August 12, 2012

The Cool Mom

Audra is here today to give you gals some tips on how to be in TCMC {The Cool Mom Club}.  And, believe it or not, none of her tips include getting a feather hair extension or a tattoo.  Check it.
Hi! My name is Audra, and I blog over at "A Little Bit of Rain" I'm so excited to be guest posting for Shannon today! Her blog is one of the first that I discovered when I started blogging, and she is an awesome momma, but keeps it real.

Today, I'm talking about being a "Cool Mom." So, I've been a mom for all of 8 months, but naturally I would like to think I'm a an expert.

::pausing for ironic laughter

Ok, ok, I admit...... I have no idea what the hell I'm doing most days. In fact, on the way to the hospital to give birth to our daughter, I panickly (not a word, but it's how I felt) told my husband "Shit Jon... what are we doing?!?! I have no idea how to be a parent." They didn't even have us watch a video before we checked out. Helllo!!!!! What if we're terrible parents?? Shouldn't we be licensed for this?!?

Well, 8 months later I can say I'm feeling much more confident about this whole being a mom thing. It's the best job I've ever had, that's for certain.
But in all of my meticulous planning and research before our daughter Emerson arrived, I have discovered one thing... parents have it TOUGH. Especially moms. People are constantly throwing unsolicited advice at you; one day you read something is good for your baby; the next day it's so bad. It's impossible to keep track. And all the while, I am trying to do/not do/be/not be anything and everything that will set my wonderful daughter up for a healthy and happy life. But I also want her to like me. (Does every mom of a little girl worry about this?? Or just me? I digress).
So in my 8 months of infinite wisdom, I've come up with my list of ways to be a "Cool Mom." These are tenants that I try to live by as a mommy, and maybe some day, when Emerson has kids of her own, she can look back and say "Yeah, my mom was is pretty cool."

6 Ways to be a "Cool Mom"
1) Stop comparing your child to other children.
This is numero uno, so huge in my book. All moms know about growth and development milestones. First smile. First laugh. First time sitting independently. Standing. Walking. Riding a bike. There is a huge range of normal when it comes to milestones, but I still found myself comparing Emerson's development to other babies. This is a dangerous habit. Instead of lying awake at night worried because your child isn't doing the same thing the kid down the street is, use that time to read a good book (I recommend Gone Girl - excellent new thriller). Because guess what? Your child is fine. That kid down the street is fine. We're all fine. And if we weren't fine, there are doctors with advanced degrees in medicine that will tell you how to make it fine. But worrying about the Jones' won't help the cause. 

2) Stay in touch with the outside world
With a baby, a busy full-time job, a husband I actually enjoy, and a half marathon to train for, I rarely have time to brush my teeth (Don't worry, I do). It can be so easy to forget about the important aspects of your life that are beyond the day to day. I recently went to my book club meeting for the first time since Emerson was born, and it was exhilarating! It's just nice to hear about the lives of the people I care about, and know that even though I've basically retreated into some kind of mommy hobbit shell, my friends haven't forgotten about me.

I also think it's important to stay up-to-date with what's going on in the world. You don't have to be glued to CNN, but after you scroll through Facebook, check out the headlines, news, weather, whatever. For one I think it's a good habit to instill in my daughter, and for another it makes you feel like a human being when you can have a conversation in line at Starbucks because you're aware of the week's major events. I like to listed to NPR while I'm driving and kill two birds with one stone; Emerson prefers to listen to her lullaby CD, but we'll work on it).
3) Be kind to your husband (at least in public)
I cannot stress this enough. When you're exhausted, you tend to lash out at the one person who's closest to you. You know, that sucker who promised to love, honor, and obey you till death do you part? Whoops, sometimes I think Jon forgot to read the fine print. But I rely heavily on him to pick up his fair share of the child-rearing duties (aka the ones in which I haven't completely taken over due to being a control freak parent), and in turn, I need to remember to show gratitude.

 But more importantly, we vowed to never argue or undermine the other in front of our children. Why? Again, it's about sending the right message to Emerson. Think about it: If we're constantly bickering in front of her, maybe some day she'll fall in love with some dude that picks fights with her every day, and she'll think that is "normal" because that's how mommy and daddy behaved. Besides, kids are innocent and young for such a short amount of time - I want to do what we can to have only happiness, peace and love in her life for as long as we can. Does that make sense? It does in my head.

4) Don't let others make major parenting decisions for you
Formula vs. breastfeeding. Cloth diaper vs. disposable. In-home child care vs. day care center. Home schooling vs. pre-school. Gymnastics vs. softball. It feels like every day I have to make some kind of parenting decision. Usually they are small decisions, but they don't always feel that way. There are some things I feel so strongly and passionately about, and others that are NBD. But guess what? As a cool mom, you (and I guess your significant other) are the ones who get to make those choices. You birthed that baby (you go girl!) so if you decide you want to feed her an all organic diet consisting of wheat germ and bee pollen, well then by golly, you go for it! (Just know my daughter won't be coming over for dinner). Many, many people will weigh in with their opinion on your parenting choices, but guess what?? Not up to them. End of story.

5) Don't beat yourself up
That said, if you have a plan as a parent and it doesn't work out, it's not the end of the world. Remember? You're fine. Your child is fine. Everything is fine. Sometimes we change our minds, sometimes things don't go as planned, but we're all moms just doing the best we can.

I've never seen that SJP movie "I Don't Know How She Does It"
(mostly because I have no interest in SJP unless she is playing Carrie
Bradshaw) but I can completely relate to the title.  I want to wake up at 5am every day, have breakfast on the table for everyone, go to Spinning class, go to work and bang out 10 projects, eat a healthy lunch, come home and make a sensible dinner, play with my daughter, have quality time with my husband, and go to bed at the exact time in which I will be well-rested, but have accomplished everything I wanted to for the day. Spoiler alert: The aforementioned sentence has NEVER happened. I'm not perfect, but I do the best I can - and I've got a happy baby to prove that best is definitely working for her.
6) Don't forget about you.
When people ask new parents "How do you like being a mom/dad?" a typical answer is something like "Well, it changes everything." Yes, yes it does. But for me, it has changed everything in the best way possible. Becoming a mom didn't hinder my life; it added a new dimension that has been such a blessing. But even though I essentially adore every smile, giggle, burp, fart, and other sound my daughter makes, I still think it is critical  that I find a little "me" time every single day. Some days it's 10 minutes, other days a little more, but  I need to remind myself that I still play many other roles besides "mommy." And taking the time to play these other roles makes me that much more appreciative for the gift I've been given.

Holy cow! Sorry Shannon, I've alienated your readers with my incessant rambling. Though I've provided my top 6 tips for being a cool mom, come visit me over at A Little Bit of Rain and I can show you even more things you should *not* do as a human being (I'm way more awkward than I even realize). Consider this a preemptive apology.
Thanks for having me!!!


  1. Love these!
    Being a cool mom is totally cool :)

    Thanks for the post :)

  2. Great post!!!


  3. This was great! Audra is one of my BFFs IRL and she really is a cool mom. Her daughter Emerson is my god daughter so I think she's amazing too.

  4. I'll be popping over to this blog next. Love these rules! They're totally in sync with how I'm trying to raise my daughter. Thanks for having these guest posts!

  5. I was nodding along with all of these! Great tips!