Am I an Embarrassing Parent?
I am in a dilemma, my daughter tells me I am too embarrassing on social media. Her friends appear to like/follow me though, but perhaps they’re just a bit more polite and haven’t told me the real truth?
It’s ok, I also once had a cool mother who suddenly changed when I turned 13. It’s a bit weird how parents do that, I could never quite understand how they went from being funny and hip to old-fashioned and lame almost within weeks.
Now however, I’m a mum myself of a 16-year-old who amazingly is able to simultaneously knit her eyebrows, roll her eyes and sigh when I entertain her with my latest witty jokes. It sounds implausible but it’s true, how could she have changed too?
The worst is my Instagram Stories. She totes hates the ones that feature me. I find this extremely ironic, have you ever looked at the Instagram feed of any teenager and worked out the percentage of shots that don’t actually feature themselves? It’s probably about 0.05%. We are talking about the generation that has perfected the art of the selfie, the online makeup tutorial and the eyebrow.
What’s good for the gosling is definitely not good for the old goose, apparently.
Above: She and her friends were delighted for me to photograph them on a trip to Dublin.
Recently I had a brain wave for my blog as I drifted off to sleep (as you do) which involved borrowing her waist length pink wig and reflective sunglasses. Sadly I made the mistake of asking her before I borrowed them because the first thing she said was I may not do anything on social media that will embarrass her.
Well of course, I would hate to do that. But my dilemma is that opening my mouth or showing my face appears to fall under that very broad definition of being embarrassing.
Hence the bewigged and besunnied disguise! Surely that would be the greatest solution – just to create a new fictional representation of myself?
In apparel that belongs to a teenager which should be preexistently cool?
But apparently not.
(And I have to admit I tend to agree).
However, I asked her, if I was an actress and had to dress up and play different roles (say as an extra on the stage here in Wexford or in a 1970’s documentary shortly to be aired) would she be proud of me or embarrassed by that? It turns out it depends on what I do.
But the puzzling thing is it seems that neither being myself nor dressing up as me-in-disguise is acceptable!
So now what am I to do?
It’s interesting that my youngest two children just can’t get enough of being behind that camera, they are willing participants in my blog and in fact, I can’t entertain the notion of doing an Instagram story when they are in the room, without them wanting to jump behind the lens too. Yet my older two (who are both teens) are just the opposite.
The thing about teenagers is that they have perfected the art of paranoia. Everybody is judging them all of the time. Apparently ‘everybody’ also judges them by what we, their parents look like, what we say, what we do or the sound we make when we breathe.
Now I am in the process of trying to figure out a few things. One is what exactly I am allowed to write about or photograph for the public domain, and do I really care, isn’t it my choice after all?
Another is how to be on social media representing my blog while simultaneously being invisible.
And the last is, why it is that parents and children start off so amenable and then slowly morph into unrecognisable creatures from outer space, that couldn’t possibly related to you at all?
If you have any helpful tips for me I’d love to hear them below.
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