Being cool has always been something of an exotic idea for me; elusive and unobtainable, existing only as shining beacon of what I am not.
As far as I was concerned that was perfectly fine. Cool and I were never going to be on first names terms and that was A-Okay with me. Until I had a little taste of it.
Until I accidentally stumbled upon the secret of being the coolest mum in the world. If you’re a 3 or 5 year old, that is.
Something funny happened inside me. I needed more, I simply had to have a try at being cool, a sip of the Cool Aid, if you will. So I hatched some cunning ideas. None of which was every going to come back to bite me in the rear.
1. Ikea. It all started with a remodel of the kids bedroom. Well, I say remodel but what I really mean is bought some flat packed shelves and baskety things (technical term) and was instantly declared the coolest mum ever. As the pièce de résistance I added a desk. With lamp.
I can’t stress how important the lamp is in the cool stakes. This was, according to my 3 and 5 yearolds, the coolest thing ever. Especially good fun for freaking you out in the middle of the night when you wake up to flickering, fit inducing, strobe lighting because the youngest has woken up and decided to have a disco.
And, weird-night-time-disco aside, I realised I liked this new cool mum status and decided to ramp it up a bit.
2. Stationary. All those things they were forever pilfering from my office: post-its, blue-tack, paper clips, printer paper etc? I had an amazing brainwave. I would simply buy some more, put them in little pots on their newly added desk, et viola wWeeks of ‘thank you’s’ and endless quiet hours of children industriously papering their room in post-it notes and pictures until it looks as though they are actually living inside some sort of odd Tate exhibition.
Please God, let the landlady give me some notice before doing a spot inspection.
But apart from the weird décor and the constant mountain of screwed up paper, it was all going well. Cool mum was still going strong. But that wasn’t quite enough. It was great my kids thought I was cool, but what about all those other kids out there? So I did what any perfectly sane, none competitive, needy mum would do…
3. Bought a computer console. Any will do but you get extra cool points, it seems, for something new, exciting and wireless like a Wii, Kintect or a Nintendo DS. Add some super cool games like Mario, or Batman Lego, you can get some really great DSI games from Tesco, and then invite your kids’ friends round to play. Instant cool points obtained, if a little louder and pricier than the stationary route. I basked in the glow of my own coolness. For a while.
Because of course nothing beats having ten children all pleading with you to play of the Wii or Nintendo DS as soon as they get through the door and before they’ve even taken their coats off. What about all that lovely stationary upstairs? Don’t you want to go and post-it note a wall or something quietly? No?
Okay, so life may be a little noisier than before. And the house a little fuller, but I was still riding the cool wave. All the way to Tesco. Geez those kids can’t half eat. And whilst there, why not show all the other mums just how cool I am…
4. Let them sit in the trolley at the supermarket. Not the specially designed child seat, no, that’s way too uncool for this newly hatched hipster mum (ahem). Let them sit in the actual trolley and then pretend you can’t see the flint-like looks from other shoppers’ as their kids start to moan and whine from their sensible seating area. Also it means you can’t fit any actual food in the trolley. Great for the wallet, not so much for the act of acquiring food to feed your family on. And the security staff don’t like it much, it seems.
And that’s about the point I gave up. As wonderful as it was being considered cool for the first time in my life, even if it was just by a 3 and 5 year old, being told off by an over-weight, middle aged man in a too tight blazer in front of all the other shoppers and then having to do the walk of shame through the shop was all too much.
It’s back to uncool parenting for me from now on.
Anyone want a job lot of post-it notes and paper clips?