"Mom" is so deeply synonymous with "uncool" that you just have to use the word as an adjective to render any noun deeply, pitifully irrelevant. "Mom hair." "Mom coffee." "Mom books." "Mom car." "Mom blog." "Mom dog." What's a mom dog? I don't know, but I already know I don't want one.
Of course the ne plus ultra of uncool mom things is the mom jean, which is so uncool that it became ironically cool again, but only if not worn by an actual mom. If you are a childless woman in an urban center, wearing a pair of "mom jeans" and a pixie cut is about the coolest thing you can do. If you are an actual mom, though, forget it. As women with children, it is as if we convey irrelevance through mere touch and proximity. Mom cooties. And we dare not try to fight it, because over us all hangs the specter of Amy Poehler in Mean Girls, and the knowledge that there is nothing so desperate and comical as a mom trying to be cool.
When deciding whether or not to have a baby, I worried about "coolness" more than I would like to admit. At the time I called it "success" and "relevance," but really I was worried about being cool. It would be great if adulthood and parenthood erased all our adolescent anxieties, but it doesn't, and I have wanted to be cool since I was in first grade and saw a fifth grader with a Caboodle and a high ponytail and heard someone say, "That girl is cool." I worried that having a baby would mean giving up my lifelong quest for success, cultural relevance, and a cool haircut.
Pregnancy made me more neurotic than usual, and at one point I started writing down the names of important, successful, and/or culturally relevant women with babies as though I were Bart Simpson at the blackboard:
Beyonce has a baby. Anna Wintour has a baby. Hillary Clinton has a baby. JK Rowling has a baby. Kim Kardashian has a baby. Ruth Bader Ginsburg has a baby. Zadie Smith has a baby. Julia Restoin-Roitfeld has a baby, which means that not only does Carine Roitfeld have a baby, Carine Roitfeld is a grandmother. Around that point, I realized the problem was with me and with the "mom" narrative, not motherhood in itself.
Once the haze of pregnancy hormones had passed, the derisive use of the word "mom" pissed me off the way it pisses me off when people say mothers shouldn't wear bikinis. A person doesn't stop being a woman when she has a baby. She doesn't stop being the person she was pre-baby, either. But society doesn't really seem to know what to think of moms. It hates moms who "let themselves go" and wear sweat pants and ponytails, but it also hates moms who are sexy and trendy and occasionally seen in public without a baby on them. It hates moms who put on "too much" weight, and moms who don't put on "enough" weight. If you don't lose the weight fast enough, you're a lazy slob. If you lose it too fast, you're a shallow, vain twit who is neglecting her baby.
Basically, we can't win. So fuck it, let's do what we want. I've got my mom hair and my mom jeans, and I'll drive around town in my mom car listening to mom music with my mom dog, and we will be cool.
Not A Regular Mom, A Cool Mom is a column about fashion, beauty, and motherhood. You can sit at our lunch table. On Wednesdays, we wear pink.