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Helicopter Moms: Cool is relative


UPI News Service, 01/28/2010 

(Editor's note: Sometimes it's hard to tell whether you're tackling motherhood in the 21st century -- or being tackled by it. This is the latest in a series of reflections by UPI writers.)

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FLAGSTAFF, Ariz., Jan. 28 (UPI) --I am not really sure when I went from being the cool mom to the uncoolest person in the history of parenthood.

Thanks to my jobs as a rock 'n' roll columnist and talk radio host, my three oldest children grew up going to concerts and hobnobbing with celebrities. My eldest daughter got to shake hands with 'N Sync, my budding drummer son sat and talked shop with the drummer of Matchbox 20, his favorite band at the time, and all three kids never missed a chance to chill with Weird Al.

I picked and chose the shows the young 'uns were allowed to see -- mostly G Rated rockers such as Steppenwolf, Bon Jovi, Meatloaf and Aerosmith.

At the Aerosmith show I reamed out the college dork sitting next to us who lit up a big joint right next to my then 12-year-old daughter. When he got up to take his illegal activity out into the corridor, my tween let out a "Mooooom," but I was still cool.

But those days are now a warm memory. The big kids are now young adults and don't need their mom to gently guide their musical tastes. And here I am with a soon-to-be 15-year-old who puts my cool factor somewhere below "Ugly Betty."

I have been out of the media spotlight for a while now, in fact she doesn't even remember the radio days when I used to be up and out of the house by 3 a.m. I took a job working from home when she was little. But did she appreciate having mommy always at her beck and call? (Hint -- Her first words were: "Why can't you get a REAL JOB?")

When she was in sixth grade (i.e., her "gangsta phase") I took her to a Nickelback/Bon Jovi concert at Chicago's Soldier Field. Of course, she hated the music and asked "are they done yet" every 10 minutes.

Now that she's nearly 15, her life is all about "Scream-o" music and skinny jeans. I try to be cool and pretend I know who the heck Bring the Horizon is and that I actually like the music of The Used.

Where daughter No. 1 would regularly borrow my clothes and I could go shop for her right now and know what she wants, daughter No. 2 would not be caught sleeping in even one of my T-shirts.

My style staples are hoodies, carpenter jeans and Ugg boots. Hers are neon colored jeans so tight I don't know how she breathes, tiny T-shirts and hair bows. I can't even buy her a package of underwear without an "ewwwwww."

I find her constant texting annoying but at the same time am relieved the boy she is currently "in love with" lives three hours away and they merely "date by phone."

Her Amy Winehouse beehive hairdo phase was thankfully fleeting as was the 3-inch thick eye makeup phase. I did the opposite of my mom and just kept quiet -- at least when she was around. Someday she will look back on those pictures and cringe. Or not.

Now that I am actually forcing myself to think about this, in my estimation after nearly 55 years on this earth, I am still a fairly cool person. Even if I do work from home, love Bon Jovi and KISS and go out in public in my unsexy jeans and bulky hoodies.

And if my youngest child can't deal with my style, well, she can just go to her room and listen to Bring Me the Horizon.


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