I always knew I wanted to be a mom. Like, I wanted to be the coolest mom ever. My kids would be awesome in academics, and even more awesome in sports. They’d wear nothing but the coolest clothes (sorry, no department store brands, please), and they’d be the talk of other moms: “Aren’t they such cool kids? They must have an awesome mom!”
But then I actually had a kid and quickly came to the realization that the “coolest mom ever” dream was really just a fantasy only lived out by the likes of Angelina Jolie and Julia Roberts, who are cool by association.
I’m far from being the cool mom. I’m all other kinds of mom, though: I’m the health-freak mom who won’t let my kid eat anything that comes out of a can or is 50 percent made out of food coloring. I’m the running-round-like-a-headless-chicken mom who tries to get my to-do list done in a day without ranting to my husband. I’m the work-at-home mom who feels guilty at times for working too much, thereby defeating the purpose of why I wanted to stay at home in the first place.
So what makes a mom “cool,” anyway? Being a cool mom is far from projecting an image of being all-together and perfect. A cool mom - for me - has a character which goes beyond fashion choices and stroller picks.
1. A cool mom is true to herself. She keeps it real. It’s OK to stop being super mom once in a while. Sometimes as moms we forget to take things easy and get so wrapped up in school schedules, household duties and responsibilities of raising a family that we neglect our need to just be women! A cool mom knows when to say “I’m taking it easy,” “I need a break from all this” or simply, “I NEED A HOT OIL.” The cool mom knows when to hit the breaks on responsibility - responsibly, of course - and hit the salon, get that massage, treat herself to a little something when the time calls for it.
2. A cool mom isn’t a kid-pleaser. There’s nothing more frustrating than a kid who whines, but giving in to your kid’s every whim and wish isn’t what makes you a cool mom. A cool mom knows what’s best for her kid, and that’s moderation, discipline, character-building… and yes, maybe the occasional trip to McDonald’s, if that’s your kid’s idea of a treat. But don’t be a push-over mom. There’s nothing more pathetic than a mom whose kid is the one taking the reins. Your kid doesn’t expect you to impress him, anyway; he wants you to be his mom, even if he doesn’t always act like it.
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3. A cool mom is patient. There’s nothing more uncool than a nagging mom. Sure, kids are hard work to manage: they’re messy, demanding, and can be darned irritating, too. But a cool mom won’t demand perfection from her kids. She’s a listener, a sounding board for her kids, a problem-solver and advice-giver. She won’t take flak from a temper tantrum, but she will insist on instilling respect for authority in her kid. The cool mom knows how to filter out these potential stress triggers and find a catalyst, the things that put her and her kid on the same page.
4. A cool mom knows where to draw the line between “friend” and “mom.” Want to be a cool mom? Set limits for your kids. In other words, let your kids be kids, not mini-versions of you. Be democratic when the time calls for it - it’s not cool to be a dictator, either. Make important decisions together as a family, talk about things and have an open ear and an open mind for your kid when he wants to speak what’s on his mind; however, still set clear limits. Again, your kid may not act like it, but he expects you to be his mom.
5. A cool mom teaches her kids how to live simply. Being a mom isn’t about being a “real housewife of (insert your city here).” You’ll be doing your kid a huge favor teaching him that happiness isn’t about the things that you own or what you achieve. Teaching values such as frugality and simplicity should start at an early age, before peer pressure takes over. You’re not necessarily the cool mom if you bow to your kids’ beck and call every time you take them to the toy store. A cool mom knows that shopping can be the devil in disguise, so teach your kids to shop with purpose, such as for a birthday treat or a reward for keeping their rooms clean or treating their siblings with love.
6. A cool mom raises her kids’ self-esteem. I think that self-esteem is one of the most important qualities a parent can instill in her kids; unfortunately, it’s a quality that’s often neglected, even by the most well-meaning moms. Kids who have a healthy self-worth are happier, are less likely to be bullied, are more likely to excel in all aspects - studies, extracurriculars, relationships - and truly reach their full potential. Boost your kids’ self esteem by spending time, really listening to them, but not coddling them. You’ll be the coolest mom on the block!
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7. A cool mom knows when to let her kids fly. If you’re a hands-on mom, you can either be the over-protective mom or the nurturing, mentoring mom. Do your kids a favor by teaching them self-reliance early on. During each developmental stage, teach him how to do things by himself. If he eats messily because he’s trying to eat with his own spoon and fork, don’t wipe up every single spill and stain like an obsessive nanny. A cool mom gently instills independence in her kids, even if you feel like butting in when your kid isn’t putting away his toys as neatly as you’d like (urk—guilty!). Let him be as self-sufficient as he possibly can. Slowly work yourself out of the picture so that your kid can truly shine, not because of you.
8. A cool mom can laugh at whatever life throws her way. She knows she doesn’t have to be perfect. Perfection is a fake sense of satisfaction. Life happens spontaneously, and it’s full of surprises - especially if you’re a mom! A cool mom accepts that life is messier than when she was single, embraces it, even relishes it. She’s OK that the house will sometimes be disorganized and that dinner won’t always be a three-course meal. Don’t get sucked into the logistics of taking care of your kids that you forget to relax and have fun. Learn from your kid and see that while life won’t always turn out as you planned, it’s exactly as it’s intended to be.