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Tribal Instincts

12th November 2015

Published this week in Sunday Life Magazine, a look at modern parent subcultures. Missing here: the Mad Religious, the Drug-Addled, the Silly-Voiced, the Odd Smelling and many other tribes I couldn’t fit into a tidy little box.


Originally a French term, Bobo is a conflation of the term “bourgeois bohemians” and it describes a rising demographic found mostly in our inner cities. Often combining the high-tech with the natural, Bobos love gadgetry and artisanal products. For instance, they might use a wireless wristband to bio-hack their metabolic health while riding their vintage bicycle. Fashion is “normcore”, or intentionally understated. Bobos are defined largely by food: veg is organic, grains are bad, nuts are activated, juice is green and coffee is cold-drip. Their diet may be raw vegan, paleo or 5:2. Don’t worry, you will find out which within the first few minutes of conversation.

Superpowers: Fermentation, free-boobing, beardiness, acro-yoga, ironic tattoos and superb gastro-intestinal health.

Armour: Kefir water, chemical-free sunscreen, gluten-free DSLR camera, chia seed mini-muffins in bento box.

Sample statement: ”Bugger, CrossFit ran so late I forgot to feed my kombucha mother. Can anybody give me a dink back to Tamarama?”


Breathtakingly capable, these parents sign readers, attend committees, and return school forms on time and free of mystery stains. Even the car of the No-Nonsense Parent is clean, which goes beyond the capability of 85 per cent of parents with small children. They separate their whites and darks. Both the women and the men are impressively groomed, hairless as Sphinx cats, and often highly sporty.

Handbags and satchels contain items for every occasion (wet wipes, tweezers, night-vision goggles, etc.) Spag bol is cooked in large batches to keep the busy work week humming smoothly. They are actual, proper grown-ups – and the P&C Federation would crumble without them.

Superpowers: Fundraising skill, death stares, ability to raise a single (beautifully arched) eyebrow,excellent information retention, household-management systems.

Armour: Premium-grade iPhone scheduling app, clothes iron, insomnia, low-level anxiety disorder, complete inability to say no, buttocks like two puppies fighting under a blanket, the pale eyeballs of the terrifyingly healthy.

Your best opening line: ”I am not worthy.”


Hot-Mess Parents often sport a fashion look best described as “shagged through a hedge backwards”. They arrive late, dishevelled and confused. School bags contain unsigned forms and rogue “crunch and sip” elements. Children and/or parents may have head lice.

Tears and coffee mingle on yesterday’s trousers as Hot-Mess Parents race to soccer training, only to realise they have packed the Irish dancing bag.

They are, frankly, all over the place like a madwoman’s poo-poo. By week eight of the school term, the percentage of parents who have shifted tribes from All-Business to Hot-Mess is high.

Superpowers: Pulling it together at the last minute, lightness of spirit, excellent blood pressure and incredible scrispering (scream-whispering) talent.

Armour: Three pens (none work).

Sample statement: ”Hat parade? What hat parade?”

Read the whole thing, if you’re interested at Daily Life.

In today’s news, Keith and I are off to a wedding up the coast. Sans kids, even (thank you, Mum and Dad.x)

Road trip! Road trip!! Road trip!!!!!!!

Happy weekend to you all.


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