Mothers & Sons: Feminism, Masculinity, and the Struggle to Raise Our Sons

By Andrea O'Reilly | Go to book overview

1

WHO ARE WE THIS TIME?

AN EXCERPT FROM AMERICAN MOM

Mary Kay Blakely

With swelling regret and a kind of damp pride, I traveled twenty-five hundred miles to Arizona State University the summer of 1992 with my son Ryan, a high-school wrestler and English-class con man, and left him to fend for himself in the desert. I was excruciatingly aware that by the same time the next year my younger son, Darren, then in the process of shedding his reputation as “the good child” and revealing his wilder self, would begin a similarly expanded independence. The mental countdowns that began on New Year's Day for the past two years-“nine months to go before he leaves home”- werelikereversepregnancies.ThedeepbreathingexercisesIlearnedtwenty years ago in preparation for having a baby came in handy again, during the prolonged psychological contractions of letting my sons go.

Then, as now, wild speculations and vague worries about what to expect invaded my sleep with a barrage of questions: Who is this person coming along next? What kind of mother am I supposed to be now? The questions never stopped coming and the answers, from year to year, were never the same. In the ongoing dialectic of motherhood, opposite realities could be simultaneously true: two decades ago, my sons were the most lovable and stimulating creatures on the planet; they were also the most draining and fractious human beings I'd ever known. Now I didn't want my grown sons, my daily buddies, to leave home; I also couldn't wait for their ravenous

-25-

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Mothers & Sons: Feminism, Masculinity, and the Struggle to Raise Our Sons
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Acknowledgments vii
  • Introduction 1
  • Notes 19
  • Works Cited 20
  • I - Mothering and Motherhood 23
  • 1 - Who Are We This Time? 25
  • 2 - Mothering Sons with Special Needs 42
  • Works Cited 55
  • 3 - Masculinity, Matriarchy, and Myth a Black Feminist Perspective 56
  • Works Cited 69
  • 4 - Mothers, Sons, and the Art of Peacebuilding 71
  • Works Cited 88
  • 5 - In Black and White Anglo-American and African-American Perspectives on Mothers and Sons 91
  • Notes 116
  • Works Cited 117
  • II - Men and Masculinities 119
  • 6 - Swimming Against the Tide Feminists' Accounts of Mothering Sons 121
  • Notes 137
  • 7 - Feminist Academic Mothers' Influences on Their Sons' Masculinity 141
  • Works Cited 155
  • 8 - Lesbians Raising Sons Bringing Up a New Breed of Men 157
  • 9 - Can Boys Grow into Mothers? Maternal Thinking and Fathers' Reflections 163
  • III - Mothers and Sons: Connections and Disconnections 183
  • 10 - Raising Relational Boys 185
  • Notes 215
  • 11 - Attachment and Loss 217
  • Works Cited 233
  • 12 - Mother-Son Relationships in the Shadow of War 235
  • Notes 249
  • Works Cited 250
  • 13 - This is Leave-Taking Mothers, Signatures, and Countermemory 251
  • Notes 263
  • List of Contributors 265
  • Index 271
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