DEAR ABBY: I am an only child and I love my mother. My father passed away after a short illness three years ago, leaving my mother a widow. My problem is, she calls me multiple times a day. I'm not one of those women whose mom is my best friend or someone who enjoys talking on the phone. If I don't answer, she keeps calling back. She calls while I'm getting ready for work, on the way to work, while I'm at work or on the way home, etc.
I know I may regret it one day, but I don't have the energy for all her daily calls, which are basically her asking me 50 questions. I don't talk to my own grown children on a daily basis like she calls me. I have reached the point that I dread it and at times ignore her calls.
I have encouraged her to branch out -- hang out with other widows, meet new friends or join groups, but because of COVID she's hesitant. I don't want to be ugly to her, but the more she does this, the more anxious I get. I have also asked her to just text me so I can respond when I'm available, but she says she just doesn't think about that as an option.
She's a very sweet woman, but she is stressing me out! Is it me or her? Please help me so I don't ruin this relationship. As an only child, am I being selfish? -- INUNDATED IN THE SOUTH
DEAR INUNDATED: It isn't you, it's her. Your mother is doing this because she feels lonely, anxious and vulnerable and may have forgotten how to socialize as an individual without your father. The COVID restrictions added to the problem because people were discouraged from hanging out in groups.
After three years, it is not selfish to create boundaries with her. Tell her you will speak to her once a day. Then screen your calls and talk with your mom when you aren't stressed and have a few minutes to spend in conversation.