One Direction

Follow Claire Smith's Mothering Heights on Twitter @MinistryOfMum

Follow Claire Smith's Mothering Heights on Twitter @MinistryOfMum - Credit: Archant

Last weekend I took my daughter to see the One Direction movie. It was exciting because being about half-way through a mid-life crisis, I thought it was the perfect opportunity to reawaken those emotions I used to have for Spandau Ballet and feel 13 again.

One Direction are the perfect antidote for a mother suffering from, well, a severe case of Mumsyness. If ever I’m starting to feel too responsible and rather dull, I chuck on a One Direction CD to make myself feel young again. My medicine is bopping and singing along at 8.30 in the morning. And, hey, the kids join in too and we feel, for those few minutes on the school run, that we’re a carefree family who haven’t just been screaming at each other about packed lunches.

So going to see the film was fab because not only was I going to be Cool Mum, I was going to get some teenage kicks at age 44.

However, after about 10 minutes of pretending I’m One Direction’s number one fan and trying to decide who is my favourite, something happened. I felt completely traumatised to the point where I couldn’t finish my popcorn.

Not because I was having difficultly deciding between Harry and Zayn, you see, but because I found the whole experience completely stressful. I’ll tell you why – I couldn’t stop myself from looking at their situation and lifestyle from a parent’s point of view. It freaked me right out to a place where I wanted to jump on the tour bus, cook them some soul food and just give them a massive cuddle.


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This is what freaked me out:

• In Amsterdam:

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The boys are out shopping when they are spotted by fans and get trapped in the Nike store as young girls scream and bang on the windows. They are helpless.

• During performance:

There’s a bit in the concert where they are on a platform above the audience and all I could think is “please don’t fall off” whilst staring at their feet in case one of them slightly stumbled.

• Driving around in a golf buggy:

Had to close my eyes because that’s a trip to A&E in the making. Plus have any of the boys actually passed their driving test?

• Their clothes:

When they are not in stage gear, who does their washing and ironing? I’m sure I saw Liam in the same T-shirt three days straight.

• Not going home:

They have only been home four times since being on The X Factor. I thought about this for days. They are experiencing grown up stuff without their parents there to hold their hands and guide them.

I guess there comes a time after you have children when the feelings of protection, worry, wanting to nurture and nest kick in, even if it takes a decade to get there. These emotions come when you least expect it. What should have been a few hours of releasing my inner cougar turned into a few hours of wanting to protect those boys. Being a parent has show me that this is the one direction I’m going in.

The main feeling I had was not a love for those five idols but a complete sympathy for their parents. The long distance telephone calls, the wondering where they were and who they were with...the worry for their security and their well-being. The bit where Liam’s dad is talking about how he has nothing to teach his son broke my heart because there obviously comes a time when you have to let your children go – and these parents are literally setting them free into the big, wide world.

I took comfort in their security guards and the tour manager who seemed like a second father. Their ability I’m sure is a close second to the parents – but still...I couldn’t help thinking about the ‘child’ stars who go off the rails. I lost more sleep than I did after watching The Blair Witch Project (two weeks).

So Harry, Niall, Louis, Zayn and Liam – please go home and cuddle your families.

(But send me a signed poster first though, thanks).

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