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The Mama's Boy Myth: Why Keeping Our Sons Close Makes Them Stronger

3.65  ·  Rating Details ·  101 Ratings  ·  25 Reviews

A New York Times contributor offers a radical reexamination of a hot-button issue of the mother and son relationship and advocates the end of the "mama's boy" taboo.

New York Times contributor Kate Stone Lombardi unveils the surprisingly close relationship between mothers and sons. Mother after mother confessed to Lombardi that her husband, brothers, and even female f

Hardcover, 336 pages
Published March 15th 2012 by Avery
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Kate Lombardi
Sep 11, 2012 Kate Lombardi rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
Admittedly, I'm a tad biased about this book....
Mar 09, 2013 willaful rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: parents, people interested in gender roles
My husband took the cutest picture of my son and I cuddling together on the couch -- he's reading a Harry Potter book and I'm reading this.

This book makes some wonderful points about the emotional benefits of a strong mother-son relationship, and the sexist historical baggage that can make them more difficult to achieve. It's written in a very engaging way -- I laughed out loud a number of times -- but backs up its points up with current research.
Apr 03, 2012 Marie rated it really liked it

This is SUCH an important and desperately needed book.

New York Times contributor Kate Stone Lombardi makes the fascinating point that of all the possible parent-child relationships (e.g., father-son, father-daughter, mother-daughter), the most circumspect and maligned is that of the mother and son. This was an illuminating beginning to this book.

Close mother-son relationships are abundant, but they are kept in the closet. While fathers are lauded for teach
Jul 09, 2013 Audra rated it liked it
Shelves: parenting
The premise of the book is fabulous, and it is filled with lots of cool research nuggets. I love the way that she differentiates between close relationships and controlling ones, nurturing and smothering. The anecdotal stories begin to get a bit old, and the overall book also becomes repetitive about half-way through, or I would give it more stars. My last complaint is that it seemed the author herself felt that she had to constantly say "but I don't mean in a sexy way" and "clearly sexy relatio ...more
Jun 07, 2012 Sarah rated it it was amazing
I cannot recommend this book more highly for those of us parenting boys. This book is a breath of fresh air and contains good evidence to support the ungendered raising of modern men. Lombardi calls out the dated, homophobic US culture and inspires us to look at our boys differently.
May 24, 2012 Nicole rated it did not like it
I didn't finish this book. It's hard for me to get through all of the psychological mumbo jumbo. Please, for us lay people, simply state the problem and then tell me what to do about it.
Feb 16, 2017 Lisa rated it really liked it
This book is full of facts and statistics making the case for a close relationship between mother's and sons. Since much of our society would have you believe that a mother is to blame for turning boys gay or being sensitive or not being manly enough this book is certainly a great place to get another side to this story. Mother's do not have to push their boys away, afraid of them falling in love with them or messing up their relationships with women later on and to make them strong and masculin ...more
Ary Chest
Sep 27, 2016 Ary Chest rated it really liked it
I wasn't planning to pick up another book, when I found this in my local library. I was just going to return what I had already taken. But, when I saw a book with the title The Mama's Boy Myth, I grabbed it. Why? Because the subject matter hits so close to home and yet is one lots of psychologist / sociologists ignore because it's so against the grain.

Growing up with a super Israeli mother, which means a lot of coddling to death, I was labeled mama's boy because most people didn't understand ho
May 11, 2014 Frrobins rated it really liked it
This book fires back at folks who claim that mother ruin their sons by being active in their lives. Not only did she draw on research showing that sons who have mother who are active in their life do better, she also reversed a lot of what people say negatively against mothers, showing that we don't worry about fathers destroying their daughter's femininity or think incest when a father takes his daughter to a father-daughter dance.

One thing I found extremely interesting was the number of mother
Apr 05, 2012 Daniel rated it it was amazing
This is an important book on a topic about which we talk all too little. Although the title may suggest otherwise and while Lombardi focuses of the mother-son relationship, she makes clear that boys need strong relationships to their fathers as well. So, this book should be read in conjunction with books that consoider a boy's need for a strong paternal bond.

The author goes from her strong relationship to her own son to cite surveys showing that young men who have strong relationships with their
Apr 10, 2013 Qwerty rated it really liked it
I highly recommend this book: thought-provoking; insightful; and highly readable. The old-model of encouraging boys to separate young, to toughen up emotionally, and to go it alone, is simply no longer working. One of my favorite insights is how in patriarchal societies individuals are viewed as strengthened by an association with things male and weakened by an association with things female. This is the best explanation I've read for the treatment of young men and boys who transgress from tradi ...more
May 11, 2012 Meagan rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction

I was torn between rating this 3 or 4 stars. The topic was interesting. The author made her point, although sometimes the anecdotes danced in the realm of ick.

The writing seemed a little drawn out, and some chapters were definitely stronger than others. It is unfortunate that the author has to spell out the difference between the relationships she is writing about and ones in which the mothers truly don't want their sons to grow up.

Nothing here seemed really new. I haven't felt pressure to pus
Deb Young
Jul 06, 2013 Deb Young rated it really liked it
The author presents a lot of thought-provoking research about the gender divide in our country. She defends the role of mothers in the development of healthy well-adjusted men. She defends the idea that a boy can have a close relationship with his mother and still grow to become a strong, independent man. A lot of what she argues seems second nature to me and many of the mothers I know but this may be a indicator that American values and cultural norms are changing, which is a good thing.
Jun 28, 2012 Hannah rated it it was ok
Eh. I don't think I particularly needed permission from society to enjoy hugging my little guy, and like with most books about parenting boys, I found it a little tiring to have to keep tuning out Dad talk. Probably worth a read if you feel pressure from anywhere to toughen up your sons and stop cuddling them, but I'm lucky to live in a son-snuggling bubble and found most of the conclusions to be pretty intuitive and obvious.
Marianne (Mazziebee)
Mar 16, 2012 Marianne (Mazziebee) rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sbc-2012, nonfiction
This book celebrates (and pushes for) close mother son relationships. Males who have strong relationships with their mothers are more successful at school, at work and in romantic relationships. Lombardi, a mother of a son, uses research/literature as well as her own interviews of mothers and sons. As the mom of a bighearted little boy, I found it affirming. LOVED it!
Aug 23, 2013 Heather rated it really liked it
Thought-provoking but I have to agree with Amber that it is a bit more emotional than concrete. I also think there might be a generation gap between the author and I in terms of social expectations about gender.
Jul 14, 2012 Cori rated it liked it
I liked the concepts, but felt it was not well written - too much repetition, chapters seemed disorganized.
Barbara Adde
Nov 24, 2012 Barbara Adde rated it liked it
Some good advice in between the often repetitious complaining about how society is trying to separate mothers and sons.
I'm sure I will remember this book when my son is a teenager.
Jul 13, 2012 Michele rated it did not like it
I thought there would be more stories, anecdotes, interviews and less repetition of the same small studies. Couldn't even finish the 1st chapter.
Jul 02, 2012 Cathy rated it really liked it
Mamas of the world--it is healthy to keep your sons close. The closeness helps create healthly young men.
Laura Tortorelli
Mar 30, 2014 Laura Tortorelli rated it really liked it
Finished this not quite in the nick of time! It's a new and interesting perspective on raising boys.
Sep 20, 2012 Dorota rated it it was ok
This would have been perfectly fine as an essay in a magazine. Too much fluff to fill out a book.
Monique Marquardt
Feb 18, 2015 Monique Marquardt rated it it was ok
Only read 1/2 of. Not really interested.
Aneesah rated it really liked it
Jun 25, 2016
Dawn rated it it was amazing
May 01, 2013
Hclynick rated it really liked it
Mar 01, 2015
Heather Arndt Anderson
Heather Arndt Anderson rated it really liked it
Oct 08, 2012
Marcy rated it it was ok
Jun 27, 2012
Emily rated it really liked it
May 20, 2012
Julia rated it liked it
May 18, 2012
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Kate Stone Lombardi was a regular contributor to The New York Times for 20 years. For seven years, she wrote a popular column, "County Lines" for the paper's regional section. She has written extensively about family life, and her work has also appeared in The Wall Street Journal,, Reader's Digest, and other national publications. She is the winner of six Clarion awards for journalism. T ...more
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