Learning from Mom, the Digital Way

by Emily Jasper on August 3, 2010

Like many Gen Y women, my mother is my best friend. My generation has been considered the victims of helicopter parents, assuming that we can’t function without calling mom or dad for every tiny emergency. While I don’t want my parents to solve my problems for me (and hope they never call my boss), a number of us think it’s perfectly okay to maintain a close relationship with the nest. They’ve been where we’re going, shouldn’t we learn something from them?

I admit that once upon a time, I thought I knew it all and was happy that my mom wasn’t the web-savvy diva I am.

It used to be Gen Y didn’t want our parents using the same tools that we used online. As one of the first groups of students brought into Facebook, we were exited to have a private place that parents couldn’t invade. We never gave them our AIM handles (or made up new ones) so that parents couldn’t see crazy away messages about keggers or bad dates. The only tool we wanted to get parents using was the cell phone, texting us instead of making us -gasp- talk on the phone.

After all of that, by the time I started my first job, I was calling mom at least three times a week. She only checks her email every other day, and I’ve been insisting she needs to upgrade to a smart phone so she can see my emails instantly. I have even given her one of my laptops so that I can teach her how to Skype while I’m at school.

She is a resource in my life, and I want to be as connected to her as possible.

When my mom was in her 20’s, she kept in touch with home through letters and long-distance phone calls. Often, she had to plan around time zones, budgeting for charges and hoping that someone would be home to take the call. There was no calling, texting, or tweeting on a whim to say “Howdy.” If she had questions, she might have had a local friend to ask, but more often than not she figured it out on her own.

The desire to keep learning, even after leaving home, gives me the drive to have more access to my mom. Many of us learned how to walk in heels, put on makeup, and let down boys easily from our moms. Just because I’m not a dependent on her tax returns anymore, it doesn’t mean I can’t keep learning.

Our parents are great resources, and if you’re still fortunate enough to have a mom to go to, she can show you the ropes. She may have been a woman in a male-dominated office, had to balance work and home, and might have experienced the same kinds of sticky situations you run into on a regular basis.

We shouldn’t let others frown upon the desire to be connected to our parents. We’re only following what we were taught: learning from those who have come before us. If you feel like you don’t have access to women role models, don’t overlook your own mother. In fact, take time to learn from all the women in your life, including aunts, sisters, grandmothers, and cousins. You have more access to them today than ever before, so take advantage.

Then share what you know with the women coming behind you.