If you’re wondering why your man is behaving more like a little boy than like the real man you dream of, you might consider taking a look at how you’re treating him.
Often our very first and most important role model for being a woman is a mother. And whether or not your mom was like this, most mothers take care of other people incredibly well. And that’s good, assuming the mother in question also takes care of herself, rather than sacrificing her own needs for everyone else’s.
However, the only people who should have full-time mothers are full-time children.
When you’re the sexy girlfriend or amazing wife, you should NOT be mothering your man, or else you might find yourself living with a little boy, rather than the grown, competent man you love…
“Hi Claire. I am in the early stages of a relationship with a man who has been a friend for many years. He is working through some issues he’s aware of and has asked me to love him for who he is (easy!), but not to mother him. How does one differentiate between nurturing and mothering? I didn’t grow up with a nurturing mother myself, but one who is very practical, disconnected, etc. We have wonderful communication, but I just felt I would rather have a handle on this myself as much as I can first. Thank you for your insights. I’ve got a lot out of your work and look forward to your guidance here.” – LeighAnn
This is such a great question, LeighAnn, and at the bottom of this post I’m going to invite the community of women I know to help me answer it. But having accidentally mothered my own man for quite a few of the early years of our relationship before finally figuring out what I was doing wrong, I can tell you at least four ways I screwed it up…
Here are four ways women put the stop on their girlfriend potential…
1. The Guessing Game Contestant
Do you find yourself frequently playing a guessing game with your man, saying things like “Are you hungry? Are you in the mood for a chicken sandwich, hm? No? Maybe tomato soup instead? I can make some from scratch if you prefer that to the canned version. Or maybe you’re in the mood for spaghetti?”
Believe me, a man’s not gonna starve. If they need food, they know how to get it.
2. The Super Helper
Are you constantly picking up after him? Do you frequently think of, find and set out things you know he’ll need? Do you regularly go and get him things he could easily get himself?
I know, you want to feel indispensable, or like he needs you. But you’re only allowing him to get lazy and behave as if he weren’t actually capable of doing these things for himself.
3. The Scold
Do you find yourself scolding him for failing to wear a jacket when it’s cold out, or missing a meal? Do you constantly remind him to turn off the TV when he leaves the room, or chastise him for staying out too late?
4. The Manners Corrector
Do you remind him how to behave in public, telling him to put his napkin in his lap, reminding him to say Thank You, or telling him how much of a tip to leave?
Is there a difference between being nurturing and “mothering”?
In an adult relationship, I think this is primarily a matter of scale.
It’s great to do nice things for your man! Of course you care about him and want him to be comfortable and happy. The trick is to remember that he wants that for you, too. So if your relationship feels relatively equal — meaning, he does things that make you feel loved and cared for about as much as you do the same — then you’re probably fine!
LeighAnn, since you didn’t grow up with a nurturing mother, you’ll have to experiment with this one, and your very best bet is to have regular conversations with him about this exact subject to find out how you’re doing.
Take the poll
Okay, ladies, gimme the dirt. I’ve told you MY worst ones, now take the poll and tell me how YOU have mistakenly “mothered” a man…