Tuesday 17 September 2019

Ask Brian: My mam needs to act her age and stop pretending she's still 21

Our no-nonsense agony uncle gets straight to the point of your most pressing issues

Amy Poehler in Mean Girls
Amy Poehler in Mean Girls
Brian O'Reilly

Brian O'Reilly

My mam had me when she was quite young, in her late teens and outside of marriage.

I know things were very tough back then for single mothers and having a baby outside of marriage, so I do feel such admiration for how tough she must have been.

Fast forward almost 25 years later though and she needs to get a grip.

She seems to think she's still in her 20s in the way she dresses and in all her partying.

She wears shorter skirts than me and what I can only describe as hooker boots. Her boobs are constantly on display.

She's all over social media and posting blurry horrible selfies all the time, and keeps adding and following all my friends.

Any time I have a few of the girls over she always pushes her way in and tries to hang out with us. She keeps asking my friends for "the goss" and asking them about boys and all.

How do I get her to back off and act her age?

Brian replies:

Reading your email the first thing I thought of was one of my favourite movies of all time, Mean Girls.

If anyone reading this hasn't seen it, I can only assume they've been held hostage in a bunker for over a decade. A quick catch-up, Amy Poehler plays Regina George's "cool mom", who also seems to think she's a peer of her daughter's and attempts to integrate with her friends. It doesn't sound a million miles away from what you're mother is doing.

Doing the maths I'm guessing your mother had you in the early 1990s and is in her early 40s now - and you're right that Ireland was a very different place then so she probably didn't have a very easy time of it.

She probably missed many nights out during her 20s when all her friends were out and she was looking after you. So she might be living a little vicariously through you and your friends to make up for what she's missed.

I'll be honest, if I ever have kids I will totally live vicariously through them once they reach their 20s. If they reach their 20s that is, I will be a hardcore showbiz mom for many years before that. Little Britney and Ariana are gonna make me rich.

Honestly, I'd cut your mam some slack. How she decides to dress really has nothing to do with you. If she attempted to interfere in your choice of outfit for a night out I'm sure you wouldn't hesitate in telling her where to go.

You could always suggest a shopping trip and maybe steer her towards something a little more flattering - but I wouldn't force the issue, it's her choice how she dresses.

She's also entitled to put as many blurry selfies of herself on social media as she wants. That's what the block button is for. Or even more subtlety, the mute button.

If she takes a horrible selfie she'll eventually notice herself. I can't take a good one for the life of me, it always looks like I've a receding hairline (which I don't, yet).

You can always - nicely - ask her to give you and your friends a bit of space when they're over. I get that it might cramp your style a little to have your mam hovering around. And no one likes the boyfriend/girlfriend question from parents.

I really wouldn't be having a major freak out unless she's "coincidentally" showing up at the same nightclubs you're at. She's not really doing much harm right now.

In the blink of an eye you'll have your own kids and may well end up doing the same thing - live and let live.


Do you have a problem you'd like some advice on? Email askbrian@independent.ie  to submit in confidence.


Online Editors

Editors Choice

Also in this section