Go Ask Mom

Go Ask Mom

Amanda Lamb: Anti-cool

Posted November 16, 2014

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.


Please with your account to comment on this story. You also will need a Facebook account to comment.

Oldest First
View all
  • tidymaid Nov 17, 2014

    Amanda, I know exactly how you feel. My sister lives in India, when they come home each year, I have to email before hand about what the kids (10&15) are into. Mom been dead about 10 yrs. (she never saw the youngest). but I feel sure she had a tough time also, because I was a flower child and lived it to the fullest.

  • 4.13 Nov 17, 2014

    Guess what though? It all comes full circle. Guess who now "shops" in my closet? Yes, my 19 year old daughter. My closet is now the hip new consignment shop. It's amazing how it all comes full circle!

  • TwoWheels Nov 17, 2014

    I have two 9th graders... one likes any jeans skinny and stuff with labels.. the other one wants comfort.. and no labels (I caught her selling her label stuff to her sister). One likes what ever music is "it" right now.. and the other one likes... im not sure what you call it. somewhere between heavy metal and alternative rock.. "what station do you listen to?" "I don't" "how do you know what you like?" "I read the reviews for songs I like.. then read the comments - and often there are "if you like this song, you will like that song"... so I listen to it.. and buy it if I like it." As for me (a teen of the 80s).. I wear shorts and tshirts in the summer, and shorts and long sleeve tshirts in the winter (maybe a jacket... maybe). My kids? they wore long pants and jackets all summer long. still scratching my head on that one.

  • emaleth Nov 17, 2014

    I've tried to teach my kids to be themselves and not worry about being cool, because it won't matter what your middle/high school friends think when you move on to college, anyway.

  • lec02572 Nov 17, 2014

    And just think they will get the same thing from their children when they are your age. So their is some pay back. You can remind them of what was cool when they were teenagers and have a laugh.

  • Claytonmomof2 Nov 17, 2014

    I'm not yet to this phase with my oldest, but I can feel it coming. I'll soak up the time that he wants me to play with him while I can, because I know before long it won't be this way anymore.

  • RGMTRocks Nov 17, 2014

    [u]My youngest is almost 18 now. I also had a teen of the late 90's. I've pretty much decided to be myself and I've found that my daughter's friends actually think I AM COOL! Even though she often finds me embarrassing. so HA! and just a little note, did you know that wayfarers are cool AGAIN? Yup, mine and others are wearing those and aviators. But - it's apparently not cool for ME to wear wayfarers? You can't win so just go with being yourself and yes, this too shall pass. My 31 year old thinks I'm cool and so does my 6 year old grandson so all is not lost. :)

  • tamiya_stars Nov 17, 2014

    Freezing is super cool - I lol'ed. See kids in shorts with no coat at the bus stop in 20 degree weather all the time. Running in place and jumping jacks must be cool as well cause they all seem to be doing it.

  • JAT Nov 17, 2014

    Yeah, I was rocking it in the mid-80's!

  • Amy Johnson Nov 17, 2014
    user avatar

    I have the same problem! I was definitely way cool and way skinny in the 80's. Not so much of either now. lol I belong to the "this too shall pass" group!