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Fuddy Duddy Mummy Exposed

Recently I toured the local high school. My oldest son won’t be going there for 18 months, but I’ve heard mixed reports on the school,  ranging from glowing to scathing, so I wanted to check it out for myself.

The Youth Of Today, Yada, Yada, Yada

My first impression of the school was that the grounds and buildings looked good, but some of the kids were a scruffy bunch. Where I went to school in England, we had to wear white gloves, a hard straw boater hat and a sharp yellow, blue and white striped blazer. No wonder I had to get as far away from that place as possible.

But it’s not like I’m a complete square ~ in 1990 I had my nose pierced which was unusual back then, so I don’t know why I found these school childrens’ appearances so worrying.

Fuddy Duddy Mummies Outed

I visited the school with a friend who emailed me afterwards. She was also concerned by the lax uniform and the sight of children wearing baseball caps the wrong way round to school. Here’s what she said:

“I don’t know if I’m getting too hung up on the uniform thing – I can’t get over the fact that kids would be wearing baseball caps, in that fashion, in school. Maybe it’s just me and I need to have a reality check about how things are done is Australia! Don’t suppose it necessarily reflects badly upon the school. Am I just being an old fuddy duddy, middle-aged mum? Probably!”

I love that term, fuddy duddy. Just the sound of it makes me smile. But the meaning is a bit more worrying. Is she really old-fashioned and out of touch with the modern world?

Here’s My Reply

Yes! You are a fuddy duddy mum, but I’m just as bad. I’m not so worried about my baby – he’ll only be 12 – mixing with kids who wear baseball caps backwards. To be honest, he’s always wanting to get one himself.

What bothered me was the boy with the Eiffel Tower construction through his upper lip, and the Neanderthal boy with more facial hair than a grizzly bear. And what about the girls in the dance studio wearing crotch-sucking micro shorts over heavily laddered tights? I saw them walking round the shops dressed like that in the afternoon!

Getting Old Is Old

What’s even scarier is that, if we fast forward a few years, those might even be out kids. So yes, we’re fuddy duddy mums, but you know what? I think we need to keep this between ourselves. If our kids find out they’ll have a field day. Let’s make a pact.

The Anti-Fuddy Duddy Pact

  1. We will never discuss this in front of our kids.
  2. We will never pass judgment on what people look like in our kid’s earshot.
  3. When our kids use fashion, clothes, tatoos or jewelery to rebel we’ll say, “That looks nice darling. Have fun this evening!”

Promise you’ll help me follow the pact. I know I’ll need reminding often.

Thanks for helping me notice I’m a fuddy duddy mum. Now I can try to fight it. Though I seriously doubt I’ll be able to overcome it completely, at least I hope that my kids don’t find out!

Are you a fuddy duddy? Or are you a fresh young thing who’s fed up with being stereo-typed negatively? Please share your thoughts.

Thanks for reading

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Author: Annabel Candy

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{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Carolyn Cordon August 28, 2009 at 5:30 pm

What were the students saying, how were they acting toward one another? These are far more important than external things like hair, and dress. Did they respect each other, authority figures, the school’s property? Also more important.

Whenever you feel like you’re heading toward being a fuddy duddy, remember how you felt about adults when you were a teenager. Adults were old and they didn’t know anything worth knowing. Remember that and vow not to be OLD.

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Annabel Candy August 28, 2009 at 5:47 pm

You’re so right, Carolyn, these things are so much more important. I’d love to eavesdrop on their conversations but it would be hard for me to infiltrate their huddles masses. It’s all so hard to judge from a short visit but the kids seemed happy, the atmosphere was good and the students seem to have a good relationship with the teachers. The only real problem I could see was that there is a litter problem. I will send my son there. I believe that he will do well. He has two parents who are interested in his education and he also values and enjoys learning. We are lucky. Of course, these are just my first impressions, we won’t know the true outcome for years, but many local families are extremely happy with this school and their children have gone on to further education.

I know we start to look old but I would love to maintain the enthusiasm and excitement of youth. Let’s hope that if we can stop judging young people because of the way we look they’ll return the favor:)

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Linda August 28, 2009 at 6:35 pm

Well, I must confess right off. I am a fuddy duddy mum. A night quite recently saw me order my 15 year old back to her room to “have another go” at choosing something more appropriate to wear to a heavy metal concert. I thought her ripped jeans and black singlet were atrotious considering I was having to drive her and her sibling all the way to BrisVegas for this occasion. She happily obliged (she needed a lift) and they attended the said concert.

When the crowd emerged at the end of the concert I saw that even the aforementioned black singlet and ripped jeans were like “formal” wear compared to what most were wearing and I suspect she had it on underneath the “more sensible thing” she changed into anyway. While we waited at the assigned “meeting spot” to go home a young fellow cheekily called to my husband and I, “It’s all good Mum and Dad! They’re ok.’ Yes, so I was obviously looking “Fuddy Duddy” at that time to a complete stranger.

The thing I did notice was that for the most part, the concert goers leaving the venue were well behaved and happy. In contrast, my husband and I had spent a few hours at the Casino, while the girls were moshing and screaming, with immaculately dressed adults who for the most part were behaving very badly indeed. Men in suits, and women who were dressed in semi-formal attire, beautiful hair, make up and nails, falling about drunk, swearing and grabbing and groping at complete strangers was quite a sight to behold.

I did wonder what their fuddy duddy mums had taught them?

So, I think I’m with you in the Fuddy Duddy Pact. :)

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Annabel Candy August 30, 2009 at 4:54 pm

Brilliant! Someone else to keep me on track.

Your daughter was very obedient but I do think we need to let them rebel in small ways in order to, hopefully, prevent rebellion on a larger scale further down the track. You’re well ahead of my in the parenting game but it is a game we need to stay on top of because, just when we think we’ve got our kids sorted, they change and you have to start all over again. Before I had my own daughter I often looked at other people’s girls and thought:
“How can people let their kids go out looking so disgusting.” Well, now I know! My lass, aged four, already has strong views on what to wear and sometimes I literally beg her to change her clothes so I don’t have to promenade around with her in ragged, paint-stained, handed down clothes a couple of sizes too small. How sad. I am trying to loosen up and allow her to develop her own style but it’s already hard. I know it won’t get any easier either.

Brisbane casino sounds wild! Yes, lets hope our kids can get it out of their system when they’re young – that kind of behavior is definitely even less attractive when you’re middle-aged. Look forward to keeping each other on track:)

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Teresa August 29, 2009 at 2:05 am

Ha ha! My worse nightmare was turning into a fuddy-duddy… but after tackling a group of 17 year olds about writing their names in spray paint over a house wall I asked:
“What’s the message your trying to share here?” They answered:
“We’re saying we’re too young to go into pubs yet and we’re bored.”
“Oh,” I said, “I just didn’t get that from what you have done.”
I wasn’t sure whether I was being an old FD or a caring citizen….maybe we should be asking ourselves where the line of fuddy duddy should be drawn as I think at some level we all have a bit of it in us….and maybe for good reason! We ARE more experienced!

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Annabel Candy August 30, 2009 at 4:40 pm

Teresa – I love this story. How brave you were to approach them. I really think you did a wonderful thing and I’m sure they’ll be thinking a bit harder about other ways to entertain themselves next time. If only someone had taught them how to channel their boredom into something more creative and respectful of other people’s property! No, you are not filling the fuddy duddy criteria here. Definitely concerned citizen trying to make the world a better place. Well done!

PS. Don’t worry about typos when you comment here, I will clean them up. It is so frustrating not to be able to edit your comments after you click the submit button. I always clean up any of my visitors comments if I notice them so that you look as smart as you are. I bet plenty of typos slip through on my posts too. I’m trying not to be so anal about editing and reworking my posts. I’m hoping that I will get to the point where my readers can forgive me the odd typo and poor punctuation, as long as what I write is meaningful to them.

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Connie August 29, 2009 at 6:03 am

I am a fuddy duddy too. I’m freaked out by the sexualization of girls that is happening at younger and youngers ages. Just look at the Halloween costumes being marketed to them these days.

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Annabel Candy August 30, 2009 at 4:30 pm

Connie – I am with you 100% on that. I don’t think it makes you a fuddy duddy though, just a normal adult who thinks children should be children. I too am sickened by the sight of little girls wearing high heels and footless tights under non-existent skirts. I’m talking about kids under the age of 10! I haven’t seen these halloween costumes but I can only imagine how ludicrous they are. We must not turn children into sexual objects, they should be dressed for climbing, digging, somersaulting and adventuring, not as eye candy. Thanks for bringing this up.

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Hilary August 29, 2009 at 7:47 pm

Hi Annabel .. not sure what I’d do if I had kids .. but I’ve come to realise that they’ll do things to make an impression – ear piercing, extra doses of make up etc .. and then it’ll pass and the next time they’ll be in little girl dresses, or nice tidy clean shaven boys .. they change, they learn, they grow .. but like you I do hate ‘grunge’!

All the best with the start of term etc ..
Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

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Annabel Candy August 30, 2009 at 4:16 pm

Hilary – Luckily I have another 18 months before I have to deal with the high school scene. Fashions may have changed by then but body piercing and tatoos don’t seem to be going away! Maybe if I indulge in a bit of it myself that will put my kids off:)

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getlostwthlozza August 30, 2009 at 11:12 am

Morning Annabel,
Back from the outback and here is something that I constantly cringe about. I hear myself saying things I promised I would never say to my 17 year old son and realise I might be turning into a fuddy-duddy but then again maybe not???
I have an excellent relationship with my son and one of the lessons I taught him as he was growing up was to respect himself so that he can respect others. Now I am extremely proud of my son! Yes he has been in trouble with the police a couple of times doing silly teenage stuff (no where near as bad as I used to get in trouble for but thats another story :) ) and some may say I give him a little too much freedom but one of the reasons I am so proud of him is his attitude towards other people and other peoples property, he respects them and would never destroy stuff that did not belong to him, he looks after himself, eats properly, goes to the gym, boxing, karate, and has a great circle of friends. Yea he drinks and gets very drunk sometimes and I get weird phone calls at ungodly hours to come and pick him up but thats part of my job as a parent being there when my kids need me, no questions.
Yes he gets bored but instead of going out and destroying things that don’t belong to him he gets in touch with his friends and they go and do something or he even invites them over because he knows he can, we have rules at home and he knows and understands them and once again respects them. One reason for our great relationship is that I never judge him or what he does, I listen to what he says and if he wants my feedback or opinion he asks and I give it otherwise he knows he can talk to me about anything and there will be no judgement just support in whatever way he needs at that moment. It is tough at times but in the end it is very worth it. It must work cause I have a lot of his friends talking to me as well and sometimes just dumping and other times looking for some advice it is great when that happens but also a bit sad when they tell me that they could never talk to their parents about this kind of stuff :(
I suppose what I am trying to say is that like anything in life you get out of a situation (i.e. raising kids) what you put into it and unfortunately some parents just can’t find the time for the people that they bought into this world and some, horribly, just don’t care!!
Oh and by the way my son and daughter both go to the school in question and it is an excellent school that I would recommend and those rather silly looking twits you described are definitely in the minority but like so many things in life we are quick to see the bad, odd or strange before we see the good and there are a great deal of excellent young people going to that school.
Have fun and keep up the great work.
Lozza :)

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Annabel Candy August 30, 2009 at 4:12 pm

Lozza – Maybe turning into a fuddy duddy to some degree is inevitable. As long as we are aware of it and try to keep it under control, so we don’t turn into complete has-beens who young people roll their eyes and and would never turn to in times of need.

I really admire your parenting style. It sounds as if you are managing to strike a fine balance between setting up rules but also being there for your kids and listening to them. With my oldest only 11 it’s hard to imagine how I will manage when these things happen to me but that will be another adventure. Thank heavens you are there to support your son and bring him home safe when he pushes the limits. All kids will push the limits but they need a security net which you are providing. I really hope I turn out to be the type of parent my own kids and their friends can turn to when they need someone to listen to their problems. Not everyone can have understanding parents like you but at least those kids who can’t turn to their own parents are able to confide in you.

I think if there is one relationship worth working on more than any it is the parent-child relationship. I often feel guilty that I don’t have spend more one on one time with my kids. I have three of them and am trying to relaunch my career in a new country. I do find that guilt is part of being a parent and I often feel that I’m not doing enough. I hope I am though, and that I can continue to grow and learn with my children. Above all I want to respect them and encourage their self-confidence and unique individuality.

I’m sure you’re right that the kids I mention are in the minority – 3 out of 500 kids I saw maybe. I like to try to have fun and raise serious issues at the same time. That’s what I’m going for on Fridays from now on. Thanks for reading!

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janet August 31, 2009 at 7:58 am

I think all that stuff you saw is pretty much normal comprehensive school of 2009. Good kids come in many strange guises these days. Tattoos & piercings are the current rage – don’t worry too much until you start seeing body implants – you know horns etc!!

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Heather September 1, 2009 at 6:03 pm

Hi Annabel, I have just taken a moment to read your site, great! The fuddy-duddy mummy thing – what do we do about it? I remember wearing my school drees so short I couldn’t even bend ever so slightly without showing my knickers! But do I want that for my kids? I don’t think so! The girls in their short hotpants with laddered tights are more of a worry to me than the boys and thier adornments. I imagine the boys are softies inside ( am I being niave?), just trying to ‘find themselves’, whereas the girls are following the trend and not thinking for themselves. And yes, I am scared about high school!!!

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Annabel Candy September 1, 2009 at 7:29 pm

Great to hear what you think. Well, at least now we can face our fears together now. I have mixed feelings about the girls outfits. On one hand when else do you have the figure to wear stuff like that and the knicker skimming skirts you’re talking about?! They should be able to wear what they want. On the other hand there are too many perverts around I think they should cover themselves up more to protect themselves from that. But I don’t want them to go round wearing burkas. Yes, definitely mixed feelings.

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