Don’t ask your tween if they think you’re cool

I made a parenting mistake recently, but it’s probably not what you think.

I learned a lot from this goof, and I’m now passing along my painful lesson to you. Learn from the error of my ways, friends.

It all started when Z and I were sitting around watching Youtube videos together. One of our kiddo’s weekly “must watch” channels is a family of influencers with young kids.

These Youtube parents are slim and gorgeous, the children are adorable and precious, their weather is always sunny and they are all blonde and blue-eyed. It’s honestly kind of annoying.

I love having good conversations with Z – and as with other families, we’ve had far more of them since the pandemic.

So I asked Z why she watches this family’s channel every week. Is it the cute little ones? The handsome dad? The pretty mom and her perfectly amazing wardrobe?

“I dunno. They’re just cool,” Z responded, like a serene tween Buddha of few words.

This got me wondering… what does Z define as cool these days? So I made what was one of the dumbest blunders of my adult life. I asked an almost-11 year old if they think their mom is cool.

In my defense, I have lots of tattoos, I love going on fun adventures and I used to ride a motorcycle. Those have to be worth at least a few cool points, right?!

But the answer that came back from my beloved child, whom I nurtured in my body for 10 months, suffered c-section surgery for and then breastfed for almost four years, was not what I expected.

On a scale of 1 to 10, where 1 is the dorkiest old lady around and 10 is Beyonce or Lady Gaga, my sweet angel baby gave me…

I can’t believe I’m going to admit this…

there’s still time to click away and read something else to save me shame and embarrassment…

Z gave me a 4.

THE KID GAVE ME A STINKING 4!!!!

My immediate reaction was to crack up laughing. Z didn’t understand why I thought it was so funny; they really thought they were being fairly generous in giving me a 4.

This is one of the best things about having kids: they keep you humble. Anytime you’re feeling kind of good about yourself, because you’re 50 and started your own business and it’s going well, plus you’re still doing cool things like boudoir photo shoots and riding scooters and getting tattooed, kids will bring you right back down to earth.

After I stopped chuckling, I admitted to Z that I rated myself at a solid 6, and that I’d thought their number might be around there, too.

Later on, after more time to think about and assess the situation, Z amended their answer to a 7. I couldn’t tell if they were just doing that to make me feel good, or if they really meant it after sober reflection on the topic.

I will say that since Z came out to us and we responded with loving celebration, my cool factor has gone through the roof in my kiddo’s eyes. They are well aware that not all parents are accepting and loving when kids come out. It breaks my heart to think about how some parents react to that news – and I’m glad that’s not us.

At their recent slumber party, a few of Z’s friends thanked me for being so cool and Z said “yeah, isn’t my Mom the coolest?!” I thought I had died and gone to heaven. It was a pretty awesome moment I’ll never forget!

So just remember the old adage: ask a silly question, get a silly answer. Some things are best not knowing. It never pays to go fishing for compliments from a tween!

Has your kid ever told you that you’re cool or uncool, and do you agree with their assessment? As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below or over on Facebook.

About the author

Proud and loving mama. Lucky and devoted wife. Dog, cat and snake mom. Travel nut. Writer since birth. PR and social media pro by day - tattoo doula by night.

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