I’m A Suburban Mom Trying to Be Cool


Now that I have had a moment to really sit with it, I’d like to take you back to a time in my life when I realized I was no longer what I used to be.

Flash back, two months ago (I never said it was a long flash back), my awesome husband took our toddler home so that I could be a grown up and go out with colleagues after a holiday dinner. We went to a bar that had a live band, and there began my spiral into an absolute identity crisis. 

I found myself getting frustrated that I had to yell at everyone’s faces, I couldn’t hear them, there was nowhere to sit down, I desperately wanted a snack, and then I said it . . . . out loud . . . to more than one person, “I feel like a suburban mom trying to be cool.”  What were my colleagues’ responses? “Um, you are.” Ouch.

They were not implying that I was cool.  They were agreeing.  I.WAS.A.SUBURBAN.MOM.TRYING.TO.BE.COOL.

I’d like to say I didn’t go to that self-deprecating place of loss, but I totally did.  I USED to be really cool, folks. (Cool is totally relative here; my description of myself that is to follow will be that of an annoying hipster to some – my apologies.)  I listened to current, non-“Baby Shark” music and always knew the latest folk bands. I’d shop the record store for hours with my equally hipster-cool, enviroment-studying husband who wore Birkenstocks (with socks) while holding a fancy coffee drink.  I went rock-climbing. I set up a bike for beer brigade.  I worked hard and played hard.  I was fun.

Now-a-days, life looks a little different.  

I can’t tell you the name of a single new folk band since 2016 (the year of our baby), but I can participate in a mean rendition of “You’re Welcome,” in full on Maui-voice, while driving home from preschool.  

I don’t browse the aisles for records anymore, but I spend hours filling my Amazon cart and then I go rogue and never.even.check.out.  

I don’t drink fancy coffee drinks anymore, but I do reheat my coffee in the microwave a million times on the weekends in between potty training and painting our new house.  

(I am still married to the super cool hipster husband who wears Birkenstocks and studies the environment.)  

I don’t rock climb (as much), but I am a jungle gym, airplane, dinosaur, and boo-boo kisser to an energetic toddler.  

I don’t set up bike for beer brigades anymore, but I do go for walks that last 45 minutes and span the length of two driveways because my daughter is exploring every inch of sidewalk and grass that exist between our neighbors and us.

I work hard and I play hard with my daughter and husband.  I am fun to her.  I have fun with her.  

While my 30-something self looks a lot different than my 20-something self, it’s okay.

I am secure with the “suburban mom who is trying to be cool.”  I am not trying to be cool; cool just looks different now.  I have learned to say “no” to the fluff and “yes” to the things that really matter.  I care less about what people think of me and more about what I think of myself.  And the only important question I have to ask myself is, “Am I the person that I want her to be?” If so, that’s pretty cool.  

30-something me has an amazing toddler, who totally thinks I am the jiviest turkey around.

She is the only critic I need (and she isn’t shy to give me her rating).  

Folks, I am a 5-star cool momma, and I bet you are too.

So join me in the new-rankings of cool, where we drink cold coffee, talk about the best strategy to evade lice at preschool, and sing “Baby Shark” like it is going out of style (please let it go out of style).  It’s the new cool and everyone who is anyone is doing it.

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Erin is a native cheese-head (GO PACK GO!), who, in the academic pursuit of a tenure-track position, chased her husband from Wisconsin, to Indiana, to Ohio. The journey they lovingly call the “Tour de Midwest” ended in June of 2018, when they landed in the 901 for Patrick’s position with Rhodes College. While the Midwest holds a special place in their hearts, they are happy to be planting roots in the South with their daughter, Nola (May 2016) and insane rescue dog, Toby. A social worker that loves research, Erin works at St. Jude in clinical research. You can usually spot her with a coffee (heavy on the creamer), ‘second-day hair’ that is tossed in a bun, attempting to bake, or talking about how she would like to bake but doesn’t have time, all while using humor to take on the day. Erin’s excited to use her Midwestern “doncha’ know” in conjunction with the southern “ya’ll.” Doncha’ know, ya’ll? It’s gonna catch on.