My mother is basically the only person closely involved in my life who still relies on voicemail as a form of communication. Everyone else texts or emails especially if something is important or time sensitive. This is my preference as I hate talking on the phone. Literally the only people who call me or regularly leave me voicemails are my dad and mom and 90% of the time it's "Hi it's dad, call me back" (and even he will text or email if he needs a quick reply). So I am not in the habit of checking my voicemail often - they will sit there for a few days before I remember to get to it. My phone is also wonky and needs replacement so checking voicemail can take 30 seconds, or it can take 5+ minutes while I reboot my phone because it's frozen.
Compounding this, last week I was at a professional conference Mon.-Fri. which took up 12 or more hours of my day (all day lectures and then networking dinners). On top of that I contracted a stomach virus so once I got home I was basically passed out trying to recuperate enough to function the next day. I got better just in time for the weekend, when we had all day responsibilities Saturday and then spent Sunday recovering from the crazy week.
Apparently my mom called me on either Tues. or Wed. of last week to invite me to my Uncle's birthday dinner that Sunday. I didn't check the message till this week, assuming it was a typical "hi it's mom call me" message. When I finally talked to her she sounded peeved that I had not checked her message and missed the dinner. Normally we talk every 1-2 weeks so in my mind, my time line was business as usual.
From my end, leaving a single message does not signal to me that there is something time sensitive she needs a reply to. If she had called again and left another message, or even if I had just seen a second call from her with no message, I would have gotten the hint that she needed me to call her sooner rather than later. Of course, a text or email would have circumvented the whole problem, but I have accepted that she is completely unwilling to learn to use either technology.
Is this just a matter of different expectations or were either of us rude? Is it rude to not check voicemail regularly or just a communication style preference? Should I apologize to her? I'm thinking I should tell her at a minimum that if she needs an answer from me on something, that calling more than once will get the message across, just for the sake of efficiency. I feel bad for missing my uncle's dinner but last week was the craziest week I've had in months, I neglected almost all my personal responsibilities to balance the conference with being sick (the cat was SO mad at me), yet I still feel bad for not checking that stupid voicemail.