Is it ever really OK to be a...Chummy Mummy?
More and more mums are blurring the line between guardian and BFF, writes Deirdre Reynolds
We've had yummy mummies, even slummy mummies, and now -- chummy mummies.
Recently, we reported on the rise of 'The 20-40 effect' here -- how Irish mums have started to dress like daughters half their age. But now it seems modern mums don't just want to look like their much younger children, they want to act like their 'BFF' too.
Madonna and lookalike daughter Lourdes (14), who have their own fashion line together; Cheryl Cole (28) and 'roomie' mum Joan, who famously lived with her pop-star daughter and ex-husband Ashley; and Goldie Hawn and Kate Hudson (31), who reportedly even share sex tips.
Just some of the celebrity chummy mummies and daughters who make a compelling case for befriending your offspring in a bid to improve your relationship.
But from disciplinarian to confidante, can mums and their children truly be friends?
"First and foremost, your mother is your guardian -- not your friend," reckons Emma Parkin of Easy Parenting, a new Irish parenting magazine.
"It's confusing for the child when a mother constantly switches between the two.
"Unlike a best friend, it's a mother's job to put their child's welfare first -- even if it means being unpopular.
"Although Madonna and Lourdes dress alike and even went to the Oscars together, in a couple of years Lourdes will inevitably rebel like any normal teenager," she adds.
"Mums should support and promote their daughter or son, not act like they are in competition with them."
Describing the phenomenon as "an increasing menace", US psychologist Dr Stephan Poulter went one step further in his book The Mother Factor -- accusing chummy mummies of doing their children "an immense wrong".