I spent Friday night in the kitchen with my two daughters (ages 12 and 10) and my niece (almost 13) making chocolate chip cookies and gabbing about “girl stuff.” I was certain that the conversation they were having, with me in the room, was exactly the conversation they would be having were I not in the room. After all, my girls tell me everything. We’re practically BFFs!
A Taylor Swift song belted from our kitchen CD player and, not to be outdone by my jamming girls, I threw my hips for a loop every few beats to show them just how cool their mom really was. I even used the dough-covered wooden spoon as a microphone, displaying my familiarity with the lyrics of a top-twenty hit.
I then allowed each of the girls to dip a spoon into the bowl for a big hunk of cookie dough. Aren’t you lucky, I beamed at them as I dipped my own spoon in, to have a cool mom like me?
They smiled faintly and looked at the floor. Um…yeah. I think they were so excited to see my wild side, they were at a loss for words.
I took this as a good sign and decided to outdo even myself. I asked my niece all about eighth grade: her friends, boyfriends, and frenemies. As she answered my questions, I made sure to interrupt her every few minutes with a story of my own from junior high, like how much I totally hated math in sixth grade or how laaame my Language Arts teacher had been in seventh. I think the girls really liked hearing me talk about myself because every time I did, the conversation would come to a halt and they’d sort of exchange looks with each other, like they weren’t sure what to say next. I’m pretty sure this is because they couldn’t believe they had a mom as withit as I was. So I just kept jumping in and talking over them every chance I could.
I was so happy for my girls, sitting at my knee, drinking deeply from the well of self-awareness that I offered them. As I talked on and on about What It Takes To Be Cool, I saw them smirk and glance at each other, obviously giddy to listen to their mother who knows it all. Clothes, makeup, boys, popularity, stiff parents? Just ask me, darlings. Just ask me. I have a totally awesome answer for everything. Check it out:
1. Clothes: Anything at Aeropostle is RAD. As long as it’s on the two for $20 rack. (You mom is cool and frugal. I know. You scored.)
2. Makeup: The more the better! You’re in middle school now: time to grow up. Full coverage foundation and liquid eyeliner are especially RAD.
3. “RAD“: Short for “radical,” a totally awesome phrase from when I was in high school. If you want to be a trendsetter, start saying it at school and just listen as it catches on. The other kids will think you’re totally retro and totally cool. Trust me.
4. Boys: Just follow the boy you like around at school, say “Hiii!!” to him really loudly in the halls, and tell everyone that he’s your soulmate and you’re gonna marry him someday. Boys are dense and need to have girls’ feelings made very, very clear to them, especially in front of all the other boys. Decorate his locker on Valentine’s Day, and on his birthday, wish him a “Happy-Sappy, Lovey-Dovey Birthday!” over the loudspeaker if you have access to it. (A cool girl always does.) As soon as the opportunity presents itself, be sure to tell him, “I love you.” Those are three sweetest words a prepubescent boy can hear from an aggressive girl. Preferably, do it the middle of the school dance floor while all his friends are watching. Then, whatever song is playing while you proclaim your love will become “your song.” You should probably cry a little here if you can manage it. Middle school boys are suckers for this kind of romance. Believe me, he’ll never forget you.
5. Popularity: It’s easy! Just follow the popular girls around and be extra mean to anybody who’s not them. (We have a responsibility as mothers to breed confidence in our young women.)
6. Stiff parents: I wouldn’t know! Never been one. It’s more important for me to be cool.
The only downside of being a Cool Mom like me is that you might have to bend your standards a little. No biggie–you can always change the rules later when it suits your mood. Just impose the Stiff Parent stuff when they get older. I’ve heard it’s easy for kids to change their habits and attitudes after they’re eighteen or so.
The upside of being a Cool Mom like me? Hellooo! You kids will worship you! So when you’re dancing around the kitchen and your ten-year old says, Mom, could you stop? That makes me uncomfortable, you’ll know she’s just teasing you the way all BFFs do.
Just look at me. My kids want to hang out with me so much, they beg me to go to the mall with them on a Saturday. I drive them there, give them each some money, and wait on the bench outside Aeropostale while they shop. It’s so fun and so hip that sometimes I sit there for hours while they go from store to store. We totally have a blast when I buy them a Cinnabon and they show me their new clothes. (How many moms do you know who put that kind of time into parenting?) When we leave, they walk about ten paces behind me, I think because they’re still a little shy out in public and like to follow my lead. Sometimes on the way home they’ll ask me to drop them off at the movies, and of course I’m glad to, since all BFFs love to go to movies together. I pay for their tickets and know they’d love for me to stay and watch the show with them, but I usually need to get back home to Dad and Ethan. When I tell them that, oh my gosh, they are always so sweet and understanding, I give them a little extra popcorn and licorice money to thank them. (We BFFs love to be generous with each other.)
Parenting can be a rocky road. But after all the ups and downs, highs and lows, and joys and tears, we Cool Moms come to understand one important truth: Nothing is as satisfying as being a friend instead of a parent. Nothing.
bragging about sharing all of my parenting successes on this blog. I mean, “it always feels so good to tell you everything, because if I don’t, it’s like it never happened.” (movie? a cool mom would know.)