Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
Tell HN: Call Mom
569 points by benatkin on May 10, 2020 | hide | past | favorite | 222 comments
I remembered this post from six years ago, and thought it would be good to have a post like it on HN today. It's especially important to call important people in your life today with the pandemic, both for the caller and the person (or people) being called. It may also be worth setting up a Zoom (or Jitsi Meet, or Google Hangouts, or Facebook, or another group video call service) gathering. I joined one for my little brother's birthday late last month, and it was really good for feeling connected.


Well this thread did not have the comments I expected. At least in my case I have a mom who gave us her all and continues to be a part of my life. I call her pretty frequently but I appreciate having a holiday as an excuse to remind her how much I love and care about her - and how lucky I am to have that. That's what this holiday means to me.

I was 22, that was the last mothers day my mother was alive for. Of course I didn't know at the time, but I didn't call. Im 44 now and its one of my biggest regrets.

Dont be like me. Call her.

I know this wasn't the intent of the thread, and I appreciate what the intent was; but my mother died on Mother's Day about five years ago, and I had totally escaped/forgotten that today was Mother's Day in the United States until I read this thread topic.

I guess due to all the COVID-19 news I somehow escaped the usual media barrage of Mothers' Day fanfare that is usually on the television/radio/net.

While I was never distant with my mother, and we had a friendly/healthy rapport, I still regret not being able to call her now. I called her when I should, and generally treated her well -- but not being able to call and talk to her any day, but most especially today, is still a regret.

Whenever a project goes well, or I unexpectedly did better at something, or something fantastic or terrible happens to me -- there's a moment still , internally, where I think to myself "I can't wait to tell her.", usually followed by sadness during the realization that my idea is fantasy, she's long gone and I had forgotten in that brief part of time.

So, I share your sentiment for those out there that shared the same kind of relationship with their mother that I got to experience -- call your mom. One day you won't have the option to do so, and it's tough once you're unable to fulfill that desire.

Im sorry for your loss, and I can relate to wishing to share things with my Mom, she was a great listener.

I try to explain that to my sons when they ignore their Mom, that one day she won't be there, but its very hard for teens to imagine.

I was 21. My mom was in a permanent state of postoperative delirium and I was nursing her into her last days. It was just the two of us & I wasn't up to the task. I doubt I knew it was Mother's day.

A few weeks earlier: My older siblings and I sent a bright, aware, career budget analyst into cancer surgery. The hospital returned a woman who no longer recognized us or even where she was. We were sent home and some home health aides helped us get her settled & setup care routines.

After some time my sister went back to her life (she & mom didn't get on). Then my brother drove back to his home two states away and it was just me and mom & feeding her & helping to the bathroom & cleaning up when she didn't make it.

Some days or weeks later, I had a phone call w/ mom's sister and that aunt drove down & took over whatever it was I handed to her. As a guy who struggles to keep the dishes washed, I imagine it wasn't great.

The last few months of mom's life proceeded in a more orderly manner. Mom turned 64. I turned 22 & three weeks later she died.

In case anyone is tempted to lionize the kid in the above picture, let me complete the picture. If I could have slipped away and let someone take point, I would have. In this thing, my siblings & I were my dad's kids (tho he was gone & dead, many years). As I was living with mom already, I was the one left holding the colostomy bag.

So I wasn't really responsible but I was lucky. Taking care of an ailing parent for 6 months can be a privilege (as opposed to, say, 6 years). I'm grateful to have escaped the guilt that I suspect my siblings have. I also learned I might not be terrible at other big life challenges, like being a parent (I was anyway but not forever).

However, for anyone beating themselves up this Mother's Day, let it go. We are what we are until we aren't & the weightiest factor that changes that are the circumstances beyond our control.

'Will' is critical but I've found it's a poor tool for making deep, lasting, healthy changes - unless supportive environments are also present.

I think you should be proud of the dignity you gave her. No one can stop death but we can give dignity to people we love or feel gratitude towards, and it sounds like whatever job you did, no matter how good or bad the fact that you were there gave her dignity at the end of her life.

I don't want to lionize you, but I think you shouldn't sell yourself short. You were thrust into an incredibly difficult situation that very few understand and did what you had to do to make the best of it against insurmountable odds. You should be proud in the knowledge that when push comes to shove you can do what's required, that's much more than most can say for themselves.

You did right by her, so hey!

Details aside (because OPSEC) I'll be dealing with something like that for (ideally) years. With luck, perhaps for the rest of my life. It is quite the privilege, as difficult as it may be sometimes. And we have many friends to share the work. Which is fortunate, because I'd otherwise be overwhelmed.

My mom died young almost 17 years ago. I don’t have any regrets about not being close enough to her, I had dinner at my parents’ house once per week and spoke to her frequently.

I wish I would’ve encouraged her more to stop smoking and maybe not go to the crappy suburban hospital she was insisting on going to. That’s probably my only regret with the whole thing.

Glad to hear you were close. Smoking is very hard to quit, it was not your fault.

Are you OK? If you want to talk further I can be available via Discord, Teams, mobile, whatever...

Thank you, you are very kind.

Im doing pretty well and have supportive friends and family.

Are you a counsellor or generally like helping people through issues? I've always felt like I wanted to do that, though I'm not sure I have the right skills.

I'm just some bloke in Australia lol

I just wanted to make sure you had someone, anyone, in case the opposite was true.

Glad you have a support network my friend. Good luck.

Good advice, and please don't be too harsh on yourself for having forgotten to call. She would've forgiven you many times over.

You are right that she would forgive. Yet we can make it harder to forgive ourselves.

I will try to stay conscious of this. Thank you for your kind comment.

Regrets are hard. No one knows how yours feel and getting over them is almost impossible. Sending you some Universal Love

Thank you for your kindness, friendly stranger ^_^

Thank you for sharing this.

I think people who at least had a bearable relationship with their parents can't even imagine the horrors a parent can unleash on their children, so can't imagine a scenario where someone would want to cut contact. They can't conceive of not having a connection with them at all because the parent (or parents) prevented one from developing with their behavior. They don't know the warden-terrorist spectrum of parents.

Some of those people make a friend or two who had a different experience and at least develop a little empathy. I don't expect you to understand, but I hope you can at least understand that many people lashing out in this thread are projecting a diminished form of the horrors done to them. It's not meant to be personal.

My mum passed a few years ago. I miss her deeply, she was just 59 and she missed the chance to meet her first grandchild.

I live in London and she lived in California, we’d speak to each other a few times a week.

Since she left earth and moved to the universe, she’s become a super awesome space mum! I speak to her everyday.

I do miss the hugs, the laughs and life lessons mind you. Her greatest lesson was when she left this world. It taught me a lot about how I go about my life.

So before I sound too cliché, call your mum and tell her you love her, that’s way cooler than the learning the latest tech!

Love you mum!

> Since she left earth and moved to the universe, she’s become a super awesome space mum! I speak to her everyday.

Oh man... right in the feels.

I hope you can your family are doing well over in London.

Thank-you for your kind words.

I'm envious of people who have a kind of "best friend" relationship with their parents. My father, for example, I have almost nothing in common with. He's the political opposite of me, doesn't have any hobbies or share any of the same interests, and doesn't have the same sense of humour, so our conversation always falls flat. I bought him a laptop and introduced him to the internet because I thought he might find some new interests, but it just resulted in him watching radical YouTube videos and ranting about politics even more.

For the people in this thread saying they call their parents every second day, is it because you genuinely like talking to them, or is it more out of a sense of obligation? Do I still have a duty to call my parents multiple times a week, despite us never having anything to talk about?

It shouldn't be a surprise that the same culture that brought us deplatforming and canceling, would bring us cutting out your parents because you disagree with their politics.

Do it for yourself. Your parents are a huge part of your psyche: they made you--100% in a genetic sense, and in most cases they made a lot of your personality traits by the way they raised you. And they made you in their image, because they could only give you what they had. In a sense, making peace with your parents is making peace with yourself. It's not comfortable but many things that are worthwhile aren't.

Maybe set a boundary where you don't talk about politics. Or do talk about politics if you can keep it polite and productive: it's pretty fucked up that so many people just write off people because they hold radical political views. One of the most effective ways to change the political landscape is for people to talk to radicals and explain to them patiently why their views are wrong. And that's most effective when coming from loved ones, I think. Don't try to do it if you can't do it in a healthy way, but it's certainly a worthwhile endeavor if you can do it.

> set a boundary where you don't talk about politics

Underrated piece of advice right there. I see a doctor who I explained this problem to (I have diametrically opposed views from my parents, and feel compelled to un-brainwash them, in spite of the obvious fact that it never works...)

She is not a psychologist or psychiatrist, or GP, for that matter, just someone who sees a lot of people, and her advice for me was "sometimes it's better if you just don't talk about certain things with certain people."

My parents have some stupid-ass opinions, and I'll be the first to tell you! But they worked in health care for 30 years and they respect doctors, so when I told them "it was my doctor's advice that we just don't talk about this stuff anymore" for the third or fourth time, (it took at least that many times for me to be sure they heard it) each time before and after that, we just had better feelings everyone.

I'm not going to say I don't get shitpost emails from my Dad anymore but I try to listen to my doctors, and reinforce the advice, and especially ignoring the messaging that triggers me, rather than repeating myself, and it works! I feel like we have a healthy relationship, and they are not afraid to share real meaningful important advice when I actually may need it. You can be clear about your views without rubbing anyone's noses in it, and you may catch more flies with honey (in spite of what I've often heard to the contrary).

> explain to them patiently why their views are wrong

Good luck with that. Best I think is reasonable to hope for with that much of a gulf is to model the attitudes you believe in, and hope the other person eventually comes around. Don't think anyone with radical views has ever been convinced by someone explaining - calmly or otherwise - why they're wrong.

As to the OP's question of whether he's obligated to talk to his father, with whom he shares no interests and disagrees on strongly-held beliefs, multiple times per week. My answer would be a hard no, but that's far from cutting him out of his life.

I agree with you that it's emotionally beneficial to have a connection with your parents where possible, and that OP could try to have contact with his dad. But forcing it on a very regular basis when it's unpleasant and uncomfortable seems counter-productive.

> Don't think anyone with radical views has ever been convinced by someone explaining - calmly or otherwise - why they're wrong.

Well, I can disprove that: me. I grew up with some pretty homophobic views, and due to some very patient people in my life, I realized I was wrong. And I've had similar conversations with other people and seen their views change over time.

> As to the OP's question of whether he's obligated to talk to his father, with whom he shares no interests and disagrees on strongly-held beliefs, multiple times per week. My answer would be a hard no, but that's far from cutting him out of his life.

I don't think there's any obligation.

> I agree with you that it's emotionally beneficial to have a connection with your parents where possible, and that OP could try to have contact with his dad. But forcing it on a very regular basis when it's unpleasant and uncomfortable seems counter-productive.

There's a range of unpleasantness and discomfort, and I think some level of both is a necessary part of growth. If every conversation turns into a screaming match--sure that's counterproductive. But if you're at a point in your life when you can handle disagreement in a healthy way, disagreement doesn't need to be avoided.

I don't think it's necessarily fair to frame it this way. Disagreements over values have always been a potential flashpoint between parents and children. Especially where the children's values are in fact a reaction to their parents (perceived) bad values.

So it isn't about the latest and greatest techniques of Public discourse. This is has been going on forever.

> I don't think it's necessarily fair to frame it this way. Disagreements over values have always been a potential flashpoint between parents and children. Especially where the children's values are in fact a reaction to their parents (perceived) bad values.

Sure, disagreements over values aren't new. But ostracizing your parents because of those disagreements has certainly increased due to modern political strategy.

Maybe some y'all will hate on me for it (or would, if I got into specifics) but I can find common ground with just about anyone. Although I am very opinionated, I do my best to keep in mind that they're just opinions, and that I don't have the truth.

I don't explain why others are wrong. I just have conversations. And I'm always willing to change my opinion.

As a friend puts it (and in the most extreme cases) "genocide is not an opinion."

As I understand it, the most common reason to cut your parents out of your life for "political differences" is when those "differences" are beliefs of theirs that lead to them considering categories of people that you are or care about to be less-than. That crosses a line from "politics" to "bigotry".

The next major chunk I'm aware of it is correlative rather than causative; certain political stances (ex: conspiratorial bent) seem to correlate with toxic relationships.

So yes, AFAIK, it's better to have a healthy relationship with your parents. But, if they don't want to have a healthy relationship with you - which AFAIK can happen due to "political differences" - gonna be hard to make that happen.

So yes, AFAIK, the culture that brought deplatforming and cancelling also brought cutting out your parents... as a subset of "cutting toxic people out of your life".

Totes agree with the rest of your post tho.

> As I understand it, the most common reason to cut your parents out of your life for "political differences" is when those "differences" are beliefs of theirs that lead to them considering categories of people that you are or care about to be less-than. That crosses a line from "politics" to "bigotry".

Yeah, but bigots are still people. And I have faith in people. Bigots can and do become not-bigots.

And this is why I enjoy Hacker News.

> it's pretty fucked up that so many people just write off people because they hold radical political views.

It's extremely reasonable actually.

I guess it's "extremely reasonable" as long as you're extremely comfortable living in a box, only accepting viewpoints that align with your own, and to hell with everyone, including your family who don't agree with YOU. Because when it comes down to it, it's not about them, it's about you.

We are talking about "radical views" here, not simply "viewpoints that don't align with our own". It's bizarre that you think those are the same.

If you use the most reductive reasoning possible, then sure, I guess it's bizarre.

Nobody is reducing your comments. That is what you wrote.

What's the difference?

I'm happy to continue the conversation, but we shouldn't entertain the rantings of the guy who claims to believe that repeating the basis of his argument back to him is reductive. My Keybase is in the bio, either twitter or [my domain]@gmail.com

Just don't respond to him?

You made your statement here, you can defend your statement here.

You asked the question! If the reason you asked it is because you are genuinely interested in the answer, then you can reach out. No problem otherwise.

I asked a question about something you said in public, and it's a bit odd that you refuse to clarify in public.

You transcend parody: http://wondermark.com/c/2014-09-19-1062sea.png

I seriously doubt that you are unfamiliar with how people respond to sea lions, but you should get used to it. You are not entitled to my or anyone's response.

You're going to get a lot of replies because this is an easy thing to have an opinion about. But the reason it is so is because it's incredibly subjective.

you mention that your father is the polar opposite of you politically. Well, so is my mum and she is my best friend for sure. She's ardently pro-brexit and I think it's stupid, we've even argued about it heatedly. (although often it can be quite "nice" to get an outside opinion, I am very aware of my own bubble and how the world has become this horrible polarising assortment of echo-chambers)

you mention that you have no shared hobbies, but that's not a dealbreaker either, I also don't have any hobbies shared with my mum.

The major difference might be that I have always had a "I trust you more than I trust myself" mentality, and I feel like I can tell her anything and not be judged. She doesn't have to give me solutions to every little problem but she will listen.

The other thing is I generally enjoy being in her presence, yes, she's overly tightly wound, she yells and gets aggravated to an unusually high degree, but she's a decent person and wants everyone to be happy, and that goes a long way.

What I'm trying to convey is that those things you mentioned don't matter as much as you might think they do, what matters is the kind of trust and enjoyment you both get out of each other generally.

I'm very bad at keeping in touch with people so I'm the wrong person to say that society expects you to call your parents. I don't think anyone outside cares if you do or not- it's about you and how much you want them in your life.

> The major difference might be that I have always had a "I trust you more than I trust myself" mentality, and I feel like I can tell her anything and not be judged. She doesn't have to give me solutions to every little problem but she will listen.

When I said "best friend relationship", this is what I was referring to. My real-life best friends don't share all of my interests or politics, so I know that's not the dealbreaker I may have made it out to be in my original post. The difference is that I can share my thoughts and feelings openly with my friends without feeling like they're going to share what I said with other people, or judge me, or take it upon themselves to fix my situation -- and I can't say the same for my parents.

I'm glad you're grateful for and recognise the special relationship you have with your Mother, as I think it's more rare than you may realize.

I don't know if you have a duty or not, that's really not for me to say. What I will say is: don't think you should care for your father just because you get along well. Think about you growing up instead. Did he take care of you? Brought food to the table? Was a reasonably good father? Being your friend was not viewed as a father's role in many of past generation's fathers, and in many cultures in general. If I had nothing to talk about with my father, I'd still call him sometimes and thank him for having been a good one. After all, he could have just shunned all of it and said "Do I still have a duty to take care of my children, despite me not really wanting this burden?" Of, course, I'm saying this to people who had a distant dad, but one who was at least there, and was at least decent and stuck through it. Your upbringing may have been different.

I had a similar relationship with my mother. Political opposites, plus mental illness, yada yada yada. When I came home from college she told me she was done with me and I haven’t seen her in over a decade. It was incredibly hard for me at the time, I was a teenager, but in retrospect it was the best thing she could have done. We were only capable of hurting each other. I don’t believe you owe someone your time because you’re related. I know it’s not a popular opinion, and it wouldn’t have been my choice, but it worked out well long term for my mental health.

I don’t have a best friend relationship with either of my parents so there’s not much to talk about that would genuinely interest both parties (in the topics alone). But I know my parents (especially my mom) are among the few people in the world who genuinely care about me no matter what, so we listen, and we share otherwise boring things like problems at work. It’s partially driven by a sense of obligation, but I think the human connection is worthwhile.

P.S. Talking about politics is a recipe for disaster. There’s always something to disagree on, and in an unrestrained environment like between me and my parents it could easily escalate. I hardly ever came out of such a conversation unscathed.

Wait til you have kids then you'll have something in common. I hardly saw my parents for 15 years, now its weekly.

>Do I still have a duty to call my parents multiple times a week, despite us never having anything to talk about

I don't think it's anyone else's place to decide what your duties are, here. On the one hand, feelings of duty can cause us to try too hard to do something which doesn't bring any goodness to anyone involved. On the other hand, cultivating emotional generosity is often deeply satisfying, and this could be (or not) an opportunity to place someone else happiness above your own interests. Every situation is different.

> Do I still have a duty to call my parents multiple times a week, despite us never having anything to talk about?

No, of course not.

I look at family as its own type of relationship. Like friend or romantic or professional is a type of relationship.

It's often worthwhile to have family that you stick together with. Partly to maintain some connection to where you come from but also because sometimes life throws some real nasty stuff at you, and it's good if someone has your back. I think we humans are wired for this to some extent, and it can often be beneficial.

If so, then it's worth some effort to maintain that family relationship. So I think there's a third option, which is to call them not because you're best buds or because you're supposed to but because you've decided maintaining that family relationship is important to you.

Can you have both a friend relationship and a family relationship with one person? Yes. It's great when people have that. But it's not a given, and if you can't (or don't, or don't yet), that doesn't necessarily prevent the family relationship from being there.

Personally I think calling multiple times a week is probably only natural if you have the friends type of relationship with them. If you don't, I wouldn't feel bad about not forcing it that way.

FWIW my dad and I are also political opposites. While being a gifted physicist, he also believes in some crazy crap like faked moon landings, 9-11 truth, etc.. We don't talk every day, or even every week, but when we meet up for coffee or drinks, our polarized opinions fuel interesting debates. We also both know when to pump the breaks when it seems we reach an impasse.

I don't think most people would describe their relationship with their parents as a "best friend" type relationship. It's not that surprising you don't have much in common with them. How many other friends do you have their age?

If you don't actually enjoy talking to them, I wouldn't frame it as an "obligation" or "duty", but whether you care about them.

Especially as they get older, they may need someone to look out for them. For example, I had to call my parents almost every day for two weeks to convince them to take COVID-19 seriously. Normally I call about once per week.

Also, try putting yourself in their shoes and imagine what it's like to raise a child you love more than anything in the world, and have that child grow apart from you and want nothing to do you with you. I imagine it can be heartbreaking.

> imagine what it's like to raise a child you love more than anything in the world

Not all parents feel like that though. I have very little in common with my children and can't wait to have my own life back. Once they've flown the nest I doubt I'd appreciate them hassling me on Hallmark days.

I’m kind of in the same boat. My parents were very conservative as I was growing up and it resulting in me growing apart from them and not feeling comfortable talking to them.

If you are the one choosing not to have a relationship with someone because of their political opinion you are the one who is wrong.

I agree! My original post was about not having very many things to talk about with my parents, especially if I was to start calling them multiple times per week. I still talk to them, it's just more like once per month.

Worth noting while 40+ countries celebrate Mother’s Day — per country, the holiday’s actual date varies.

See the wiki page for more information: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mother%27s_Day

Also worth noting that today is considered Mother’s Day in ~96 countries based on the entry, making this date the single largest alignment of Mother’s Day celebrations in the world.

The second place goes to March 8th (International Women’s Day) which has 20 countries.

For clarification, “the entry” appears to be the wiki page I linked to. The count of 96 countries appears to come from the list of countries per time of year.

My 40+ countries came from the same page, not sure why it says 40+.

I can relate to some of the grief that people have with mothers that didn't fit the stereotype. I'm one of them: I know mom loves me (or at least I'd like to tell myself that) but she's been abusive to me and my siblings in ways that few can imagine. We've tried our best with interventions, but nothing really helps.

Here's how it's different for me: I'm a practising Muslim and there's strong exhortation in the religion to be kind and respectful to your parents, no matter how they are (e.g. "and to parents, good treatment. Whether one or both of them reach old age [while] with you, say not to them [so much as], "uff," and do not repel them but speak to them a noble word.") Note it doesn't say you have to love them, because you can't really control that. My learned experience (I'm 41 now) has shown me that on the whole, this approach and advice has been immensely helpful. I feel that despite the worse that's been dished out to me and my siblings, by controlling how I choose to react is very empowering. Plus it sets up a good example to our kids (my mom lives with us since my dad passed a few years back) on how to deal with difficult people.

I find most mothers(yes, I am generalizing) manipulative and toxic. I think going through the traumatic process of biological procreation does something to their psyche and damages them forever. Like PTSD. And they don’t get help. They get Mothers Day cards and flowers instead.

Different women deal with it differently. The glorification of motherhood and the enormous pressure on ‘being a good mom’ and creating gods from mere mortals is only making things worse.

Women would benefit enormously physically and mentally and spiritually if..as a society..we stop gaslighting half the human species into believing that what women have to go through physically is ‘normal’ and glorious because honestly that’s the only way they’d continue to keep getting pregnant and having more babies. Of course, physically, hormones also conspire against them creating an addiction with happy chemicals and endorphins and oxytocin and dopamine etc. But that’s nature. But nature doesn’t have Hallmark moments. It’s evolution.

I am not a feminist in the traditional sense. I dont think women are ‘equal’ to men due to evolution. Our collective biological evolution has made the female of our species superior due to their higher ability to perpetuate humanity as a species, but it has also made one gender biologically weak and vulnerable. Fix that. A true feminist would want to fix that and hack biology and evolution so we are truly equal. Everything else is fluff.

Having said all that..it is always a good thing to respect and love your elders and parents. After all, they are you and you are them. If you are your DNA, an unbroken chain of code...your source code must be treasured and thanked. It’s not going to be perfect but it’s key to understanding yourself and especially when you want to replicate that code.

But it doesn’t have to a mass ‘celebration’ of one day in a year that has become a caricature of sorts rather than anything meaningful.

A true feminist would genetically engineer the human species? Why not erase sexes while we're at it?

No. That’s not what I meant. I said that a true feminist would want to fix the biological inequalities and not social inequalities. Hence feminism ..as we know it..is mostly fluff.

Having said that, I am in favour of genetically engineering the human species. If we are to be a space faring species, we will most certainly have to genetically alter the genome.

I don’t know if we can erase sexes. However, there will be a greater degree of feminization. The default gender is female. Y is a ..how you say..I want to call it a mutation.

Patriarchy..as the feminists call it..is just the mutation gone rogue.

And if your mom is toxic and/or abusive and you are not in contact, or you have no mom, or for some other reason you can’t or know better than to call your mom: Don’t call Mom!

Somebody needs to hear this today. :)

Thanks, it does help to hear that.

I needed this.

Thank you.

Why are other people concerned about the relationship dynamics in the families of others that do not affect them?

Won’t people who already want to do this do this without prompting? Will people who don’t want to suddenly change their mind because they were prompted?

What is the intended goal of this post, benatkin? Do you wish for people who don’t want to speak to their mothers to do so anyway, because you told them to do so? Are you worried that people who do wish to do so will forget?

In either case, these sorts of societal nudging always struck me personally as really quite rude, the sort of thing that might warrant a “mind your own mother” sort of reply.

It seems to me that it warrants a reminder that your cultural norms and values and priorities need not be the same cultural norms and values and priorities of those around you, and those others are not wrong for diverging from your own views.

My goal is to give people a nudge in the direction of calling their mothers, or a mother figure in their life. This is actually what I intended by saying "call important people in your life". I didn't intend to imply that everyone's mother has an important role in their life today. I thought it would be a valuable prompting for many people in the tech startup community to receive, because the pandemic is making people feel less connected.

For those on the fence, I would like to nudge some of them, but not all of them, to call at least one mother figure in their life. For those who were going to call a mother figure, but were going to wait until the last moment, I would like them to call earlier. Mother's Day is traditionally celebrated in the morning, after all. I also had in mind people who were going to forget.

My views have been shaped in part by self-help books I've read, as well as what I've learned by taking yoga, improv, and meditation classes. I think it's better for most people to remove any protective shell they have around them, if they can find a safe way to do so. "The Untethered Self" by Michael Singer [1] gave me a lot of insight into it. When I'm aware, I try to let thoughts come and let them pass. I find I have an easier time doing this when I have good habits (including yoga, improv, meditation, running, and music). Sometimes I do build up a shell around myself, but I eventually open back up again.

[1] https://www.amazon.com/Michael-Singer/dp/1572245379

I used to call my family every weekend, since I became a dad we talk 2-3 per week, the newborn has rejuvenated the family relationship and on my side I understand more what being a mum means. My boy is 1 year old and I would never understand some of the things mum did until I saw this little one grow. Call your mom's regardless.

Can you give an example of something you understand better about her behavior?

Can someone please help me understand?

I feel such a strong aversion to acknowledge almost every holiday, especially marketing-driven ones like Mother’s Day. Frankly saying “happy Mother’s Day” feels like I’m defiling myself and mindlessly buying into propaganda.

Isn’t it enough to treat mothers/fathers/etc well on a regular basis? Doesn’t that mean more than a call/card once a year?

I don’t want to be this way. Help me.

I hate hallmark holidays too. So don't buy a card. I don't. But I do take an extra moment to pick up the phone and wish my mother a happy mother's day. Just because it's formal and seems trite doesn't mean I deliberately go the opposite direction. I love my mom and I make sure to communicate that every time we talk, so this is just icing on the cake.

> Frankly saying “happy Mother’s Day” feels like I’m defiling myself and mindlessly buying into propaganda.

It's not about you, it's about her. If your mother would appreciate a call on this day, call her.

The "official" holiday is just an organized opportunity for you to say thanks. Of course, you can send her flowers and call her any day of the year, but most people don't. Having a set date gives you a reason. If she's anything like my mother, she'll be happy you thought of her. It's a gesture, not an announcement that you will from now until the end of times surrender to the marketing of flower shops. It's not about you, it's about her.

Well, while Mother’s Day is extremely commercialized now, that wasn’t the intention behind its creation. From the Wikipedia article:

The modern Mother's Day began in the United States, at the initiative of Anna Jarvis in the early 20th century. The U.S.-derived modern version of Mother's Day has been criticized for having become too commercialized. Founder Jarvis herself regretted this commercialism and expressed views on how that was never her intention.

Although Jarvis was successful in founding Mother's Day, she became resentful of the commercialization of the holiday. By the early 1920s, Hallmark Cards and other companies had started selling Mother's Day cards. Jarvis believed that the companies had misinterpreted and exploited the idea of Mother's Day and that the emphasis of the holiday was on sentiment, not profit. As a result, she organized boycotts of Mother's Day, and threatened to issue lawsuits against the companies involved. Jarvis argued that people should appreciate and honor their mothers through handwritten letters expressing their love and gratitude, instead of buying gifts and pre-made cards.

You can simply ignore the modern version of Mother’s Day and do something more aligned with the original intention.

I frame it like this:

After my mother is gone, and I can't call her and say, "Happy Mother's day, Mom! I know we talked two days ago, but I just wanted to say I love you and appreciate you! Did you have a good brunch?"

how would I feel about not doing that today because of my hate of consumerism? Will I feel really good about myself, that I've lived my values and not bought into to some stupid fake holiday meant to sell greeting cards? Or will I be filled with regret that I didn't take every opportunity to tell the woman who selflessly raised me, who gave up the prime of her life to set me on a course that has led to a lot of happiness and fulfillment, that I love and appreciate her?

When I frame it like that, my values always seem kind of shallow and solipsistic. The point of this isn't for me to feel good about my strong values. It's to let my mother feel good and appreciated for everything she did for me.

Just for context: I text my mom a few times a week and we FaceTime at leat once every two weeks, and I usually let her know how much I appreciate her when we chat, so it's not like I'm using only Mother's Day to express myself.

How does your mother feel about it? I respect your inclination to reject marketing driven social manipulation, but if it's important to your mother, that might be an reason to set aside this viewpoint. You would be doing it for you mom, not for Hallmark.

How does your mom feel about the holiday? I feel much the same way about birthdays, anniversaries, Valentine's Day, etc. I know those I care about will feel some hurt if I don't do the thing, so that's what I base my actions on.

Yeah, I don't get it either. I don't wish my mom on mother's day. (almost stubbornly so, she knows I don't buy into it).

It is kind of sad that I get to see her maybe once a year, due to my visa situation. But, I talk to her almost everyday. We don't talk about much, mostly small talk, and I do try to make her birthday special.

But, yeah, mother's day seems to be more like a threat than a celebration. Like, " Wish your mom and buy our gifts, because we have artificially raised expectations about a completely arbitrary day, and set her up for disappointment in case you don't."

I totally agree. Just talk to them regularly. If anything, just sending a card and calling on their special days is kind of insulting. Like, "the only time I can bear to talk to you, is when society shames me into it."

It's a special day for mothers. Just like your birthday is a special day for you.

You're not supposed to spend any extra money necessarily, you're just supposed to some time today with your mother (and presumably the rest of the family), and maybe think about her a little more than you would any other day.

You're not buying into propaganda. If it makes you feel like that, you're the one imbuing the day with that particular quality.

You may see it this way, but women appreciate you remembering the small stuff. A call doesn't cost you anything, a tiny card costs you $1.98 at Dollar Tree. It's worth it to make your mom feel special for a day no?

Anyone in different time zone that our parents are, how do you effectively deal with it? I have about 10hr time difference and whenever I have free time either they are sleeping or I have to stay till late hours at night. Not great.

10 hours is easy. My brother lives in Europe and calls our parents in Aus every week (9-11 hours difference depending on DST). Usually his evening/their morning, but the reverse works well also. Just message them and set a time in advance.

A lighter comment then the others.

My mom would often drive me and my brother crazy by having views completely opposite to ours. On purpose. To force us to discuss and defend our point.

When we were teens all topics were addressed, she would be anti abortion when we were pro (she was too), against euthanasia when we were for (she was for) etc. Since we had in reality very similar views it of was a heck of a job for her to defend the other perspective.

That was awsome. I almost went to study law (but choose physics) and I am doing the same with my children.

Our discussions were very "latine" as we say in France. Quite quickly we would jump on each other and it seemed that there would be manslaughter. In the middle of that was my father who was emotional as a fish and liked to watch the show.

When I met my future wife, we invited her father home for lunch. I told my mom to not talk about anything controversial so that we look like a normal family. She completely agreed and we settled for art or something.

He came home, everyone was smiling and then my half brained brother (20 something at that time) brought to the table the subject of elections. After some time we were ready to kill each other with my mom. The future father in law quietly said that maybe it is time for him to leave to which we both jumped all in smiles telling that no, sorry, this was just an accident and other chit-chat. Some more cake maybe? What do you think about Picasso?

He much much later told us that he thought he was in a psychiatric ward.

I love my mom and dad, calling them right now!

Have they invented ghost phones yet then? I would totally call my mom if those existed.

I know you jest, but of interests, there's a phonebooth someone set up for folks in Japan who have lost family members in the 2011 tsunami to "call" and "talk" to them.

Scroll down to "Really Long Distance".


Everything we do for the dead is a ritual for the living.

I actually find that a bit, I'm not even sure of the word I'd use, not quite creepy, not quite disturbing, but not something I'd want to do.

I'm not sure if my mom would have liked that much either. She didn't want us focusing on things like that after she was gone. She didn't want to be buried so we wouldn't waste time going to a grave stone.

>Everything we do for the dead is a ritual for the living.

Yup, that it is. To help people come to terms with loss and generally confront the idea of mortality. Personally, i've gone through lots of different feelings towards it over the years. I'm not sure if it's something you ever really deal with, you just learn different ways of thinking about it over the years, and it's not always a steady progression of, feeling bad-being ok or something like that. Sometimes I feel like I dealt with it better when I was younger than I do now.

That's a good tell HN topic.I am from India , and I called my mom in morning.

I literally have been calling my mom every single day for the past 8 years I've been away from home. In India we are very close with our parents, they make a lot of sacrifices to give us a good life. Most kids in India usually call their parents atleast 2 times a week.

I hate collective kumbayas like this. Moms, dads, pets, god, children...birthdays, wedding days, anniversaries, Valentine’s Day...these celebrations are crude and unnecessary. If it’s something or someone one treasures, one ought to keep such celebrations about that private.

Isn’t anything sacred anymore that it can’t be made into a hallmark card moment or be up on social media?

There are so many people out there..And everyone’s life circumstances are different. I find this..how you say..not socially classy and utterly clueless.

Keep it private. No one cares. Or rather..no one should care. That is true freedom.

>Keep it private. No one cares. Or rather..no one should care. That is true freedom.


I dare say I find it offensive that the post is asking me to do something that might very well be irrelevant, hurtful, useless, and all in all detrimental to my mental well being. I don't know why people generalize things like this.

fair enough.

I love my mom! Called her this morning :)

Thanks! I had almost forgotten.

I'm sad. I cannot understand how the question is reduced to a call on one day over the year! Cannot say more!

It's not "call her only today", it's "call her today".

"You don't have to be famous; You just have to make your Mother proud of you" --Meryl Streep

I'm fortunate enough to be a student and have a mom to go home to between semesters. Call her :)

If this day really mattered to someone, they wouldn't need a post to tell them to do so.

Check first if it applies for your mom. Many but not all countries celebrate it today. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mother%27s_Day

If you are on the phone already when you realize it doesn't apply, just say "Sorry mom, you are not eligible today" and hang up immediately.

And forget her next mother day.

You can call your mom even if it’s not a special occasion :)

I would think someone would know if their mom celebrates mother's day unless they have known them for less than a year.

Last month my wife's family did Zoom calls on various birthdays in the family (I think there were 3 of them). By this point they're Zoomed-out and they just did individual calls to her mom.

Usually, I'll call my mom weekly 3-4 times. Even if we live separately we kinda feel like living together by sharing the events.

Did, five minutes before seeing the post, but thank you for the thought.

Thank you for reminding me

Is there an Uber for Mother's Day app yet?

Favor? haha

If your mother is a kind person whom you love, then by all means reach out and tell her.

To others like me who may have a gaslighting c* * * of a mother, don't be bullied by societal norms into feeling like a bad person just because you don't want to connect with an abuser. It's perfectly fine to not call your mother on mother's day if you don't have the kind of relationship that will benefit from it.

Yeah, the cultural presumption seems to be that if you don't call your mother you are a callous bastard who does not care about the person who brought you into this world and nurtured you.

The sad fact is that since that relationship is so special, the callous negligence and other pathologies parted by the mother into the relationship are so many times more destructive.

And this is not about the stereotypical sitcom mom who is overbearing or judgemental.

Think about substance abuse, suicide attempts and the like.

Nothing gives you a jolt like finding your mom in her bed OD's with sleeping pills and plastic bags wrapped under her bottom not to soil the sheets. Even though if the mom survives something will be irreparably broken inside the child.

Don't push people about their relationships to their parents. There are lots of sad, sad stories there.

> Yeah, the cultural presumption seems to be that if you don't call your mother you are a callous bastard who does not care about the person who brought you into this world and nurtured you.

I don't think this is true. The cultural presumption is that you love your mom and that she was basically a pretty good mom. In that assumed case, not calling makes you a callous bastard. And of course there are people who will badger you to reconcile with estranged parents, but are they the majority? Most people understand that abusive or otherwise shitty parents exist, they just (correctly) assume that it's not the default.

Herein lies the basic problem with assuming.

Are you arguing that generalizations shouldn't exist, or... ?

No. I’m not arguing anything. I’m cautioning the making of assumptions-even (maybe: ‘especially’?) in the face of cultural normatives.

Edit: Expanding some, since brevity gives too much room for ambiguity: cultural norms for some can be a point of pain for others because of forces we as observers to the experiences of others may never have to contend with; assumptions in the face of these norms can sometimes box a person into the same feelings of anxiety and distress because of said norms and how they have affected such individual in ways unique to them that we could be completely blind to. Familial relations are sometimes an especially sore area in this specific regard.

It’s was a cautionary remark, not an assertive one. Looking back on the post, maybe I should have said “Herein lies the basic problem with assuming of such intimate matters”.

This is an argument. How is it not? But I'm not sure what you're arguing for or even against at this point.

I articulated myself as clearly, intentionally and directly as I could on the topic. Not sure how else I can put it. Sorry.

The other option is that shitty and abusive parents are the default.

And the heart goes out to those bearers of hard stories.

May healing find them.

I don't see why being addicted or suicidal makes someone unworthy of love.

That's something you would say in a sermon to a crowd.

Not to an addict and certainly not to their loved ones. See, you are on the one hand saying the addict is fine doing whatever it is they are, and on the other hand you are shaming the loved ones of the addict into a position of never giving up on him/her.

All of that will just make things worse for all parties. You see, the addict, after a point, does not really want love anymore. They want the substance. They may use love as a tool to live and continue their addiction but they are not in a condition to provide a reciprocal relationship. They have become, in a way, narsistic in the sense that other people are above all enabling agents to get their high, and beyond this utility are worthless to them.

So you see how just being ready to love another through whatever is not actually a great plan when heavy addiction steps into play?

First rule of all human relationships: You are not responsible for another person - their happiness, their addiction or what ever.

Some relationships can be actively harmful. Especially with addictive substances the other party gets easily damaged through co-dependency.

The problem is you assuming love is a reciprocal relationship. If you don't want to love someone, fine, by all means don't. But please don't go about preaching addicts don't need love

The core of my thesis is - and most professionals likely will agree with me on this - you should not waste your life away because of an addict. Both of you have only one life. If the addict is on a path to waste theirs, do not throw two lives away.

I understand why you would find this callous. On the other hand, knowing far too well what I'm talking about, I find your approach potentially very harmful.

It sounds like you think I'm coming to this from a moral or religious high ground. I'm not. I have far better understanding of relationship dynamics with an addict than I would ever want.

"But please don't go about preaching addicts don't need love"

Of course not, that would be de-humanizing. But similarly no single person should feel obligated to love an addict.

Let me explain where I'm coming from. My mom was a heavy drinker and that affected all aspects of her life for decades. My father spent most of his good years living with her, but after my mother died, I realized staying with my mom had been a mistake from his part.

His mood brightened remarkably and he found a new person to share his life with. Sadly, he died in a few years as well.

Had he not spent his life with my mom I'm fairly sure he would have been a lot happier. I mean, sure, it's a roll of the die but surely staying with my mom was close to snake-eyes in terms of what sort of relationship you can end in.

Especially in the later years my moms behaviour changed and she turned partly a different person.

You love who you choose to love. But you are not obliged to love anybody and most certainly you are not responsible for anyone elses happiness.

Nobody should feel obligated to show love to anyone else except your child, and should be ok to take distance and gauge their options - especially with an addict.

Addicts can recover, and sometimes cannot.

You can't force an addict to recover. And more importantly, you can't heal an addict. The addict needs to take the responsibility for their own condition.

Taking distance can be part of the addicts journey to a non-addicted way of living. But you can't push nor pull them.

Perhaps "call the person who has been the best mother to you"

I like this comment very much. I don’t have such a person, but if you do, call that person. Embrace those whom treat you with respect, care, and compassion.

I'm a dude in my 30s but if you ever want hot soup when backpacking through southern India, come over. I'm @stonecharioteer everywhere. Mom will make you a bowl and ask you to comb your hair for the full experience.

Thank you, I will bring an appropriate gift to show my appreciation.

FWIW, I think your life would be vastly improved if you can turn the anger evident in your post into sadness for whatever caused her to act like that in the first place. It’s worked for me. Pity feels like a healthier emotion to experience than anger or bitterness.

I’m sure you are trying to be helpful so I’m not trying to criticize you personally or devalue what you are sharing! More of a general gripe for me:

Anger and sadness are both very helpful, understandable and ok emotions. There is nothing wrong or dysfunctional about either of those feelings.

I think the cultural norm that certain emotions are “bad” and that we can “change” our emotions is extremely destructive for many people.

We can control (and our responsible for) our thoughts and actions.

I don’t think people can actually control their emotions however and making people feel ashamed or unhealthy because of their emotional reactions is unfair. This is actually one of the symptoms of abusive parent-child relationships that I think many people have unavoidably internalized.

A lot of people have experienced serious emotional trauma due to cultural norms and an unhealthy value system about how parents treat their children (as well as by being parented by traumatized people who have grown up in similar circumstances)

There are a lot of good books about it if you search for Complex PTSD. One that I think covers a lot of information holistically is “Healing Developmental Trauma” by Laurence Heller and Aline LaPierre

thank you for the recommendations.

I see people downvoting so I just wanted to say, as a person with anger towards my dad, this makes some sense to me. He was a terrible father, and surely a large part of that is due to something like poor mental health from a rough upbringing. It really sucks that my siblings and I suffered from it, but I can also sympathize with what he went through.

It's still really tough to know where to go from here. I feel like I've learned from his mistakes, but is the same true for him? Why hasn't he tried to change, is it the society/culture he grew up in? How much is his fault? Still figuring out how to deal with these questions. But I can be angry, and have pity too.

I was in the same position. Asking the same questions. Is it his fault? It's probably not. Whatever he did has stopped me from seeing him as a parent. I think of my parents as team members I can't fire yet. They might be lazy, unskilled, or unwilling to change. But attacking them won't solve any problems. What you need to do is get into their head. Act, think, and see the same way they do. What would I want others to do that will get me motivated to change?

I give them targetted praise whenever they do something I want. Give treats for wrong decisions but drilling what they did was wrong. Make them feel important and special. Let them feel guilty for not being able to live up to the expectations you build around them. Let them see the perfect human you see them as. Use metrics and numbers that are easy to parse, use social signaling. Instead of giving your opinion about something, point towards someone they might be interested to hear about or care to change them.

Say you love them the way they are but point towards changing societal expectations.

Again, you aren't the bad guy who wants them to change. It's the society or someone else. It is easier to get through the head.

Push them into groups with opposite view to them. People behave differently under group pressure compared to when you are talking to them one on one.

Whenever they come across material that re-enforces their existing belief, try to distract them. Change their environment. Offer to clean their room and remove harmful material. Change places that remind them of their previously held beliefs.

If your old man did you wrong Well maybe his old man did him wrong -mewithoutyou, Allah Allah Allah

Never thought I’d see a mewithoutyou lyric on HN. This community never ceases to surprise me! (:

The Fox, the Crow and the Cookie is still one of my favorite songs.

Or maybe they've learned to channel that anger in some positive way.

Not everything that works for oneself will "vastly improve" the lives of others.

Didn't seem angry or bitter. Just honest.

Calling someone a "gaslighting c*" didn't seem angry to you?

Not necessarily. Gaslighting can simply be descriptive, and different subcultures associate different emotions and intensity with c*, particularly outside of the US. (But also inside the US.). For example, it can convey dismissiveness, not anger.

Akin to how “bless your heart” can (operative word: can) take on two VERY different meanings depending on what part of the US it’s being uttered in.

I realize not everyone will agree, but I like to think of this as more of a symbolic thing; it doesn't need to be a biological, adoptive, step, foster mother, it can just be someone who you've really just appreciate as being warm and supportive over the years.

Sorry to hear that you've had that kind of experience!

Very much agree. I severed ties with my "parents" back in December after realizing I'm old enough and successful enough that I don't have to put up with their narcissism and abuse anymore. It's nice to not have to pretend anymore.

100%, thank you for voicing this.

Mine died a few years ago and my life is better for it.

> It's especially important to call important people in your life today

Right - boggles my mind that people think they should be telling anyone to call anyone on a site like this.

(Not a comment on my mother - just the idea that everyone has the same relationships as you do and should do things the way you do them.)

>boggles my mind that people think they should be telling anyone to call anyone on a site like this.

It's a nice reminder, don't see the OP post as "reconnect with your abusive parent" more like "today might be a good day to call your mother"

Maybe I'm sensitive, but it comes across as judgemental. 'Call mom' - I can almost feel the condescending do-gooder smile from here.

I have one of those hurtful abusive mothers and I can see that OP was just being nice, repaying a kindness he felt 6yrs ago like he said. You are being sensitive of you can't see that.

Totally see where you're coming from, but I do think it's a nice reminder during quarantine. Time is passing so weirdly now, it's hard for me to keep track of what month we're in, let alone the date.

To me, it’s just recognition that the type of people who frequent this site aren’t always good at remembering this sort of thing. It doesn’t apply to everyone, but I’m sure there are people who saw this and appreciated it.

>"today might be a good day to call your mother"

The OP doesn't qualify their premise with 'might'. ('May' only applied to video chat, specifically). The title is imperative, and there is a general claim of importance.

I'm not bothered personally, I just agree with chriseatons assessment of the tone.

The pedantry on this site sometimes is insufferable.

It's a little reminder for the oblivious and workaholics among us. Nobody is suggesting anyone call their mom if they hate her guts.

In this case, looking at the actual words can help one to understand why other people interpreted the statement differently than they did.

Is it a cultural thing Americans are so detached? Its usual here to call your family 2 to 4 times a week

My parents are east European immigrants to the US. They’ve had a hard life, never adjusted well. Calls to mom last about 20 seconds before she hands the phone off to my father, who will recount the mistakes and sufferings of his life.

They’re broken. I call every other week but sometimes if I call more they’ll not answer the phone. I call, either way. There won’t be anything more, previous efforts to repair or resolve or lift any of this have always returned things to the current condition. It always rests here.

So I’ll call, but yes, this is how it is. I wish they had considered going back decades ago. Or hadn’t crumpled under the strain of their efforts.

These holidays are a reminder of what we can’t have.

> I wish they had considered going back decades ago

Considered what? You've said they had a hard life.

Edit: Oh, I misread that (parsed it as "considered, going back decades ago", thinking you were implying you wish they had considered the effect of their actions). Yeah, I think for many older immigrants who were forced to emigrate from their homeland because of warfare or economic collapse, going back makes sense if conditions have improved.

They don't want to go back now? Or too old?

They're too old now, health issues keep them house bound.

There was a time where they had the money and vitality to tackle the things that kept them out of their comfort zone. They were forced out of their country by a military invasion, and so in their mind, the country as it turned out wasn't theirs anymore either.

But they meet up with others who left under the same circumstances.. there's a shared culture, but it's all stopped in time. Frozen.

Considered going back to Eastern Europe I think.

> Its usual here to call your family 2 to 4 times a week

Yes like many things it varies culturally.

Calling family 2-4 times a week seems extraordinarily excessive to me. What possibly changes that often that you have anything to tell them about on a call that frequent?

I don't think I call my wife that often when I'm working away.

And I'm British so it's not just Americans.

How’s it going? Everything good? Health’s good? Sleeping well? Wearing masks when going out (recent addition)? Done in three to five minutes if there’s nothing else to complain about.

I don’t call 4 times a week, but twice aren’t awkward, and once is a given.

Yes, short talks (well now that there are 2 toddlers, video calls can take half an hour while they talk to them)

Out of all the ways that we are learning about cultural/personal differences in this thread, this is the one that surprised me the most.

If you're away from home on work, you only call your wife 2-4 times a week? Note I'm not saying this is "wrong" or something, I am just very curious about it. I can't imagine not calling at least once a day.

I noted that you referred to the idea of "what could have changed that much, that often," but for me the purpose of these calls is not to exchange information but instead to express affection, feel affection in return, and to simply be in the other's presence (if virtually) for a short time. Mainly I just plumb miss her. This also holds true for the reasons I call my parents, but I tend to only do that once per week.

Having typed out that mini-screed, maybe you were just making a point, in which case carry on.

> What possibly changes that often that you have anything to tell them about on a call that frequent?

When the cadence is so high I don't think it's so much about getting updated information as much as just seeking their company ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

eh it's not so much content than it is intention: showing you are still prioritizing the other, that you're thinking about the other, etc. sort of how like some people like giving and receiving lots of small gifts i guess.

I dont wanna be rude. But if you cant find words to talk for 2 minutes every 2 days, you are very disconnected.

Maybe we're so connected that our lives and relationship run smoothly without constantly checking on each other?

I'd be worried if my wife expected me to call more frequently than that because it would imply our relationship wasn't as solid as I thought it was. Also British.

To me a strong relationship is one that lasts across time and physical distance without constant attention. Obviously within limits. But if my wife expected me to call her everyday, or vice versa, I could only assume that there was an insecurity/neediness that hadn't been appropriately handled.

wtf is the point of a two-minute call? text me

Maybe the other person enjoys being on the phone and hearing your voice.

phone calls (POTS voice) are better than text, thats not only my opinion, but also for those on the receiving end of the call

The point is showing you're there for the person, giving them the opportunity to mention something that's on their mind. It's about showing a special sense of availability, contrary to the texting availability that you provide to anyone else on God's green earth that may have your phone number saved or written down somewhere.

texting isn't ideal because you might get a response in an hour, or two days, or the next minute.

there's a lot of value in being fully present for a social interaction: when you're on the phone and paying attention, it's typically a lot more engaging than the other person watching a video, texting 4 other people at the same time, or whatever else people do in between texts.

It’s highly dependent on the family. I call/FaceTime family weekly while friends, who have good relationships with their family, call maybe once a quarter.

Anecdotally, my international friends on average put family calls in a higher regard than my American friends.

3—5 calls per year seems great. I don’t feel detached. Or maybe I am and that’s how I like it. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Still love my mom though. Will call her in a bit.

I think there's a huge gulf of space between being "so detached" and calling 2-4 times a week.

> Is it a cultural thing Americans are so detached?

I suspect so. Every inch of our culture pushes 18yo's away from siblings and parents. Some families overcome that and some don't.

Through most of human history, families were physically close enough that parents, grandparents, aunts/uncles became interchangeable & elderly parents didn't have to die alone in nursing homes.

It is a cultural thing (as is living with and maintaining strong ties with extended family), but it's far from a uniquely American thing. Consider that with respect to individualist norms, in many of the most developed countries people choose to take advantage of the option to live separately because they can afford to comfortably do so. People generally don't like dying alone in my experience, but some (in the US/Canada, much of NW Europe, etc.) don't like being suffocated either.

I'm 38 and in the US and I talk to my parents almost every day. I call them on the way to work or randomly on the weekends. We also have a big get-together for mother's day, but of course this year is a little different. I don't think it's that unusual here in the US.

Your question is whether this correlates with nationality.

Sincere question: why did you focus on that attribute instead of some other? Is calling your mother several times per week typical on your country?

I talk to my (Indian) parents every day, even if it is a 1-min courtesy call. Started when I went off to college in a different city. And it's also a rather common thing among everyone I know regardless of social status. So, I guess what is typical is dependent on country or culture.

> Is calling your mother several times per week typical on your country?

Yes :-)

My family is half European half South American. I call them almost every other day. On a busy week, perhaps I'll only call during the weekend.

My Taiwanese wife calls her mom every day.

I'm not American and I call my parents maybe once a quarter other than birthdays and days like today. Your point?

I didn't have a specific point to make, I'm just trying to understand the world around me better.

Even if you think it’s more cultural there’s no denying that immigrating to a new country at least partially conforms you to new cultural norms specific to that country.

I think it is a cultural thing. I am Indian living in US. 32 years old, married and my wife and I live with my parents and we couldn’t be happier. I will always live with my parents.

Now this of course varies from culture to culture and household to household.

We are very very happy and our kids always have grandparents around in the same house (big house - it matters).

We get unsolicited advice and counseling from our parents ALL the time. Sometimes we hate it and sometimes we appreciate it. We disagree over many things and don’t see eye to eye on many small issues. But on a macro level, we are aligned.

Now that we are all working from home, my favorite part of the day is the morning where we all sit down and have a cup of chai made by whoever happens to be in the mood of making that day. We are a solid team and we all play a part in making each others’ lives better.

I have always wondered about how our kids will be when they grow up. I am not going to expect them to live with us and I am going to prepare myself mentally for that. But by God, it would be a blessing if my kids and my wife and I live together forever just like I am with my parents. Nothing would make me happier to live my life in a smooth continuous gradual way, rather than big disparate phases where kids move out, we live alone, we get very old, someone takes us in and take care of us until we die. I am scared of that.

It varies... My family is extremely detached and impersonal but we do really love each other. I occasionally speak to my parents or siblings. Gifts between family are usually small amounts of money. We are not big on parties, gifts, or celebrations. We will eat dinner with each other occasionally but we try to avoid talking too much about our lives. Yet I know if one of us needed something we are there for each other. That's never been a concern.

Even amongst my other American friends they think we're pretty far towards the extreme end of detached. I suspect most people have much more personal relationships with their family than mine but just providing an anecdotal data point.

Nope, this is just another case of overgeneralizing a nation of 325 million people.

I don't think this is about cultural geography as much as about particular family dynamics. Not all are happy families, not all people need the same cadence of communication to maintain a relationship, etc.

Yes we were sold on the nuclear family that has turned out quite disastrously

It's rather natural in most of the highly developed countries where people can afford to live separately from non-immediate generations. It's virtually the same in the European country I live in, and in both places elders often treasure the independence that they can have because they've grown up valuing a greater degree of individualism. I'm curious why you think nuclear families have turned out disastrously.

I found myself nodding throughout this piece https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2020/03/the-nuc...

Perhaps it a western thing not just American.

Not sure why I was downvoted. I'm simply relaying my perspective.

> Is calling your mother several times per week typical on your country? Yes :-)

My family is half European half South American. I call them almost every other day. On a busy week, perhaps I'll only call during the weekend.

My Taiwanese wife calls her mom every day.

Mu. America doesn't have the cultural uniformity that other countries do.

(In my experience, though, more than once/week seems excessive. Do you not have other family/friends to catch up with, too? Do you spend an hour on the phone every day?)

I'm Indian living in the USA and my parents and I talk everyday. It could be a quick 2-5 min chat for the most part, or a 30 min - 1 hour long conversation at times. Does not hurt either way. Never really understood the American detachment.

I call my mum nearly every day. I'm Polish but I live abroad. Also Mother's day is on the 26th of May for us.

Where are you? I am 43, Turkish, call mom twice a week and feel bad about it because it's not nearly enough.

Yes. We’ve done some weird things to the culture we don’t really understand. And on top of that we mock those parts of society that still have a culture and claim things like “white people have no culture”. But then what are rednecks and Southern Baptists or Mormons if not distinct sub-cultures.

'white people have no culture' sounds a lot like californians thinking they don't have an accent.

It varies among Americans. I talked to my mom about every other month or so prior to getting married, and a bit more often now just because my wife talks to her every week.

My wife used to talk to her mom every day, but is down to a couple times a week now.

What is "here"? Even for a given culture it varies wildly: my uncle has a call with each of his 5 kids every other day, while I talk to any of my dad, my mom, my grandparents every other month.

It varies depending on region, family history, and dynamics. Like so many things, it doesn't make sense to talk about "American culture" in a broad sense on this topic.

Same. I call her almost everyday. Sometimes we even talk for hours. Btw I'm in abroad. She doesn't believe/like in celebration/days like this, same applies for me.

Where are you?


Living overseas I noticed that other countries are much more family oriented. Here in the states (at least on East/west coasts) people seem to prioritize work and career more.

I was going to ask the same. In some countries, Mother's Day is so important that you organize it a few days before, you meet for lunch (or dinner), and you buy a present (like another birthday). Of cousre, during this pandemic we cannot meet, but are there some people who don't call?

Over here having contact with mom, evern briefly, every day is quite normal

Please get rid of this


No. Intent matters. Whether you are offended is your problem. Hit the "hide" button on the post and move on.

I don't understand.

She's dead. I needed another reminder today, thanks. On a tech site.

I am sorry for your loss and the pain you’re having conjured up today.

  def mom(believe_hallmark = False, mom_exists = False, mom_cares = False):
    if (believe_hallmark == True and mom_exists == True and mom_cares == True):
        print('Call Mom')

  mom(False, True, False)
License: This code is open source.

[EDIT] I'd forgotten how poorly humor fares on HN.

`== True` is triggering

I have mixed feelings. I prefer “if (condition)”, but I dislike “if (!cond)”, since the exclamation looks sneaky, especially when the condition is a method call or a long variable. But I dislike the dis-symmetry of using != but not == . Programming syntax taste is hard!!

But it's clearly Python, so it would be the very not-sneaky “not” instead of “!”.

For many environments, better performance can be found by swapping the "and" conditions with "or" conditions.

I suspect the highest mom-wisdom is knowing that Hallmark is full of crap.

Ergo mom(False, True, True)

I mostly downvoted for the uneven indenting TBH

Guidelines | FAQ | Lists | API | Security | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact