STFU Parents: A Mother’s Love On Valentine’s Day
Happy Valentine’s Day from STFU, Parents! In honor of the holiday, I wanted to talk about something called “a mother’s love.” On the surface, this innocent expression means, “the love a mother has for her child.” It’s a pure, unconditional love that has nothing to do with selfishness and everything to do with compassion through a mother’s eyes. Sounds sweet, right? Wrong. You see, sometimes a mother’s love is all of these things, which is wonderful, but other times it’s all of these things and so much more.
A few years ago, I started receiving submissions like this, and they kind of freaked me out. I don’t know when exactly it became en vogue for mothers to talk about their sons in a romantic way, or when they started calling their babies their “boyfriends,” but it’s a trend – or perhaps a feeling – that just won’t quit. Submission after submission I find myself duped, baffled and/or slightly disgusted by what I am reading, not because I think the mothers in the submissions are sick people, but because I think it’s inappropriate to attribute qualities of romantic love to the relationship you have with your son. Never do mothers talk about their daughters in this way, and understandably so. Their daughters are “mommy’s little girl” or “mommy’s princess,” while their sons are “mommy’s boyfriend.” And maybe if they just left it at that – mommy’s boyfriend – or they only took it one step further and said, “I’m in love with my boyfriend,” I wouldn’t feel so uncomfortable. But in many cases, they take it anywhere from five to 20 steps further. I find it odd. In fact, I receive so many submissions like this that I decided to dedicate my whole Valentine’s Day column to them to show you what I mean. So pop a bottle of champagne (or sparkling apple juice), grab a box of your favorite chocolates and settle in for a little lesson in “a mother’s love” as demonstrated on Facebook:
Bluffing may be one of the worst examples of this behavior. As harmless as it is, you have to wonder why a mother would want to “trick” her friends into thinking she’s in a serious romantic relationship….with her son. I’ve seen this taken even further with descriptions of “bubble baths,” “candlelight dinners,” and “date nights,” and it feels more than a little like a Jocasta complex.
2. Obsessed Mommy
Sometimes obsession sounds worse than it really is. So what if Yazmin wants to “memorize every inch” of her son’s face? That’s a perfectly normal way to feel about one’s child – son or daughter – and yet, once it’s written down it can come across as something different. It’s one thing to stare longingly into the eyes of your darling son and share a moment, and it’s another to write about it with poetry on Facebook. Also, “I can sleep when he grows up,” makes me hope that Yazmin has some quality time planned with her adult girlfriends sometime in the near future. Remember, moms, you’ve gotta sleep sometime. Your presence may help your sick child, but being well-rested is equally as important.
3. Love Notes: “His First Everything”
I’ll admit I waver between thinking it’s a good and absolutely terrible idea for a person to make her child “her whole world,” and maybe that’s partly why I’m not a fan of this chain love letter. Or maybe it’s just because it reminds me of this Modern Love column from back in 2008 that I still haven’t been able to shake off.
4. Auntie Love
Sometimes it’s not just the mothers who write passionately about their baby boys, but relatives, as well. Aunts, grandmas and godmothers are all susceptible to “the boyfriend effect” and are capable of posting about it on Facebook. And while we all know (and many of us love) the smell of new-baby, beginning a status update with, “My hands still smell like his baby skin,” is a little over-the-top and borders on creepy.
5. Oedipus Complex
You’ve gotta wonder, after reading a series of updates about a mother’s intense love for her son, if all that obsession will ever really amount to anything abnormal. Prior to receiving this submission, I would have said, “No, absolutely not. A questionable Jocasta Complex when a son is very little does not necessarily amount to an Oedipus complex when the son gets older.” I mean, we’re talking about Greek mythology and Freudian concepts here. Let’s not go overboard.
That said, this exchange made me think twice. I don’t know how old Ian is, but he’s old enough to own and operate a cell phone and text with his mother during art class, so we can safely assume he’s over the age of, say, nine. And he’s calling his mother a “cutie.” Suddenly now I’m not so sure.
What do you think?