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Special bond: Why nothing beats a night out with mum

Three mothers and daughters from Northern Ireland tell Kerry McKittrick about their nights on the town together

Published 17/04/2015

Drink to that: Hazel Jones with her daughter Helga Will
Drink to that: Hazel Jones with her daughter Helga Will
Musical connection: Elaine McConaghie with mum Rosalind Murphy
Best pals: Melissa Magee with her mum Mary

Most mothers and daughters have a special bond, confide in each other and see each other on a regular basis. Now, though, the generation gap is closing, with some mums and their offspring hitting nightclubs together.

It seems modern mums are more likely to enjoy a night out at the latest hotspot in town then minding the grandchildren or knitting booties in front of the TV.

A survey has revealed that 21st century parenting has changed, with mums and daughters choosing to socialise together. The findings, based on a survey of 1,000 adults aged between 18 and 65 and carried out by Usurv on behalf of the Post Office gift card service One4All, show that more than 80% of women dine out with their mothers.

And while having the odd meal out with mum may not seem unusual, the report also revealed that two-thirds of women now go on holiday with their mother as well as hitting the shops for a spot of retail therapy.

A further one in three woman admitted to inviting their mothers to social occasions while one in four have even gone clubbing with theirs.

Experts attribute these closer relationships to a change in social attitudes with mothers and daughters more likely to share opinions on work, marriage and raising a family.

One area, however, where mothers and daughters are still not connecting regularly is social media. Only one in 10 of those surveyed have connected with their mothers on Facebook.

It seems the technical revolution hasn’t quite caught up with the social revolution just yet.

Here, we talk to three sets of mothers and daughters who enjoy socialising together.

'We're in the same band and find ourselves going to gigs together'

Elaine McConaghie (30) is a singer and works in HR. She lives in Dundonald with her husband Gareth. She says:

My mum, Rosalind, and I have always have been close. It might be something to do with being the only girl - I have four brothers.

I go out with my mum quite a lot - we're actually in a folk band called the False Lashes and we both sing and play the guitar. A lot of our socialising focuses on music so we find ourselves going to lots of gigs, even when we're not performing in them. Mum is a visual artist, too, so we'll go and see lots of art shows.

We've always sung together and we were doing that before I was old enough to go out on my own, so I'm used to having my mum at gigs.

I think mum looks quite young for her age so sometimes she gets mistaken for my older sister.

On the whole, though, I find people react positively to my mum being out with me. I find as I get older my friends bring their parents out, too. I was at a 30th birthday recently and there were plenty of other mums out with us. I think it's what people do now - even if I was 22 today my mum would still be going out with me. A couple of decades ago no-one would have imagined that.

Some of my friend's mums are friendly with my mum but that's a bit of a coincidence. Mum teaches art and some are her students, or they've met in the same keep fit class.

I've never had anyone ask me why I hang out with my mum. In my case it's the opposite as friends are more likely to ask me where she is, if she's not there."

Rosalind Murphy (57), is an artist and singer and lives in Newcastle. She has five grown-up children. She says:

Elaine has been playing in bands for quite a long time, so anytime she had a gig I would go along to support her. Then, of course, I would join her for birthdays and celebrations so it's gone on from there.

Now, we might arrange to go and see a band in places like the Black Box and the Errigle in Belfast.

When people discover we're mother and daughter it's usually a positive reaction. We are close so we probably talk most days over the phone.

I think a lot of it has to do with our love of music and art.

We sing in the same band, go to gigs together and visit art exhibitions together.

I don't think I would have expected to have this kind of relationship with my daughter, but I think we've shared common interests since she was young."

'The friendship between us has evolved over the years'

Melissa Magee (26), who is an events executive, lives in Donaghadee and is engaged to Olympic sailor Matthew McGovern. She says:

W e've always been a really close family as it's just myself and my sister as well as my parents. It's in the last few years that we've become really close - my mum, Mary, has really been there for me through a couple of break-ups and that sort of thing.

I think you can always trust your mum and that she will always be absolutely straight with you. Sometimes you have to learn the hard way that she's always right, even if she's telling you things you don't want to hear.

The friendship between us has evolved over the years. My sister got married a couple of years ago, so I've been the only one living at home with mum since then and we've become closer in a very special way.

It all started when I was going to work at the Portrush air show and was able to bring someone with me, so I asked my mum.

It was the worst weekend from the start - our hotel room had a view of a brick wall and the weather was horrendous the whole way through. But mum and I didn't let it get us down and turned the whole weekend into a laugh.

Now we go back to Portrush every year and we've gone from having family holidays to it being just the two of us. My dad is perfectly happy to get the house to himself once in a while.

I do see my mum almost every day, but it's still important to me to actually go out and socialise with her.

My mum took early retirement and looks after my nanny now, so it's nice for her to be out and about and have a bit of a break. She feels sometimes that she can't plan things for herself, so I do it for her. Mum has done things for us her whole life and this is something I can do for her.

As well as going away we try and have an afternoon tea once a month or go out for a nice lunch. That gives my sister Amanda the chance to join in, too.

I'm getting married in August, so I'll obviously be moving out of the house to live with my husband. I'm looking forward to starting my life with Matt, but, of course, I will miss my mum. He travels a lot for work though, so I can see myself going home to stay with mum for a couple of nights and that will help ease her into a new routine. A lot of my friends are quite close to their mums, too. They might not go away on holiday with their mum but they think it's lovely that I do.

I can't imagine not having the relationship with mum that I do now, and I can't imagine what it would be like not being friends with her. We've just booked our holiday and we've decided to try and do it once a year."

Mary Magee (61), a retired bank official, lives in Donaghadee with her husband Terry. They have two daughters, Amanda (29) and Melissa (26). She says:

Of course, I've always been close to both of the girls. Socialising, though, began after Melissa left university. She was working part-time for Elizabeth Arden but she also did a bit of modelling then and entered Miss Northern Ireland a couple of times. I would ferry Melissa around for jobs and then we would go off and have coffee together. I had just taken early retirement from my job in a bank, so we had more time to spend together as adults, and it's continued on from there.

My mum lives with us and she's slowed down a lot, but she comes on breaks with us for birthdays. All of the girls and I decided a long time ago that we have so much stuff that we don't need anything. Now instead of presents, we all pitch in for a nice break somewhere or afternoon tea. It's more about us spending quality time together and enjoying ourselves than anything else.

People do make comments about me being so close with both Melissa and Amanda. I do like going on holiday with Melissa - as long as she's the one happy to go up to the bar to get the drinks. We used to bring my husband but he hasn't been able to come because of work and, to be honest, he was quite happy to get rid of the two of us.

Holidays have started to be a bit of a tradition with us and we would like to keep at it now. Melissa is in more of a position to go away as her fiance works away a lot of the time.

I'm dreading Melissa moving out of the house. The only way I was able to cope with Amanda moving out was that Melissa was still there. I think it won't be too bad - she'll probably come over a lot when Matthew is away sailing."

'We find it's good to make an occasion and have an outing'

Helga Will (36) is a homeless support worker and lives in Belfast. She says:

I am very close to my mum, Hazel - much more now than when I was young. I think that people do become friends with their parents as they get older. When you're young, your mum is too busy teaching you and pulling you into line. Nowadays we live in our own homes, and have our own lives, but we get to meet up and catch up with each other's lives. I think we both enjoy that aspect of our friendship.

Of course, I go and visit mum at her house. If I have a free couple of hours the next day, I will call her and see if it's okay for me to nip round for a chat. More often than not, though, we find that it's good to make an occasion and have some kind of outing in the diary. We go to the theatre a lot.

Mum used to run a B&B in Belfast and I worked there, too. We found that when we saw each other, it was always in the context of work, even though we both lived on the premises. We discovered that we only got uninterrupted time to talk when we made the time to actually go out somewhere else.

So, we started going to the theatre, the movies or out for dinner together.

We've also been on holiday together and a couple of cruises as well. It's not all outings and parties, though, sometimes we just enjoy going out for a walk together.

I was raised primarily by mum and I'm her only child but I don't think that makes a difference to our relationship. I just like spending time with my mum and having fun together.

When we went out recently for Mother's Day it was all the more special as I was the only one to be taking her out.

I do remember in my early 20s having a discussion with a friend of mine about any regrets we may have in the future. It was during a period when I was spending a lot time studying and working away from Northern Ireland, and I can remember thinking that I'd love to be spending more time with my mum and how nice it would be to enjoy that relationship more."

Hazel Jones (60s) is retired and lives in Ballyclare. She says:

Helga and I do plenty of things together, but there's no set routine or timetable for it. I'm a friend of the Grand Opera House in Belfast, so we go to quite a few shows there together. I think that's how we started to socialise really. A friend of mine encouraged me to join and I usually ask Helga to come along with me.

We do other bits and pieces, too. We go to the Donaghadee Male Voice Choir quite a lot because my late husband was in it. We go out walking, for dinner or afternoon tea and we might head out to the continental market when it's in town.

Of course, she nips in to see me if she's passing or I'll call and see her regularly, but we each have our own circle of friends that we spend time with, so we don't need to see each other all the time.

We've been to Wales, London, Paris and Lanzarote as well as a couple of cruises, too.

I have stepchildren but they live in Wales and I never really see them. I think that because Helga is my only child, it means we're very close.

Our relationship is more than just a mother and daughter relationship.

However a relationship like ours may not be so easy when your children are teenagers. I also know families with mother and daughters who are so similar that they end up fighting all the time.

People don't seem to be surprised that we spend a lot of time together, in fact some of Helga's friends tell me she's becoming glamorous like me."

Famous mothers and daughters

Comic actresses Kate Hudson and her mother Goldie Hawn are often seen at celebrity bashes together. Kate is vocal about how much she admires her mother

Chelsea Clinton might not have followed her famous mother into politics but she has become vice-chair of the Clinton Foundation as well as being a policy advisor

When Dakota Johnston appeared at the Oscars earlier this year her companion was her mother, Melanie Griffith, an old hand at the Academy Awards since her nomination for Working Girl in 1988

Kris Jenner, mother of Kim, Kourtney, Khloe, Kendall and Kylie. The matriarch of the Kardashian clan is 'momager' to all the girls who are not only reality TV stars in Keeping Up With the Kardashians, but also have many product lines, too

Belfast Telegraph

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