Are you planning to call your mom on Mother’s Day? What about before or after? Maybe you and mom chat more than once a day, or you’re the once-a-week types. A 2021 CBS News survey found 46% of Americans talk to their mom daily, and according to Psychology Today, hearing your mother’s voice has been proven to bring on all the warm, fuzzy feelings.
“Just making a phone call, if you have a positive experience, can help reduce stress, make you feel connected, and release the hormone oxytocin that promotes feelings of love and safety,” said Kristen Galloway, PhD, a psychologist at Baptist Behavioral Health.
Even though we know close family relationships benefit our mental health, some may worry they talk to their mom too much, or not enough. How do you know if your constant conversations (or lack thereof) are healthy? And what about those who don’t have a great relationship with their mom?
How much is too much?
Great news: there’s no right or wrong number of times per day (or week, month or year) that you should talk to your mother. That magic number is, well, whatever works for the two of you.
“Focus on the intention and value of the relationship and less about the shoulds and shouldn’ts,” Dr. Galloway said. “If it works for you to talk to your mother every day, great! If that would be awkward or uncomfortable, then call or talk less frequently. Texting or group chats may fit better within the family dynamic.”
What if your convos with mom – or the relationship in general – don’t feel quite right?
“If you’re feeling like the relationship is distant, maybe it’s time to make more of an effort to check in. If it’s feeling overwhelming, it may be time to back off and make calls less frequent or minimize the duration. The content of conversations may vary. Some families can talk about any and everything, while other families may exhibit more boundaries or fall somewhere in between. It’s all OK,” said Dr. Galloway.
Other relationships count, too.
Not everyone has a positive bond with their mom, or perhaps their mother has passed or is no longer part of their life. Dr. Galloway said you can still feel the love and stress reduction benefits after a call with someone else you’re close to.
“Family is what we make it, and there’s opportunity to have your needs met in other relationships. It’s being intentional about your connections with others and your goals for them. It’s possible to have relationships with other people that can feel familial. It may not be the same, but we can still reap the benefits of those connections,” she said.
Getting on the same page.
What if you and your mother feel differently about how often you should talk? If she wants you to call more, know it’s possible for both of you to be satisfied about your phone schedules.
“Think about where there are opportunities to meet expectations while also setting boundaries,” said Dr. Galloway. “If one party wants to speak more frequently, maybe you make an effort to speak more often but keep the conversations brief. Or, the person wanting to talk more can be the one more responsible for making the phone calls. If you know your mother or mother figure wants to feel valued in your life, maybe try to be the one to initiate the phone call every once in a while to show you value her, and at the same time set a boundary that you only have a brief amount of time to talk.”
Family relationships can be complex and difficult to navigate. If you need support, Baptist Behavioral Health’s experienced psychologists and counselors can help. Call 904.376.3800 to schedule an appointment.