“I exercise discipline, as well as love. Provide limits, as well as freedom. I tried to tend the roots as well as the stems, and slowly and carefully plant ideas and concepts of right and wrong, religion and social implications.”
–Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy

I don’t mean to be gloomy but this is not a happy post-Mother’s Day post.  This is a pick-myself-up-and-carry-on post-mother’s day post. 

During a rather heated debate the other day, my youngest asked me in absolute and visible frustration, “Why can’t you just be a cool mom?” before she stormed off in bitter resignation to her punishment of solitary confinement.  Oh, I know; we’ve all heard it.  A couple of days later, the tears had abated, door slamming silenced, order in our universe temporarily restored, and as I struck out on my evening run, I asked her to join me on her bike.  It was relatively close to her bedtime you see, and any opportunity to delay it is always welcome.  As we approached an uphill, and desperately seeking the conversation to be one-sided (I hate hills), I asked her, “So, what exactly constitutes being a cool mom?”

So instead of merely explaining the relevant virtues of a cool mom, she took this as a sign that my path to self-actualization might require her input for my character growth and development.  “Well, for starters, a ‘cool mom’ just goes with the flow.  She allows boyfriends, MSN and goes shopping a lot…”  I chugged up this hill listening to her diatribe which quickly wandered off course and into a complete makeover for her room.  Good grief, whose self-actualization journey is this, anyway?

I’ve been thinking recently a lot about the Serenity prayer: 

O God and Heavenly Father,

Grant to us the serenity of mind to accept that which cannot be changed; courage to change that which can be changed, and wisdom to know the one from the other, through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.

Unlike my running route, with the occasional downhill that provided much needed relief and recovery, motherhood is an uphill battle all the way.  Though I made a few further inquiries of my daughter’s ‘cool mom’ description primarily for clarification, it was clear that I needn’t worry about elevating my parental status to ‘cool’… it ain’t happenin’ any time soon.

I have recently experienced several unpleasant parenting adventures (believe me, I am not an adrenaline, thrill-seeking junkie) that have left me reeling in self-doubt, anxiety, worry and quite frankly, more than just a little pissed off.  I need another 1000 words and a bottle of pinot gris to explain it all, but let’s just say that I feel like my efforts at setting limits, sowing the seeds of justice, and expressing love and concern have been dismissed, detested, trampled and ignored.  When and how does a mother just throw her hands up in disgust and say, “I’ve had it, I give up!”

Well, she doesn’t.

Motherhood can be a lonely place in your heart but I know that it is in the heart is where true love abides and thrives.  Somehow we see beyond the hurled insult; though inappropriate, that it may be a plea for privacy.  The disregarded and dismissed curfew may be unwarranted, but may possibly a request for greater freedom and trust.  The blatant disregard for property and authority – and I’m not yet ‘over’ this one – may be a statement that they need make their own mistakes and learn from them.  I may not be Rose Kennedy, a mother of nine, but don’t expect to see the white flag waving any time soon in my kitchen.  I read recently that parenthood is a job, but it’s one of the few jobs that does not receive regular feedback, coaching, and performance evaluation from a higher authority.  Well, maybe the many exasperating child-rearing setbacks are the constructive feedback and the occasional signal for corrective action.  Perhaps I’ve missed a few of those signals along the way, but I do know now that I am definitely not a ‘cool mom’…and I that I can live with.

Hey, and another thing … when do I get sent to my room?

7 Responses to The apprenticeship (and ignorance) of a ‘Cool Mom’…

  • I love that you are ok with not being “the cool mom”.

    I joke with the hubs that I have to really relish this phase with my son, when he thinks I am the most amazing thing in the world because I’ll play in the mud, or drive matchbox cars on the floor with him, because as he gets older, I know I am going to be the mom in his peer group that doesn’t just give in when he gets difficult.

    My mom was that mom. And while we may not have liked it when it was happening, I know I am grateful that she stood her ground.

    Keep up the good mommy work. Not just the standing your ground part, but the understanding your kid part too. 🙂

  • These times come to pass…and don’t worry, the cool mom is ALWAYS someone else’s mom…

  • I think the most comforting thing is that good moms are the uncool ones who keep running uphill no matter how badly it hurts. At least there is a pack to run with! You have a right to decide to be a good mom over a cool mom, and you deserve to hear that your pain will be worth it. (can you hear me trying to convince myself in this commentary) The writing in this piece is really good! MMF

  • You can vent with the pinot this weekend! xo

  • Are you a psychology major or taking the class? The terms “self-actualization and human growth and development” are so clear to me from lectures while in college.

    As for the cool mom, that’s me now because I love to play games but as the kid gets older I am sure I won’t be cool because she won’t want to play with me then. I’m reveling in the NOW with my six-year-old daughter.

  • How I loved this post! It reminded me of the time when my daughther said to me, “Why do my friends tell me their moms are their “friend” and I can’t say the same?” I pondered her question for a minute and replied,”Because I’m your mother. You have enough friends.” And I meant it. Not once have I tried to befriend my children by being the cool parent. No can do. That doesn’t mean I’m advocating being the wicked witch of the West but I feel that somehow parameters have to be established and I am not okay with my kids putting me in the “friend” category and calling me Bella. Good for you for taking this stance. I couldn’t agree with you more!

  • As moms, we are too often but voices in the wilderness. But there is hope. . . After starting the day off on a bad foot recently, my daughter surprised the heck out of me when she got in the car after school and said first thing: “I’m sorry about this morning, Mom.” Wow. My mantra is: “Stay the course, no matter what flack I get. Stay the course.”

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About Astra
Ottawa mom of 3 poking fun at myself, motherhood, and minor hockey! I am steering through life dodging stinky hockey gear and empty wine bottles.
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