I've always admired people who have regular conversations with their mothers over the phone. Their relationships aren't perfect, of course, but I always get the sense that these are people who strive to cultivate understanding despite the occasional hardships and obstacles. I, for one, am terrible with the phone (there tend to be long silences and lots of useless filler talk, if you're unlucky enough to end up with me on the other line), so it's hard for me to commit to calling my mother, and of course, I generally let her calls go straight to voicemail. Not because I don't love her, but mainly because I find phone conversations kind of tedious.
One of my major New Year's resolutions, however, is to suck it up, deal with the tedium, and make sure I call my mother regularly--even if I don't have exciting news to report. I think that bridging the gap between generations, particularly when you're bicultural, is crucial. Oftentimes, I feel like my mother and I simply don't have anything to say to each other but when that happens, I try to surprise myself by asking her questions--her advice on specific aspects of my life, her life experiences, anything that can give me a more detailed picture of this wonderful human being who happens to be my mother.
It's a great practice to have especially if you aren't close to your mother. You could find yourself learning a whole lot about her. One of the great tragedies of the parent/child relationship is that we forget to view each other as multifaceted individuals and only see each other in the context of our own lives and experiences. I'm grateful for my phone conversations with my mother; even if they can be difficult at times, because they bring me closer and closer to knowing her and appreciating her for who she is.
Like you, I'm not a fan of talking on the phone, but it's better than email (I think). Although my parents live close to me, about 15 minutes away, I don't see them too often or not for long periods of time. But I do catch myself calling home when I'm stressed or sick. Even if I don't tell them I am having a hard day, somehow things don't seem so bad after talking with them.
Plus, no one can make chicken soup like your own mother.