It’s a question parents of college students have been asking for years: why don’t you call more?
And in this hilarious video, one mom decides to take action by reminding her son of just how instrumental she is to his life.
“Do you remember me?” she asks, waving. “I’m your mommy. I gave birth to you!”
The video was posted in 2015, just one month after her son, Liam, started his freshman year at college and the short rant immediately went viral. Boasting more than one million views on YouTube and 3.5 million views on Facebook, viewers quickly rallied behind mom, Ann Pinto McCarney, a Pennsylvania native, and echoed her frustration.
“A must-see for all parents, hysterial,” wrote one viewer.
“Any mom with a teenage/college age son will get it,” said another.
This isn’t the first time that McCarney has used social media to talk about her family life. A quick review of her YouTube Channel reveals a collection of videos on everything from college road trips to weight loss to teaching her kids to drive.
“I did a lot of videos with my son when we were on a college road trip, and they were pretty funny, because he wanted no parts of the videos,” McCarney told her local NBC affiliate. “As soon as I gave birth and got stretch marks, I figured I had a right to torture him as much as I want.”
And torture she does!
After reminding Liam of who she is – complete with a mention of the C-section she had to endure – she goes on to suggest that maybe it wasn’t personal… maybe he just forgot how to use a phone.
“That’s the way to lay on the guilt trip Annie. You are a riot my friend,” said one Facebook comment.
And as we noted earlier, finding that perfect balance of independence and regular communication is a challenge for many families with kids in college. So much so in fact, Psychology Today published a 3-part series on that very topic.
In College Students Tell Parents How To Communicate With Them, author Pamela Cytrynbaum notes that a “call often, don’t pester” approach is best. Cytrynbaum, a journalist and teacher at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, looked to her students to see if she could discern how much contact was “too much” and the results were interesting, to say the least.
Students adamantly wanted more freedom and more “space,” but also acknowledged a need to feel “included” and connected to the family unit. As Cytrynbaum writes, “I can’t tell you how many times they’ll write all about demands for independence and space and boundaries and how pissed off they are when parents invade or want or ask or call too much. Then they write: call more, send care packages, why don’t you visit, don’t exclude me from family information and decisions.”
This “psychic split” as she calls it, is representative of the conflicting emotions that can surface when young adults go off to college… and it also illustrates the challenges parents can face as they try to help their kids navigate this new chapter of their lives.
Fortunately, there are some simple guidelines that can help. As University of Wisconsin notes in its Letting Go download for parents, you and your child are being pulled between past, present, and future. Learning to recognize those feelings will help you both work through them and redefine your relationship to allow for your child’s new level of independence.
And in case you’re wondering what Liam thought about his mom’s creative guilt trip, McCarney notes on Facebook that Liam knew about the video before she posted it (“…he’s got the best sense of humor!”, she says) and that yes, her son has texted her since her video went public!
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