The other night, I was trying to explain to my seven year old twin boys what an oxymoron is. It’s when you have a combination of contradictory words that just don’t seem to go together. I tried to illustrate with some examples like, “jumbo shrimp”, “awfully nice” and “pretty ugly”. “Oh”, chimed in my ten year old daughter, without missing a beat — “You mean like ‘cool mom’?”
Hmmmm. Surely, I thought, she’d simply misunderstood the lighthearted literary form that we were discussing. However, that hands-on-hips, twisted lips and look of general disgust on her face told me otherwise.
I was just about to really lose my cool and send her to her room for that sassy sentiment, when I realized that she might, in fact, be right! Can you keep your “cool” once you have kids or do you immediately go from being a happening “It Girl” to a washed up “Was Woman” as soon as you give birth?
I suppose one could argue that you can’t exactly lose something that you never had in the first place. Maybe I wasn’t all that cool to start with. But before kids I had lived in NYC in the 80’s. I had big hair and boulder-sized shoulder pads in my dolman sleeved Norma Komali sweatshirts.
My mullet maned mates & I even managed to get past the red velvet ropes at some of the city’s hottest clubs, on occasion. But, judging by my daughter’s gagging reflex from my scrapbook photos of this dance down memory lane I can see now, that even then, I was more than six degrees away from anything remotely registering as cool!
I guess today I’m getting even colder to cool. The only thing that I’ve purchased recently that says “Juicy”, comes in a 6 oz. square box and has very little to do with “Couture.”
Reality aside, at least my daughter used to think that I was a cool mom. Cool was as clincher when all it took was a song and dance with her and her little buddies to one of Barney’s brain boring songs. I’ve learned the hard way, that this tactic no longer cuts it. Today, if I’m caught humming or moving rhythmically in anyway to her ever-blasting boom box when her friends are around, she shoots me a panic-stricken look, as if I were convulsing with a grand mal seizure. She used to play dress up for hours and hours, trying on all of my clothes and shoes.
Now, however, according to a recent inspection, she insists that everything in my closet must immediately be burned or buried. Those matching mother-daughter outfits at the mall are a thing of the past. Even admitting that we’re mother-daughter at the mall is a thing of the past.
In my defense, I grew up with an un-hip mom of my own. Shirley Partridge and Carol Brady were my only real “cool mom” role models. This may, in part, explain the cool conundrum that I find myself in right now! But today’s Hollywood moms make it look so easy. I wonder if Jamie Lee Curtis, Teri Hatcher and Madonna are ever be forced to follow a detailed doctrine of approved talking points when conversing their kid’s cliques, like me. Heck, it seems that Demi Moore’s daughters not only let her hang out with their friends, they even let her marry one!
“Certainly”, I pleaded with my daughter, “you can think of one mom who has held on and can still qualify as a ‘cool’?” “That’s easy,” she said pointing to my very own mother across the room, “Grandma!” I put my hands-on-hips, twisted my lips and, with a look of general disgust, replied, “Mark my words, my darling daughter, one day you may have children and become an oxymoron of your own — and guess who will be the cool Grandma then?”
She about lost it. That was cool!