How to be a terrible daughter.

My Mum is lovely. She’s called Dallas and she is a retired social worker and she’s very smart and loves doing crosswords and reading thrillers. I love my Mum. A lot.

Unfortunately, my Mum also has a laptop. I hate this laptop.

I hate the laptop because it means my Mum gets to ring me (as the designated family computer expert) to ask me questions.

Today, she wanted to know how to ‘like’ a Facebook page, because her friend Mike (“The one who married Jane. Jane. Curly hair Jane. You remember Jane. She worked at the opticians. Went to Cyprus.”) has a Facebook page for his new hotel, and wants to her like it.

Now you might think liking a page is simple. Log into Facebook. Open the page. Click ‘like’.

Don’t be so naïve.

Instead we have this conversation:

Me: I’ve liked the page and suggested you like it, so you just need to log-in to Facebook and accept my suggestion. Okay?

Mum: Right, I logged in. I can see where it says ‘Facebook’

Me: Okay, to the right of there…

Mum: The profile?

Me: No, not there

Mum: News feed?

Me: No, not there – just to the right of where it says Facebook

Mum: I don’t have that. I have a capital G?

Me: What?? Hang on. See where your profile picture is? Above that, in white letters, it says Facebook?

Mum: Oh, right! Yes.

Me: Cool. To the right of that, you have an envelope, and a little globe icon, and 2 little heads

Mum: I don’t have that.

Me: No, keep looking. It’s there. I promise.

Mum: Oh, so it is! It’s very faint isn’t it?

Me: Great. Right, click on the globe and select ‘view all notifications’

Mum: Right click?

Me: No, not right click, just click

Mum: Oh hang on, I’ve lost it now, it’s gone. What did I do?

Me: Never mind, I’ve sent you a message on Facebook with the link. Open your messages and click on the link.

Mum: Oh there’s a red number 1 at the top now!

Me: I know, that’s to tell you you’ve got a message from me. Click on the subject line to open it.

Mum: It doesn’t have a subject. It says ‘no subject’

Me: Where it says no subject just click on it.

Mum: Hang on, I can’t click on it.

Me: Okay. Try this. In the address bar, can you type

Mum: Are you getting stressed?

Me: (lying) No. I’m not stressed. Just type facebook dot com then a slash then janeshotel. OK?

Mum: Okay. I’ve typed it..nothing’s happened.

Me: Did you click enter?

Mum: You didn’t say to do that.

Me: Sorry, click enter.

Mum: Right, it’s come up – Jane’s hotel, Jane’s hotel on Twitter…

Me: Did you type it in the Google search box?

Mum: Is that different to the address bar?

Me: You know what? Give me your Facebook log-in and I’ll do it for you.

Mum: Well, there’s no need to be like that.


Tell me it’s not just me, is it?


Sally is a full-time blogger and founder of the Tots100, Trips100, Foodies100 and HIBS100 communities, along with the MAD Blog Awards. She spends a bit too much time on the Internet. She’s also a very happy Mum to Flea, the world’s coolest ten year old.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


  1. Hollie Smith
    20th April 2012 / 3:07 pm

    Ha ha ha! This sounds like my mum. Unfortunately, it also sounds rather like me.

    • 22nd April 2012 / 7:34 pm

      Me too, on occasion 🙂

  2. Sarah Ryan
    20th April 2012 / 3:08 pm

    No no I have this issue with both of my parents for their laptops, the family PC, their mobile phones, their new 3D tv, the remote for their new 3D tv, the remote for their new Virgin Media Tivo box and so on. I spent 20 minutes watching my mum trying to change the channel last night. She refused to let me help her and then yelled at me for snickering. I know it’s evil but I just couldn’t help it!

    • 22nd April 2012 / 7:34 pm

      My Mum is SO smart, it’s just me – I’m really, really bad at explaining stuff. Thank God I’m not a teacher.

  3. Christian
    20th April 2012 / 3:09 pm

    I have the same problem. Trying to teach my parents to use a PVR made me want to push pencils through my eyes.

    • 22nd April 2012 / 7:35 pm

      Actual LOL.

  4. Lindy
    20th April 2012 / 3:42 pm

    I have one word for you FaceTime! It has saved my sanity. My Dad calls at least once a month. I used to ask worriedly what was wrong when he called but now I know if he’s calling it’s because he can’t figure something out on the computer. Before FaceTime our conversations sounded a lot like you described. Now I tell him to turn the camera around and I can see what he sees. It’s the best invention ever and at the end of our call I don’t feel like an ass of a daughter yelling at her poor dad!

    • 22nd April 2012 / 7:35 pm

      Does my Mum need something for that, though?

  5. Nikki
    20th April 2012 / 3:54 pm

    Sally – you are not alone, I promise. There are a whole host of sons and duaghters out there fighting the same battle 🙂

    Be brave, be strong and above all – be armed with a glass of wine to get you through the call.

    PS Didn’t you say your parents read this blog? If so, good luck……

    • 22nd April 2012 / 7:35 pm

      Mum’s on hols. (well-timed post, or what?)

  6. 20th April 2012 / 3:54 pm

    You need to either share your screen using Skype (press the + button in-call) so you can see her screen or vice versa. Or make a screencast using Jing and email it to her (both tutorials on my blog

    I think you’re actually quite lucky – conversation with my Mum: “no RIGHT click Mum, RIGHT click!!”. Glad to hear I’m not alone though!

    • 22nd April 2012 / 7:35 pm

      Top tips, thanks!

  7. 20th April 2012 / 4:30 pm

    So not just you!!! We started to blog to keep the grannies up to date while we traveled, well we left them behind… they are still trying to “learn to email” … endless phone calls like this:
    Me: ” Tell me what’s on your screen.”
    She: “Nothing.”
    Me: “Can’t be nothing, what can you see there?”
    She: “Really nothing.”
    Me: “Then it must be off.”
    She: “No there is just nothing on the email.”
    Hair wrenching moment….
    On that note – hope you have a lovely, relaxing weekend!!!

    • 22nd April 2012 / 7:36 pm

      I do that one ALL THE TIME: “What can you see?” and then she’ll say she can’t see a box, but she can see a square, and I have an aneurism…

  8. 20th April 2012 / 5:09 pm

    Haven’t laughed so much for a long time. It could have been my daughter – such exquisite patience can only be supported with huge amounts of love!! Thank you daughters for loving us enough to now take over the reigns and teach us!!

    PS Not sure if I’ve put this in the right place, should I phone my daughter and ask her advice?…..

    • 22nd April 2012 / 7:36 pm

      Oh, I think the world of my Mum – we do both laugh about it. You know, later. Quite a bit later, sometimes…

  9. David
    20th April 2012 / 5:17 pm

    Brilliant. I have this issue with my 82 year old great aunt. I suggest you sign up to for a free account then add her laptop to it. Then any time there’s an issue you can connect up and remote control it, showing her what to do visually. It’s a real life saver.

    • 22nd April 2012 / 7:36 pm

      That is a fab recommendation, definitely going to try it, thanks.

  10. 20th April 2012 / 6:19 pm

    I am dreading the day my Mum joins fb – she keeps saying she must. All three nephews have strict intructions to act vague when the subject comes up. It’s bad enough that she calls me on skype everytime I sit down to work: “Your name popped up, I thought you wanted tot tell me something.”

    • 22nd April 2012 / 7:39 pm

      Arf. My Mum will never be allowed near Skype if I have anything to do with it.

  11. 20th April 2012 / 6:35 pm

    Ahahaha, you’ve just described me on the phone to my parents! My dad wants me to come over next week to set up his external hard drive… I’m dreading it. He’ll be looking over my shoulder the whole time, asking pointless questions. ARGH!

    • 22nd April 2012 / 7:39 pm

      We are terrible offspring.

  12. 20th April 2012 / 6:54 pm

    I am so glad that my mother doesn’t get technology to the point that she doesn’t even own a PC, or a smartphone. It is bad enough her having a music centre. As a kid, I used to have to retune it for her every time she changed stations.

    • 22nd April 2012 / 7:39 pm

      My Mum is quite handy with a smartphone these days, I have to say.

  13. purplemum
    20th April 2012 / 7:55 pm

    You know whats worse ? Not being asked. My mother in law (who I am very close too) asks my husband computer questions despite me spending all day on my computer and him being well an electrician who has never used a social network. She does this because he is a man, and therefore will obviously know more than a woman about technical stuff. Grrrrr.

    • 22nd April 2012 / 7:41 pm

      Oh, HOW infuriating!

  14. Emily Mummylimited
    20th April 2012 / 7:57 pm

    It definitely isn’t just you. I once had a 15 min conversation with my dad about printing off a PDF file with a tax form. Turned out he’d been trying for 4 days and eventually drove into town to pick one up. All because he couldn’t work out how to download the Adobe programme he needed.

    Then the most wonderful thing happened. He bought a mac and uses the in store tutorials. Now some poor person is paid to answer his innane questions and I am off the hook

    • 22nd April 2012 / 7:41 pm

      Oh, bless – that’s so annoying for him! Glad he’s come over to the Mac way of thinking, though.

  15. TheBoyandMe
    20th April 2012 / 7:06 pm

    Hysterical! Actually laughing out loud here, and I’m trying to get The Boy to sleep so that’s not helpful.

    My mother doesn’t own a computer, thank God. She has difficulty enough operating the sky remote control.

    • 22nd April 2012 / 7:40 pm

      I have problems with the sodding Sky remote.

  16. 20th April 2012 / 7:16 pm

    I very nearly wet myself laughing, this is my mother in law through and through. She drives me insane with it!

    • 22nd April 2012 / 7:40 pm

      So hard isn’t it? I’m not a natural computer instructor, let’s put it that way.

  17. Susan Mann
    20th April 2012 / 7:29 pm

    Lol you are not alone, my mum calls me up with questions about the laptop all the time. One day she called me about an email she received saying she had a security breach on her Halifax account she was panicking as she didn’t have an account. I always wondered what kind of people fell for these scam emails now I no. What I ended up doing was installing logmein onto her laptop so I could dial in & take over her laptop, see what she was doing & show her. Best thing I ever did.

    • 22nd April 2012 / 7:41 pm

      Oh, my parents ring me about scam stuff as well, worried it’s real. But I guess it’s new to them, and I always say I’d rather they rang me than the nice Nigerian man who wants to send them money…

  18. 20th April 2012 / 7:49 pm

    Ha, this made me laugh and smile to myself, safe in the knowledge that my mum will never have a laptop and will never have to bother me about it! Good luck!

    • 22nd April 2012 / 7:41 pm

      Lucky you!

  19. FeeHorne
    20th April 2012 / 8:13 pm

    Priceless. Sent my father-in-law a link to 4yr old twins’ Sport Relief Mile giving page with strict instructions about clicking on the big red button that said ‘sponsor me’. There are three or four big red buttons on that page, all saying ‘sponsor me’, so I still don’t understand how he can have missed all of them and found his way to the general ComicRelief donation page, via a teeny,tiny link at the very bottom of the page! OK so the money all goes to the same place, but all I wanted was a donation with the words ‘good luck love Grandma and Grandad’ so I could show the littlies. Too much to ask? Apparently. Technology, isn’t not for the oldies is it?!!!

    • 22nd April 2012 / 7:42 pm

      That is the sort of thing that happens in our family ALL the time.

  20. 22nd April 2012 / 7:29 pm

    Gosh that sounds like me!.. I am not going to even attempt to get my Father in law onto Facebook !

    • 22nd April 2012 / 7:42 pm

      I think that is a wise decision.

  21. 22nd April 2012 / 8:53 pm

    Not just you, no.

    Every time I see my Dad he sits down and very earnestly says “now you must explain this facebook thing to me”. And I do. EVERY TIME.

    I like to think I’m quite good at explaining things. I don’t know where I’m going wrong with my Dad.


  22. Martin Jones
    24th April 2012 / 9:31 am

    My dad joined Facebook a while ago and I have the same issues. Unfortunately, he’s also found YouTube, and it seems the only thing he’s learnt from the endless phone conversations is how to post videos on my wall. “Look at this funny cat, it says “No”, can you believe it?” *headdesk*