There is a turning point in our kid’s lives when we become perceived as less important in their day to day activities. They become socially active with friends and are involved in activities where they don’t seem to want or need us around. As they approach this adolescent gateway many moms feel threatened by their lack of being needed. After so many years of tending to their every whim and need – it’s as if we are suddenly and abruptly cut off from their lives. This is where moms have to take the time to understand their children as individuals and find a way to stay involved in their life; being as cool a mom as possible, so that the bridge of communication remains solid. It is probably one of the most important, pivotal and complicated tasks of motherhood.
Seems like just yesterday the kids were having slumber parties where you were able to witness first hand the fun, be included in the limbo and karaoke and invited to join the gossip. Now as soon as the friends are over, the bedroom door slams, the music gets cranked and you won’t hear a peep until they run out of soda or chips. As soon as you bring them what they need you are met with silence, eye rolling and those looks that are just begging you to go back in the kitchen where you belong. What is going on behind that door? What kinds of friends does my child have? What are they talking about in there that is so private and reclusive that even their loving mother can’t be privy to it? Am I turning into my own uncool mother who understood nothing and firmly stood between me and my stellar social status? Panicked and hurt you may try to act cool, or make them think that you fit in and understand – desperate to remain included in their life.
However the harsh truth is that being a cool mom means leaving them alone. Speaking only when being spoken to and carrying on your business as if the house were empty. Coolness for a parent of an adolescent means remaining the silent partner, who hears everything, pays attention always yet remains under the persona of clueless. The cool mom waits for her children to come to her for advice rather than lather it on like shaving cream. Cool moms know that although their children act as if they don’t need them, they are walking on the first stepping stone of child rearing where their children in actuality- need them the most. They may look like they aren’t listening or watching; but trust me they are spongier now than ever.
A cool mom, when invited into a discussion never embarrasses her own child or rambles on about when she was a kid. Rather she listens intently, is an ally as much as possible (yes even when they call another kid in class a dork) and understands that their child is going through a ton of mixed up emotions driven by hormones and ratified by the irritating concept of group thought. A cool mom splurges on the $70 Sperry’s rather than hijacking the Payless brand for $15 even though you disagree with the concept. This allows your child to save face at school and not be subject to more humiliation than adolescence already provides.
Being a mom does not mean shrinking into a wallflower feeling overwhelmed by self pity attempting to guilt your children into needing or loving you again. It may hurt for a while, but this is not the time to give up or think about our own feelings. This too, just like potty training is simply a phase. Cool moms need to remain in a position of clarity so that they can see around the corners that their children can’t. Cool moms need to be strong and busy yet protective and comforting when and only when it is called for. Cool moms don’t stop disciplining or lecturing their children because they are afraid that their child will hate them. You are not your mother, and your child may take out their anger on you but it is not you they hate! Cool moms remain stringent to their upholding of the values they know they instilled early on and they do things that their children find are unfair in the interest of morality. Cool moms are not those who try to dress like their kids, learn the lingo, text their friends or try to hang out without being invited.
Cool moms sing in the car only when it is just them and their kids – never while friends are along and cool moms stand on the sidelines cheering but not yelling to the point of distraction. Children need parents not friends and it is absolutely possible to remain cool and still be their mother. That’s the ultimate goal! Being a cool mom means remembering how it felt to be their age and rereading your own diaries (never theirs) just in case you forget. It is standing up for them at school, with other kids or parents and standing behind them when they aren’t interested in your leadership.
Being a mom is absolutely difficult yet positively important. As our children grow up it is only natural that they grow away from us. This is how nature intended. Keeping them under our wing only clearly clips their own and takes away all the chances they have to try useful skills like critical thinking and decision making. Yes, they will make mistakes no matter how cool we are and they will get through every one of them. Cool moms never sit back and say “I told you so” they simply give the hug and dry the tears and let their children know how they special they are. Being a cool mom does not mean ignoring poor behavior or blending in with your child’s social circle; it means always being there no matter what and realizing from the heart that the way you are needed now has simply changed.
A cool mom criticizes little yet corrects often, never speaks louder than their children and always remains confident, self assured and in control of the world around them. This way when your child does need you again, and they are certain to – the cool mom can sweep them up in her arms and have a willing partner with whom she can have an open, honest and loving conversation with. If we play our cards right at this stage of motherhood and attempt to be as cool as possible we will likely forge a friendship that goes beyond the umbilical cord and repays us with endless love and understanding for the remainder of our lives. The alternative is not and should not be an option. Being a mom will allow you to sit back in 15 years and realize what an amazing person you helped to grow into this world and what an amazing mother you were along the way. Nothing is better or cooler than that!