It’s a joyous milestone when kids grow up and dress themselves. We watch with parental pride, admiring their independence and finesse as they flounder to put on their socks or put both legs in the same pant leg. As with every stage, we praise and support our very, lovely children.
I didn’t mock them when they put a shirt on inside out. I would gently point out the tag is a flag to be waved on their back, inside their shirt, and help them readjust.
I wouldn’t hurt their feelings and tell them a purple and orange striped shirt didn’t match a green and pink polka-dotted skirt. But, I might carefully praise their choice, ask them to choose which item was their favorite, then direct their decision to pick something that matched. It was to keep from scarring them for life when they’re showing childhood photos to future spouses.
When they wanted to wear their dress-ups in public, I bore the quizzical stares and the raised eyebrows as a mother martyr would. I allowed them the freedom to express themselves. I didn’t make fun of their style, not at all. I didn’t walk really fast and pretend I wasn’t with them, no matter what they wore. I didn’t roll my eyes at them, or heave patronizing sighs, or change my mind about going out with them in public. I might release myself from the shame of the moment by saying, “Isn’t it cute what kids wear when they dress themselves?”
The next milestone isn’t so joyous, the one where they pick out their own clothes, shoes and hair style according to what their peers have deemed cool. Armed with newly-found discernment and their parents’ cash, they shop and get most rad hairstyle the ‘rents will allow. When fully clothed in cool, their eyes wander to those ‘rents who just funded their makeover and become painfully aware of their lack of style. They cringe at the jeans that don’t have the right width of pant legs or the right depth of the waistband. Hair color and style are evaluated and gray hairs they caused will be randomly pulled from your head when they dare stick up around the new cool kid.
Imagine my surprise when they hit this milestone and didn’t offer the same support and the freedom to express myself I freely bestowed upon them just those few short years ago. The undying love and adoration they always felt for their ‘rents becomes slightly scribbled over with childish embarrassment as they realize their ‘rents are NOT cool.
WHAT? Me, not cool? Are you, like, totally, like, out of your mind?
My clothes match, I don’t wear anything inside out or upside down, and I quit wearing dress-ups to the grocery store a few months ago.
What does it take to be a cool mom?
Dress just like her daughters? No, that’s just wrong. Moms can dress in style, that’s ok, but like their daughters? No way. We’ve all seen those women. We can’t become those women.
Use the hip phrases of time? DUDE just doesn’t sound right on mom’s lips, even though it is contagious and sometimes we slip.Besides, when you use their words, you stand to be lectured on what those words mean and if you’re using them correctly. Dude! It’s just annoying!
Hairstyles? A mom is supposed to have one? So combing my hair once a day whether it needs it or not doesn’t count as a hairstyle? Does anyone else find it ironic that the very ones who basically refused to comb their hair and brush their teeth for the first 12 years of their lives now find it necessary to monitor their parents’ grooming skills?
Who gets to define cool?
Her kids’ friends?
Her husband? OK, if a husband doesn’t notice new curtains, a haircut or new shade of lipstick, how can he be able to rank his wife’s coolness factor? Besides, the kids who spent his hard-earned money to morph into coolness probably have their coolness radar detector out on Pops, too. And it’s probably not bleeping very much.
So, who gets to define cool?
How about dictionary.com? They should be pretty neutral party, doncha’ think?
Let’s use some of their definitions to see if I rank on the coolness factor.
Yep, that fits me. I don’t get excited when the ones I used to dress criticize how I dress.
I remain calm when they say, “Mom, you’re not going to wear that, are you?”
When they say, “Um, you’re kinda’ old to be wearing that,” I stay composed.
I remain cool when they face disaster by saying, “You would look 20 years younger if you’d flat-iron your hair.”
Apparently, my coolness can even diffuse a situation. When they realize their parents will never measure up to their standards, their intensity will lessen. Their disappointment will cool their earlier zealousness for converting parents to coolness.
So, that, my friends, proves my point.
I am a cool mother.
And it’s a good thing my kids don’t read my blog. It’ll keep them from using my line, “Isn’t it cute when my mother dresses herself?”