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Chappaqua Author Questions 'Mama's Boy' Myth

CHAPPAQUA, N.Y. - Chappaqua mom Kate Stone Lombardi could only stomach so many "man up" commercials before finally taking action.

Growing tired of negative stereotypes about mother/son relationships, Lombardi will be tackling the taboo of mothers' babying their boys March 15 with the release of her new book, "The Mama's Boy Myth: Why Keeping Them Close Makes Them Stronger."

"There was nothing like this out there," Lombardi said. "It was like watching this movie with the wrong soundtrack. Everything I’m seeing had no bearing on reality."

During research for "Mama's Boy," Lombardi surveyed more than 1,200 mothers and 200 sons throughout the country. Despite coming from different economic, racial and ethnic backgrounds, she found many similarities between the mothers.

"One of the most surprising things I found was that so many moms that I interviewed said something along the lines of ‘you have to understand, I’m particularly close to my son,' " Lombardi said. "And it was mother after mother. They’re all very close to their sons, but they think it’s unique. They think they’re the only ones who have this."

As a journalist for The New York Times for more than two decades, Lombardi began to realize there was a story that needed telling.

"That kinda pushed the research of the book a little farther, because then it was like, well, why don’t we talk about it? It’s all like our little secret," Lombardi said. "Even if you think you have a close, healthy relationship with your son, you don’t even wanna talk about it because people are gonna give you flack."

Along with including research from her interviews, Lombardi's own relationship with her 23-year-old son is a central topic in the book.

"He’s proud of the book," she said. "He’s proud that we’re close; he’s fine with it. So he’s been really supportive."

While Lombardi made it clear her book is not "anti-dad," she believes that a mother's love is especially important in today's society.

"We are living in a time where brute, physical strength is not really the way the economy is going," Lombardi said. "We’re in a market where people value communication skills, teamwork. That is the way it is moving."

In reading her book, Lombardi hopes mothers will learn to push back against critics who believe they should not be "coddling" their sons.

"For moms, I would say to really trust your instincts. Because it is a rare mother who believes that her crying three-year-old should ‘man up,’" she said. "To say a three-year-old should man up is pretty ridiculous."

Lombardi will be discussing her book at 7:30 p.m. March 20 at the Chappaqua Library.

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