I am not referring to the weather down here in the Deep South, nor am I referring to my now constant need to stand in front of the freezer when the oven is on. I am actually not even referring to temperature at all, but instead, to that slang word for cool, meaning hip or fabulous.
Yes, it’s true. I have steadily been losing my cool factor for the last few years. A fact that became increasingly obvious to me when I asked for a light-up reindeer for my front yard last year for my birthday instead of the usual sparkly tote or subscription to a “wine of the month” club. That was followed up by the fact that this year, when my mom asked me what I wanted for Christmas, I immediately responded, “Dish towels.” I didn’t even have to think about it. Follow that up with the fact that I now really enjoy watching political debates, that I play Jeopardy fiercely every night and that Brack and I get pretty mad if we miss 60 Minutes, and there you have the whole truth: we are like real-life grownups.
It’s a scary thought, and how we arrived here, I couldn’t really tell you. It was a gradual process and I guess I am adjusting well. But at first, when we added a baby to the mix, I was completely afraid any amount of cool that I had left would be snuffed out. Jack Johnson would be replaced by the Itsy Bitsy Spider on repeat and our free-to-roam travel plans would be caged. Even a few weeks ago, I had to trade my car in for a mom-mobile. (Don’t worry, it needed to be done.) But as I saw my car sitting on the lot, waiting to drive off in someone else’s hands, I couldn’t help getting a little sentimental when I thought about how much my life is changing. I did some pretty cool things and went some pretty amazing places in that car and even though, the sunroof and CD play had both long since died and there was a lack of power windows and over 166 thousand miles on the odometer, it was still hard to let it go. I did it though, and I am happy with the decision. There’s plenty of space for our new addition, stain-resistant spray on the seats for all of those future Cheerio spills, and plenty of safety features. And you know what the best part of the whole experience is? The fact that I realized you can still keep a little bit of cool with a baby on board—I got super dark tinted windows that would make even James Dean jealous. Epiphany! It doesn’t have to be all or nothing.
So through this process of morphing into a mom, I have learned a lot. The most important lesson for all of us? There will always be some degree of “cool” that I am not willing to give up and neither should you. Case in point: I am keeping my belly ring. I had to sneak out to get it pierced when I was 16 and I got in a good bit of trouble for the act. (I blamed Britney Spears, the jury found my case weak and I was ultimately prosecuted and grounded to my room for a couple weeks.) But after time was served, I really enjoyed every summer I have spent with that thing. I can’t really imagine a bikini without a belly ring. (Did you know? They make maternity belly rings that are super soft, flexible and perfect for a growing bump. Genius idea. I know. You’re welcome!) So I have resolved to keep mine as long as possible, and in return, hang on to the little bit of cool I have left.
I am not saying that every mama-to-be should hang on to their belly rings for the sake of keeping their cool factor, but I am saying that not everything from our former lives needs to be thrown out of the window simply because we are turning into moms. We have plenty of cool left in our genes and plenty of years to flaunt it. So feel free to head out there, mama-to-be, and rock out to whatever drum makes you happy and helps you feel like you are keeping it cool—even if it means you’re home in time for the evening news.
Keep in mind that there will still be date nights, travel trips and plenty of dancing fun. So much so, that when all of our little ones arrive we won’t even remember what are lives were like before, nor will we miss any bit of the things that we once found cool. I am happy to rest in the fact that at least for a few years, Braxton will think the funny faces his dad makes and the silly songs that I sing him are completely and totally cool.
Lots of love,