Mamas, have you seen Free People's latest catalog? It's overflowing with gorgeous. The theme is Girls on Bikes, and one of the shots is of this lovely lady: a cool mom with a backpack full of flowers and a bald little bub on the front.
Last May J. Crew featured Arizona Muse and her son Nikko in their May catalog, and now we have Free People giving moms a little love. Not to mention the incredible styling of the folks at Hatch, and the fact that there are enough inspirational mom fashion bloggers to spend all of your hours online….it seems, dear Mamas, that being a mom is, well…kinda cool these days.
Not that it really matters, necessarily. I think the title of "cool mom" applies to any mom who simply does her best and loves the shit outta her kids. But doesn't it feel good that this anti-mom culture we live in (the one that brought us both mom jeans and mommy wars) is starting to recognize that we are, in fact, awesome?
When I was first pregnant with Raines (over 5 years ago now), I was scared to death of becoming a mom. I wasn't scared by the act of mothering, which, when you think about it, should be daunting: no sleep, poop filled diapers, tantrums and oh I don't know the fact that a tiny human being is totally and completely dependent on you. Instead, I was terrified that I was going to turn into one of "those moms", the sexless mom who spends her time in mom jeans and bad shoes, being overly competitive with her friends and ranting on internet forums. I know you know her, at least in theory. She's our symbol of modern motherhood.
But here's the funny thing: I've never actually met her.
In Denver, after Raines was born, I started a mom's group with one of my friends. It grew pretty large, and we had the opportunity to meet a ton of moms. There were stay-at-home moms, moms who worked part-time, full-time, and moms who worked insane amounts of hours and only showed up to the occasional girl's night out. I found many moms who shared my parenting style, and other moms who thought I was nuts (and sometimes the feeling was mutual). But here's the thing: none of these moms were judgemental. If I had a dollar every time I heard someone say, "It's so hard…everyone is so different!" Most of the angst aired was directed inward: we were all so much harder, it seemed, on ourselves.
I'll acknowledge that this is only one tiny data point. And I've also had moms give me dirty looks, make snide remarks, and shock me by their judgemental responses in internet forums. But in most cases, those instances were usually due to one of the following:
1. I was being overly-sensitive and misconstrued an otherwise innocent comment (or look).
2. A good mom was having a bad day (and probably misconstrued something I said or did).
3. They are assholes.
But here's the thing: the mean/snide/judgemental comments weren't always coming from MOMS, these comments were coming from ASSHOLES who happen to be moms.
That's a big difference. Why do we, as moms, have to sustain the damage caused by the "mommy war" label, when the simple truth is that assholes are everywhere? In all walks of life? It's not motherhood that makes people hateful. It's hate that makes people hateful. (Haters gotta hate amiright?)
Motherhood has been, in every way, trying. I suffered through two years without sleep after Raines was born, and did it all over again with Pax. I spent many nights in tears – either because nursing wasn't working, or feeding wasn't working, or sleeping wasn't working, or time-outs weren't working or positive discipline wasn't working, or I because knew that I had been at my worst that day. I searched to find new outlets for my sense of self: one where my self-esteem wasn't directly tied to the height of my heels or the flatness of my stomach. I have been forced, through the mirror that is our children, to confront, head-on, the worst parts of my personality. On a daily basis. Sometimes minute-by-minute. Motherhood is humbling to say the least.
But here's the thing about being humbled: You learn so much from it. And there is no doubt that I am a much better person because I am a mother. With each kid, I feel like I've gotten wiser, and have come closer to finding my center. (Not that I don't have a Dynasty-worthy rager now and again, or that my husband has never come home to find me sobbing, "I'm so alooooone" on the bathroom floor. That's life, right?)
But having kids, in general, makes us better people. Whenever I meet a mother of four (or more!!) I'm often left in awe of her genius. These mamas have reached an enlightened buddha state that I can only dream of.
So whether or not you throw on your designer sunglasses, and pedal your gorgeously dressed baby around some cobble-stoned street…if you are a mom, trying your best, learning all that you can, and loving your kids to pieces….I'll bet that you are also pretty. darn. cool. And if our culture is finally waking up to the fact that moms rock? Bring it, baby. Cause we can all use a little dose of mom-friendly inspiration now and again.
(That Free People sweater-jacket looks perfect for throwing over a spit-up stained tee, doesn't it? More like this, Free People. MORE LIKE THIS.)