Now, where I come from (Peru) that is a compliment. Little by little I came to find out that in America is very close to an insult.
It makes sense now, and it is kind of funny, the looks I got when some people asked me "is your boy a mamma's boy?" and I answer "I hope so...".
Peru, being a matriarchal society, puts a lot of emphasis on respecting your mother, not by an educational institute or the government, but by your family. You ought to not to talk back to your parents, respect the adults, aid the family in whatever way possible and other ways of that kind, and because the raising of the children is mostly done by the mothers (dad's work a lot or not often in town) - so, your pillar is your mother. And I haven't seen anything wrong with that to tell you the truth. Boys don't turn out to be weaker, or less independent, or self-conscious. Even in adulthood they just want to be in contact with their families, mothers, fathers - there is just no other road to follow - even as I am writing this any contraction sounds...weird...
When I asked a friend about the term "mamma's boy" here in America, he said (he was raised by a single mother as well) he even got in a fight in order to prove he wasn't - then what should I expect and do with my little boy!
I want him to grow respectful of his mother as that teaches him how to respect other women (I have seen the lack of that teaching, not pretty at all!). I want him to value his family and not use the situation he is in as an excuse for poor behaviour.
My boy and I are very attached. We do enjoy playing, reading, outing, movies (he is such a performer), relaxing, learning, etc. The mere concept of trying to cut on that so he will become independent is so foreign to me and don't know how to accept that.
I even look at my aunts and uncles - 12 from my mother's side. My grandmother was a single mother, raising all those kids. Up until the day she died, she had at least 1 of her kids by her side. My uncles would call her weekly, the ones in the US would visit her in Peru at twice a year - and she was in no way controlling.
My mom, a single mom most of the time - we cannot go 2 days without calling her, even when we are out of the country - she is not controlling, we just love to talk to her - a mother is suppose to be a place of comfort. The most familiar person in a world we are yet discovering (even as adults) - I think "mamma's boy" should be defined as: a boy who thinks about his mother and respects her.
In many countries around the world, mainly the ones that are not very affluent - the emphasis in family is great, these are matriarchal societies for the most part: Latin America, Thailand, Philippines, Africa, etc. Countries where progress is the main issue - family closeness is a bit difficult to achieve - many times comes as a have to rather than a want to - Japan comes to my mind, most of Europe...
You and I are single mothers, we juggle kids, work, personal life (whenever possible), chores, etc. our kids are a driving force and their well being is a priority to us. Whatever the situation was to bring you to this place of single parenting, has not been pretty - and you made every thing possible for your children not to "see" it as ugly as it was.
Your child is watching you be strong, your child is drawing comfort and stability from you - if custody has been drawn, you probably have a higher percentage of time with the children - so, it is you, regardless if you have a boy or a girl - who will give most of the influence to your kids.
it is not the time to play detachment, I think - it is the time to be there - even when you are exhausted, you will draw strength - you are a mom - trust me, you can.
Your kids will be forever thankful for your efforts (maybe not when they are teenagers - but after college, guaranteed ;) )
Mamma's boys are not less independent than the rest, they not less developed, they are not a statistic number that screams single parent home - they are boys that draw their strength from the closest person to them - you.
A male figure, if the father is not involved, is essential, don't get me wrong - boys and girls needs a GOOD male influence for many, many reasons I will not get into today - but you or your kids are NOT a statistic number if a dad is not present. Don't give up before battling - our kids will adapt, without any excuses I hope - but they need to be taught to overcome their circumstances.
They need to be taught to respect their caregivers, to give to their families, to love back, to be present even when independent.
Teach your kids to see you and to see how hard you press to make things work, that will teach them to value what is important - that is better to just let them fend for themselves.
Love your kids!!!!