"Yes. Yes. I love you too. Don't worry. Yes, I did my laundry. Yes. OK. I love you. Bye."
We've all heard that fateful mother-to-child phone call on campus, whether we're walking to class or riding public transportation with our peers. They roll their eyes but still usually have a smile on their face, and the call always ends in "I love you, too."
In college, living away from home is either a sweet relief or a constant battle with homesickness. I only live about 25 minutes away from my mom, but every time I go back to my dorm, it's just habit for me to text "here safe" to give her a little peace of mind. Granted, she's a little bit of a helicopter mom, but I know it's only fair to let the woman sleep easy knowing I've made it down the interstate.
She also still texts me things like, "Bring an extra jacket, it's supposed to be chilly out today," but she kind of leaves it up to me when to call her during the week. Sometimes my phone will buzz with a selfie of us and I know she misses me, but other times I call her when I'm lonely and walking to the shuttle, eating dinner alone or just when I need to freak out about how stressed I am. The thing is, I don't usually call my mom because I necessarily want to, but rather, because I feel I have to or because there's something missing in my life that I can't exactly put my finger on. I'll talk to my dad and my boyfriend, but there's more of an urgency with my mom. I get offended if she doesn't answer, and I'm sure she feels the same way, but what is the magic number when you're both trying to live your own lives?
Obviously, everyone has a different relationship with their parents, but I turned to some other students to find out how exactly they find the right time to talk to their mommas.
1. Almost every day.
"I easily call my mom 6-8 times a week. My freshman year, I called her maybe 2-3 times a week, tops, because I was so busy and trying to be independent. But now, as a senior, I feel like I need and want to talk to her more for advice. And also because we get along better now."
— Brianna Olson, University of Nebraska-Omaha
2. Once a week.
"I call my mom at least once a week, sometimes more. We talk about things that are going on in Kearney with me and also things going on in her life back home. We usually talk for about an hour! I have always had a strong relationship with my mom and we have always been very close, and I think college has brought us closer. I consider her a mom, but also one of my best friends, too!"
— Noah Renken, University of Nebraska-Kearney
3. Once a month.
"I probably only call my mom once a month, but we usually text quite a bit. Usually, when we do talk on the phone, we talk for a quite a while to just catch up and everything. Since I've gone to college, a lot has been different. I get along with my mom really well still, and aside from my sister, she's really the only woman I have back home. But she does a lot for me still and buys me things and supports my life decisions. She's the type of mother I want my wife to be because she cares and is still young enough to relate to me and have fun."
— Keegan Holmes, Northwest Missouri State University
4. Regularly, but not constantly.
"I'd say I call my mom every week or two. I tend not to speak to her for a while and then every so often, I'll spill all at once about everything I'd forgotten to update her on, like about class, my friends, nights out, etc. I'd say our relationship is still good and, like being away from anyone for a while, it can make me more appreciative and grateful for her."
— Lizzie McCreadie, University of Glasgow
5. Usually once a week (I'm spotting a trend on this one!)
"I talk to Helen, my mom, about once a week. Usually, I ask her how she is, how work is and any news that's interesting. I'd say our relationship has gotten better because I'm not around all the time anymore so we don't constantly argue."
— Kami Obaro, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
6. As much as possible.
"I talk to my mom every day. Since I have been little, my family has been a very big part of my life and I have always liked it that way. It made me sad that they weren't physically a part of my everyday life, so I try to keep them as involved as possible. We talk about a little of everything, just life as it's happening to each of us. We have a really good relationship and even though the time difference makes it hard, I know I can always call and talk to her."
— Cheyenne Carmona, University of Nebraska-Omaha (all the way from her home in Spain!)
7. Between classes.
"I think I'm a special instance because my mom actually works on my college's campus. I see her every day because I work in her office, and I tell her everything. I love being close with her because a lot of the issues that I'm facing in college are similar to ones that she faced. We became closer my senior year of high school, and then being in college has just brought us even closer."
— Sarah Madvig, Creighton University
8. All. The. Time.
"I talk to my mom literally every day. She's my best friend so we talk about everything and anything. At the end of every day, my mom and I discuss our days full of the good, the bad and the ugly. My mom and I have always been really close because she was a single mother for the most part while I was growing up. I'd say we have only gotten closer as I've grown older because we are able to talk about more adult topics. My mom is an absolute saint and guides me through the maze of adulting."
— Megan DeBoer, University of Nebraska-Omaha
Even after all these nice people spoke with me about their calling home habits, I was still curious about a bigger sample of college students. I decided to take my interview questions to Survey Monkey and ask as many students as I possibly could. Most people still varied about how often they call their moms/parents, but I did see a bit of a majority answering that they talk to them every 1-2 days. So, even though we're big, bad, independent adults, it still feels reassuring to hear from our moms.
Ninety-one percent of my survey sample also said that they talk about classes and school when they call their moms at home, which seems like a big leap from those middle school days when school was just "fine" at the dinner table.
Lastly, I was surprised and happy to see that 64 percent of survey responders also said that their relationships with their moms have improved since they moved to college. To me, this means the distance really does make the heart grow fonder. I feel like I understand my parents better because I have a deeper comprehension of adulthood, responsibilities and relationships.
No matter what, it always makes us feel better to talk to someone, even if sometimes that means bickering about laundry detergent brands. When you can, find a second to call home. Even if you don't want to talk to your family members, you at least get to ask how your dog is doing.
Lead Image Credit: Pexels