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From the Cradle to the Rave: Should You Be Mates with Your Mum?

The cases for and against getting mashed up with your ma – it is Mother's Day, after all.
06 March 2016, 12:00am

A mum larging it, with someone who might be her daughter barely in the frame (Photo: Jay Greinsky via)

Mums put up with a lot of bullshit from us, their children. They not only have to stagger through three-quarters of a year with another living being growing inside their bodies but then have at least two decades of housework to look forward to once that person is born – and yes, even working mums in Britain are still expected to waste the most hours of their lives cleaning up after everyone.

As it's Mother's Day, and to say thanks for all that, we decided to find out whether you can be mates with your mum or not, by talking to a guy really close to his ma and another who loves her but isn't about to go down the pub with her on a mad one.

YOU CAN BE MATES WITH YOUR MUM

I didn't realise that most people aren't as close to their mums as I feel to mine. We speak about three to four times a week, and can talk about anything from a typical 20-minute "mum" chat about Tracey from down the road to an hourlong, detailed conversation on whether Mum can successfully pull off Beyoncé's Formation choreography in a club. She once sent me money-making ideas, including a list of escort agencies for me to join. And she wasn't joking.

This is a stock photo because the author said his mother "avoids cameras like the plague" (Photo: Dawn Arlotta via)

She'll pop in for a cuppa if she's in town, or we'll go shopping together and have lunch, arguing about how I'm spending money – and what she wants for her birthday, Christmas or Mothers' Day, depending on the visit. She also asks to be treated on Fathers' Day, for doing both jobs; this year she said she wants the ability to twerk.

She once sent me money-making ideas, including a list of escort agencies for me to join.

To quote Mean Girls, "She's not like a regular mom: she's a cool mom." The golden rule was, and still is, to never lie to each other about anything. We're very similar in a lot of ways but I think we're close because we respect and admire each other. She managed to raise me as a single parent, and managed to turn her life around. Mum was determined to make sure I wasn't another single-parent-living-in-a-council-house statistic.

Mum still looks young, and can get away with telling people that she's 36 now – I'm 28, so the maths really doesn't add up. Because she looks so young, when they saw us together people assumed we were brother and sister, or boyfriend and girlfriend. That made holidays with just the two of us weird for years.

I used to get called a 'mummy's boy' a lot as a teenager and I hated it. But if it means being as understanding of each other and mum and I are, I'll take it. I love her dearly, and unfortunately I don't tell her enough. — Troy Ezra

YOU CAN'T BE MATES WITH YOUR MUM

There is something about my mum that has always seemed detached from her own self. When my sister and I were growing up, mum spent her days working for the NHS as an occupational therapist and her nights and early mornings feeding us, ferrying us to activity after activity (she was keen on occupation) and getting us off to school. She was dedicated, selfless and sometimes hard to reach. She wasn't our mate, she was our mum.

Mini-Oscar, with his mum (Photo: the author)

There were things I kept from her – most things, perhaps. She didn't know I'd been bullied at school until I wrote about it in a newspaper. But just when I find myself thinking that we've lost touch with each other, she will say or do something that reminds me she is paying attention, which reminds me she knows me.

We've never sat in the pub sinking pints and singing our sorrows together, but we've been around each other in all sorts of states – I still remember her plying my friend Johnny with Special Brew, until he sat on the front steps of her house, throwing it all up into the street. In these social moments, these moments when we poison my friends together, there's an unspoken comradeship running between us.

I don't really have any inclination to rack up the lines with my ma – I just want to have half an idea of what's going on in her head.

Only children believe in grown-ups. The idea that we will one day arrive at a station marked "adulthood" is a fallacy, but that doesn't mean we have to treat our parents like our pals if we don't want to. I don't really have any inclination to rack up the lines with my ma – I just want to have half an idea of what's going on in her head. There's a photo I recall, but which I can't find now, where I'm a few months old, clinging to my impossibly young-looking mother for dear life.

A lot has happened since then and there are times where I think we don't talk enough, that we could hang out like mates and get to understand each other better in that way. But then I think of the photo and of what passes between us unspoken and I know that we're OK really. — Oscar Rickett

@oscarrickettnow

More on mums from VICE:

How Getting Sober Changed My Relationship with My Mother

The Time My Mum Won Back My Shiny Pokemon Card: an Ode to All Mothers Everywhere

A Mother, a Son, and Two Diagnoses