Anyone raising teenagers knows that keeping up with cool is like keeping up with social media. Just when you think you’ve got it, something new comes along and you’re behind again.
“Mom, you are not cool,” my daughters repeatedly tell me. In my mind, I’m a cool mom. In their minds, I am anything but.
If I joke with their friends, ask what they think is a probing question, or simply sing along to the radio, I am greeted with eye rolls and: “Mom, you are sooooooo uncool.”
So, I am trying to pay attention to what is cool to them. The problem is that it changes with the wind. Apparently, school dances are once again cool after dropping down several levels of cool in eighth grade. Athletic gear, especially Nike gear, is cool for just about any occasion. Trick-or-treating is not cool, but dressing up and hanging out and eating candy with your friends is. Sleepovers are cool, but it's not cool to bring a sleeping bag, Coats are way uncool, and apparently freezing is super cool.
It’s like being a visitor in a foreign country. I am learning the culture and the customs as fast as I can, but no matter what I do it’s impossible to completely assimilate. I imagine our parents felt the same way when they looked at us in our parachute pants or gauchos (what was that about anyway?) with our feathered hair and neon rubber bracelets bopping along to the likes of Madonna and Michael Jackson in our Wayfarer sunglasses. Unlike our generation, I don’t think they tried as hard to understand us. They just listened to the advice of their parents - this too shall pass - and ignored us.
“Mom, no matter how hard you try, you will never be cool,” my older daughter reminds me.
I smile and shake my head. Maybe I won’t ever be cool again, but you should have seen me back in 1982 …
Amanda is the mom of two, a reporter for WRAL-TV and the author of several books including some on motherhood. Find her here on Mondays.