Two months after I graduated high school I moved out of my parents house to start my life and I haven’t lived in the same city since, much to my mom’s dismay.*
Many young people are moving around, living in different cities, traveling abroad and occasionally settling down on the other side of the world than their parents. The ease of travel, online communication and FaceTime makes the distance bearable and sometimes makes it seem like you don’t live a time zone or two away. In reality you may be o.k. with once a week phone calls, random text messages and her comments on your Facebook photos, but your mom misses you.**
She misses giving you hugs and pretending that you are still a child even though you are pushing 30 and possibly have children of your own. She misses giving you advice face-to-face knowing fully that you are not talking to her while also doing work, cruising Instagram or reading the news. She misses baking things that you like and knowing that you will be around to eat them. She misses knowing if you are doing well or not from your facial expressions. And she misses being able to show up unexpectedly to your home and insert herself into your life whether you feel like letting her or not.
Your mom just misses you being around.
So, how do we keep our moms happy while living tens/hundreds/thousands of miles away? Here are some tips to make your mom feel like you are still around, even though you are not.
Let her be the first to know
Have big news in your life? New job? New boyfriend? You’ve decided to take the plunge and buy a wiener dog? Your mom would like to know that information before anyone else – or at least before you post it on Facebook. Don’t let your mom find out about the big things through social media at the same time as your high school English teacher.
Send her snail mail
Emails are nice and convenient, but nothing beats real mail. Send her a card, a printed photo or a box of chocolates…just because.
Don’t forget the special days
Do you know when your parent’s anniversary is? Get that calendar alert in your phone. Also, mother’s day is once a year, so don’t forget to send a card, flowers or a singing telegram.
Ask for her advice
If she can’t physically be in your life, she would at least like to have the opportunity to help form how it turns out. Before you take that new job, say yes to being exclusive with the new boy or purchase the wiener dog, ask your mom what she thinks. If you are having trouble with something, tell her. Let her help you.
Call more often
Some people call their moms plenty, but if you don’t know what she is doing on her next holiday, or what her best friends kids are getting up to these days, its probably time that you schedule in some mom chat time…even if it is just to ask her what’s new and then you sit patiently listening to her talk about the affect her new garden fertilizer is having on the tomatoes.
Talk her through tech
If your mom is having trouble with loading songs on her iPod, talk her through it. Not everything is as intuitive for non-tech savvy generation. Don’t just send her a link to an article explaining how to do it…and for heaven’s sake don’t say “Google it”!***
Those are just a few examples of what can be some ways to connect with your mom while living afar. This is not a recipe for making the sadness totally disappear. Unless you live in the same city as your mom, or make daily trips home to see her – your mom will always miss you.
* Except for a brief two month stay at their home between a year in University and an exchange abroad, which I consider to be an extended visit.)
**This is not to say that your dad doesn’t miss you. Heck, he may miss you more than your mom, but for the purpose of this article, we are talking about moms. Mostly because they are more vocal of their void their children leave in their lives than dads are.
***This is a direct request from my mom. I wasn’t aware that telling her to Google things was so offensive.