Wow, she’s the Cool Mom, we say when we think we spot her jumping out of her BMW SUV in the pickup line at preschool. It’s more than just a compliment, spoken in a hushed, unashamedly reverent tone. She’s the mom we all want to be. She’s the Cool Mom.
Being the Cool Mom would mean that I am gorgeous, successful, fit, funny, nurturing, creative woman who loves volunteering and running (the Cool Mom does at least a 5K every weekend and of course it’s for some very important charity). It would also mean that I have children, whom I adore lavishly, no slavishly, but never in a way that seems weird because the Cool Mom never oversteps boundaries.
She has read and memorized the parenting books. She feeds her children like the French, in courses. They eat their vegetables and ask for sushi in Japanese. They are sleep trained, well rounded and validated. She has photographed them artistically and hashtagged their photos: #mytrueloves #myworld #lightsofmylife.
The Cool Mom is happily married. Her husband makes a ton of money and she has a housekeeper and a nanny from a third world country and she tells everyone that the nanny is truly like a part of their family. The Cool Mom never gets angry at her husband or her children. She has an aw shucks attitude of gratitude. Nothing bothers her because she’s the Cool Mom. She’s compassionate and understanding. Patience is her virtue and most of all she’s prepared. Calm in crisis. Organized. She knows where every lid to every Tupperware container can be found. Her husband calls her his “rock.” He makes scavenger hunts for her on birthdays and anniversaries and never overlooks buying her flowers. He even plans weekly date nights.
This is because she is skinny and because she has sex with him every night. The Cool Mom is sexy, perhaps above all else. She’s confident and lusty. She gives blowjobs when she’s tired, good ones. Her panties always match her bras which always match her outfits. She’ll do wild, uninhibited porn star moves yet never come off as a whore, because the Cool Mom is never vulgar.
Her husband brags that she “really takes care of herself” and this is true. There are no stretch marks. Nothing sags. Her nails don’t chip and she arrives early at drop-off each morning with her hair done salon perfect and her makeup understated but polished. She only wears yoga pants to actual yoga. When we other mothers see her, we know in our hearts that she actually cooks, makes, does all the things she pins on Pinterest.
This bitch doesn’t exist. She is a work of fiction, an urban legend and she was invented by other women (probably thousands of years ago because hello? Proverbs 31, anyone?) who believed in the Cool Mom so much that men began to believe in her too. Worse yet, men began to expect her. Men think they are entitled to be married to the Cool Mom and women think that if they are anything except the Cool Mom that they have failed.
But you know what the Cool Mom is? She’s a liar. She’s a human Room of Requirement that morphs into whatever everyone and anyone around her wants and needs. She exists solely for other people. She is an illusion projected out of the egos of men with entitlement complexes and out of women who want another reason to hate themselves.
You might think you’ve found the Cool Mom, but I promise you haven’t. Every single, size zero, well dressed, primly smiling mommy-blogger you admire from a distance is secretly harboring some miserable, awful shit be it an eating disorder, an addiction, crushing debt or God only knows what else. Just trust me. The darkness is always there. Because none of us are perfect.
That’s why no one you know will actually admit to being the Cool Mom. The Cool Mom is always only other people. She is the mosaic of superficial qualities that we envy, that we think if only we had that or that or didn’t have this then we would be happy and loved and could get a full night of sleep in peace or have a shirt without a coffee stain down the front.
You don’t really want to be the Cool Mom. Maybe you just want a break or some romance or you want people to love you. Being the Cool Mom would be exhausting and painful. It would make you secretly resent everyone in your life. Maintaining the illusion would require constant effort, constant lies upon lies. Cool Mom is unattainable and trying to be her is as delusional, literally, as trying to convince yourself and everyone around you that you are, in fact, Snow White.
To truly be the Cool Mom you’d have to acquiesce to everything your husband, children, family, hell even your perfect golden retriever, wanted and you’d have to do it with a smile. The Cool Mom isn’t sincere and she isn’t authentic and when we tell ourselves that we want to be her? Well, that’s just code for “we hate ourselves.” So stop and be yourself, with your pot belly and your incessant venting and even the yoga pants that you wear everywhere except ironically to yoga, because it’s better to be a real fucking, flawed human being who tells the truth and accepts herself even when she doesn’t measure up to some airbrushed, made up ideal.