How Much Do You Embarrass Your Kids?

Yesterday Luca told me I was ‘crackers’ because I was singing to him at the hairdresser. So I asked him if all his friends’ Mums were crackers too and he said “er no, just you”. I thought this was pretty funny and probably quite accurate but he said it without any humour, almost as though it was a bad thing.

Mum, would you stop with the singing?

Which got me thinking. How much do we unintentionally embarrass our kids?

My Dad is a pretty funny guy. He’s always the life of the party, a bit of a character and he makes people laugh. Now that I’m all grown up (questionable) .. all the little crazy and playful things he does I find hysterical, but it wasn’t always that way.

When I was in high school, sometimes I’d bring friends home from school and he’d randomly start talking in a different accent. Which as an adult is pretty funny but as a feral 15-year-old, not so much. Then he’d start doing his pretend African tribe dance to whatever AM radio he was listening to at the time. And I would nearly die. Again, I find this amusing now but at the time I just wanted to jab him in the leg with a fork to make him stop.

Kids and in particular teenagers, are just so testy about this sort of stuff. I don’t know why I was so embarrassed, it’s not as if most other kids my age didn’t feel the same way about their parents. All parents are embarrassing at some point, it’s just the way the world rolls.

I went to a posh private girls school on Sydney’s North Shore. My parents flogged themselves silly to give my siblings and I a private school education. They went without for years because my Mum wanted us to have what she had, and for this I will always be grateful.

Because they had four sets of school fees to pay for, things like nice cars were of miniscule importance, and my Mum had this really old blue Toyota that I was mortified to be seen in. I am so embarrassed to even be admitting this, but it’s true.

When you’re at a high school which is made up of girls from mostly very wealthy families, it’s hard to fit in. Which is actually bullshit because it’s not, but try telling that to me when I was a teenager. I wanted to be like everyone else and I wasn’t because my parents weren’t loaded. I am so ashamed that I ever felt like that, because as we all learn when we get older – things like that don’t make a person. Life sucks the way that you can’t see the real stuff when you’re a teenager. When you need it.

As a side note though, my Mum used this to her advantage and whenever I was in trouble at school, which was a lot, my punishment was being picked up from school. She thought it was a good way of keeping me away from the train stations which was what I loved most about school, but it was a double whammy because not only did I not get to loiter on the station with the boys, but everyone would see me in her car too.

I think it’s fair to say all my kids think I’m a bit strange. I definitely get it from my Dad and I find myself doing the exact same things as him, to the point where I asked Holly recently if I could speak like an American at her school fun run (she said no). I don’t even know why I said it, it’s definitely genetic.

Are we supposed to be careful and act really sensible and mature all the time so our kids don’t think we’re a bit ‘crackers’ and are embarrassed of us? I think not. And if my kids ever pick me up on saying stupid things that embarrass them I’m going to say …

“SUCK IT UP SUNSHINE ….” Because I know the circle will continue and they’re going to do the same thing to my grand children.


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