So, here's my two cents, right out the gate. Unless you're someone who can't even remotely relate to the second title in this article (you know, second mama), you might want to skim this for now and dig deeper into it when it's not gonna have you so on-10 that you won't be able to concentrate on all of the other reasons why you're online right now. I say that because I'm gonna be honest with you. This isn't an easy read. It's not a coddling one. And, for some people, it's gonna be hella uncomfortable. That's the bad news. The good news is, if once you do get to the end of this piece, you find that you can actually relate (perhaps more than you ever wanted to), it can be the first step toward doing some serious switching up—for the sake of your husband's peace of mind and the health and well-being of your marriage. Because here's another truth—while the world does have its fair share of mama's boys (which we'll have to get into at another time), it also has quite a few wives who think their role is to be their husband's other mother too. And both sides of that fence ain't good. Not by a long shot.
And just how can you know if you qualify as being a second mama? Brace yourself, now.
Somehow, You Can’t Tell the Difference Between “Parent” and “Partner”
Recently, I was having a conversation with some 20-somethings about how they are ready to dismantle patriarchy. My response was, "Are you sure? That means you don't want a man to provide for the home. You don't want him to propose to you. Chivalry is pretty much out the door as well. All of those things are birthed out of patriarchy." One of them said something that was so…expected. "Those things are masculinity, not patriarchy." Yeah, no sale, sis. Patriarchy means "male head" and the things that I defined are male leadership initiative roles. If you're a Bible follower, I Corinthians 11:1-6 is pretty clear on how patriarchy and matriarchy are absolutely supposed to work together. This is why I'm not a feminist; I am a complementarian. Patriarchy isn't a bad word. The abuse of patriarchy is where problems arise. So, where am I going when it comes to this particular point?
Just like, when ego and a misunderstanding of what true manhood is can lead to the misuse of patriarchy, when wives don't keep balance in mind as well, oftentimes they can abuse their own role in their relationship too.
An example would be bragging about how you've got to "train" or "raise" your husband like he's a child or pet. Matter of fact, I tend to be pretty floored with the degrading things that I've heard some women so casually say; things that, if a man said the same things about them, all hell would break loose (imagine a man saying that he had to train or raise you). Yet, some of the bossiest wives that I know—and I know a few—have absolutely no problem feeling and conveying that they are to take over where their husband's mama left off.
The reality is, that's not what marriage is about at all. To parent is to rear children. A life partner is someone who shares life with you.
If you don't get the difference between the two, after reading my second point, get into some marriage counseling, just as soon as you possibly can. No marriage should consist of either spouse treating their partner like a child. If you feel justified in doing so, something is off and wrong—very much so.
You Think Your Job Is to “Raise” Your Husband Rather than HELP Him
I recently watched a movie entitled, Perfectly Single (Omar Gooding, DomiNque Perry, Erica Hubbard, Joe Torry, Torrei Hart). While Torrei's body was killin' in the film (whew!), as a marriage life coach, her character irked me, in all kinds of ways. Aside from the fact that she was cheating on her husband (yes, some Black women DO cheat), she treated him like she was his warden. There was a scene where, he wanted to go play ball with a friend that she didn't like. When the friend came to the house, she told him that her man couldn't come "out to play". Then she told her husband not to hang out with the guy because he was single. Shoot, it was a movie and I wasn't in it and still, I was slightly triggered. Why? Because I have clients who are just like this.
If you've read my stuff, for even a couple of months, you know that I rock with Scripture pretty hard. The first introduction to a woman in the Bible is Genesis 2:18. The word that was used is "helper". A helper is someone who "gives assistance, support, etc."
When it comes to actually helping someone out—and please hear me when I say this—you don't get to decide if you're doing so alone. The individual on the receiving end also needs to feel like you are assisting and supporting.
I can't tell you how many husbands have come to me, at their complete and total wit's end because, while their wife fully believes that her methods are helpful, they are so pushy, condescending and suffocating, that they are doing any and everything but helping their husbands out. So, let me say this if you are engaged or are contemplating it. A part of the reason why it's so dangerous to go into a marriage thinking that your partner will change after you say "I do" is it can cause you to also assume that it's your job to do the changing. IT ISN'T (check out "The Right Relationship IMPROVES Not CHANGES You").
It's two grown folks who need to get married and adults don't need to be raised. And as a wife, while your husband should be providing for and protecting you (which goes well beyond finances), you should be supporting him.
If you read all of this and are thinking to yourself, "Girl, 'raise'…'support'…what's the difference?", ask your husband what the difference is. If you're actually not helping him as much as you think that you are, trust me, he'll be more than happy to tell you that.
Nagging Is the Language You Are Most Fluent In
One more Scripture, OK? And yes, if you're thin-skinned, brace yourself. Proverbs 21:9(AMPC) tells us, "It is better to dwell in a corner of the housetop [on the flat oriental roof, exposed to all kinds of weather] than in a house shared with a nagging, quarrelsome, and faultfinding woman." While that verse may be a bit of an "ouch", when you really stop and let it sink in, it should only be offensive to the women it applies to. Think about it. If your husband was constantly nagging, picking fights and pointing out your flaws, wouldn't you prefer to be any and everywhere but around him?
Besides, I don't get why people feel like nagging is effective anyway. Even if you keep repeating yourself about something until you get your way, what did you really win—other than your own way? The person you nagged is gonna be sick and tired of you, they won't be giving you, whatever it is, in the right spirit and nagging is just an immature form of trying to control someone. "But Shellie, my husband won't listen any other way." If that's your immediate thought, again, get into some therapy.
Conceding is not the same thing as connecting. If nagging is your go-to way to get things done in your home, another form of communication needs to be taught. For the sake of your marriage.
Your Sex Life Is Suffering. Severely So.
I once worked with some clients where the wife had a major gripe. She had a high sex drive and, for the first couple of years of her marriage, so did her husband. About three years in, though, he would decline her desires to get it in. Initially, she thought it was because he was cheating. He said that he had no interest in doing that. What hadn't crossed her mind is what I think is another valid point.
If you don't remember anything else from this article, please remember that no man wants to have sex with his mama. That's not just literally (eww). I also mean that if you are acting like you're his second mother, unless he's a mama's boy (which again, is another article for another time), he's going to find you to be totally off-putting. Plus, the thought of having sex with you to be kinda creepy.
Once this point was brought up to the wife (and the husband co-signed), while she did admit that she had the tendency to be pretty overbearing, she didn't get why her husband didn't want to have sex if he was still attracted to her (which he was). I gave her the comparison of how a lot of new mothers feel about their breasts while they are breastfeeding. What their husband enjoys sexually, they are now using to feed their little one. Mentally switching gears can be complicated, to say the least. Same thing for a man who is around a woman who thinks she's another mother all of the time. If she's acting like that, he's going to lean towards treating her that way (and more like a rebellious teen than a compliant child, for obvious reasons, by the way). And that is going to make having sex with her a total turn-off—no matter how physically attracted to her he may be.
I can't say it enough—no man wants to sleep with his mama. If you're tempted to act like you are his mother, but at the same time, you enjoy your sex life, take that as a word of caution. Some marriages have become sexless, for no other reason than this very point.
He Has NO PEACE in Your Presence
I believe I've shared before that a husband I know once said to me, "Shellie, make sure that you provide peace in your home. Men prefer 'ugly peace' to 'pretty loud' any day." No, he wasn't calling me unattractive; I'm merely providing the bottom line of a very long conversation about what a lot of men desire and seemingly don't get in their intimate relationship—SOME FREAKIN' PEACE. While it's easy to only think of peace in the context of stillness or quiet, I feel that it's always important to look at it from the definition of shalom (the Hebrew word for peace), simply because the definitions are so vast. It literally means all of the following words—completeness, wholeness, health, peace, welfare, safety, soundness, tranquility, prosperity, perfectness, fullness, rest, harmony, the absence of agitation or discord.
When a woman is in "mama mode", while a good one definitely strives for moments of peace, the greater goal is training and providing healthy discipline to their child, so that they can grow up to be responsible and accountable. But a wife? Her ambition should be to be at peace with herself, for her marriage to be at peace and for her husband to feel at peace with her and their union. Wholeness, tranquility, prosperity, rest and harmony are what she strives for, as he does the same.
If you and your husband can't say that this is what's happening in your household, revisiting if a part of the reason is because you're more of a "mama" than a "wife" is certainly well worth your time.
You Immediately Got Triggered When You Saw the Title of This Article
You know what they say. Hit dog will holler. Every single time. And while I know that some of you clicked onto this because you were curious, I also will bet my next paycheck from xoNecole that some of y'all got triggered, from the very moment you read the title. You were ready to justify why you do some of the things mentioned here and you're probably a little more than irritated that there was little room given for why "mothering your man" is an OK thing to do. That's because it's not. Again, if you're with someone who acts immature (whether emotionally or otherwise), who you don't feel is a true partner and/or who is mad irresponsible, no one is saying that you should just grin and bear it. What I am saying is treating a man like he's your son isn't the answer. Get into some therapy, for real, for real. Set some boundaries. But don't take on the role of someone who has already filled the position—his actual mother.
It can't be said enough that, in healthy relationships, two people partner up not parent one another.
If you're not entirely sure which role you're playing in your relationship, ask your husband and be open to hearing the answer. The sooner any woman is less of their man's (second) mama, the quicker she can be what he so desperately needs—a partner, a support system…a wife.
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