There are 3 types of people in the world — those who call their mother every single day, those who never do, and those who fall somewhere in-between, like me.

Last Friday I attended a Jazz concert after work. Upon arrival I was seated next to a fashionably dressed woman from the States. It turned out she was one of those chatty folk (unlike me) who readily share details of her life.

Between sets, I heard about her latest travels. She showed off a pair of trendy earrings she had purchased that day. She described an altercation with a bank teller — how she got angry and was frustrated due to language difficulties. She mentioned she had a book published and it turned out the translator was a colleague of mine. She fished for gossip (without success).

It is interesting how when people feel comfortable with you they assume, based on superficial similarities, that you share a similar outlook. This is often not the case. If you met me in person you would notice I don’t freely give away information. Even my closest friends have to dig to find out what is going on in my life.

It’s ironic I am saying this to a group of strangers here on Medium! At any rate, I’m a polite listener most of the time.

But I digress…

How often do you call your mother?

Of all the unsolicited tidbits shared that evening, one struck a chord with me. The woman mentioned several times how for the last 30 years she called her mother twice a day.

I didn’t comment (naturally) but when people tell me that they call their mothers every day I am inclined to be incredulous. What on earth do they find to talk about so often? I call my mother for a catch up every 2–3 weeks. Sometimes more, sometimes less and it is more than adequate.

I sense there are three types of people in the world:

  • Those who call their mother every single day
  • Those who never do.
  • Those who fall somewhere in-between, like me.

Before judging, please note I am on very good terms with my mother. I host her on annual visits to Tokyo. I fly home at least twice a year. I call on birthdays and Mother’s Day etc.

Between social media updates, family group texts and emails we are well connected. I just don’t have the custom of calling frequently — certainly not every day. This is not exclusive to my family. I am not a phone chatty person, or a chatty person in general.

Out of curiosity I goggled how frequently adults (beyond college-aged) should call their parents.

According to half of all Americans, once a week isn’t enough. Nearly half of Americans think an adult child should call their mom at least a few times a week, including nearly a quarter who think they should call their mom daily, according to a news CBS News poll for “Sunday Morning.”

It appears I am in the lower quartile with room for improvement. Sigh.

Still, I’m aghast at the thought of calling home on a daily basis. That feels more like an obligation or a chore than a genuine gesture. Bordering on codependency even.

It depends on the personalities involved, but I have a feeling “never calling home” is something few people would fess up to. Assuming you come from a non-dysfunctional family, it indicates you don’t fit a standard template. But why should “daily calls” be the gold standard held up for how families operate in an idealized world?

Next time I call home I should ask my mother how often she would like me to call. I probably call enough as it is, but I appreciate that she won’t be around forever. At the same time I can also suggest she call me on occasion too.

It requires give and take in families to maintain a healthy relationship.

How about you? How often do you call home? What is the right balance from your perspective? I would love to hear what others think.

Writing at the intersection of mind, spirit and creativity. My secret is to walk 10K daily to focus my mind and relax.
Writing at the intersection of mind, spirit and creativity. My secret is to walk 10K daily to focus my mind and relax.
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