Susan Vollenweider - The cool mom is in the eyes of the beholder

09/17/2013 12:00 AM

09/16/2013 2:49 PM

I have done a lot of living in my years; I’ve experienced a lot of activities and felt a lot of emotions.

I have held more jobs than I will admit and called a lot of places “home.” As a parent I have held many titles: The Crunchy Mom, The Junk Food Mom, The Crafty Mom, The Screeching Mom, The Involved Mom and The Uninvolved Mom. I seasonally try (and fail) as The Sporty Mom.

I have even heard that I am often The Mean Mom.

But I have never, ever been The Cool Mom.

Until one day. Well, technically I think I was The Cool Mom for about two, maybe three, hours. But, by golly, now I am experienced in Cool Momness and it’s helped me figure some things out.

I never aspired to be The Cool Mom. I thought that she was the one who tried too hard to be her kid’s friend, not an authority figure. I know that sometimes being a parent means hearing “I hate you!” and facing a slammed door because of an unpopular, but right, decision.

On a more superficial level, every time that Bekah refers to my fashion sense as “Midwest ‘Mart Mom’” I accept that I am knocked out of the running for The Cool Mom title. In my head, that honor should go to the woman who shops in the same department as her teen and wears trendy, expensive clothes. She drives a cool car, takes her kids to cool places and doesn’t think twice about dropping some cool cash on whatever activity her darlings want to partake in.

I am The Antithesis of Cool Mom.

And I was more than OK with that.

Then Bekah had a birthday.

The outing that she chose and planned isn’t important. Actually, saying it out loud would prejudice a great many against the coolness. Her own father questioned why she would want to celebrate her birthday at this destination. But, as it should be, the Birthday Girl ruled.

In Bekah’s plan, she had me picking up and chauffeuring the guests. Initially I thought that this group — most whom have their licenses — would object to mini-van transport.

But they didn’t.

They piled in, smiles on their faces and excitement in their chatter. They didn’t complain at my choice of music, but sang along. They didn’t roll their eyes as each street in my “shortcut” was blocked off.

I, too, love this destination and, once we arrived, I was fully prepared to be ditched to wander solo.


They wanted me join them.

So I did.

Although we were in a very crowded place, they didn’t object when I started taking pictures. When we took a break and went to the car for a snack, they didn’t whine to go someplace nice — they plopped on the floor of the parking lot and dug into the candy and water that I had packed. (I knew the candy would be a not-nutritional hit. I may not be cool, but … candy.)

I had known most of the girls since they were in elementary school. I have watched them grow up and plan to bawl as if they are my own when I watch them graduate. They are my daughter’s friends.

But that day? That day they felt like mine and I didn’t mind one bit. That day they made me feel like The Cool Mom.

That’s when I realized that The Cool Mom has nothing to do with who the mom is. She can be herself.

Wearing that title has everything to do with who the kids are.

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