Happy Valentine’s Day! It’s time for installment number three in a series I affectionately call ‘A Mother’s Love.’ If you’ve read this series for the past couple of years, or you’ve seen any of the cheesy “ads” that describe the way mothers feel specifically about their sons, then you already know what I’m talking about. Take this viral message, for example, which has been recreated dozens of times with different fonts and images, yet always retains its saccharine mom appeal:

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I’m not sure what happens to women once they give birth to boys, but it’s like as soon as the baby arrives you’ll hear a mom say, “Love my boy!” or “Love my boys!” I know it’s sweet, sincere, and announced with the best intentions, but the way it’s said, you’d think there was a ‘moms with little boys’ cult out there. Not just a club, where members nosh on tea cookies and sip lemonade while their sons play soccer in the yard, but a cult in which mothers worship at the altar of their baby boys — complete with chanting, voodoo (against their sons’ future love interests), and maybe even a sweat lodge.

Or, maybe it IS a club, but the club itself is as clichéd as the message about “loving my boys.”

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The word “kinda” lingers in this near-haiku, taking the love note from “cute” to “oddly flirtatious.” Of course, I don’t actually think anyone in the Hot Moms Club® is sharing this post for any inappropriate reason, but why not just say, “He stole my heart.”? Everyone knows kids don’t do anything half-assed. They don’t “kinda” poop in the bath, and they don’t “kinda” steal your heart. The reason notes like this are interpreted as creepy is because they’re written the way one writes about romantic love. It’s almost worse than grown women talking about “the boys” they met at a bar (who are over 40). There’s an element of infantalization that makes me slightly uncomfortable. In the case of mothers and their “boys,” moms talk about their sons as their “true loves” and “boyfriends” with whom they go on “dates,” and it can all be a bit much for the average Facebook friend.

It’s also jarring when mothers talk about “rules for dating their sons,” speaking to/about some future woman (always a woman!) who’s going to “steal his heart” — not from him, but from his mom, the Heart Keeper. These notes are often misogynistic and slut-shame-y, which adds to the overall possessive vibe, but mothers share them on Facebook like the notes were written just for them. It’s disturbing that so many women connected to this list in particular: