As all mothers of teenagers know, we are the most embarrassing people ever to draw breath. I’m sure I am not alone in being reminded of this on a daily basis. Here is a list of embarrassing crimes I have committed against my long-suffering 16-year-old daughter in just the past ten days or so.
- When we were driving I saw someone we knew and bipped the horn, smiled and waved.
- We were seated in a busy restaurant and I spoke to her too loudly.
- I had a third glass of wine in my own garden on a Friday evening. (In fact, Generation Z seems to have had a meeting where it was agreed that drinking any alcohol is naff as hell.)
- I accessorised my outfit with a scarf.
- I answered her phone call but had to say I was in a meeting and I’d call back and this was, apparently, terribly embarrassing.
- I watched the comedian James Acaster’s Netflix special and I laughed. I found him so hilarious that at one point I involuntarily laughed as I clapped my hands together. This makes me the absolute worst.
- I deliberately misheard her favourite Lady Gaga song and instead of singing ‘Take me to your Venus’ I sang ‘Take me to your penis’. This enraged her, and she immediately turned the song off, which to be honest was my goal all along.
- I wore gingham culottes. And worse, I posted a picture of me in them on Instagram so then all her friends laughed at the embarrassing clothes her mum wears, too.
- My road rage (she has a point on this one. Working on that).
- This column every week is just mortifying, apparently. Although she often likes to read it back to me in a comedy mocking voice.
There’s more, but the word count on this page is strict. I love my daughter. And her friends, too. I know they’re in that awkward phase of feeling more emboldened about expressing their opinions, but also crippled by adolescent self-consciousness. So every moment of their – and our – existence is almost too excruciating to bear. I’m going to show my girl Rosie Green’s column (once I’ve ripped out this embarrassing page). She recently got rumbled by her children while trying to have a sneaky ‘grown-up sleepover’ with a new special friend. If I can’t even laugh without being scolded and tutted at, I just dread to think how my own daughter would handle that very modern dating conundrum. Especially when you consider that once, when she was about six and happened to walk into the kitchen while her dad and I were having a kiss, she told us if she ever saw that again she’d call the police.
Good luck with any militantly judgy teens in your midst today. Maybe pour your most embarrassing tipple, lock yourself in the most embarrassing room of the house (the bathroom, obviously) and enjoy uninterrupted reading of your copy of YOU.