The letter we all wish we'd received at age 13.

We love it when funny mums give advice to their kids.

Tina Fey nailed life advice in her Mother’s Prayer for Her Child.

And now, with the busy season fast approaching and relationships between parents and teenagers possibly becoming a little fraught, we’re revisiting another classic.

Columnist and author Caitlin Moran wrote this masterpiece – ‘posthumous’ advice to her daughter – when her daughter was about to turn 13 and Moran was smoking a lot.

She decided to pen a draft “Now I’m Dead, Here’s My Letter Of Advice For You To Consult As You Continue Your Now Motherless Life” letter to the youngster, in her typical hilarious style.


She begins: “Dear Lizzie. Hello, it’s Mummy. I’m dead. Sorry about that. I hope the funeral was good…” and litters her letter with pearls of wisdom she “learnt on the way”.

On being nice:

“The main thing is just to try to be nice. You already are – so lovely I burst, darling – and so I want you to hang on to that and never let it go. Keep slowly turning it up, like a dimmer switch, whenever you can. Just resolve to shine, constantly and steadily, like a warm lamp in the corner, and people will want to move towards you in order to feel happy, and to read things more clearly. You will be bright and constant in a world of dark and flux, and this will save you the anxiety of other, ultimately less satisfying things like ‘being cool’, ‘being more successful than everyone else’ and ‘being very thin’.”

On the life-affirming act that is drinking a cup of tea:

“Always remember that, nine times out of ten, you probably aren’t having a full-on nervous breakdown – you just need a cup of tea and a biscuit. You’d be amazed how easily and repeatedly you can confuse the two. Get a big biscuit tin.”

On how getting through appalling experiences will make future amazing anecdotes:

“However awful, you can get through any experience if you imagine yourself, in the future, telling your friends about it as they scream, with increasing disbelief, ‘NO! NO!’ Even when Jesus was on the cross, I bet He was thinking, ‘When I rise in three days, the disciples aren’t going to believe this when I tell them about it.”

On love:

“Never love someone whom you think you need to mend – or who makes you feel like you should be mended. There are boys out there who look for shining girls; they will stand next to you and say quiet things in your ear that only you can hear and that will slowly drain the joy out of your heart. The books about vampires are true, baby. Drive a stake through their hearts and run away.”

On body image:

“Stay at peace with your body. While it’s healthy, never think of it as a problem or a failure. Pat your legs occasionally and thank them for being able to run. Put your hands on your belly and enjoy how soft and warm you are – marvel over the world turning over within, the brilliant meat clockwork, as I did when you were inside me and I dreamt of you every night.”

And lastly, “never, ever start smoking”.

“It’s like buying a fun baby dragon that will grow and eventually burn down your f***ing house.”


You can watch Caitlin Moran read the letter in full here:

Video via BBC Newsnight
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