Greeting, Poopies. Remember this? Amy Poehler playing ulimtate Mean Girl Regina George’s mom in the classic tween film. She is so hilarious with her Juicy sweatsuits, fake boobs, tiny lap dog and ridiculous, over-the-top desire to live vicariously through her popular daughter. She is the mom who wants so badly to fit in with her daughter and her daughter’s friends, wanting to be accepted as one of the girls instead of being ignored and made fun of by them. Of course it’s a fictional character and meant to be exaggerated and funny and parodied, but it did get me thinking about my relationship with my own daughters and was definitely this inspiration for today’s post.
My A woke-up this morning with a “tickle in her throat” and a slightly runny nose. This kid has a pretty impeccable attendance record so I said the hell with it and let her stay home when she complained that she didn’t feel good and wanted to just be in her jammies and “chill at home” with me. Chill at home with me? OMG. Did she really just say that? What a character! But oh how I basked in that moment…because as a mother of daughters and being a daughter myself, I know there will come a day in the all too near future where my sweet little girl will want absolutely nothing to do with me. Oh I’ve got a few good years ahead, thankfully, but these past five have flown by so quickly, and I’m always so painfully aware of it, that there was simply no way I wasn’t going to take her up on that offer and not allow her to stay home from the Pre-K and “chill” with me. And of course, what one wants the other wants, so D played hookey right along with us and IT FELT GOOD.
I am happy to report that it is now 2:30 in the afternoon and the girls are indeed still in their pajamas. But “chill” we have not! It become more than a little apparent after about a half an hour that A wasn’t really sick at all. That tickle in her throat may have been slightly fabricated and I haven’t seen a drop of snot in hours. But do I care? No way. We’ve been out to breakfast, to the park, the nursery to pick out potted petunias (all in our pj’s by the way) and back home again for lunch and games. As of this post, the girls are gleefully chasing the dog around in circles driving him aboslutely crazy!
So what does it mean to be a “cool mom?” Is it more like the comedic character Amy Poehler played? The one who tries desperately and rather pathetically to be more like her teenage daughter than a responsible adult? Or has our definition of “cool” changed over the years? I would like to think that my girls would one day describe me as cool to their friends…but not because they think I’m one of the gals hanging at the high school party pining for their acceptance a la Regina George’s mom. No, I would like to think my coolness is defined by how I’ve made them feel about themselves. Nothing would please me more in life than to know I am raising strong, independent, compassionate, caring and intelligent young girls who grow up to be awesome young women impacting the world around them in a positive way.
Coolness, to ‘ole Poops here, would mean they felt they could always come to talk to me about anything and trust that I will not judge or ridicule or criticize them. Coolness would be that we could disagree and even fight from time to time but always emphasize that no matter what we need to keep the channels of communication open. Coolness would be that I will always allow them to be individuals and support their dreams and ambitions even if I may not necessarily understand them. Coolness would be them knowing that I will always accept them and love them for exactly who they are despite the inevitable mistakes and bumps along the road that may occur. And it would also be them knowing that humor is paramount in all my relationships and in life in general, so I hope they know I would provide as many laughs and as much levity as possible to make things easier when the going gets rough. Coolness also means that I can’t guarantee that they won’t end up being embarrassed by me from time to time as those mom-you’re-so-mortifying-teenage-years-approach, but it also means that I will do my best to try to remember what those awful years are like and keep the embarrassment to a minimum. Coolness would be them always knowing and believing and trusting in me to do right by them, be there for them and love them unconditionally. And, finally, I hope they would think their mom is cool if most of the time they recognize that I’m always doing the best I can because nothing is more important to me than their happiness and wellbeing.
It may not be as funny as Amy Poehler’s version of the “cool mom” but I gotta tell you, I think my version is far more important and just might end up creating two pretty amazing human beings. Raising our daughters is the greatest challenge and joy of our lives. Sometimes we don’t get it right and mistakes are made. Other times we surprise ourselves in how entirely right we got it in what seems like the most crucial moment. But the truth is, every day presents something new and most of the time, despite all you’ve learned and read and discussed (and blogged), you end up going with your gut and trusting your instincts. As I sit here in the dining room typing this very post, my daughters are playing so sweetly together…a game they just invented they called ”fall down snow angels” where they’ve laid a bunch of pillows on the floor and fall back on to them cheering the other one on as they make pretend angels in the snow pillows. Their laughter and giggles and adorable squeals now permeating throughout the whole house and in my heart. And I when I hear that sound, I can’t help but give myself a little metaphorical pat on the back and say to myself, “yep, Poops, you are a pretty cool mom.”
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