I had this idea recently, that I would poll my children and their friends on what makes a cool mom. Now this isn’t something one leaps into blind. I had to formulate the appropriate closed questions–opened-ended questions wouldn’t suffice when addressing the loquacious junior high school drama-club set. I needed supporting visuals, superior reference materials, and ample edibles on hand to sustain the examination period (the test market being rather churlish and unwilling when not plied with bottomless nachos.)
The weight and value of this question required my full attention. I had to put aside all other pressing matters, like dinner, to give this burning subject the considerable time and thought it deserved. I mean, I was possibly assembling the most highly sought insights of a generation. My research could change the face of parenthood forever. I felt like a modern day Marie Curie, without the science background, or the ability to introduce a possible cure for a terrible plague to the human race, but, hey, I try to do my part.
So I rounded up my test market–three 14-year olds, two 17-year olds, a six-year old, a 20-year old, and a pre-schooler. The sample wasn’t large, and the room for error was, but I’m a trooper, and an extraordinary extrapolator, so I pressed on.
I posed a range of questions, including:
Who is the coolest pop culture mom–Pamela Anderson, Angelina Jolie, Marge Simpson, or Lorelei Gilmore?
Is it cool to share clothes with your mom?
Is it super-awesome when your mom flirts with your boyfriend/girlfriend?
Does your mom look better in a cropped belly-shirt or an ankle-length full-coverage muumuu?
Which is better, a strict mom who sets boundaries, curfews, and has introduced a complete ban on blue eye shadow? Or a wild mom who bootlegs booze and gives you a semi-annual bikini wax on the kitchen table?
Is it a good thing that your mom talks to you about sex? In microscopic detail? With handy props?
And finally, when going out with your mom, what is the feet-in-distance you must follow your mom x outfit-your-mom-is-wearing. In other words: if my mom is wearing sweat pants and a maternity top, I walk_______feet behind her.
Well, when all was said and done (and let me tell you, I did not escape unscathed. I still have little pockmarks in the skin on my face from the spittle blasting from horrified mouths. As well, my ears continue to ring from the near dog-whistle-high screams of terror), the responses were fairly consistent (I’ ll save you the technical jargon we pollsters use) but to be a cool mom you have to:
- look like Angelina Jolie,
- speak only when spoken to, and
- allow any and all teenagers in your vicinity to choose your clothes.
Oh, and some of the respondents felt a cool mom always supplied a bedtime story, with the funny voices. However, those respondents were in the minority.
But, by far, the most important revelation of what it takes to be a cool mom was, in the end, simple and intuitive. And, frankly, it’s one I hesitate to share (after all, having done the work, one feels the overwhelming urge to keep explosive information like this to one’s self). But for the sake of future mother-child relations, and in the long-sought pursuit of cool mother status I will share what I know. But brace yourselves.
To be a cool mom, a really cool mom….
….just keep those nachos coming.