parent opinion

"Every Friday night I go to Fight Club with my 11-year-old son."

Yes, yes, I know the first rule of Fight Club is to categorically deny its existence.

Oh wait, that’s not the line.

“The first rule of Fight Club is that there is no Fight Club.”

That’s better.

Anyway, even though I’m technically not allowed to talk about Fight Club, I do want to tell you about the Friday night Fight Club, which I attend with my 11-year-old son each week.

Because, as a mother, it’s one of my finer parenting moments.

My main motto in life is ‘we’re here for a good time, not a long time’ – and that’s one of the reasons why we love FNFC so much. But our fight club is unlike anything you saw in the 1999 Fight Club movie. For one thing, there’s (sadly) no shirtless Brad Pitt.

In fact, at our FNFC, there’s only two people: me and my son. That’s right, on Friday nights my kid and I fight each other. And it’s one of the best parts of our week.

Let me explain. It began about six month ago, when my son turned 11, and started laying down some rules about his personal space – ones I had to respect. I apparently was no longer allowed to randomly kiss and hug him. And if there is affection, he’s the only one allowed to initiate it. (No one warns you that one day you’ll suddenly be cut off from this.)

Then I had a genius idea. We’d always loved to play-fight, so I realised I could turn that into something much more grown-up sounding: Fight Club.

And my kid totally fell for it.

It was a new way for me to physically engage with a child who would, within a matter of months, grow to become my height. (By this Christmas, he will in fact me taller than me.)

FNFC is the best way to herald the weekend. Before the Uber Eats order arrives, my kid dumps his school bag down and I kick off my high heels, and we have 20 minutes without a screen or any other distraction – we’re just utterly primal and free together.

Now, before anyone calls child services on me, let me tell you exactly what happens at our now not-so-private, but still very exclusive, Fight Club.

It all begins in a very civilised fashion. We stand on opposite sides of the living room, and then I call “Go!” and we rush at each other in a fit of giggles because it’s so ridiculous.

And then we try to take each other down.

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There is absolutely no hitting or punching – but a lot of grabbing (not on the face or head). Because we’re both so ticklish and actually recoil in laughter before we even touch, when we finally do engage, it’s more about stretching clothing than inflicting harm. Once we’re on the floor, it’s a flurry of arms, legs, elbows, feet – sort of like free-form wrestling.

I usually tire quicker than my son (because I am very unfit). So there’s a safe word, but it’s completely redundant, because I usually have to scream, “I mean it, I really can’t breathe!”, to actually get a break.

And then we’re back at it.

My favourite place to wrestle is in my bedroom, because the bed is an expansive area of softness, and also, because I can jack-knife up if I fall on to it – springing up like god damn Muhammad Ali himself, jumping on my tip toes, giving the air quick jabs.

And yes, I snort-laugh while I do that.

There’s no points awarded. There’s no winner. We ‘fight’ until we’ve had enough – or when we’re on our backs, panting. And there’s always a cuddle after. (That sounds…wrong. But you know what I mean.)

So why does my kid love it so much? Because it’s fun, and physical, and not ‘domestic’ in any way – it’s different from our usual, more chilled at-home activities. And ultimately, I think he loves it for the same reason I do – because it’s time with me. Yep, he may be 11, but he still secretly loves his mum.

If I’m out on a Friday night and we miss Fight Club, we do it the next morning – that’s how much we value that time together.

But don’t just take my word for it – give FNFC a go with your kids – or your partner.

But probably not your pets.

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