“Mom, is it ok if I go on to Lauren’s cell phone plan?” This came from my son Micah, through a phone call last week. He had lost his phone and, as he and his wife talked, they realized that he could go on her plan. My immediate reaction was “Sure! That makes complete sense”. And then I hung up the phone and realized that in one more way I am reminded my children are adults.
Cutting the cell phone umbilical cord is a hard thing to do. Just as our babies are attached to the life-giving placenta via an umbilical cord, cell phones connect us to our kids in concrete and life-giving ways. We can text them or phone them at any hour “Hey – how are you? Miss you!” “Hi there! At the wedding. We miss you so much!” “Haven’t heard from you in a while! How’s the job?” Small sound bites but we cling to them because in our busy, over-connected worlds, it’s easy to forget to connect with what really matters.
I do have a theory that cell phone providers feed in to all that we’ve heard about the new adolescence of males stretching into the early thirties. As long as momma is paying for the cell phone that includes unlimited texting and a data plan, it’s hard to “leave and cleave”.
So, when do you cut the cell phone umbilical cord? When does it become time for an “adult child” to branch out on their own and get a new carrier? I’m not sure. Cell phone providers make it difficult. They charge far too much for a single plan, and demand a credit-check from young adults who don’t necessarily have any credit. It can’t be argued that having a family plan is more cost-effective. But when we cut the cord does it help us and our kids? If we cut that cord, will our kids voluntarily contact us instead of doing it through text message induced guilt?
I don’t know the answer to those questions. I know that I felt a certain trauma as I gave the go-ahead to Sprint to take Micah off the account and release his number. The umbilical cord is fully cut. The good news is that it seems to have been tied sufficiently so that there was no resulting blood loss and we seem to be doing absolutely fine.
What’s your experience been? Do your parents still pay for your cell phone? Do you pay for the cell phone that your kids use? Weigh in through the comment section!
- Blog – Helicopter Parent Your Dog, With Pet GPS (technologyreview.com)