Oh mum, you are SO embarrassing’ is a familiar cry in my household.
Apparently my love of singing to myself in public and occasionally skipping along the seafront is too much for my offspring.
They find it embarrassing that I dare to talk to the checkout person at the supermarket, or brazenly march into unknown offices or buildings to ask directions or to use the loo.
And for some reason they find it intensely mortifying when I join in with the dressing up as a Tudor event at Southsea Castle.
This is a familiar problem amongst parents, I discover.
One friend is not allowed to talk to her son in the school playground because it would be just too embarrassing for him to be seen communicating with her.
And another is not even allowed to set foot in the school grounds and instead has to drop her child off around the corner from the building.
Well, here’s the thing. Our children may find us embarrassing, but have they ever stopped to think how much they have embarrassed us over the years?
Do my children stop to think what it must have been like for me when one of them stripped naked in Woolworths screaming blue murder?
Did they think that I would laugh it off? That I wasn’t aware of the stares thrown my way by crusty oldies with poor memories of their own early days as a mother?
And what about the time when one of my children decided that the pinnacle of fashion should consist of a pair of old pyjamas and a tiara? Do they think that I wasn’t a tiny bit embarrassed pushing him along in the buggy, trying to avoid the looks I was getting?
And how can they not think that I wasn’t even a bit embarrassed when they said the wrong things?
When one of my children told her grandmother that she looked ‘really old, like an old prune’, and when another pointed out to a prominent mole on her face and said ‘oh look, you’ve got a nipple on your face’, do they not realise that actually that is more embarrassing than, say, humming along to a song whilst out in public?
My children have picked up old custard creams from the playgroup carpet and stuffed their contraband into their mouths before I could stop them, filled their nappies noisily whilst on a crowded bus, told their teachers that their mother loves drinking wine every night.
They have sworn so badly that it would make a marine blush, pointed and exclaimed loudly at fat people on the beach, and inadvertently kicked old ladies in the shins whilst throwing a toddler tantrum.
They have walked on ancient Roman mosaics, touched irreplaceable artefacts in museums, and thrown library books on the floor.
Their tantrums have knocked drinks over, caused them to vomit, and made their fellow lift passengers’ ears bleed.
So, to all you children who are embarrassed by their parents, I suggest that before you throw any accusations around you stop and think what you might have done to cause your parents to blush.
Because as far as I am concerned, children will far out-embarrass anything a parent will do.