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How often do you speak to your grown-up children on the phone?

(102 Posts)
vdas Tue 19-Feb-19 13:08:00

I'm feeling really upset and disappointed that my two lovely busy grownup daughters hardly ever phone me. I don't have a problem about phoning them, but you can bet your bottom dollar when I do, at whatever time of day or evening, it's inconvenient because they are driving, cooking, out with girlfriends, helping with homework, etc. I have friends whose daughters phone them every day, or several times a week. I'm interested in what my girls and my grandchildren are doing and I miss them. At the moment I'm feeling not just mildly disappointed, but getting cross. What I would really like to say to them is this letter, below, but maybe it's safer to send it to Gransnet . . . . . . . . ! Any advice, views, gratefully received.

"I need to write this. Life expectancy for women in the UK varies from around 89 in Kensington to 83 in Manchester. I am not planning to move to either of those places so I’m aiming for, say, 85 – another 14 years.

I would appreciate it if you would spend 15 minutes each week talking to me on the phone. Yes I know I can look at Facebook, and get all the information you broadcast to friends, people you met through work, or sat next to once on a train, the jokes, the emojis, the sentimental pictures of kittens, the cartoons featuring Donald Trump, and re-posted requests to help find lost dogs, but it’s not quite the same as a conversation.

A 15 minute phone call each week would add up to 7.58 days of time spent in conversation together between now and when I die. Talking of which, on present showing, it will be like my sister’s guinea pigs all over again. She promised to look after them, but boredom set in quite quickly. When they died (not from neglect – my Mum stepped in and cared for them) my sister failed to notice they were no longer there, for about a fortnight. And so it will be with me. You’ll ring up one day, and someone else will answer my phone, and when you ask to speak to me the answer will be ‘No you can’t, she died, a fortnight ago’.

But going back to those 7.58 days we might spend in conversation together before that happy event occurs, it’s not long is it? About the same amount of time as the week we had camping in the Lake District – your first time under canvas, and a happy wet week of pony trekking, paddling, and cooking outdoors. It went in a flash. It’s about the same length of time you spent being ill with measles. You said that went quickly and you can’t remember anything about it, but I can. Sleepless nights, trying to comfort you and do anything I could to help you feel better. Ditto chickenpox, although maybe 7.58 days is equal to two lots of chickenpox which came and went more quickly. It’s the equivalent of quite a few parents’ evenings, shopping trips, burning midnight oil to sew play costumes because you forgot to mention them until the night before the dress rehearsal.

7.58 days, counted out in hours, adds up to a few year’s worth of taxi service – Brownies, gymnastics, missed the school bus, youth club, sleepovers at Debbie’s, riding lessons. Some of those things were at unsociable hours, but I don’t mind if you ring me at times that suit you.

Yes I know I could ring you. And I do. And your answer machine message is polite and efficient. I do not want to talk to you while you’re driving. Yes I know you’re busy, and I can remember what it was like to have a full time job, teenagers, a house to clean. I also had a Mum with serious health problems, who I saw three or four times a week, took shopping, and took on outings. We enjoyed each other’s company and she said I was her rock – long before Paul Burrell claimed to be one. Thank goodness bloody Facebook hadn’t been invented then, or I might be sitting here wishing I’d spent more time communicating with her instead of remembering the laughs we had together.

Please talk to me more often, or tell me when I can ring you at a time when it isn't intrusive or inconvenient. I really miss you.

B9exchange Tue 19-Feb-19 13:23:01

Not an unreasonable request at all, perhaps a bit long? smile I think it might be better to say this face to face however, assuming you do sometimes meet up to see your grandchildren? I'm guessing your daughter just doesn't realise, it is the same with nearly all children (especially boys), that they think they no longer need their parents after the age of 18 (until they come in handy for babysitting!)

I don't think it does any harm to gently express your need for regular contact to make sure everything is okay. Perhaps try to book a time from one phone call to the next 'when would it be okay for me to call next week, I do so love talking to you....?'

I see DD at least once a week because we do school pickups, not that there is often time to chat. But one DS never rings, never answers the phone, hardly ever responds to emails or texts, just doesn't see the need. Unless he wants something.... grin. See another son once a week again during pickups, and the youngest does actually ring once a fortnight or so.

It is difficult to accept we are not an important part of their lives any more, and trying hard not to seem needy. Do have that conversation, and let us know how it goes? flowers

bikergran Tue 19-Feb-19 13:26:21

Speak to one of my dd every day, the other one maybe once every 10 days/2 weeks but we do txt in between,

bikergran Tue 19-Feb-19 13:28:42

I think sometimes yes they are so very busy and have lots of things going on, I try not to intrude too much, but as I look after gs then have to be in contact most of the time.

MiniMoon Tue 19-Feb-19 13:32:27

My DD just lives five minutes walk away, so I see her regularly. When she lived in Glasgow she phoned me at least twice a week.
My adult son, on the other hand, never phones! He visits for lunch, but never lets me know what time to expect him. This may change soon though, as he has a new enterprise beginning in March, with a new business partner.

kittylester Tue 19-Feb-19 13:34:39

vdas, are you a new poster? If so, welcome!

paddyann Tue 19-Feb-19 13:35:36

Speak to mine at least once a day and they msg me on FB too ,two GC who msg me every day .I know I'm lucky .However I would be happier if my D was fit and well enough to have a decent life even if she ignored me for days or weeks .That would be amazing ,to see her have the life she should have instead of being bedridden.

RosieLeah Tue 19-Feb-19 13:36:50

My children have their own lives, I have mine. I have no wish to be a 'clingy mum', demanding that I am entitled to a share of their time. I'm not really comfortable chatting on the phone anyway. My son always phones at Christmas and birthdays, and sends me a generous present. If I have a problem, I send an e-mail and he always answers promptly. I should add that all my children live and work abroad, so seeing each other in the flesh is not an option.

Urmstongran Tue 19-Feb-19 13:37:01

I think it’s really sad and you are obviously hurting vdas. I think life gets in the way of life sometimes but I’m a big believer in you find time for what’s important to you.

Madgran77 Tue 19-Feb-19 13:39:57

Um I'm not sure why you need the long speech! Why not just Sa you miss them; if you phone then it tends to be at a bad time which you know is a nuisance for them so .....could you either agree a time each week for you to ring that works for them OR could they ring you one a week at a convenient time for a quick chat?

Anja Tue 19-Feb-19 13:47:36

Talk? On the phone? You mean like real words? No chance.

That’s why I’ve set up a WhatsApp Family Group. That works nicely.

27mommy Tue 19-Feb-19 13:59:39

I think you are being a bit unreasonable. To be honest if my mom sent me a message like that about how I don't call enough, I would be even more reluctant to call. The phone works both ways, if you want to talk to them so badly you call. I talk to my mom maybe twice a month on the phone for a few minutes each time. The fact is I'm a busy mom with multiple young kids, if I have time to myself I don't really want to spend it on the phone talking about basically nothing. If there is a problem or I need to tell my mom something then of course I'm going to call. Also don't send that letter, all it is, is a major guilt trip that will just cause more issues.

Teetime Tue 19-Feb-19 14:21:07

I speak to my daughters once a week but sometimes a little exchange on Facebook re a funny photo or something. I see them every few months I would like more but it seems to work for them. My mother blackmailed me all the time about phoning, visiting etc I wouldnt do that to them.

Grandad1943 Tue 19-Feb-19 14:28:02

Anja Quote [Talk? On the phone? You mean like real words? No chance.

That’s why I’ve set up a WhatsApp Family Group. That works nicely.] End Quote

Same here, we have a family WhatsApp group, and it is in use every day. Our three daughters keep us up to date with all that's going on, and the grandchildren use it to let all the family know what they are up too, which includes videos and photos.

A long weekend away break was arranged for all of us the other night, all on WhatsApp without anybody actually phoning anyone else.

Phoning family just for a chat is "old Hat" these days, while instant messaging on WhatsApp has taken over almost everything that needs to be spoken or shared.

luluaugust Tue 19-Feb-19 14:35:15

I could have written your first sentence myself but I wouldn't be sending any letters. Chatting on the phone, landline, is rather an alien thing now everybody communicates on line and a family WhatsApp is a good idea. Letters are also a thing of the past for the young. So if you want to speak to them I guess the onus is on you. I have a set time each week to speak to one DD and son and take pot luck with the other DD.

Anja Tue 19-Feb-19 14:36:28

It’s how my AC communicate. Busy lives Grandad ...I remember what it was like when I was working full time, bringing up a family, running a house, catering for hobbies, etc..

Whatever works best. I got a message yesterday (it’s half term here) saying ‘have I just seen you in town? Fancy a quick coffee.’ That’s fine by me,

Maggiemaybe Tue 19-Feb-19 14:44:58

My lot never ring, unless it’s a quick call to announce they’re going to be late, etc. Same for me to them.

But the difference is possibly that I see them all the time. We text as well, plus like Anja we have a family WhatsApp group, which imho is so much better - we all know what’s going on, and share jokes, views and photos. Even when they were all at university we kept in touch by group emails rather than ‘phoning. Could you set up something like that perhaps?

My children’s partners ring their mothers every day. I honestly don’t know how they all they find the time.

Grandad1943 Tue 19-Feb-19 14:45:30

Anja, most definitely. My wife and I both still work in the business, our three daughters all work full time and the grandchildren are all in education. Therefore, our WhatsApp group is how we all communicate, as anyone can post or respond as and when they have a few minutes.

Way To Go.

Poppyred Tue 19-Feb-19 14:52:34

No your not VDAS, I would post it your daughters. A gentle reminder of how precious a mother’s love is probably just what they need to stop a while and take a breath.

The young have busy lives but a 15 minute chat with Mum once a week is not too much to ask. Wish mine was still around to talk to. Good luck x

stella1949 Tue 19-Feb-19 14:56:51

My son lives near me - I see him a few times a week as I do the school pickups for his children ( single father). He also rings me a few times a week, just to chat.

My daughter lives 1,000km away, works full time, children have a nanny. She is really hard to get hold of, but we keep in touch with Facebook, WhatsApp, and text messages. It's all very brief, but at least the kids talk to us on Skype once a week for a regular chat while they are having their dinner. It's not perfect, but I take what I can get.

In your situation I'd set up WhatsApp and see how you go.

Good luck !

notentirelyallhere Tue 19-Feb-19 14:58:07

It can seem hurtful not hearing regularly from adult children but I do think they have heavy demands on their time these days and extraordinarily busy lives.

I keep busy with my own life and am careful to express delight when I hear from one of our three and I don't expect them to be that interested in my life. I remember how boring I thought my mother and the rest of the family were when I was a young adult!

We have a family group set up on Messenger through Facebook. One of ours set it up. Sometimes it buzzes madly with messages and photos, sometimes it's quiet for days. Sometimes I bleat to my husband that none of them respond to my posts but I don't get offended, they're young and that's how the young often are. And actually it's not necessarily true, it's me!!

I have a friend in her early 40s who has a difficult relationship with her mother. She complains that her mother expects her to do all the phoning and then rudely says 'oh, you've phoned at last' or similar if she (the daughter) does phone. I think it takes tolerance, no expectations and showing love and pleasure in every interaction with them. Find a way OP of treating yourself when you find yourself minding and keep busy!

emmasnan Tue 19-Feb-19 15:09:36

One son lives in the same town, he phones a few times a week whilst walking home from work. I see him every 10 days or so.
The other lives about a 45 minute drive away, he comes over once a week and will sometimes phone in between visits.
We do text or use WhatsApp in between.

BlueBelle Tue 19-Feb-19 15:09:52

Gosh I would not send that long epistle maybe the last two lines but I wouldn’t want to send or receive that a bit vitriolic in my opinion

All adult children are different I have one daughter who rings every day to make sure I m alive and kicking A son who I phone every week at a mutually arranged time on a Sunday morning and a daughter who I just get texts or message s and very rarely phone calls I will get a ‘ you ok? I say yes I m fine how are you and I get ‘fine ta’ .....and that’s it occasionally it’s longer if she’s needs something ???
Don’t let it eat you up

DIL17 Tue 19-Feb-19 15:24:46

We have a family WhatsApp group for this.

I love my family but between work, pick up/ drop off, house stuff and just general life it's normally 9pm before I get to sit down.

Theyre not ignoring you, they're just getting on with their lives.

notanan2 Tue 19-Feb-19 15:29:39

Its not something you can force. Think about it, is a "duty" call because you sent them a request for calls really what you want? I wouldn't want that. I would rather hear from people when they WANT to talk to me, or not at all.