Laura MacCorkle Christian Blog and Commentary

What's Wrong with Being a "Mama's Boy"?

Last night, during the last evening of the 2008 Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minn., I enjoyed watching the video intro that aired before John McCain’s acceptance speech. 

I learned more about his life, his family and his time as a prisoner of war.  But during this moving tribute, one of the segments actually made me chuckle out loud.  It happened when his 96-year-old mother, Roberta McCain, revealed that John is a “mama’s boy.” 

What???  I wondered what that meant.  If 72-year-old John has just got a good relationship with his mom and honors her as his parent and calls to say “I love you, Mom” from time to time, then that’s one thing.  And a good thing!

But, if it’s closer to what Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary has to say, then yikes. …

mama’s boy n (1850):  a usually polite or timid boy or man who is extremely close to and solicitous of his mother.

I tend to refer to this definition when I think of a “mama’s boy,” as do most of my single female friends.  When we see that a man is still too closely (and unhealthily) connected to his mother, it automatically raises a red flag.  To us, it means that a man has not cut the apron strings and that his mother is too involved in her adult son’s life.

Now what does “too involved” mean?  This could include fulfilling day-to-day responsibilities for him (cooking, laundry, cleaning his house, etc.), being too emotionally needy and too demanding in the amount of time and attention she receives from him, or actually making life decisions for him that he should be making for himself (job, finances, relationships, etc.).

In essence, a mother in a “mama’s boy” type of relationship could be said to be the one who is standing in the way of her son seeking out and making a place in his life for a potential wife.  Since the mother is providing the practical and emotional support that a wife would normally and naturally provide in the role as a helpmate, then why would a “mama’s boy” see the need for a wife in his life? 

A “mama’s boy” relationship allows the man to continue remaining a boy (emotionally and perhaps psychologically).  And the mother continues to act like a mama of a young son, when in essence her boy is now a man (!).  It’s just not good—nor the way God intended it (Genesis 2:24)—all the way around. 

But back to Roberta and John. …

In this case, I find it hard to believe that this oft-called “maverick” and fearless leader-of-the-free-world candidate would embody the Webster’s definition of a “mama’s boy.” 

While he may be polite, John McCain doesn’t seem too timid to me.  And, as far as I know, he’s not soliciting his mom to get her advice on campaign finance reform or asking if he should have supported the Iraq troop surge or not.  (I also have only seen “Country First” placards with nary a “Mom’s a Close Second!” tagline in sight.)

So, in the end, if John is a “mama’s boy” who just loves his mom in the most normal and healthy of ways then I can find no harm, no foul with that. 

And in looking toward "a cause greater than self interest," I shall pledge to silence my chuckle regarding anything I see or hear during the remainder of this year's presidential election coverage—from here on going forward.  Well, I mean, at least for today.