Saturday, June 25, 2011

How To Tell If You Are a Cool Enough Parent

I originally published this piece in June of 2011. Very few people read it, which is probably very good, since I was able to keep my job and my reputation. I am going to publish it again because I guess I don't care that much about my reputation after all...

This post is offensive, rude and immature. Sometimes I slip into an offensive, rude and immature sort of mood. If you're the kind of person who finds that sort of tongue-in-cheek mental diarrhea funny, read on. If not, wait 'til I write again about spirituality or winter vegetables. But don't comment that you were offended. I WARNED you.

This is not me. I was too young and disorganized to make it to Burning Man before having kids and too chicken-shit after. Photo Credit: Flickr

You must already know that, if you have kids, it is very important that you maintain your adult role with them. One must always espouse a sort of wonderfully authentic moral rectitude which will allow children to grow and develop in the right way. After all, if you don't model what you teach, they say, you are teaching something else. Very true. Very good. And very true.

That said, after years of enthusiastically listening to Raffi while driving to the local hippie Gymboree group, after having stopped for organically grown, sugarless cookies made entirely from brown rice for my two sons, I found myself wondering,

"When the fuck do I get to listen to Pantera again?" and also,
"Why am I wearing a peasant blouse and baggy jeans?" and
"Will somebody please shoot Raffi in the head?"

So, now without being so cool that I am doing things like dropping acid with my kids (Yes, people really do this-I went to high school with their kids and that sort of parental behavior is not helpful!), I think I have gradually re-adjusted to become what I like to think is a "cool mom".

I know my teenage son doesn't think I'm cool. But that's because he's such a poser.

So, since most of the moms I know tend to enjoy such activities as "getting a mani-pedi," "watching a chick flick" and "having girl time" in their spare time, I have decided to provide them with a helpful guide to what would actually make them cool. Like me.

You Know You are a Cool Enough Parent When...

1. Your pre-schooler happily skips off to class in the morning at his play-centered, developmentally appropriate "play school" singing "Let the BODIES HIT THE FLOOR! Let the BODIES HIT THE FLOOR!"

2. Instead of lobbing spelling words or math problems at your fifth grader,you play "Identify This Recording Artist in 10 Seconds or Less" on long drives.

3. Your pre-adolescent son comes to you to suggest thoughtfully that you might re-think your inclusion of "Down With the Sickness" by Disturbed on his IPod because he believes it is inappropriate for him. (Note on this: When you review "Down With the Sickness," even you have to ask yourself what the fuck you were thinking when you put that there!! Worst. Parenting. Moment. Ever. Now commemorated on the internet.)

4. Your male children all have one pierced ear before the onset of puberty.

5.Your child learns to play "My Country 'Tis of Thee" on his baritone and says it reminds him of "Anthem of the Royal Canadian Yaksmen". (Uh-oh-If you don't know what I'm talking about, this means either that you are not very cool, or that you are a few years older or younger than I am and never watched Ren & Stimpy, or that you have a stick up your butt and so you think it is "not funny".)

6. You are waiting impatiently for a time when your children will be old enough to watch "Pulp Fiction" with you.

7. You consider going to see System of a Down with your whole family (well, maybe not the kindergartner).

8. Your eldest child is getting straight A's and wants to attend U.C. Berkeley. But he is doing this so he can hang out on Telegraph Avenue.

9. Your children regularly ask you to turn down the music and tell you that it is too early in the morning to listen to Linkin Park.

10. Your youngest child has never heard of Raffi.


Please give yourself one point for each item which applies to you, or which very nearly applies to you (i.e. your family went to see Korn together, rather than SOAD.)

8-10: You rule. You are so cool you might even be able to hang out with me. Unfortunately, there is also a real possibility that, despite your coolness, in an effort to rebel, your kids will end up liking lame music played on a Top 40 radio station and dressing like posers, in which case, you may have to distance yourself from them.

4-7: You are a little bit cool. You still remember your teenage years, but you probably think Ratt is a great band, so you are also a little bit lame. This can be worked with. Start by playing music that is inappropriate for your children while they are somewhere else and work into it.

0-3: Either you were never cool or you are still so attached to the kind of cool you were in high school that you haven't noticed it isn't cool anymore. You probably also believe that your children will suffer greatly from exposure to stuff you would have loved when you were their age.

Make sure they don't read this blog.


  1. Love this. When I have kids, I will not be the peasant shirt wearing, mani-pedi chick.... I will rock/hip-hop out from the get go.

    My sister had her kid rapping a (clean) version of OPP when he had to use the bathroom to help him become potty trained, "I have to go pee pee; yeah you know me!"

    Love it!

  2. I am/was a cool mom. I know, because my sons told me so & they'd never lie to me.

  3. a.eye-I LOVE when I can find a clean version of awesome songs to assuage my guilt. I ultimately even found a clean version of Down with the Sickness. (It is mostly white noise in the middle.) It allows me to avoid listening to Raffi.

    My teenager has finally realized I am cool. But he still likes Nickelback, so I try not to associate myself with him. ;)


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