Too close for comfort

Being best friends with your child sounds like a great idea but Sara Atkinson, 41, who works as a PA, has found that it has drawbacks. Her daughter Katie, 18, an A-level student, might confide in her mother but does she respect her?


`Sometimes I think, "Don't laugh so much, be sensible - you're not my age. Be a grown-up'' `

My friends can't understand how close I am to my mother. I was asked to go for a drink after college but I told them no - I was going out with mum! Once when I was really upset about a boy, we talked for two hours over a whole bottle of Bailey's. My friend couldn't understand why I'd spoken to mum before I talked to her. She complains that I tell mum too much, that I should have some privacy.

It's difficult when we argue - it's like she's two different people. One of them I can talk to about anything and the other's nagging me to do my homework - it's like, "Katie, get back to reality - she's your mother not your friend."

I get cross when she sides with daddy, and I feel betrayed. One moment we are really, really close, it's ridiculous, and the next she's my father's ally. I feel so alone. I have to realise that he's her husband and he's my father; I can't have all her attention. I'd been getting home late from clubbing and my mother had covered for me a couple of times. Then I came in at four and was greeted by both my parents in their dressing gowns and summoned to the lounge. Instead of feeling angry, I felt guilty because of the distress I'd caused them. I thought, mum's never going to talk to me again - that trust between us, which I value so highly, had gone.

Sometimes in front of my friends, I have to tell her to stop messing around or using my nick-names. I don't like it when she drinks too much (I can see myself coming out in her) and I think, "Don't laugh too much, be sensible - you're not my age. Be a grown-up." I think, I'm only a child here but I'm acting older than my mother.

She borrows my clothes and the other day chose a black skirt that was far too tight. I told her she shouldn't wear it because I know people will stare at her. If it's a best friend that's fine but I have to draw the line with my mother.

I want to commute daily to university and although she doesn't want me to, I really want to stay here. People don't understand and I've had arguments with my teachers. They say, "Katie, you've got to be independent." I tell them I don't want to get independent yet - I'm OK at homen


`I find myself saying, "Don't reprimand me as if you were an equal - I'm your mother" '

I was very young when I had Katie and we almost grew up together. We are incredibly alike to the point of being, telepathic. I will leave a message on the answering machine, suggesting Katie fixes pasta for supper. Before she gets home she'll call me at work to tell me she'll be cooking pasta!

My husband, Mike, and I have had some pretty chequered times and we can get tetchy with each other, particularly when we're tired. Sometimes when we've had a tiff, I make Katie an ally which is perhaps something I shouldn't actually do.

Because I'm back late in the evening; Katie runs the home. If I don't tidy the kitchen I'm told off for not putting things in the dishwasher. I find myself saying, "Don't reprimand me as if you're an equal - I'm your mother."

She is getting difficult about exams, saying that she's not going to bother and forget university. I say, don't be silly you must get A-levels. For the next four months she has to cut down her social life. I play the heavy-handed mother and say: "Upstairs and do your studying." I get quite irate when we row, like we did last night over these blessed A-levels, and she's slamming the door upstairs. She resents me and talks back to me like she would to a close friend.

After getting cross and shouting at her, I fear that I haven't acted as her friend. I've laid into her or told her she was useless. I feel guilty. I panic and worry that our relationship will suffer because I got so heavy; that she won't confide in me and I won't be there when she needs me. I'm so frightened of losing her friendship that I end up backtracking. It's a real problem for me.

I suppose it's hereditary, I'm very, very close to my mother. She was 34 when she had me but I was only 22 when Katie was born. When I was Katie's age she was 50; she couldn't be a hippie with flowers and bare feet. There was enough of a generation gap not to encroach on each other's standards. Today it's harder because mothers stay younger longern

Interviews by Andrew G Marshall

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Teeth should be brushed twice a day to prevent tooth decay
Bryan Cranston as Walter White, in the acclaimed series 'Breaking Bad'
footballChelsea 6 Maribor 0: Blues warm up for Premier League showdown with stroll in Champions League - but Mourinho is short of strikers
Those who were encouraged to walk in a happy manner remembered less negative words
Arts and Entertainment
Princess Olga in 'You Can't Get the Staff'
tvReview: The anachronistic aristocrats, it seemed, were just happy to have some attention
Renee Zellweger as Bridget Jones
Life and Style

Board creates magnetic field to achieve lift

There have been various incidents of social media users inadvertently flouting the law

Life and Style
Stack ‘em high?: quantity doesn’t always trump quality, as Friends of the Earth can testify
techThe proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
Bourgogne wine maker Laboure-Roi vice president Thibault Garin (L) offers the company's 2013 Beaujolais Nouveau wine to the guest in the wine spa at the Hakone Yunessun spa resort facilities in Hakone town, Kanagawa prefecture, some 100-kilometre west of Tokyo
CSKA Moscow celebrate after equalising with a late penalty
footballCSKA Moscow 2 Manchester City 2: Premier League champions let two goal lead slip in Russia
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Head of Ad Sales - UK Broadcast

competitive + bonus + benefits: Sauce Recruitment: An award-winning global mul...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £30000 per annum + uncapped: SThree: Do you feel your sales role is l...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £45000 per annum + uncapped: SThree: Key featuresA highly motivated ...

Vendor Services Manager (IT) - Central London

£50000 - £55000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Vendor Services Manager (...

Day In a Page

Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals

'You need me, I don’t need you'

Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals
How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

How to Get Away with Murder

Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
A cup of tea is every worker's right

Hard to swallow

Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right
Which animals are nearly extinct?

Which animals are nearly extinct?

Conservationists in Kenya are in mourning after the death of a white northern rhino, which has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
12 best children's shoes

Perfect for leaf-kicking: 12 best children's shoes

Find footwear perfect to keep kids' feet protected this autumn
Anderlecht vs Arsenal: Gunners' ray of light Aaron Ramsey shines again

Arsenal’s ray of light ready to shine again

Aaron Ramsey’s injury record has prompted a club investigation. For now, the midfielder is just happy to be fit to face Anderlecht in the Champions League
Comment: David Moyes' show of sensitivity thrown back in his face by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

Moyes’ show of sensitivity thrown back in his face... by Ferguson

Manchester United legend tramples on successor who resisted criticising his inheritance
Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2015

UK city beats Vienna, Paris and New York to be ranked seventh in world’s best tourist destinations - but it's not London