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

(103 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.

Esspee Wed 27-Feb-19 08:28:33

Can't remember the last time my offspring actually called on the phone.
It's all WhatsApp and FaceTime these days.
Used to be email and Skype.

jeanie99 Wed 27-Feb-19 01:14:10

It's a difficult problem with grown up adult children.

You can't insist they ring you, just hope when you say how much you miss them and you would really like a phone call at least once a week they would comply but there's no guarantee.

I guess I'm lucky my son FaceTimes very regularly for us to see the grandchildren.
Daughter tends to phone at least once a week and messages and sends photos of the grandchildren regularly.
But then our children don't live nearby so we don't get to see them on a regular basis.

Starlady Sun 24-Feb-19 15:00:18

Itsnotme, is your gs a teenager? He may be going through a phase. Sounds like typical teen behavior to me (sigh). Ok, sometimes it lasts through early adulthood. Chances are, one day he'll feel the need for more contact with you. Patience.

Maine, have you suggested to dd that you try a once-a-month call when you both have time for a more substantial conversation?

Maine52 Sun 24-Feb-19 10:13:18

Yes I understand. My only child / daughter immigrated 7 months ago to Ireland. If they were busy before it is worse now. Their work place is a hit and half drive away, they work larer and there is no luxury if a maid over there. So yes, they are busy but dont it feels like she not only left the country but me as well. I would rather have one quality call a month than a quick chat in the car while driving to fetch her husband. The reception and it always feels like a chore. She sounds rather bored.

HurdyGurdy Sun 24-Feb-19 10:12:37

Never phone calls. In fact if I see one of their names on my phone when it rings, my first thought is "oh god, what's happened".

My daughter lives about a 10 minute drive away, which is also about five minutes walk away from my office. But she works too, and has her daughter to ferry around. So don't often see her.

My oldest son lives in the next town along, and works in the town centre where I live. He works shifts, so don't often see him either.

My youngest son is living the life of Riley in London, and comes home maybe once every couple of months. So we don't see him much either.

But we're all in constant Whatsapp contact, and Facebook etc.

When the youngest comes home for a weekend, my daughter and oldest son make a point of coming for at least part of the weekend so we all catch up and we always go out for at least a lunch or a dinner together.

So talking on the phone - a rare phenomenon. But constantly in touch via other means.

It works for our family, anyway smile

Washerwoman Sun 24-Feb-19 08:15:22

We have a family Whats app group and it pings all the time with chat between our 3 adult DDs and us with updates,funny things and photos of what they are doing on days off and the GC.It's quick ,easy and as they all have busy lives ,and so do we less intrusive. They also ring often on the way home from work,especially the commute is slow,or the bus is late.
I was getting very frustrated with my own brother being a poor communicator regarding caring for our elderly mum and - he was hopeless at ringing to say if he was going /been to see her but my DD suggested What's app and it's much better,and he actually now phones now occasionally too and it's made us feel closer.
I understand completely why you feel hurt and wrote the letter, and hope writing it helped ,but don't think I would send it.I know What's app isn't the same as a conversation,but why not give it a go ?It does keep everyone connected.

nightswimmer Sun 24-Feb-19 04:29:22

WhatsApp seems to work well.

Itsnotme Sun 24-Feb-19 03:23:14

In fact, the only way I can talk to my gs is through snapchat. And the only thing he ever wants is money. So it’s all getting worse. The only time I ever see him is at Christmas, and that’s if I’m lucky !

Itsnotme Sun 24-Feb-19 02:49:47

I think it’s a long ‘needy’ speech. Enough to make them want to run a mile in fact.
My father speaks to his gc occasionally and they only live 5 mins walk away.
Facebook is the way youngsters interact these days, so go with the flow.
Although I can feel your hurt, and understand why you want face to face interaction.
I think invite them round for a meal/ tea or to stay, and make sure you provide what they really like when they see you, ie, cake, favourite tv show, or whatever rocks their boat. Tell them you miss them and would like to see them more often. Good luck.

purplepatch Sat 23-Feb-19 19:08:48

I'm with LuckyGirl on this.

But I have to say I am surprised at this living busy lives these days therefore little time for phone calls comments.

I'm in my 70s now but I lived an equally busy life in my 20s, 30s,40s - children, full time job, voluntary work etc. But not so busy that I couldn't spare time to call my Mum. How the hell can you be too busy to pick up a phone for a few minutes to your Mum?

knickas63 Fri 22-Feb-19 17:00:01

We speak on messenger almost everyday, but often just jokey quips, proper conversation once or twice a week, and we visit or are visited at least once a week. Sometimes, just for half an hour and a cuppa.

Starlady Fri 22-Feb-19 16:01:39

Miepl, are you serious? Your ac tell people you are "dead?" Or are you exaggerating/being sarcastic?

Crazyh, I see dd reasonably often, but I cannot imagine just dropping in on her! She would object to that as much as I would. But I guess some people are more into drop-ins than others. I like to know what's happening in advance, so I can plan my day, Dd's the same way. For us, advance planning is the norm, not the exception. As long as you and yours are happy with what you're doing, that's ok, of course. Glad they appreciate having mum/gm around, and happy to see you respect your older ds' wish to spend the weekends with his core family only.

Ukulele28 Fri 22-Feb-19 11:24:52

Don't think I'd send the letter.
I see my DM once a fortnight, live about 35 miles away and phone couple of times in between. She is and has always been very quick to guilt trip myself and other family members.
My grown up son called her the other day, first call for about 4wks. When he apologised for not calling sooner she replied "and so you should be", then went on to make him feel awful.
I keep in touch with my daughter on messenger, she's just messaged to let me know DGD has buried her gold fish that died. As I look after DGD during the week we see each other almost daily.
DS on the other hand rarely calls, but we all get together most Sundays for Sunday lunch.
Maybe do what others have suggested, a what's app/messenger account. You can then message and face time.

craftyone Fri 22-Feb-19 06:02:21

Don`t send that letter op, younger people often don`t get it, re getting older, isolation and loneliness. Just keep the lines open, e mail so they know you are alive. Your letter makes you sound like a very needy person and that is how your daughters will see it and they will avoid that issue, it drains them of energy and they avoid by no-contact because it makes the problem go away in their eyes

I have 3AC, 2 daughters and a son, one daughter and one son ring every week but I can sometime tell when it is a duty phone call. One dd never rings but it does not mean that they don`t care, just that she is thoughtless, part of a small family and has no clue what being widowed and older means.

So keep the line of communication open, very short e mails, a quick message on her answerphone, then get on with your own life. You are certainly not alone, accept their ways, which are very different to ours and don`t believe that so many people speak regularly with their AC, they are the exception not the norm

Specs Fri 22-Feb-19 02:43:14

WOW OMG this resonates. Love my adult children to bits,always will. In the depth of my emotional heart 💔 I can’t let them go. In my logical, day to day brain it’s different- I rationalise - I’m sensible. But hell I ‘m lonely for my babies . Middle daughter sent card - thank you for giving me the confidence and independence to do what I am doing. 3 adult children, I’ve done my job. But,f———
hell I miss them on a day to day basis. My life is busy but my heart is lonely. My children are successful (and the world doesn’t know but (when depressed) I feel redundant). I love my adult babies to the moon and back..

Thank you vdas for sharing your/my heart. Blessings on you. Xx. Diolch xx 🧩 🌝👍. 💔

IAmWhatIAm Thu 21-Feb-19 21:46:43

OP I would like to congratulate you on such a well articulated, yet heartbreaking, letter.
There have been times over the years when I have neglected my own mother in similar ways, and also my nanna, which I deeply regret. When my nanna was alive I’d feel incredibly guilty that I did not call her more. She was hard of hearing and would get upset on the phone, the calls could last hours, which was lovely if I was able to spare the time, but of course I couldn’t most of the time. I took to writing to her during night shifts at work.
Once my nanna died I learnt from my mistake (though by this time I already seen my mother more frequently) and now I have a good friendship with my mother and she is a massive help to me with my young daughter.
It would break my heart to hear her speak as you have above. I hope you’re daughters are sensitive to your plea to include you in their busy lives. There are members of mine and my daughters family who similarly leave us out, and the rejection feels quite traumatic as you simply cannot insert yourself into someone’s life if they constantly put up walls.
I hope your letter gets a good response, best of luck.

Smileless2012 Thu 21-Feb-19 15:18:58

Hi vdas I hope you feel a little better having got that off your chest. I'm sure there are many here who understand your frustration. I loved your letter but wouldn't recommend sending it in it's present form.

We haven't spoken to our youngest son for 6 years as he cut us out of his and our GC's lives. Our other son lives in Aus. and we face time almost every week. He makes the effort in part I'm sure because of his brother.

Adult children do have very busy lives and I'm sure the majority simply don't realise how much they're missed by their parents.

Bridgeit Thu 21-Feb-19 14:37:22

I agree , Me too -diztyme- I love seeing them etc, but I also love my own space .

ditzyme Thu 21-Feb-19 13:04:40

I'm an unnatural mother. Oh I loved my boys, being an at home mum, playing with them, cuddles, bedtime stories and all that, but as they got older and as I got older I changed. So, the comment from B9exchange, the final para, was so not me. I didn't find it hard to accept I wasn't the centre of their universe any more, I didn't find it hard not to appear needy because I am not a needy person. I was glad when they went off, when they met someone, when they began their own lives. I didn't think of all the hours spent as chauffeur, laundress, housekeeper, housemaid, teacher, nurse. That was part of my job as a mother, and the important word in this sentence is WAS. It's in the past, I;m just happy I brought them up to be responsible, loving, independent, kind, funny, polite individuals who are raising their own children now, not as I would, but I'm sure lots of grandparents think the same.

FlexibleFriend Thu 21-Feb-19 12:36:14

Poppyred Tue 19-Feb-19 19:46:37
Posters on here telling OP how often a week they speak to their children! Not helpful and sound smug! 🙄🙄

No, just answering the original question.
Got nothing to sound smug about, we're just a family that talks a lot and it is what it is. All families are different and some are better at some things than others, it's not a competition. We do what suits us and it would clearly be completely alien to the OP just as writing that letter would be alien to me. In this family we say exactly what we think and don't tip toe around each others feelings. We know we care about each other and if we find something upsetting that's usually because it's true and we hadn't realised we were causing offence, once told we take notice.

Fennel Thu 21-Feb-19 12:07:04

You are lucky, crazyH ! envy.

crazyH Thu 21-Feb-19 11:17:27

I totally agree Monica ...more luck than judgement that all 3 of my children live within a 5 to 6 mile radius.

moggie57 Thu 21-Feb-19 02:24:41

my daughter doesnt call me either. sometimes i get a text. or we talk on facebook. and then i see her at church sundays....while i was recuperating from hosp op ,she came to lunch on sundays. sometimes i pop round to see her. but does she call me .no she does not.. why .?? just her generation gap i suppose.. thats life. lol

M0nica Thu 21-Feb-19 00:25:19

crazyH fine if your grandchildren live anywhere near you, the trouble is you cannot drop in on someone who lives 200 miles away.

crazyH Wed 20-Feb-19 22:43:19

Vedas.....welcome to Gransnet.
Most of us are in a similar position.....adult children who are too "busy". I am not a "phone" person. I prefer to have a "chat " over a cup of tea. I don't wait for my daughter to come to me. So I go there and she's quite happy to see me (90% of the time) ...usually Saturday or Sunday, so I can see the grandkids as well. I do the same with my younger son, but my older son works away a lot and he likes his weekends with his young family. I do go to them. but have to arrange it in advance.