I love my mom. Getting texts from her throughout the day? Having more of my friends follow her on Instagram than me? Not so much.
I might not like the barrage of texts and the ever-present social media presence, but I’m not alone. If you have a tech savvy mom, you know the fear that accompanies the daunting notification: “Five New Messages from Mom.” We all know what that means.
“Good morning! <3”
“Did you take that defensive driving course yet?”
“Have you gone to the dentist recently?”
“When is your next exam for class?”
“How does this Netflix thing work?”
My heart begins to race and the pressure to respond within minutes is palpable, to avoid the onslaught of “?” texts. It’s inevitable: I’m going to have to tell her that I haven’t taken that defensive driving course yet.
And my teeth – though immaculate – haven’t been poked or prodded by a professional in a long time.
The exam I haven’t studied for is in half an hour.
I changed the Netflix password to avoid getting more Little House on the Prairie recommendations.
Oh, how I wish my mother didn’t know how to text.
On average, I receive and reply to around 20 texts a day from my mom. With friends I can text sporadically throughout the day. But with my mom I have to put a lot of thought into each of my texts. Simply replying with “lol” or “OK” isn’t really an option when your mom asks you if you’ve received your W-2 and have completed your taxes.
It all started with texting, but the smartphone world has grown for my mom. Some time ago my mom left a voicemail on my phone. She asked me what a “me-me” was.
When I called her back to explain it’s pronounced “meme,” it opened a whole new world of opportunities for my mom. She now uses memes on a regular basis – I once got a meme from her comparing the Speaker of the House, John Boehner, to a peanut M&M.
Memes included, I regret having taught my mother how to use a smartphone and its apps. While my sister and I squabble over who should get the new phone upgrade, my mom has already taken it. She’s very particular about her smartphone – it can’t have an overly sensitive screen, and it has to have a great camera. A camera for her new found love of posting selfies and dog pictures on Instagram.
My mom’s latest explorations on her new phone have involved Instagram. My mom’s most recent picture – out of the 1,651 she’s uploaded – has 28 hashtags. Of those pictures, about 90 percent of them are of our dogs. That’s a lot more pictures than my mom has of my sister and I, combined. To add a little salt to the wound, my friends who follow her on Instagram like her pictures more often than mine.
If there are lessons to be learned, here they are: if your mother is still using a flip-phone, don’t encourage her to get a smartphone. Pretend like you’re technologically challenged, and refer mom to a tech-savvy friend. When she asks what a new app is, tell her it’s just a fad and you haven’t even downloaded it. Above all else: don’t let her ever find out what emojis are. Ever.
Even though my mom’s abundant texting and social media presence can be grating at times, one day I didn’t get a text from her. And I kind of missed it.