Friday, April 14, 2006

Cool mommies


"Just because you have a Grateful Dead t-shirt on, doesn't make you a cool mommy."

"Oh, please. I am so far from cool mommy status, you have no idea."

The above represents a snippet of a recent conversation between myself and monkey, sr. I got a kick out of the idea that donning my old ratty, college era t-shirt was some misguided attempt at coolness. The reality of course is that the t-shirt came from an era when baggy, shapeless clothing was the norm (Oh grunge..where have you gone?) and thus it transitioned nicely into my current pregnancy wardrobe of baggy sweats, baggy capris, baggy skirts, etc. It felt pretty darn comfortable - Skull on the back, and wild tie-dyed colors be damned. Ah yes, Fare thee Well, Jerry, Fare thee well.

If monkey sr., only knew what passes for cool mommy status these days. Parenting magazine recently had an article touching on the subject ("Mom cliques, where do you fit in?") written by the same author of Queen Bees and Wannabees. I read it, thought about it, and concluded that it bore little to no resemblance to my life in any way. I know the mommy clique mentality exists, I've seen instances of it, but seriously, does anyone really worry about this stuff anymore?

Which is not to say I have not encountered cool mommies on this side of the river. I just don't happen to be one of them. They tend to fall into different varieties of cool. There are the fun, easy-going mommies, the pretty, pulled-together mommies, the mommies that always know the best places to take the kids, the ones that can host a playdate at the drop of a hat, or whip up a batch of kid-friendly treats from scratch.

Then there are my personal favorites - those goddess-types that are fashionably cool, thin, with children that seem to need little to no supervision in public places. For example, at a recent outing, while I was feeding monkey one of his requisite ten snacks a day, I overheard a conversation between one clearly cool mommy, and her companion. The clearly cool mommy had perfectly dyed and coiffed hair, very funky outfit of form fitting tank shirt, boho skirt, chunky jewelry and high wedge (!!) lace-up espadrilles. There was no baby weight on her. Her conversation consisted of describing the admiration her friends expressed when she ventured out to a "roof-party" less than 4 weeks after giving birth. The party was apparently attended by Manhattanites and various local celebrities. While she described the party in further detail, I sat there in awe watching her two children entertain themselves and not put things in their mouths.

I could never do that with monkey. And by that I mean engaging in a conversation with another human for longer than ten minutes at a time. Putting aside the issue of the fashion (high heel anythings just don't work for me right now, despite my undying love for them.) Monkey is one of those children who needs constant watching while at the playground, toddler gym, or any public place. Turn away for a second, and he will wander off to split his head open on the wood fence, make way for the nearest exit door and proceed to bang on it loudly, or even toddle over to a table to converse with a friendly looking pair of seniors. I speak from personal experience.

Other people have different ideas of what cool mommies are. Judging from the snarky beeyotches at Urbanbaby, cool mommyhood means never leaving for the playground without your Marc Jacobs and Bugaboo. And those are not the names or pet names of children, either. Lord help you if you are still shopping for your post-maternity wear at Old Navy, like some of us.

There are also those tv cool mommies that maintain their sense of humor at all times. I've written about them before. Somehow I can't pull that off either. I'm too busy worrying about the American Academy of Pediatrics nutritional recommendations or what Dr. Spock would think.

I guess, like everything else, this is one more thing we will muddle through. Though I may never quite achieve the cool mommy iconhood that seems to be the goal so many strive for, I will take pleasure in the fact that no matter how cool you think you are right now, there will come a day when your child will roll his/her eyes at you and cringe at the thought of sharing the same air space.



Thankfully, the monkey is at an age where it is still cool to hold your mommy's hand.
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