Make contact when you can and don't take responsibility for your mom's issues
I am a professional woman in my mid-30s. My parents live about five hours away, and I visit them for a few days at a time every few months. My mother has unacknowledged anxiety problems that prevent her from traveling to see me (her go-to excuse is that her pet needs her, although they have a pet sitter at the ready). She also refuses to call me. She says she could “never live with [her]self” if she disturbed me while I was asleep, as I sometimes work nights—though I’ve explained the Do Not Disturb feature on my phone and told her she can always leave me a voicemail if I don’t pick up.
On the few occasions she has called (typically by accident), and I’ve answered, she invariably asks over and over, “Are you asleep?” and berates herself nonstop. If I didn’t call her, we wouldn’t speak except in person—but she also rarely has her cellphone close enough to hear it ringing and would never return a voicemail. She also discourages my dad from calling me, though he still does occasionally. I feel like a jerk if I don’t remember to call, and I can tell my mom is hurt if I go a while without calling. Am I unreasonable in feeling a bit hurt that my mom will never initiate contact? Or am I not visiting them enough? Or maybe she’d just rather not hear from me and I am not taking the hint? Just need an outsider’s perspective.