I like to think I’m a cool mom. You probably do too. I understand text speak, I don’t use Facebook to enter competitions to win groceries, I know that TV on the Radio is a hip indie rock band─not some invention from Microsoft that I will never use.
I look at pictures of my own mother’s generation and breathe a sigh of relief that I am part of an entirely new wave. Not for us the abandonment of style for flat shoes and sensible haircuts ; we embrace motherhood swathed in skinny jeans and lush waves of expensively-toned tresses.
I hesitate to use the phrase “down with the kids” because that would be akin to admitting a penchant for Midsomer Murders, but that’s what we are. We know what our children like because we like it too. We feel even more certain of our comfortable relationship with what is acceptable to our young folk when we see other mothers who are painfully uncool. It’s all great until one of our children reminds us in the most inarguable terms that the words “mother” and “cool” can only be used together in the context of weather (as in, “My mother wears a thermal vest when it is cool”).
When my eldest son had to get photographs endorsed at the local Garda Station for his passport, I collected him from school, and, as the station is very close to the school, I suggested we leave the car where it was and walk. He sat in the passenger seat, glancing at lads from his class wander past in twos and threes.
“I can walk behind you if you like,” I suggested. I thought irony was cool. How wrong I was.
“Okay,” he replied and fled from the car, keeping at least ten paces between us all the way to the Garda Station. Afterwards I asked him whether his friends had mothers too, or whether they had, in fact, emerged at birth from cabbages. He just shrugged:
“It’s just not cool to be seen with your mother, Mom.”
He’s right, of course. No teenager thinks his parents are cool, and despite your best efforts to convince yourself otherwise, yours will be no different. The best you can hope for is affectionate contempt. And in a way, that’s cool too.