I saw a cool Mom at the park the other day, and let me describe what I mean by that: she was completely relaxed, was totally into playing with her kid, and obviously had time to take care of herself too (nice clothes, hair recently done, tan, etc.). It made me think about the French parents article, where apparently all the French Moms are hanging out being chic at cafe’s, wearing fashionable clothes with their well-behaved kids eating veggies beside them. Then I wondered- how does this work, and am I a cool Mom? On the one hand, if you’re too into yourself, and don’t change much about the way life was pre-kids, then aren’t you missing the extreme lesson of parenthood: learning to really put someone before yourself and making sacrifices so another person can get the best start at life? At the complete opposite end, you’ve got those parents who sign over their entire identities once a baby pops out. It’s like someone has flicked a pre-parenthood and post-parenthood switch, and they no longer have a right to anything from their lives before, including basic needs like eating and sleeping (ok, this is pretty much required in the early stages – but I’m talking 5 years of sleep-deprivation and poor eating habits).
So, how do you know if you’re a cool parent? If this were a trashy, borderline-smut magazine, I’d make a cheap quiz that shoves people into narrow categories and forces them to choose an answer because there isn’t a ‘none of the above’ option. Then my answer key would be really condescending and arrogant enough to tell you what kind of person you are. So…let’s try it!
1) What’s your go-to outfit on an average day?
a) Jogging, yoga or otherwise comfy pants and an old t-shirt that might have a stain on it
b) Jeans, a tank top and cute flats
c) Designer jeans, sunglasses and flashy purse with stilettos or heals
2) What’s your favourite activity to do with your kids?
a) soccer, dance, swimming lessons, gymnastics, music lessons, etc.
b) generally spending quality time together
c) Playing at the park, so I can multi-task (talk/text on my phone)
3) The last time you pampered yourself was:
a) I may have showered yesterday
b) I make time for a nice bubble bath every Sunday
c) Mani/pedi Monday, hair appointment yesterday, spa this weekend
4) Last time I had a night out I:
a) took my kids to the movies
b) had a dinner date with my significant other
c) partied till dawn with my gal pals
If you answered mostly a……. you need to dig your life out from under that stack of diapers, find a sitter, ditch the comfy pants and get the hell out of the house for an evening. There’s a real person beneath those dark circles, and that person needs to take care of herself too. Zombie Moms are not cool!
If you answered mostly b….. Congrats, you’re truly a cool mom. You know how to put your kids first and how to take ‘me time’ too, so when you do spend time with your kids it’s fulfilling, relaxing and fun!
If you answered mostly c……Nancy Botwin much? You missed the memo that life changes once you have kids, and your number 1 is still you. That’s not cool.
Ok, so I’m illustrating with a sarcastic quiz, and probably none of us are Mom a or Mom c, but I think sometimes we can be an ‘a parent’ (not to exclude Dads) and sometimes we can be a ‘c parent’, and we should strive not to fall too far into either one of those categories. If you find you haven’t taken any time for yourself, you really need to. It’s important, not only for your own mental health, but so that you can really enjoy your kids, and so that you are your best self around them. Parent c is, surprisingly, not that hard to become either. It’s not really about the clothes you wear, but asking: have I really spent quality time with my kids? Have I gotten down on the floor and played; turned my cell phone or computer off and given them my complete attention? Or spent a full day doing stuff just for them?
What do you think makes a cool parent?