The Wall Street Journal kicked up a bit of a fuss with last week's “millennials text mommy” article. The gist of the piece, written by millennial Lindsay Gellman, is that our generation doesn’t like to talk on the phone, but will text and Gchat all day long with anyone who wants to reach us. Anyone under 35 knows that this is true. Gellman's story left me with a single question: when the hell are we going to grow up?
I remember a time when being called a “mama’s boy” was an insult. I’d usually hear it after turning my knees into scabs during ill-fated attempts to form a roller-hockey flying V a la The Mighty Ducks. I'd kick off my sticky-wheeled roller blades (or try to — I was usually unable to shed at least one of the liners), and run away from the jeers of peers, and toward the “kiss your Band-Aided boo-boo” affection of my mother. It was not a cool way to handle it. It definitely wasn’t the way a “man” would handle his scrapes.
Constant motherly contact definitely has its downsides. For starters, moms suck at texting. This is as dependable a fact as the sun rising in the east. You might get some laughs from autocorrect while texting with your mom, but you'll also get ocular strain from rolling your eyes.
However, your mom's cringe-worthy texts aren't the best reason to stop texting her. You should care enough to call. Texting is the ramen of communication. It's cheap, it's simple, and it says you can’t afford anything else. The very reason we use slang like “lol,” “wtf,” and “coo” in texts is that texting is for topics so unimportant that we aren't willing to move our thumbs an extra quarter inch to type a word's last “L.”
Don’t tell me you’re too busy to call. The only people who are too busy are people who don’t know how to manage their time (FYI, that phone you're texting on has a planner). Besides, I guarantee that one 10 minute conversation every Sunday will save you more time than sending 20 texts every single day.
Texting is not multitasking, and the dismissal involved is ultimately insulting. How many times do you see “Mom” on the caller ID and think, “not a good time” before turning your attention back to streaming Orange is the New Black? Press pause or call back later. Nothing says, “you’re not as important as what I’m doing” as a text from the person that just ignored your call. Worse, the fact that they can text you at that moment usually means that whatever they’re doing isn’t very important.
I remember my mom talking on the phone with my grandmother while doing the laundry. Both the phone call and the laundry had my mom's full attention. That’s multitasking. That’s caring for others. That’s not being a self-absorbed prick. And that’s just how my mom was, and still is, amazing in every single way. Hold on, I am going to send a text.
Forget everything I wrote. Text your mom until your thumbs bleed and turn to callouses. At least your heart won’t be numb.