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Mom Calls Me Too Often at Work


My mother calls me several times per day at my job.  It has been going on for a year and is becoming quite disruptive.  Thankfully, my employer has not yet complained and is really quite understanding of the situation. However, it is bothering me, and I also worry it is bothering my coworkers.

Mother does not have dementia, nor is she ill. I believe she is rather dependent on me for all of her social interaction.  I have other siblings, and I wish Mom would call them sometimes. Frankly, I have always been the one that Mom turns to. How do I get the calls to stop?


Well, there are a number of ways you can handle this situation. Also, your employer may be of assistance if you would like to involve him or her.

Here are my suggestions in the order that I would approach your situation.

  1. Tell your mother what you have told me. Ask her politely to call only in an emergency. Tell Mom that her calls during your shift are hard to accept and that they are bothering people around you. All true.
  2. Tell your mother that you will call her on breaks and for one minute. Then call her on your breaks. Tell her that you will not accept non-emergent calls at other times during the day. You can gradually decrease this to lunch break, hopefully.
  3. Get Mom a device that she wears around her neck to summon assistance in an emergency. This will allow the two of you peace of mind. Promise to call her after work each day also to decrease her anxiety.
  4. You could stop answering her calls, letting them go to voicemail. Listen to the voicemail to see if it is a true emergency, and determine if you need to call her back.
  5. Ask your employer to ban non-emergent personal calls at work. It is worth checking to see if this policy is already in place. If you feel disrupted, it is likely that your employer will go along with your request. (You may severely annoy your co-workers with this tactic, however. You have been warned.)

All in all, your mother is from a generation of hard workers. She should understand that her calls during work are inappropriate if you take the time to explain to her. Talking to her about it could be the friendly reminder she needs. It is possible that this bothers her a bit, but it should decrease the number of calls while you are at work.

Now, her calling you when you are not at work is another topic entirely. Perhaps I will address that another day.

I wish you the best with this situation.