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They Are Trying Their Best, but I am Still Human

(94 Posts)
DinaLK Fri 07-Jun-19 13:23:44

We have adult sons. Here is what I feel would be an ideal communication:

They call me daily (I'll settle for weekly or even bi-weekly). We talk about "anything." Sometimes it may be 5 minutes, longer if I'm lucky. We close the conversation with "I Love You."

Reality Communication: I call or text them. No return call or text. One day passes, two days pass, three days pass ... I call or text once again thinking maybe they just some how missed the call or didn't see the text. No return call or text. Finally, make contact. They seem annoyed. I feel neglected. Communication consists of mostly silence followed with "good talking with you... love you." (click)

Example exchange:
Me: Hey, how're you doing today?
Him: Good
Me: What cha' up to right now?
Him: Trying to find something for supper. (He pulls out frozen beef and says "oh I can't cook that because it's frozen" and then puts it back in the frig. and goes to find something else to cook)
Me: Oh, I cook beef from it's frozen state quite often. Not a problem. (I say this as calm and non-threatening as possible.. not at all meant as telling him what to do. Just simple conversation - I thought).
Him: Sounding annoyed, he says I know. I'll find something else.

That is only an example of how "communication" goes between us probably most of the time. No matter how hard I try to make sure I am aware of my tone and not come across as "his mother telling him what to do" I just can't seem to get it right. I would love to have an adult relationship with our sons, but I feel they can't stop seeing me as only their mother.

Does this make any sense?

I understand about letting them live their lives. I understand about "cutting apron strings." And I understand that I need to focus on my life and stay-busy.
It's not those things. I just simply would like to have ordinary, calming conversations with our sons. Strengthen and nurture our relationship as adult individuals. Surely that can't be an unrealistic expectation.

Thanks, once again, for reading my "feelings."

Flossieturner Fri 07-Jun-19 13:37:40

My adult DCs and I contact each other a couple of times a month. Mostly by text, very occasionally by phone if we have something specific to say or ask. We meet up every couple of months. If they are busy I don’t expect a reply text immediately. I feel your expectations are unrealistic and you are setting yourself up for disappointment.

I do feel that accepting that we are not a priority in their lives makes for a much more secure and happy relationship.

crazyH Fri 07-Jun-19 13:42:59

Dina, snap !!
I don't call, I don't text. Oh I do text, if it's something important. Face to face conversation takes place about once a fortnight, if I'm lucky. This is not just with my 2 sons. My daughter as well. We are not the 'phoning type'. I suppose it goes back to my childhood....we had no phones. Visiting each other was the norm. So I prefer to visit my family for a chat, but ofcourse, only by invitation.
Since my sons got married , I tend to communicate via the anyway. All the children work 24/7 and I choose not to disturb them. In any case, what's there to talk everyday?
I know my d.i.l talks to her mother daily.......

dragonfly46 Fri 07-Jun-19 13:48:32

I must be lucky as my DS rings at least once a week and more often if he has something to say. My daughter does not ring but she is thrilled when I ring her.
I suppose it is down to temperament and how busy they are.

I do make sure I am always upbeat when we speak no matter how I am feeling.

Eloethan Fri 07-Jun-19 13:54:53

I don't like talking on the phone and neither do my children. We only do so when it is absolutely necessary to communicate immediately. Otherwise we use texts or emails.

I rarely contact my children, or anyone else, just for a "chat". I prefer to do that in person - but I can see that if I lived some distance from my children we would probably have to use the phone more often. We never say "I love you" at the end of conversations or meetings, although I've noticed a lot of people do.

I keep in touch with friends who live far away usually by letter but sometimes by email. I never phone them.

lmm6 Fri 07-Jun-19 13:58:21

Somebody told me if you have 6 children they are all different. I speak to DD about twice a day, to DS once a week. But I don't see much of either of them. It seems to all depend on how things are going in THEIR lives. For example if DD is upset about something I am bombarded with phone calls and texts hoping obviously that I can sort things out (which I usually can't). If everything is going smoothly then this doesn't happen. In my experience few men are communicative and we have to accept it. We are just THERE as far as they're concerned. Don't know many loving ones though I'm sure somebody will tell me theirs are. Very hard to accept when we have given over our lives to them.

Willow500 Fri 07-Jun-19 14:00:44

Very rarely talk to my eldest son on the phone - sometimes in response to several exchanged messages he'll ring saying its easier. We WhatsApp maybe once a week or so and see them perhaps every couple of months (they live 2 hours away). Sometimes several weeks will pass with no communication which is understandable as they all have very busy lives.

My youngest son emigrated to the other side of the world 6 years ago and we have never had a phone call. Very occasionally we Face Time but with the time difference of 12 hours and their hectic life it's very hit and miss. Messages are sometimes not responded to for several days - I sent my DIL a document by e-mail 3 days ago and still don't know if she's seen it. I tend not to worry about it - they know where we are if they did need us but we do miss seeing the GC a bit more regularly. They will be with us at Christmas so we will have a lot of catching up to do!

Gonegirl Fri 07-Jun-19 14:02:31

I text my son on Messenger every morning. I say "Good morning. Weather nice/gloomy here". I add a smile emoji. He texts back some time later. Same thing but about the weather there. That's about it.

Occasionally he will text "Hello" out of the blue. (I text the same thing back)

I'm happy with that. grin

With DD2 however, it's completely different.She often messages me during her lunch break. And I usually get a "Night night. Love you xxxx" at bedtime.

Gonegirl Fri 07-Jun-19 14:04:47

I'm not keen on phone calls. DD usually makes it a video chat, and I have to see un-photogenic (and old) face in the corner of the screen.

Gonegirl Fri 07-Jun-19 14:05:20

(that's mine! Not daughter's! Her's is very nice.

DinaLK Fri 07-Jun-19 14:16:03

Y'all, this group is really helping me think things through about my life. This is my second post and I have been drenched in support and great advice. I really appreciate everyone being so candid about your thoughts on my sharing very personal, and fragile, feelings with family members. So, thank you all so very much for taking time from your precious schedule to type a few words of encouragement for a stranger. smile

annep1 Fri 07-Jun-19 14:31:23

One son rings nearly every day which is lovely but sometimes there is nothing new to say. He often says love you at the end. Other son rings when his wife reminds him. My daughter has no pattern. Could be two weeks or a few days. She doesn't answer all texts. I usually wait for them to ring. But if there's a long gap I will text to make sure they are ok.
They're just living their own lives. Some children are close to their parents and some aren't. You can't make them be different. Sad sometimes I know.

Calendargirl Fri 07-Jun-19 14:50:12

DD has lived in Oz last 20 years, married to an Australian. I phone once a week, we prefer phone calls although people say “oh you must Skype or Facetime I expect”. But very rarely do we do that. Don’t feel the need to “see” each other really. We talk about work, the weather, what the children are doing. If she’s worried or cross about anything, (work, the in-laws, kids not helping round the house) I try to be a listening ear, but very aware I can’t actually do anything. We always finish call saying lots of love, never I love you.
DS lives 10 minutes walk away, we see him at least twice a week when he collects the children after tea.
He said I love you Mum before leaving to go on his honeymoon 16 years ago. Has never said it since, but I know he does. We are not a family who talks about love every verse end.

FlexibleFriend Fri 07-Jun-19 15:15:12

I have 2 sons, I speak to them everyday. The eldest rings me sometimes multiple times a day. The younger one usually speaks face to face each day. I leave it up to them to make contact as they're busier than me. The eldest can be a right pita (pain in the butt) and frequently drives me nuts. He means well but I wish he'd leave me in peace. Everything is always my fault (no it's not) until forcefully told otherwise. He then concedes he's wrong etc but it takes hours. Why can't he see what the rest of us do? We don't have special powers we just don't always look for someone to blame. (Give me strength). My youngest is a man of few words, says what he thinks without blaming anyone and just gets on with life. I'm so glad I don't have 2 like my eldest and I guess if they were both like my youngest I might not appreciate him as much as I do. Who knows. I know they both love me and I'm really not bothered if they say it or not. We all tend to finish calls with see ya later or yeah yeah bugger off. I'm close to both of them, we can and do talk about everything under the sun but I could still throttle my eldest on a regular basis, bless him.

March Fri 07-Jun-19 15:48:58

My husband is not a talker! i do enough talking for both of us
He hates talking on the phone, he never knows what to say and gets awkward.
Having to have a daily forced phone call is his idea of a nightmare.
We live a pretty mundane life so not much to say!

Could this be your son?

I'm also terrible at replying. I'll read a message and think 'I'll reply later...then forget' blush

notanan2 Fri 07-Jun-19 15:53:58

I cant STAND when people call ME for no reason then get annoyed when I have nothing to say to them. Phone calls need purposes. Confirm arrangements or make announcements, fine, but dont phone me with no news/plans and expect me to "perform" grin , I wont. Ill ask you why you called and if its "no reason" then... Letters/emails are for random musings (to me)

knickas63 Fri 07-Jun-19 15:59:41

I speak to all of them most days via messenger, but with DD's we have more in depth conversations, and we often pick up the phones to continue. DS is a bit different. He joins in on Family chat - but no in depth conversations. He speaks more with his father. I see the girls once or twice a week, and the son once a fortnight more or less. I suspect that if he didn't live with his girlfriend it may be even less! I suspect it is just boys/men.

notanan2 Fri 07-Jun-19 16:00:02

The worst is people who initiate the call and ring "for a chat" but have nothing to chat about!! They just say "how are you" and expect me to take the batton & be full of news for them????

M0nica Fri 07-Jun-19 16:55:26

I think expecting to be in contact with your children every day is way over the top and smacks of trying to keep them tied to your apron strings.

Both my children live 100 miles + from us.I speak to them most weeks and otherwise email if necessary or follow them on Facebook. They are now in their late 40s and do not want their parents constantly checking up on them.

As a child from an army family, we always lived miles from family and rarely had a phone. My parents kept in touch with their parents by monthly letters and when my sisters and I were at boarding school we got weekly letters.
When I grew up, was working and then married, I would ring home once a week.

After my mother died, I started ringing my father more frequently, but he firmly put a stop to that and we went back to the weekly pattern. He didn't want us constantly checking up on him.

kittylester Fri 07-Jun-19 17:13:40

We have various WhatsApp Groups, family, separate children with both DH and I and individual one to ones. There is usually something going on somewhere or bits of gossip going around.

I see DD1 most weeks after the school run, DD3 comes about once a fortnight and DD2 comes for a week 3 or 4 times a year. DS1 we see occassionally and DS2 quite often for a wave as he drives his younger son to school past our house.

We meet for lunch sometimes, or to collect or deliver grandchildren for sleepovers. And, when there is an occasion we all get together.

None of it is set in stone. It occurs!

Nansnet Sat 08-Jun-19 08:04:10

I think it depends on the individual, but I do think, generally, daughters are better at keeping in touch than sons. My daughter often texts, and we skype regularly, always finishing off with, 'Love you'. Whereas my son will send the occasional text, usually when he wants something!Lol He rarely says, 'love you', although I know he does (he did on Mother's Day!). Since GD came along, we do make an effort to video call once or twice a week, mainly so I can interact with GD!
My husband doesn't call his mother for months on end, and only then after I've continually reminded him that it's time he called her! Whereas I speak to my father most days, especially since my mum passed away. I must admit though, it's rather difficult to have much to talk about, when we speak so often.
It is nice to speak to DS & DD, but I do realize that they have their own lives, and don't want me calling them everyday, nor would I want to, as we'd have nothing to talk about, and I think they'd get irritated with me!
However, DiL's mum does call Dil everyday, and she often fills me in on bits of news about my son and GD, which, I must admit, slightly irks me!Lol But it's just the way it is, I guess. When my mum was alive, we spoke everyday, and saw each other most days. It's only now, years later, that my husband tells me the daily contact, between mum & I, used to annoy the hell out of him!Lol

Greyduster Sat 08-Jun-19 08:37:15

I don’t like telephone conversations, and would much rather send texts. I find it very odd that I can send texts and WhatsApp messages to my DD and she will not reply for days, or when I remind her that I need a reply! These ‘youngsters’ are bristling with technology. She has the latest phone, wears an Apple watch, has an app for everything under the sun and has no excuse for not knowing I am trying to get in touch with her. I have now resorted to texting my SiL now if I need a prompt reply - he is more forthcoming. My son is a bit more proactive - he will ring for a chat, send WhatsApp messages, photos, jokes. I love them both and know that they love me. They are just made differently.

MiniMoon Sat 08-Jun-19 08:48:58

I see DD and SiL and the grandchildren at least once a week. I am "Granny's taxi to the kayak club on Wednesday evenings for 12 year old granddaughter.
I see my son every Thursday as he continues to come for lunch. He stays a couple of hours and then goes home. Communication with him during the rest of the week is by text message. Sometimes he replies, sometimes not. He has a business to run, so I expect he's very busy.

lemongrove Sat 08-Jun-19 08:55:32

I don’t think there is a ‘norm’ for families keeping in touch as all are so different, and living different lifestyles, some laidback and others stressed and very busy.
All I can say OP is that you do have a relationship with your children, even if it’s not what you would wish for.
Sons are less communicative as a rule than daughters, anyway.
The main thing is, that they do contact you and the fact that they are independent means you did a good job of bringing them up.We wouldn’t want clingy needy AC would we?

TwiceAsNice Sat 08-Jun-19 09:06:32

I am lucky as both daughters live very near and I see them most days sometimes for several hours sometimes just a few minutes. We have a family WhatsApp as well for messages or Ill text them to ask something. Before I moved near them we would ring several times a week and take it in turns to visit every 4-6 weeks. We are very close. One daughter is single the other married. I text my SIL sometimes and get on quite well with him but most communication is through my daughter