This Post: My Teen Thinks I’m Cool (But Not for the Reasons You Might Think)
I was in the kitchen loading the dishwasher and overheard my son talking to one of his friends on his cell in the living room. On this rare occasion, he had his phone on speaker so I heard the entire conversation…
My Son: So, do you wanna hang out tonight?
His Friend: Yeah, sure.
My Son: I’m kinda short on cash, so do you just wanna play video games or something?
His Friend: Sure. Sounds good to me. I’m short on cash, too.
My Son: Whose house?
His Friend: Definitely your house. Your Mom is way cooler than mine.
I about dropped the pan I was holding… MEEEE?? Cool? No way!
I NEVER considered myself a cool Mom.
In fact, if we’re being completely honest here, I’d consider myself the exact opposite.
My Teen Thinks I’m Cool (But Not For the Reasons You Might Think)
I’m tough on my kids when I need to be. I have high expectations of them (within reason, of course). I don’t take a ton crap from any of them (although I DO give them a free pass every now and then when they’re having a bad day). I’m their friend when I need to be, but when the chips are down, it’s my castle my rules. I don’t wear all the latest and greatest clothes and I’m definitely not up on all the latest trends.
And, when their friends are over, I have high expectations of them, too. Both my husband and I expect our home, my son, our other kids, and us to be treated with respect. (I do chill a bit on manners mainly because teens are a work in progress.)
Partially bewildered and partially patting myself on the back, I couldn’t help but ask my son about what his friend said when he got off the phone.
“But Mom,” he said. “You actually are pretty cool for a lot of reasons. I just don’t think you realize it.” And that’s when he went on to tell me a few of the ways he (and his friends) think I’m cool.
You’re “Relatively” Chill
“I mean, yeah, you freak out occasionally. But for the most part, you’re pretty chill,” he said.
That about knocked me over because internally I feel tense about a lot of things – my kids’ safety and well-being, their happiness, their grades, that they won’t get caught up in peer pressure and do something stupid, and a bunch of other things. Chill? Not a word I’d use to describe myself.
You Laugh A Lot
“Sometimes you laugh at some of the stupid stuff we say and do, but mostly you laugh with us.
Yep… I do TRY to laugh a lot – AT them (’cause really… teenagers are pretty funny), WITH them, and just life in general.
Don’t get me wrong, I can get pretty serious at times, too, but I try awfully hard to keep things in perspective. I mostly try to keep in mind that my kids (and my husband and I) are all learning as we go and none of us have all the answers.
You’re Not an Old-Fogie
I’m not sure I know exactly what this means because more often than not I feel like an old-fogie. But according to my son, I dress fairly cool, try to stay up on the latest trends and I accept the fact that growing up in today’s world is far different than how I grew up.
You Don’t Try Too Hard to Be Cool
“Some parents try so hard to be cool that they actually aren’t. They wear the same clothes their kids do and they talk and act the same way. Most kids just find it annoying.”
Truth is, I wouldn’t know how to be cool if my life depended on it… I just try to be me. If that’s considered cool, I’ll consider that a “win.”
“I kinda wish you weren’t so hard on me, at times,” he said. “But at least when I do screw up, you’re fair about the punishment and you actually talk to me about it instead of yelling.”
Well… I have to admit, that was music to my ears because I think every parent of teens I know worries about cracking down too hard OR not being hard enough. How this makes me “cool” I have no idea but if being fair makes me cool in my son’s eyes, I’ll take it!
You Don’t Hover Over My Every Move
“I know you’ve lost a lot of sleep over me, but I guess you look back on your own teen years and know how much I need freedom. Without it, I’m pretty sure I’d rebel.”
The absolute hardest thing in the world to do as a parent is slowly let go. At a time in our kids’ lives when the stakes are so stinking high, we want to tighten our grip and never let go. But we have to.
I fumble. I fall. I mess up. I stalk my kids, hover at times, and worry myself to death. But I try… I really try. I’m glad to see that my son acknowledges the sheer restraint it takes for me not to wrap him in bubble wrap and protect him forever.
You Don’t Try to Change Me
“When I said didn’t want to play football or soccer or lacrosse, you didn’t try to talk me into it or encourage me to like it just because most other guys my age were into sports. You just said… ‘Okay, well… that’s okay. What DO you want to do in your spare time then?’ “You kinda just accept and love me for who I am.”
That was a tough one for me. I really DID want him to play sports and fit in with other boys his age, but it wasn’t his thing and I needed to accept and respect that. I encouraged him in other areas and lo and behold, he found he loved flying and pursued his private pilot’s license. (Oh, and he’s right about me loving him and accepting him for who he is… he’s pretty awesome just the way he is!)
You Actually Care About My Friends
“You really take an interest in my buddies’ lives. You go out of your way to ask about their family vacation, their new job at the grocery store as a bagger, or how life is going for them.”
He’s right. I really DO care about my kids’ friends. I’ve held more than a few who have cried in my arms (mostly my daughter’s friends), shed tears of joy when great things happen in their lives, and helped them through rough spots. I try to be open and available and let them know they’re always welcome at my home. Some of them I’ve known since they were little… I love ’em like my own.
You Always Have Good Drinks and Snacks
This mama knows that to keep those teens coming back (which is my ultimate goal), you have to keep the snacks and drinks flowing. (I’ll even spring for pizza, at times.)
Through the years, I’ve tried to welcome my kids’ friends into our home with open arms and give them the freedom (within reason, of course) to kick off their shoes, plop on the couch, and hang out without an adult constantly hovering or breathing down their neck (again, within reason… all kids need some level of supervision).
Sure, my grocery bill is higher (especially these days!) but man… the upside of having my kids’ friends gather at my house sure does outweigh the downside of forking out money for snacks.
What I’ve learned through this candid conversation with my son is that our kids’ definition of “cool” is a whole lot different than the negative connotation of a “cool parent” we often conjure up in our minds. The bottom line is, that we really can be cool in our kids’ eyes AND still be amazing, diligent, strong parents.
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