Friday, May 14, 2010

Cools Moms

On occasion I've been accused of being a cool mom. Mind you these accusations didn't come when I was caught belting Josh Groban in the car...with the windows the stoplight in front of the high school. They also didn't come as I sobbed, red-nosed and wet-faced because I always forget the Kleenex, at every single show my kids performed from preschool Christmas concerts to professional Dinner Theatre. They certainly didn't come when I excitedly cheered, until my I lost my voice, for our team's goalie as she stopped shot after shot after shot...and called her by her sister's name the entire time. No, those were certainly not my Cool Mom Moments. Those blunders, however, pale to nothingness when compared to the story I read recently of a very uncool mom.

Imagine the scene: The 13 year old daughter is pumped because her mom said she could invite some girls over for a slumber party. Her mom is "cool". She knows how to have a good time. This mom's party planning goes way beyond ghost stories and gossip. So the girls come over, ready for a night no one will forget. Maybe. Or maybe most of them won't remember it. Because the mom's idea of entertainment involves beer and vodka. Lots of it. In fact, the mom is so "cool" she offered a prize of ten buck to which ever 13 or 14 year old could drink the most Vodka!

When the police crashed the party, they found six drunk teens and 70 beer bottles as well as vodka and bourbon bottles. Two of the girls were taken to the hospital. Wow! What a "Cool" mom.

I remember when I was a teenager and how "Cool" I thought the parents were who had the attitude, "They are going to drink anyway. At least if they drink at my house, I know where they are." But I was a teenager. In other words, young and naive and stupid. One would hope that as we get older, our ideas of "Cool" change.

Of course this story made the news because it is extreme. Most sane and sober parents, I hope anyway, would agree that this kind of parenting is wrong. In fact, it's illegal. It's a felony, actually. But it did get me to thinking about the other ways we indulge our children's young, naive and stupid ideas of "cool."

Do we text our kids at school, knowing they aren't supposed to use their phones but also knowing they are doing it anyway, so at least we know who they are texting? Worse, do we text our teens when we know they are behind the wheel thinking that somehow a driving text from Mom won't be as lethal as text from the boyfriend? Do we let them stay out past our community's curfew laws? Do we pay their parking or speeding tickets and increased insurance because it's convenient for us to have them taxi the younger siblings? Do we call in sick for them to the school because if they are going to play hooky anyway, at least we know where they are? Do we sneak our preteens into R-rated movies because they will probably see it at a friend's house when it comes out on video anyway?

I think you get the point. It's a slippery slope that slides faster the older they get.

I'm not sure why I sometimes get accused of being a cool mom. I hope it's because of the miniature candy bars I used to have in the car when I drove on field trips. Or the fact that I sit beside my kids while we check out their facebook page together rather than stalking them and questioning every post.

I hope it's maybe because I always want my kids to know they and their friends have an emotionally safe place in my heart and home, even when they screw up. And even when I screw up. And that's a definition of "Cool Mom" I hope never changes.


  1. You are so correct!! Being a single parent makes this increasingly difficult. While I want to be the "Cool Dad" it is indeed a fine line. Being that cool parent enables the kids and more importantly their friends to be comfortable around a parent. I have always had the belief I would rather have all the kids at my house so I know what is going on versus somewhere else where they may end up with the COOL MOM you referenced. Great article!!

  2. Oh, it's very difficult for single parents. Single parents have the added challenge of being compared to each other. Yes, I know married couples face that same issue, but it's not exactly the same. Since we don't live with the other parent, it's almost impossible to have the same rules and implement them in a consistent manner with each other--even if you are in a rare situation where exes work together. Even when we don't try to compete with the other parent, we are automatically compared. And although it's sometimes secretly satisfying to be the "cool parent" in that situation, we also must insist that our kids understand that different parenting philosophies must be respected even if one parent does seem "cooler." But that's another blog I think. Thanks for stopping by.

  3. My niece walked in my house one day with her family, look down at my shoes and said "Oh look converse --you 're a cool mom!" I didn't realize that was all it took.. My kid was just ticked that I borrowed her shoes!!!