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Relax, You Probably Call Your Mom Enough

It doesn’t take sophisticated statistics to prove that you should call your mom on Mother’s Day this Sunday1, but do mothers get their due the rest of the year? To find out, I commissioned a SurveyMonkey Audience poll to see how many moms feel like chopped liver.

After surveying 194 mothers with adult kids who live apart from their parents and 513 adult kids2 who live apart from their parents, here’s the good news: Most kids are doing their part (and as for the rest, your mom still loves you).


Twenty-one percent of moms said that they’d like to hear from their kids more than once a day, but that’s too often for more than 90 percent of kids, who think a reasonable expectation is once a day or less. But kids do expect to be in touch fairly frequently: Over half (54 percent) of kids thought they should call weekly or a couple of times a week, and luckily for them, that’s exactly what almost half of moms (49 percent) wanted. Don’t know your mom’s expectations? Call her and ask!

Phone call 36% 60%
Text message 44 18
In person 10 14
Email 5 3
Facebook/social network 3 3
Other 3 3
How do you communicate most often with your mom/your kids?

Source: surveymonkey Audience poll of 194 mothers and 513 adult children from May 2-3, 2016

When kids and moms do talk, it tends to be on the phone, but it might not involve a voice call. Moms reported that they were most likely to hear from their children by text, while kids ranked texts second after phone calls. That the moms in my survey were more text-heavy than the kids may be because the survey was conducted online — moms using SurveyMonkey may be likely to be comfortable with technology and with receiving texts. The sample of kids includes people with mothers who wouldn’t text or take online surveys.

But, however they wind up talking, kids were more likely to feel disappointed in themselves than mothers were to be unhappy with their kids. (So don’t put off a call because you think she might be mad.) Forty-one percent of kids reported that they contacted their mothers less often than they felt children should. Only 23 percent of mothers felt that their children weren’t contacting them as often as they would like, and eight 8 percent of mothers would like to hear from their children a little less.

more often 23%
less than is fair 41%
the same amount 69
a fair amount 41
less often 8
more than is fair 18
Do moms and kids talk as often as they feel would be right?

Source: surveymonkey Audience poll of 194 mothers and 513 adult children from May 2-3, 2016

I don’t know what could make a mom want fewer calls. I even called my mom in college to ask how to boil water,3 yet she still takes my calls. A mother’s love knows no bounds.


  1. If you just remembered, you’re welcome.

  2. All said they were over 18, and 60 percent were younger than 45.

  3. I understand you heat it! I wasn’t sure if the bubbles should resemble “fizzy effervescence” or “violent surface.”

Leah Libresco is a former news writer for FiveThirtyEight.