My mother once made a passing comment that her friend and her friend’s daughter talk on the phone every day. The remark, I concluded, was a jab at me for only checking in once a week. “Every day?” I thought to myself. She continued that it would be nice just to hear my voice daily to know that everything is all right. Okay. Fine. Pour on the guilt, Mom.
I tried it. I made time to call every day. I barely lasted a week.
Maybe I’m just a product of the time when calling was too expensive. When I left home – from my college days through many, many years of marriage – I only spoke to my parents on Sundays. So what’s changed? Why do we need to talk every day now?
And, oh, by the way, why can’t she call me?
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This week I saw a funny videoclip on Huffington Post. A guy’s cell phone rings and he sees that MOM is calling. He then wrestles with whether or not to answer and tries to figure out why she might be calling. The various scenarios sound familiar. (Did I forget someone’s birthday? Are you calling with some gossip? Am I in trouble over something?) Even my husband pauses and stares at the phone when HIS mother calls…he always assumes she’s delivering some form of bad news. (Truthfully, more often than not, there is some issue she wants him to deal with.)
Despite the humor of it all, this situation got me wondering…. Why do some people roll their eyes when Mom calls? Do my kids avoid answering the phone when my name pops up on their screens?
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There’s a young woman who posts text conversations with her mother (crazyjewishmom) on Instagram. The mother is direct, rude, and seemingly has no filter between her brain and the keyboard. Here are two examples:
Spawn? I’d never call my kid that. Spanx? My daughter would kill me. (Although, trying to elicit a response with the lure of a trip is a cool ploy!)
What about this next one?
Okay…this…I actually may have done myself….
Oy! Am I being paranoid or do I text my kids too much? Do they roll their eyes when they receive my messages? Do I ramble incessantly…so much so that I am annoying? Am I too critical or judgmental of their lifestyles, activities, choices of friends? Am I crossing lines that I may not even know are there?
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We all know that once a parent, always a parent. And, despite your kids’ ages, it’s virtually impossible to turn off that gene that makes you worried and concerned about their welfare.
But when is it all too much? When do we as parents cross the lines of appropriateness? When are our questions inappropriate? When are our demands excessive? When do we try too hard to be their friends as opposed to their parents?
My son is 26; my daughter-by-marriage is 25; and my daughter is almost 24. They are gainfully employed and are taking good care of themselves in Chicago. They are busy young people! From here on out, I vow NOT to send them more than one text per day or call more than once per week. If they want to text more often or hear my voice more regularly, their phones are in their hands.
(Kids, you know I’m still paying your phone bill, right???)