Growing up, I remember “that Mom” in our neighborhood. You know who I’m talking about. The entire neighborhood knew the names of all her children—and the dog, too. You knew when it was time for dinner, when it was time to go to somewhere… and you definitely knew when someone had crossed her.
There was one in my neighborhood, and it seemed there was one in all my friends’ neighborhoods, too.
I vowed never to be “that mom.”
Living in the country, though, I must admit I have sometimes heard the echo of my own voice reverberating through the back holler. It’s not a pleasant sound. And I remind myself, “don’t be that Mom.” I learned to whistle loudly enough to get anyone’s attention within a quarter mile. And I installed a bell. But I still found myself calling, occasionally.
But then, texting came to our family.
I’m usually an early adopter, but I didn’t take to texting right away; much to my children’s dismay. They begged and begged and begged. I’m quite sure for some time we were the only family on the planet without a texting plan. It didn’t help that my daughter wracked up a $600 bill the first month she had a cell phone. Fortunately, I didn’t have to pay – her new plan offered a complimentary month of unlimited texting – but I couldn’t imagine why we needed to encourage that.
Eventually, though, the constant badgering wore me down and we got an unlimited family texting plan.
And that’s when the fun started. For me.
Because the deal with the unlimited texting plan is, I get to text my kids. Anytime. And I quickly realized, that comes in quite handy. No more calling everyone for dinner, trying to project my voice through closed doors. No more trips upstairs to tell them to turn down their music, or quit fighting, or wake up…
One simple text takes care of it.
Really. I like it. And the phone bills prove it. I regularly have the highest number of texts on our unlimited plan. Which drives my kids nuts.
Because while they have no problem answering numerous texts from their ever-growing contact list, the best I can get is a “K.”
I’m told I don’t “get it” when it comes to the lingo. For instance, as you probably know, because everyone in the world except me knows, “Y” in text-talk, means “why,” not “yes.” That can lead to misunderstandings.
“R U Coming to get me?”
“BC its cold & rainy.”
“Y. I know.”
My husband is even worse.
“Thanks. <3 U,” I text.
“<3 U? What is that?” he replies.
Like most families, we also had to sort out when texting is appropriate – for the kids. The obvious no-texting-at-the-table policy has been fine-tuned; you also may not leave the table in order to text.
I also had to curtail the after-school texting. As soon as class was dismissed, my son would text “where RU?” And while I wanted to text back, “Where do you think?” I couldn’t. Because I was driving. Of course.
I mean really. In all the years our kids have gone to school, only one has been forgotten. Ever. I don’t need them to text me to remind them that I’m supposed to pick them up.
But I do need to text them.
“Pls bring me a hot cup of tea.”
“I left my book in the car. Pls get it for me.”
“Pls take the dog out.”
And then there are those amazing “Mom moments” when I spot my kid in a crowd across the football stadium and can text, “Who is that girl?” Or, “Pull your pants up. I can see your polka-dot boxers from here.”
At least the message is concealed on a small digital screen, and not broadcast through the neighborhood.