dad's cuddler, my second one is mine. They're also our carbon copies in that way, rather than it coming down to gender. Which makes me even more curious to see how my daughter breaks the balance. *lol* You'll Be In My Heart was one I used to sing to my oldest, too. It's a great song.
pinkprincess1101 pinkprincess1101 9 years
thank you faerymagick i thought i was alone
faerymagick15 faerymagick15 9 years
The relationship I have with my daughter is so different than my son and I. Of course my son being special needs makes it even more so. But my son has always been my go to for hugs and kisses even today. He has a different attachment than my daughter definitely. My daughter has always been much more independent. It does sadden me that I will never get to dance with my son at his wedding because his mental disabilities make it impossible for him to ever get married, but at my daughter's wedding someday I will ask the DJ to play a special song for us..."You'll Be IN My Heart" from Tarzan by Phil Collins...and dance with him. That is OUR special song. I know I will cry my eyes out.
bessa bessa 9 years
Oh, what a happy post! I have a daughter now and she is so much like me, even at 14 months. I am expecting a son in the Fall and it's left me a little clueless on what to think about a boy. This was a lovely thing to read.
LiLRuck44 LiLRuck44 9 years
I was at a wedding myself this past weekend, and the whole thing had me near tears. Seeing my daughter walk down the isle in her flower girl dress tossing rose petals... I almost died. I am definitely raising them into happy, healthy, independent little people and I'll be ready when the time comes, but my sadness comes from just wanting them to stay little forever. Everyone says these are the best years of your life, and I can't make the clock stop!
kikidawn kikidawn 9 years
That is a lovely tribute. Almost made me cry.
pinkprincess1101 pinkprincess1101 9 years
wtf, are you serious ufshutterbabe, im not obsessed with my son i love him and have an attachment to him that you would never understand i almost lost this child as an infant so yes it is harder for me, when all the odds were against him and for him to over come and now he is 5 was never supposed to live, and if he did would be a vegetable, he is 5 walking talking playing, sorry for not being strong enough
Greggie Greggie 9 years
Of course they're different. My relationship with each of my sons is different than the other as well, too. How I'll feel when they all get married, I have no idea. But I do think I'll likely have a harder time when my daughter gets married than my sons. Assuming she does.
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 9 years
ufshutterbabe, its not obsessing, and its not unhealthy to feel that tug of sadness when watching your son start a new life changing experience (like graduation, or taking a girl to prom, or hearing "i can get dressed by myself"), it would be unhealthy if they were saying "I cant stand to see him getting married and she will never take my place in his heart arghhhh" but they arent, "giving away" is just a term used at weddings, it doesnt mean "ownership" jeez. lighten up.
ufshutterbabe ufshutterbabe 9 years
I really dislike the "can't give my son away" attitude - shouldn't the goal of child rearing be to raise independent, successful and happy people? Ideally, you'd have a close relationship with your son (AND your daughter) - that close relationship would remain after they get married. Your children are not yours to "own" so they aren't yours to "give away." I've seen too many mothers who obsess over their adult sons in an unhealthy way, and it drives me nuts. You did a good job raising them, let them have a little room to breathe now.
pinkprincess1101 pinkprincess1101 9 years
the bond i have with my son is nothing like the bond i have with my daughters, i couldnt imagine giving my son away
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