“Please Mom, do not put me on a group text!”
That was the latest “corrective” that I was given in a litany of behavior/technical modifications from my boys who I believe I have a fantastic relationship with – except for a few items that apparently are really annoying them.
“Really!” I replied, “I love group texting. It’s efficient. It’s so easy to just get everyone on the same page and make a plan.
“Because, it’s annoying!”
“Ok, well, what else is annoying?” I asked, because I really want to know. (This conversation was happening, by the way, in a group text format because at least I had their attention and we were having a conversation and I wasn’t giving this behavior up yet).
With one on the West Coast in a 60-hour-a-week job plus a three- hour time difference, and the other on the road with his music career – no one is in my time zone anymore. I added, “I don’t want to be annoying, I just want a little communication – you know – a high five from time to time – you don’t have to respond ASAP – but at least we can keep the conversation going through our family texts since we won’t all be together for well – for a long time.”
“(Oops, I shouldn’t have texted that – I sound like I’m guilting them.)”
I decided to text a group survey (because old habits die hard) to a few of my young 20-something girlfriends, nephews, niece, and of course my boys, to find out what else annoys these emerging adults about their Moms whom they do love very much.
And here’s what I learned which may be helpful to all of us (parents and kids alike) who are navigating this next phase:
- Calling their girlfriends to locate or urge the boys to check in. This is a no- no and only to be used in case of emergencies, and “emergency” is not to be loosely defined.
- No more group GUILT texts! Something that goes like this: “We are all going to be at Nana’s for dinner, so glad everyone can make it – but wait we haven’t heard from ….!” This is so not OK on so many levels including the group text format, for starters.
- When they send you a pic of their new beloved, this is not the time to delay in responding no matter how busy you are. I was so busy showing my friends how beautiful my son’s new girlfriend was, I forgot to text him back. A prompt response is essential if you ever want to be asked again. Our feedback still matters.
- You may be “Facebook Friends” with your kids – but they are not really into your comments. Actually NEVER comment on their posts – you have the right to look but do not enter any further into this sacred space.
- Techno-nagging. When they lived at home and you nagged them, they left the room. Now, they live on another continent or in another time zone. Emailing multiple reminders followed by multiple texts – Face it – your kids are avoiding you – give it up.
- Questions that you are not willing to ask face to face and aren’t conversation starters, shouldn’t be texted. Like, “How’s your diet going?” “How do I call an Uber?”
- Duh is Duh. Here is something the kids really don’t love in response to, “Hey Ma, I’m feeling really sick.” Do not respond with “Really you’re sick again. Are you getting good nights sleep? You probably need some homemade chicken soup and vitamin C and a lot of water.” (Duh)
- Here’s a question to never ask before October. “Can we talk about vacation — we need to figure out when we are going to see each other over Christmas break.” (Chances are you are not number one in their vacation plans, especially if they have significant others – you’ll be lucky to get a few days),
- “You sound really tired – are you hung over?”
- Asking your kids for help with work is not always a two way street. Here’s a response I got to my survey: “It’s annoying when you send out group texts to source your blog ideas, MOM!”
- “Your boyfriend sounds great.” (That’s OK.) Here’s what is not OK to ask: “Is he treating you right?” WHAT? Why is that annoying? – but trust me, it is.
- Please don’t ask after every test how it went. If I was proud of it I would tell you!”
- “Rent is almost due.” OMG if you are the kids’ landlord in any capacity – that reminder is doomed. Trust and they will send it.
- Please do not send a text telling me to “leave work on time” to meet up with you – NOPE that is really annoying – if we could we would.
- Banish the voicemails – we aren’t listening.
- Curb the emails – we’ve stopped reading beyond the first sentence.
- “Have you talked to your grandparents lately?” Really? Are you kidding…and thanks for making me feel totally guilty!
- “Have you been eating healthy?” OK, that is just plain annoying.
- “Can you come home to clean out your room and get rid of some stuff?” That is so not something we are signing on for – just sayin!