I Am Not A Cool Mom And I’m OK With That

“You’re uptight,” my sister said matter-of-factly during a FaceTime call. It stung for several reasons. I don’t see myself as an uptight mom. For starters, I live in NYC, in gritty downtown Lower East Side, no less. Would an uptight mom live in a big cruddy city? Well, sure, maybe so.

One of the reasons I love being in NYC is because I can and do schlep my kid all over the city to see and experience things that you can’t get in Bimblewood, Ohio. I take him to the library where he plays with strangers, is exposed to germs I can’t even imagine and touches toys that’ve been God knows where and I think that’s probably kind of good for him. I try to stay on top of wiping and washing his hands every so often and his toys when they land on the floor but I’m not batting 1000 here. Still, would an uptight mom do those things? Imma say probs no.

I leave my baby alone several days a week with someone who is neither a friend or a family member. Sure, I got references and she seems great but there’s an element of trust there that is complicated for a mom. So far, I’m doing ok in the not ultra uptight category.

I feed my baby food more often than not vs. boxed or bagged whatevers and things laced with odd chemicals or weird ingredients. I don’t feed him fast food or McDonald’s or garbage. My sister disapproves, insisting she’s going to sneak French fries into his diet. Um, ok.

I don’t stay up late, drinking and smoking weed like I used to in my 20s and even into my 30s. I’m in my 40s now and I’m a new, tired breastfeeding mom. I had a breast lump removed that was benign but associated with an increased risk of breast cancer. I was told by my doctor to eat well, get as much good sleep as possible and give up drinking and red meat. I am erring on the side of caution so my kid can maybe have a mom for a little longer. Cool? Nope. Uptight? I dare say no. Plus, I’ve lost all my pregnancy weight and some, and am the same amount of pounds I was my junior year of high school. I’d there were a bell, I’d ding it.

I don’t smoke cigarettes, either. I quit when I was about 32. I smoked from my teens all the way through my 20s. In my late 20s, I had a rule — I only smoked in the U.K. Then I cut cigarettes out altogether in my early 30s. My grandfather died of emphysema and it was a nasty, sad and painful death. It occurred to me that smoking disrespected the grandfather who I loved very much, and at that point, it was easy to quit. Corny? Youbetcha. Uptight? Maybe. Who cares?

I try to exercise every day. I go for walks or I do yoga or leg lifts. I believe a good regimen is good for body soul and mind. Cool? Uh uh. But I wouldn’t describe self-care as. being uptight.

I see a therapist and go to Dr appointments often. I’m on top of my annual exams and get things checked out when I’m uncertain. Maybe I’m even a little bit of a hypochondriac which is decidedly uncool. And being a hypochondriac is pretty uptight too, in it’s way, but you know what’s really corny? Those people who do heroin but eat vegan diets. #FuckThat. I’ll take uptight over phony any day.

I think the reason the uptight comment rubbed me so the wrong way is because I want my sister to see me doing all I can to be a good mom and to be proud of me. As my younger sister, maybe I even want her to look up to me a little. Vulnerability and weakness are not very cool and are a little on the uptight side.

I do a ton of not cool mom things. I wear glasses, not because the frames are nifty but because I’m fucking blind now after having a child. I mostly wear a mom uniform now; an open front shirt for breastfeeding, jeans and sneakers. Sometimes yoga pants or PJs all day. I eat oatmeal for breakfast every day. It’s supposed to help lactation. I don’t hang out with friends as much as I used to or even have friends anymore. I barely make an effort. I’m somewhat depressed and suffer from extreme anxiety. I work hard. I don’t even write dirty folk rock songs anymore which was kind of cool but I’m sure my son will someday disagree and then later change his mind.

I go to bed at 10. Not by choice, I fall asleep standing up, like a cow at 9:59. I’m old. That shit is not cool (says society, though I disagree).

I don’t want to be a cool mom, I don’t try to be a cool mom, I don’t even know how to be cool mom. I don’t care to be BFFs with my son. I piss him off constantly.

Here are other things that are maybe considered cool that I don’t do:

-have a tattoo

-ride a motorcycle

-be in a band

-keep bees or chickens

-drive a Jeep

-have my scuba diver certification

-travel to India

-collect rare anything’s

-knit

-take tango lessons

Still, though I have failed in the arena of being a cool mom, I hope (often) that I’m making solid decisions so that someday my son will graduate college and have a family of his own, love me the way I love him. Like the way my mom worked it out with me. Funny, I look at how she raised me and there’s so much I question; so much I’d do differently. But it worked, whatever she did. So maybe it doesn’t matter if I’m cool or uptight, or organized or a slob, or a leader or a follower, or a bitch or a narcissist. Maybe none of it matters at all.

Except that it matters to me. If it didn’t, maybe I’d drink more wine and whiskey, ride my motorcycle to tango dance in the evenings instead of put my baby to bed every night and have tons of tattoos.

I guess we’ll have to check back in a couple decades to see how it all turned out.

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Jessica Delfino is a comedian, musician, writer and new mom who writes about life with one baby, one husband and one cat. She is currently developing a TV show about motherhood and has written about about #momlife for High Times, Mommyish.com, VH1.com and more.

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I write about life with 1 husband, 1 kid, 1 cat, at times funny. www.Twitter.com/JessicaDelfino Bylines: New Yorker, The NY Times, The Atlantic, McSweeney’s.