My 15-year-old daughter and I were both at the kitchen table, when, out of the blue, she announced, “When I’m a mom, I want to be a cool mom like you!”
You’d think hearing that from your child, especially from a teenage child, would be a huge compliment. Thanks, but no thanks. I don’t want the title or position of ‘Cool Mom.’ Why? It’s a lot of pressure to be a so-called cool mom.
I was surprised at the number of stories that came up when I did a simple google search on “How to be a cool mom”. Apparently, many mothers not only want to be seen as a cool mom but, apparently, also want tips.
Last month, my daughter introduced me to the phrase, “Spill the tea,” which, in teen lingo, means, “What’s the gossip?” Since then, if I have some gossip I want to share with my daughter, I say, “I have some HOT tea to spill,” which means that the gossip is really juicy! (I had to ask a millennial in the office if that phrase was still being used, that’s how uncool I am!)
Still, every day now, I ask my daughter to “Spill the tea” about her day. She’ll respond, “You’re never going to believe what happened,” before launching into gossip about her friends, classmates or teachers. I think my daughter considers me a cool mom because we open up to one another in this way.
The Huffington Post published a cute article a couple of years ago, entitled 23 Undeniable Signs You Have A ‘Cool Mom. According to that article, it does seem that I am, indeed, a cool mom, even if most of the time I’m either walking around with toothpaste on my shirt or asking during parent-teacher interviews if her science teacher watches The Big Bang Theory, which you’d think would embarrass my daughter. (She thought it was hilarious.)
A key trait among cool moms? “She keeps it 100 percent real with all your friends.” Yes, when I’m carpooling my daughter’s friends, they will ask me things like, “Would you let Rowan wear a shirt that shows off her belly?” To which I respond, truthfully, that I don’t really care what she wears, because, well, I don’t. My daughter’s friends tell me about their “hookups,” their crushes, and one even asked if I would allow my daughter to go on the pill. A handful of times, my daughter’s friends have said to me, “I wish my mother was more like you,” which actually doesn’t give me an ego boost at all, but makes me feel rather sad. And confused. Why can’t my daughter’s friends ask their mothers these things? Why don’t they feel comfortable telling their mothers the “hot tea” that they so easily spill to me, about boys, drinking and, recently, vaping?
I think, perhaps, my daughter thinks I’m a cool mom because we’re also extremely loyal to each other. She tells me things about her friends (“Can you believe she posted on Snapchat that she was caught with a bottle of alcohol in her room!”) and I tell her things about her friend’s parents (They’re getting a divorce!”). My daughter will never tell her friends what I tell her. And, my daughter knows I will never share when she “spills the hot tea” about her friend’s antics with their parents. We both are vaults with our secrets.
And this is mostly why I don’t want the title of Cool Mom. I’m sometimes so shocked by the “hot tea” she spills about her friends and their stupid antics. Sometimes I think that maybe I should be telling their parents – “Do you know your daughter is selling vapes to other teenagers at night behind the school ?” Or, “Do you know your daughter is hooking up with this guy?” But then my loyalty to my daughter and her openness with me overpowers any urge to let these parents know what their offspring are really up to. I do feel torn, but our loyalty trumps all. It’s awkward when I see and talk with these parents, who don’t know what their children are up to, yet I do.
So, being a cool mom comes with a lot of pressure.
Another trait, according to the article was, “She has no problem sharing her own personal life with you and keeping it real.” I don’t have any problem sharing with my daughter (and her friends) what trouble I got into when I was fifteen. My daughter was conceived because her dad and I were drunk. Once you tell your child that, you feel like you can tell stories about anything.
Yet another trait: “When you start dating someone new, she’s usually more excited than you are!” My daughter doesn’t have a boyfriend, though she is boy-crazy at present. When she told me she had her first kiss, I was so excited I practically made her role play the entire scene for me. I wanted to know every single detail!
“She isn’t afraid to get her hands dirty defending you” is another sign you’re a cool mom. Yes, I’m beyond fiercely protective. When some jerk at a super busy airport rudely yelled at my daughter – “Why don’t you watch where the fuck you’re going?” I screamed, “Don’t talk to her like that! It was an accident!” Perhaps my daughter thinks I’m cool because she knows I’ll always defend her?
In another article, called “5 Ways to Make Your Teenager Think You are A Cool Mom,” the author begins, “Every mom wants their teenagers to think they are cool. Whether you admit it or not, there’s nothing like having your teen kids say, ‘Mom, I’m so glad you’re cool and not like those other moms!’ And having their friends think you’re cool is an ego boost, too.”
Not. For. Me.
In that article, apparently, you’re the cool mom if you “hug your kids – in private.” It says, “They don’t want their friends to know that they still need mom-hugs sometimes.” If this is true then I’m completely uncool! My daughter and I not only say we love you to each other multiple times a day, but we also send texts throughout the day, while she’s at school, telling each other that we love each other. Her friends, who gather in my kitchen, have heard me multiple times saying, ‘I love you’ to my daughter and witness me giving my daughter hugs and kisses. Once, I was carpooling, and my daughter told her friends, “My mom asks me to sleep with her sometimes,” to which her friends all responded with an, “I wish my mom would do that! I don’t even feel comfortable telling my mom I love her.” Again, I wonder, why her friends are embarrassed to show affection to their own moms, be it in public or private.
I also didn’t agree with, “Don’t try to make everything a life lesson. They aren’t dumb. Give them the benefit of the doubt because they likely already see the lesson in their experience. Not every conversation must be a lecture.” Well maybe lecture is too strong a word, but, sorry, I find there is a life lesson in almost everything we talk about.
And, even though I hate the title of this article, “How to Be a Cool Mom (And Why You Should Want to Be One)” the writer seems to be a lot like me. She too wonders why her kid, and her kid’s friends, think she’s a cool mom. “We recently had a pool party with a group of Emma’s homeschool co-op friends, and I’ve been told again that I’m a cool mom. I’m not a cool person. I’m kind of nerdy, actually. So how do I get this label?” she asks.
Like her, even though I’m an anxious person, I am a laid back mom. I don’t care if my kids’ rooms are tidy. I’m not strict about bedtime. I don’t put limits on screen time. Ditch days occur.
The writer also agrees that it is tricky to be a cool mom. “This is so difficult, but to be a cool mom, you have to zip your lips, guard your reactions, and let the conversation flow.”
Yup. Yup. Yup.
Sometimes, I feel that my daughter should be sharing certain things with her friends, and not me – sometimes ignorance is bliss – but, again, my daughter and I are just so comfortable with each other. She says I’m her best friend, and quite, frankly, I do consider her mine or at least one of mine.
But, I think the authors greatest line, which really sums up what a cool mom is – not one that lets you have a house party while they are out of town – was written in the middle article, when she says, “A cool mom is a confident parent.”
And, yes, I am, and always have been, a confident mom. So, next time she mentions that I’m a cool mom, I’m going to correct her and say, “No, I’m a confident mom.”
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