I was on the tube the other day when I over heard a schoolgirl telling her friend, “My mum is my best friend, we hang out together, go for drinks and share clothes.” I thought, “You’re obviously not that popular at school if you’ve resorted to being best friends with your mum.” She looked about 13.
When I was that age, I couldn’t stand being seen with my mum. I found her embarrassing. Everything about her was unfashionable. From her 1970s hairstyle to the awful Bhs jumpers she used to wear over her shalwar kameez, with flip-flops in the middle of winter. If I bumped into a friend while with my mum, I would say, “Oh that wasn’t my mum, it was the neighbour.”
I spent most of my adolescence arguing with my mother, so there was no way I’d be seen boogieing with her on the dance floor. At 13, parents are your enemies, not your friends, which isn’t unhealthy; there has to be an authoritative gap between parent and child. They have to nag and shout, and you have to disagree with everything and think, “I wonder who my real parents are?”
I didn’t want my mum to know I fancied George Michael, Boy George and Freddie Mercury – or that I had a crush on my biology teacher and followed him home. A best friend would encourage that behaviour; a good mother would put an end to it.
I’m happy to watch 9½ Weeks with my friends, but not with my mother. I’m sure she wouldn’t want me watching Gardeners’ World with her. Which is just how it should be.