What mums can't do (according to their daughters)

You've heard of U and non-U. As the mother of a teen, you should know about Mum and Non-Mum

A few years ago, my young daughter invented a brutal, but amusing, grading system for loos. She called it Loo or Non-Loo. Quite how she fell upon this Nancy Mitford tribute I’m not sure, but I’m certain Nancy would have approved. Hers was a childhood filled with jokes at the adult’s expense and, I now realise, so is Georgie’s.

First inspired by Nancy Mitford: Loo or Non-Loo

Whenever we arrived anywhere Georgie would dash straight for the smallest room, it didn’t matter if it was a restaurant or a friend’s home, her little notebook would come out and she would do her inspection. She was usually working alone, under cover, although occasionally her little pal, Serious Sal, would help out if was a big job.

Free toiletries, the state of the basin, softness of the paper, general ambience and décor. She even had an entry suggesting which celebrity would want to use your convenience. There was no greater accolade than a tick that said she believed Hermione Granger would be willing to spend a penny.

After she had persuaded me to buy the domain name and set up a website, it became quite the talking point. It also became the threat of a lawsuit when one very peeved (now ex) friend objected. If you’re going to test someone’s sense of humour, show them their loo cleanliness score card.

A teen’s ranking for mothers

fishnet stockings

Fishnet stockings: Something our daughters say are definitely Non-Mum.

Anyway, that was then. Now she is 13, Georgie has moved away from toilet humour and on to bigger targets. Specifically, her middle- aged mum. And so now we have Mum or Non-Mum. A vast, controlling, checklist littered with possible social faux pax.

Mum or Non-Mum?

  • Clothes – Where do we begin? Outfits are either Horror, Double Horror or ‘I am going to kill myself if you walk out the door looking like that’. Certainly, it’s one way to discover that that vintage leopard print coat you’ve kept since you were a student is never going to see the light of day again.
  • Lacy Underwear? Double Horror. In fact, all conversations that involve maternal undergarments are brought to an abrupt halt with the sign of the cross.
  • Hair – Nobody over 40 should be allowed to wear their hair in a tousled, Bridget Bardot, unkempt updo. And those of my friends who continue with this look into their late 50s are deemed to be sad. I now have to wait till she goes to bed before I can revisit the joys of hair pins and gagging amount of Elnet.
  • Grey Hair – Only for The Elderly. Unfortunately, that includes most of my friends in Lockdown. It’s causing Georgie quite some concern. As in: ‘Is Aunt Sue going to die, because she looks so old.’ Sue is in fact 53 and thought she was channelling Daphne Guinness.
  • Crunchy Peanut Butter sarnies? – Absolutely Non-Mum. There is no explanation and nor is there an appeals process.
  • Ru Paul Drag Race – Completely banned. ‘There’s no way you can watch that, mum.’ Georgie has watched the entire US and UK series and therefore is best placed to pass judgement, she says.
  • Flirting – This is as Non-Mum as you can get. Once at a local restaurant, I was in full coquettish banter with the super fit maitre’d when Georgie texted me a picture of her face superimposed on Klimt’s The Scream.

Georgie says this list is just for guidance.

Other teenagers may have their own Non-Mum rules…

More Non-Mum Things

  • Pouting in photos
  • Fishnet Tights
  • Throwing your hair from side to side when dancing
  • Skinny Jeans that stop you sitting down
  • Sex life
  • False Eyelashes
  • White trousers
  • Pretending to speak Italian
  • High ponytails
  • Low waistbands

 — Sam Taylor


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