I’ve been a mother for over 13 years. I knew that as a young mother, I would have the advantage of retaining my cool factor for a little longer than most mothers. I could follow what was trending, the best clothes and music, the newest makeup trick or food fascination, etc. I liked the idea of still maintaining some part of me and my youth while raising a child (or children, as I added more to the family). I never wanted to be a “mom.” What do you picture when you hear that name? In my head, it was bad jeans, old-fashioned style, ideas, and philosophies, a general disconnect from modern society, and bad hair. Sorry to my own Mom, but I cannot get over the stirrup pants, sweatshirts, shoulder pads, and big hair of my youth. I vowed to never fade into this momness and to stay true to myself.
And for the most part, I feel that I have been pretty successful. I just took my kids to a rock concert! I screen books and movies before viewing but am generally a little lax, so long as I can watch and/or read with my kids. I let them choose their own outfits and styles, and I encourage as much creativity, originality, and expression as possible. I know what is popular, even if I abhor it, and I try to be open and honest about nearly everything.
Then there are moments where I really have to be a “mom.” Today, the kids wanted to have a Kool-aid stand in front of our house. No big deal, right? However, it was quickly overrun with the neighborhood hooligans (I exaggerate but it’s not far off). No money was made, my yard was being trashed, all our outdoor toys and chalk were taken to all points of the street, and the street was filled with screaming and ruckus. I tried to be cool, to let my kids handle it, but I ultimately had to go outside and restore order. Garbage picked up, children behaving, items returned to rightful owners, and serenity on the block. The kids glared, and my kids cowered in fear of my reaction, but I had to pull a “mom” and do the right thing. Before the cops were called (the screaming legitimately sounded like torture).
I took my own children inside and had a talk about responsibility, standing up to others, and my general disappointment that a rave happened in front of our house (again, I dramatize). It was 2/3 through my lecture that it hit me: I’m a mom. I am not that hippie, free thinking, cool under pressure, do whatever mom that I thought I would be. Ugh, how lame did I sound? I preached of responsibility of our property, lack of organization, failure to control your friends….I bore myself just thinking of it.
And yet….I have to be this person. I am a young mom, a cool mom, a liberal mom….but still a MOM. I am responsible for the 4 humans I created, and I have to ensure that they grow and learn to be smart, knowledgeable, creative, and informed adults. That means that I may have to put my foot down and be the voice of reason and experience. That means that I have the difficult conversations about life, body changes, boys/girls, sex, culture, politics, and anything else I may be leaving out. I can be honest and truthful without being blunt and harsh. I must be that boring voice of reason, even if I do not want to. In short, I must be a MOM.
Despite the momness, my girls actually appreciated my help. They listened, took in my words, and added their own thoughts. They learned from my words while also developing their own opinions about the situation, positive or negative…and while I would like to be that super cool, hip mom I see in my head, if they can be their own independent thinkers, I will take that over being a cool mom any day.