#245 Cool moms

I love cool moms.

When I was growing up there was a Sunny D commercial on TV where a gang of kids in backwards caps and jammer shorts roller skates home before helping mom bring in the groceries. When they go inside they search between a fridge packed with cola and purple stuff before pulling out a jug of Sunny D to big cheers. Later they’re chilling under a tree when mom returns with an armload of Sunny D. As the scene closes one of the kids screams out “You got a cool mom!”

And despite the cheesy cheese quality of this old commercial there really is something sweet about finding out your friend has a cool mom. Cool moms are often detected in the wild after displaying some of these familiar characteristics:

· Anywhere, anytime sugar. Cool moms have candy and sugary cereals you don’t have at your house and they’ve got no problem filling your bowl with Corn Pops after a sleepover or letting you drink a big cup of Coke with dinner.

· Grease runs for fun. Loud cheers from the back of the station wagon and the Minivan Applause-O-Meter guide cool moms to ice scream shops and McDonald’s drive-thrus. Six-year soccer teams get sundaes or chip truck fries whenever cool mom is driving them home.

· Steady behind the wheel. Cool moms drive your friends all over the place. She’s your taxi to the mall food court, baseball diamond, or movie theater. Cool moms also take care not to embarrass you in front of your friends by controlling the bad jokes and goodbye kisses. Sometimes they slip you an extra fiver, too.

· Lax sleepover policies. She knows you and your teenage friends will watch the R-rated movie in the basement anyway so cool mom doesn’t fuss much with the ratings or the extra half hour of TV before bed. Let the kids talk a bit during the sleepover, she figures. Nobody’s getting hurt.

· Anonymous phone-a-friend always open. Cool moms give off sparkly vibes of open-mindedness that let kids know their questions won’t be judged. Cool moms take your friend for her first tampons, help you call the neighbor after tossing a ball through their window, and are always around to chat about anything serious.

When you have a friend with a cool mom you’re loving it lots, baby. They’re usually found upstairs at that one house everyone always hangs out at. Now, if you’re a cool mom your house sure is full of big smiles, loud laughs, and happy kids. You value the best things in life and live to love for years and years and years.

Hey, cool moms! Guess what? You’re


— Email message —

“At the beginning of spring semester, I put up a sign in my dorm’s community bathroom. It said “This is the list of 1000 Awesome People….Every person is awesome in their own way, and they need a little shout out!” The girls on my floor took this idea and RAN with it. We hit 400 before midterms! The list was completed the 2nd week of April and is comprised of everybody from Cookie Monster, to a lady who helped us dig out a car from the snow, to our Resident Advisor, and the girl we saw wearing a “Virginity Rocks!” shirt. It’s pretty much the best thing ever to be able to list 1000 people and have a “spill over list” of even MORE people that rock…. in fact, I’d say it’s AWESOME.” – Sarah

Photos from: here, here, here, and here

66 thoughts on “#245 Cool moms

  1. what kinda “cool” are we talking about here? the kind of cool that lets you and all your friends drink at the house so “at least she knows your safe” or the kind of cool that isn’t so comfortable because your cool mom is teaching you how to love yourself, and take care of yourself because she knows she won’t be around forever. THAT is cool.

    1. That’s not cool…that’s just being a good mom. Cool moms are cool on top of being good parents in general. Someone who would let their kids do something illegal is disqualified.

      My mom was cool. Because I never gave her any trouble, I never had a curfew. My friends and I could hang out all night and go wherever bc she knew we were trustworthy & as long as grades didn’t slip. We’re all successful and old now, almost 30 :( but we all still reminisce about how awesome and carefree our teen years were. THANKS MA!

  2. My mom was the overly-strict mom, so EVERYONE’S mom was a cool mom to me! Thanks, friends’ moms!

    1. P.S. I bought some SunnyD a while back just to relive the childhood memories. It didn’t taste quite right…turns out they’ve started cutting the sugar with artificial sweeteners to make the caloric content lower :(

      1. they need to go back to STRAIGHT sugar. i don’t even think there was any juice in there at all! it was like somewhere in between orange juice and that tin can of orange juice concentrate, which, when you don’t have ice pops, will totally do!

        1. I remember tangerine and lime being ingredients back in the day because my mom would reuse the bottles for water on car trips and I would reread the label out of boredom, so there was SOME juice in there. But yes, sugar is best!

          1. One of my old roommates’ dad is some kind of executive for Pepsico which I guess was or is somehow affiliated with Sunny D … he said that it’s made with the reject stuff from real OJ. Like, they juice the pulp to get the juice portion (like 5%) in Sunny D. Yum yum. ;)

            I tried Sunny D again recently, too, and kinda wished I’d just let it be a fond childhood memory … because, like you, I was a bit let down.

  3. My friend’s mom was a ‘cool’ mom! Well probably still is, I just don’t see her anymore. She always drove us everywhere, rented us whatever movie we wanted, and made sure to go shopping for all our favourite treat. When we had sleepovers. I was always so jealous of my friend since my mother was pretty strict. Good times!

      1. Urrrg, that was supposed to say “all our favourite treats when we had sleepovers.” I hate typing on my iPod! It autocorrects everything I try to write!

  4. Today my son attained his Boy Scout Eagle rank. Tonight, he phoned me after his board of review (the final “test” before achieving the rank) to thank me for the years of encouragement and support that I provided to him on his journey. I felt like a pretty cool mom for raising a pretty incredible kid.

  5. Doesn’t have to be a friend’s mom….it could be your cousin’s mom. My aunt is cool as mentioned above and even more so because she doesn’t get mad easily, she always WANTS us over, and goes out of her way to make sure everyone feels invited…….AWESOME!

  6. I never thought of my friends’s mums as “cool”.

    I was too busy basking in the glory of knowing that everyone else thought my own Mum was AWESOME.

    (‘Cause she is!)

  7. So wait:
    a cool Mom:
    a) gives her kids a lot of sugar
    b) takes kids to McDonalds
    c) drives you her kids anywhere they want to go
    d) let’s her kids watch porn
    e) is open minded
    I agree with the e) part, no problem. But, I don’t think being a ‘cool’ mom according to a-d actually equals necessarily being a ‘good’ mom. Neil, I love your blog but I think some of your ideas might change once you actually ARE a parent. I used to think, yeah, I will be the groovy cool Mom but hyped up kids on sugar and fat watching people have sex in the basement isn’t that cool. I think, when my kids are at uni they will have YEARS of that anyway;)

    1. Agreed. As a mom, I don’t want my kid orbiting a satellite of a woman who has such self-esteem issues that she needs to be every kid’s favorite, regardless of whether it makes sense or not. There are reasons I don’t let my child see R-rated movies or consume too much sugar or grease. I also would rather know where my child is than have some woman randomly drive him around without my knowledge or permission.

      My mom was also very strict, and my next door neighbor, whose kid I used to babysit for, was the “cool mom”. She would play card games with me rather than make me clean the house or do “extra” homework once mine was done. She would ask questions about the boys I like instead of rolling her eyes and tell me not to waste my time with such ridiculousness. She would let me eat dessert when I was over for dinner (a popsicle, if I remember correctly) rather than omit desserts as a rule. She had cable TV and would watch the latest video with me on MTV that all the kids were talking about but I wasn’t allowed to see. But she also put her foot down at a lot of things that would have made her an even “cooler mom” but would have caused my mom to forbid my visits. There are in fact healthy ways to be a cool mom, but you missed most of them (and, contrary to your photos, tattoos don’t automatically make you cool).

      This is the first less-than-awesome thing I’ve seen here. I’d seriously consider editing it if I were you.

      1. I think we can all agree with what you two are saying. Sugar = bad.
        But people’s ideas of ‘cool’ changes as they mature and grow up. What was cool back in the day, no longer seems all that great of an idea anymore once you get older, especially after you become a parent.
        That being said, the feeling I got from this was it’s like a ‘cool at the time’ sort of thing; Like looking through the eyes of a child. Kids like sugar and the person that lets them have it are therefore considered cool to them. Now, I’d much rather my child have a good old fashioned carrot but I won’t deny the fact that 20 years ago I wanted that sugar filled glob of fat. And looking back, the person that gave me that I thought was awesome. They’re now only memories but I can’t deny the fact that at the time they fit my old definition of cool. And where therefore awesome.
        Don’t edit a thing Neil! (Unless of course you wish to add more traits of the cool mom)

      2. Let us, Moms, read the Post in a light-hearted manner & recognize the spirit that it written with ( growing up as a child). Please see the comment posted by jdurley. I think it sums it up quite simply ; no need for the unnecessary negativity or tension on yourself.

        1. 1) Sherwood and Mary seem to know what they’re talking about – let’s listen to ’em..

          2) I agree that jdurley, as usual, is a great source of wisdom and balance. She’s awesome!

          3) Let’s give Neil the benefit of the doubt here.. I’m pretty sure he’s not advocating raising obese children who watch porn, and I think that anyone that gathers that from the above post might be guilty of intentionally misconstruing his message..

          I know when I was a kid, I certainly remember a friend’s mom who brought home “Jos. Louis cake snacks” (think: Chocolate twinkies) that I never got to eat at home, and we’d watch some stupid horror movie at the sleepover (which ironically, I would never be able to watch now and would be way too scared), and had a grand old time. I had a blast at those sleepovers!

            1. Now THAT would make a good T-shirt!

              (thanks, you guys! Mostly I’m just older than y’all, but it’s nice if some wisdom has come with the years. Now, I have this funny feeling there’s something I’m supposed to remember… or was it dismember?)

    2. wow you obviously missed the point of this post. when you’re a kid all these things = cool mom. this post isn’t about being a good mom, it’s about being a fun mom.

      1. Uhm… my mom does these things (although not all of them consistently, e.g. constant trips to McDonalds, a never-ending supply of sugar, etc). Because she occasionally takes us to fast food restaurants, doesn’t mind if we have sugar, and doesn’t mind if we watch R-rated movies she suddenly has a low-self esteem and isn’t as good at parenting as you? I don’t think being more lenient with what we eat and watch makes anyone a bad parent, nor does it mean that they have a low-self esteem and wants to be everyone’s favorite. Maybe it’s like that with some people but it isn’t with everyone and you’re (Kristen and Suzy) kind of grouping all moms like that into that category, whether on purpose or not.
        Also, if your child’s friend’s mom is driving them to the mall or something, she isn’t “some woman”. She is the mother of your child’s friend. You should know her, therefore she isn’t “some woman randomly driving [them] around”.
        I don’t know. My mom generally fits Neil’s definition of a “cool mom” but she is still a good mother. She’s chosen to homeschool my three sisters and I due to the bad school programs in our area and my sister is, at sixteen, taking classes at a local college. I obviously can’t know how I come across to other people, but we have always tried to be respectful to other adults, don’t do drugs, etc. despite her doing the things on the list.
        And in response to this: “hyped up kids on sugar and fat watching people have sex in the basement isn’t that cool”
        Unless someone is taking their kids to McDonalds and constantly feeding the child sugar, they’re not going to be bigger because of that. Kids are active; they burn off the extra calories. That comment is kind of unnecessary.

        Anyway, to sum up the point of this comment, don’t be so harsh about other people’s parenting choices. Nobody’s perfect, everyone parents differently, and there isn’t a need to be rude about it.

        1. What a sweet write-up. Thanks for sharing. Hats off to all the great mothers out there & special Thanks to those who sometimes give kids a taste of being ” Cool Moms “.

    3. I get your point, but I’m with Sherwood and the others.

      However, I’m very curious how you got “porn” from “R-rated movie”… definitely NOT the same thing!

  8. I think there’s nothing wrong with that definition of ‘cool’ as long as one doesn’t overdo it. :) I definitely want to be a cool mom one day, hehe.
    Also, my own mom is fairly cool, with or without this list :)

  9. I had a pretty strict mom. I wasn’t allowed to do sleep overs until high school. I couldn’t stay out late. She never gave me money to do anything with my friends. Phone calls were half an hour, not a minute longer. Being a kid, this was pretty rough. (Now that I’m an adult, I understand why she did all these things, but through a kids eyes, it sucked) All my friends could do all kinds of things. I felt left out, but my best friend’s mom was the coolest mom ever! And she still is. The first time I got to stay up late was at her house. She let us eat junk food, she drove us anywhere we wanted to go, I could talk to her about anything and she would listen, she even gave me money to hang out with everyone. She was awsome and still is. I still like visiting her and going shopping with her. Its just like old times when her, my bff and I jump in a car and just go. I always called her my second mom. Even the rest of my best friend’s family, in a way, became my family. I even go to her family reunions.

  10. This entire post describes my mom. I think I’m the only high schooler that always immediately will suggest their mom to chaperone a week long school trip, or and school trip for that matter. She’s super cool and awesome without even trying.
    My orchestra went on a week long trip to New York over Spring Break and my mom was one of the chaperones and the leader of my small group. We took a bus so everyone got to really know everyone before we arrived. By the time we got to NY, people wanted to switch groups to be with my mom. I love that I have a mom that other kids are jealous of. Haha
    I love my awesome, cool mom. Thanks for the post, Neil :)

    1. Grrr… I wish I knew what this quote was referring to.. I hate being left in the dark.. :)

      “Aaaaaahhnnn. I’m sorry, I need a judge’s ruling on this. Days-of-the-week underpants?” – When Harry Met Sally

      (not related, I know – but I wanted you to know how it feels.. hehe..)

      1. That was the intention! I need to pique your curiosity to the point that you will actually watch it ;)

        And, though I was already sold on watching When Harry Met Sally, I am now officially on a mission. After today, there are 9.5 days left of school … then I have 2.5 months of uninterrupted SUMMER coming my way! That’s thing number one on my to-do list. But only if jdurley watches Remember the Titans ;)

        1. Oh yeah…right…that…!
          I have to remember Remember the Titans. Sounds like a chore. Maybe if it was called “DISmember the Titans” I’d be more interested.

            1. Update: I TRIED to rent Remember the Titans on the weekend, but my local video store did not have it. Boo.
              So we got “Rocket Science” instead. Geekteen’s favourite line: “There’s a cello in your house now.”

  11. I found out recently that a very old friend thought that my mom was the best. It was heart-warming to hear her voice that opinion as I hadn’t seen her in that light.

  12. I like to think of myself as a ‘dork mom’ who has ‘cool mom’ moments from time to time. It’s all about balance. Kids NEED boundaries, but it’s important to have some spontaneous fun now and then too. I think the most important element to being a “cool parent” is listening without judgement. If you can pull that off, the kids will be alright.

  13. I’d just like to add that not only did I have the ‘cool mom’ but I also had the ‘cool dad’ who would let us steer the car on empty roads (but secretly kept a hand on it), always had a radio on (even during dinner), assisted in practical jokes (which he liked to play on his coworkers and boss) and liked to show up at random times with a pizza or a dozen tacos just because. One time he took us to Canada just to travel the underwater tunnel (I’m from Detroit). We ate at McDonald’s and then took the bridge back home. Of course gas prices didn’t suck then but I think he’d have done it anyway even if they did, because he’s awesome.

  14. Got a call from my mum this week, she received her mother’s day gift (the book of even more awesome) and adores it! Both my cool mum and you are AWESOME!

  15. One thing that is even more awesome is when your kids and their friends let you know you are a cool mom. Recently one of my daughters friends requested to be my friend on facebook, they are now 21. I asked my daughter why she wants to be my friend, she looked at me like I was nuts and told me “Because you are Mama Maynard!” …..AWESOME!!!

  16. Seeing that commercial for “grape drink” reminded me of the bit that Dave Chappelle has about “grape drink.” I’m not sure if Neil allows links in the comments, so I’ll just say, search google, “Dave Chappelle grape drink,” and you’ll find it. I promise. :-)

    With Love and Gratitude,


    1. You are beautiful and your smile makes me smile:D
      …and no, not flirting, you’re likely the age of …
      oh ya’ my single daughter….hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm;;;)

  17. My friend’s mom automatically came to mind when I read this. She helped me and my friend attempt to light Jell-o on fire by pouring whiskey on it and throwing a lit match in it. It failed, but she’s still AWESOME.

  18. Am I the only one who thinks the first picture could be bed-head-baby and her cool tat mom???

  19. I think it is so sweet of you to find the commercial for all of us to revel in ;) great job with this!!!! (as always :) )

  20. PLEASE receive in the “Desiderata” open spirit and heart it is written.
    Arvind, oh Arvind, your wise words would be wonderful here.
    And “idonthaveaname”…I’d like to hear a clever word or “few” from you too. It’s been a long time and frankly I miss your wry humour.
    Jess, sweet Jess, that was absolutely beautiful.
    You all have such positive high key “Colours of the Rainbow!”
    High Tens to Teresa Bloomingdale, Erma Bombeck, and Barbara Coloroso. Meryl Streep and Goldie Hawn. All big-hearted, loving cool mom’s! (forgive my missing MANY!) Ever read, “Heart of a woman?” by Maya Angelou?
    Was a gift for my 45th. from my very cool daughter’s, who are now cool mom’s too! What a liberating, eyes-wide-opener AWARENESS this was for me. Very cool, Maya!
    To the poet who wrote, “Don’t judge another lest you’ve walked a mile in their moccassins,” GOOD ATTITUDE!
    For “The Little Match Girl”, and “The Red Shoes”, by Hans Christian Anderson, thank you.
    Not to be confused with Dorothy’s Ruby red shoes and “The Wizard Of Oz”, written by L.Frank Balm; accomplished by way of his really cool mom who encouraged him to have fun and embrace his imagination. Just look at all the cool messages of Oz!
    Dr. Anthony Wolf, who wrote one of the best books a parent could ever read, titled,
    “Get Out Of My Life, But First Drive Me and Cheryl To The Mall.”

    We mom’s, (aka. grannie Wendy now), need to keep our “cools”, stay open and approachable; share love and trust, hope and faith…BE DANCEY!
    Let’s make love here and wherever we can, not war; it’s the new 30’s & 60’s.
    We need to be mindful of the love; awesome paradigm and with AUTHENTICITY pass it on.

    All I see and read here, is a pure personification of love.
    Another masterpiece by Neil Pasricha…in HIS website, that is literally saving people’s lives: 1000AwesomeThings.com.

    “Oh my…is that, a kaleidescope tattoo I see on Cool Mommy’s shoulder?”
    Doesn’t really matter, because the arm attached to it is holding her darling baby-child while Cool Mom clearly looks upon her with warmth and LOVE!
    Yep, I’m pretty sure, this is the world. Open up your KALEIDE-SCOPE!
    It’s remarkable what you’ll see…”A whole new world!” AWESOME!!!

    1. “Every person is AWESOME in their own way”,
      Sarah, AWESOME way to pass it on, “the kaleidescope wall”=D

        1. “Even More Awesome?!!” WOW…that’s Awesome!
          Thanks for sharing and congrats for making the wall.
          My shout out would most definately be,
          Having a great night’s sleep and sweet dreams every single night since my world has been positively altered by Awesomeland!
          Since Jan. 1st. 2011, after a life time of quite the opposite.
          Not even room for a “Murphy” here! HA!
          How AWESOME is that eh?!

  21. I love this post- mostly because it reminds me of my mom. We can talk about anything, watch scary movies, eat almost anything, go to concerts with her, and she acts really cool. So thank you for posting this.

  22. Looking back, not too many cool moms in our neighbourhood (back in the 60’s 70’s) but the one who made a huge impact on me, was a lady for whom i used to babysit. Goodhearted, easy going, always laughing and cracking jokes, and basically treated me with respect, that was cool ;). Plenty of sugary snacks too, lol. My mom was cool for letting me skip highschool on the occasionally unbearably beautiful day to hit the beach, cheers, mom!

  23. Every summer I would spend weeks at this great summer camp. My mom would sneak little notes and the occasional box of smarties into my bag (there was an ongoing rivalry between Smarties and M&M’s in my house. Smarties were my mom’s little “calling card” and my dad was in the M&M’s camp). When I unfolded “day three shirt” I would find a box of Smarties or a cute, hand drawn picture of a tent, mountains and a big sun that said something like “we love you sunshine.” I think that was pretty cool :)

    1. Magda, I love that! I am so stealing that idea this summer when I send my daughter off to camp (just the note part – we aren’t allowed to send any candy).

      My mom used to write me notes and put them in my lunch in high school. Stuff like “good luck on the test, I love you”, but she’d write it in French – I guess that was her “calling card”. At first I was embarrassed if my friends saw the notes, but they all thought it was so cute and awesome. I saved a few of them for many years to cheer me up if I was feeling blue. It’s just nice to know someone is thinking of you and loving you and wishing the best for you. That’s the best gift a parent can give their kids, I think!

      1. Now that’s the voice of a great parent! We can all learn a thing or two from you Mrs. jdurley.

        1. And I learned it all from my own awesome parents who were amazing examples of love and devotion. My mom could have seen making lunches for her kids as a chore, but instead she used it as an opportunity to show her love. Sounds like your mom did the same with packing your camp bag! We have awesome moms!

        2. Oops! I totally didn’t notice the comment name field was under geekteen when I posted that comment above. That was me, jdurley! Total “Ah, mom!” moment there.

  24. its a wise decision regarding blog commenting. lets face it, we all want some benefit when leaving a comment, so why not giving a link to a person who made an effort to add quality to your site?! thanx and regards, mate!:)

  25. Intersting to read the responses on this one. I’d like to be kept up on comments. Thanks

  26. My mum was always a cool mum to me and my sisters.
    She would let us have sweet things as treats (NOT all the time!), she would let us stay up late on friday nights and birthdays and helped us make forts out of whatever we could get our hands on.
    She would drive us to our friends houses, throw awesome birthday parties, knew when to hold back on the embarassing stories but could also goof off and chat away to all our friends.
    But she wouldn’t have let us gorge ourselves on sweets or watch movies that were too old for us etc. I don’t know if we were just odd children, but we always respected that and because she was such a cool mum in other ways we knew it was for a reason.

    She’s AWESOME!

  27. A plead~ ode to cool moms who care more about making time for children and family vs an immaculate house…I’m trying to share a very important link/article here my daughter showed me by Amy Spurway, titled,
    “Lousy Housewife? Whatever.” from Today’s Parent magazine, Jan.2010.
    I think every home should post this proud *on their fridge*! Could someone who’s more techy than me please assist wiht this?…thank you*
    Now, my house is upside down but before work, more importantly I’m going for a morning playtime with my grandson who by the way this week has mastered thumbs up and the word Awesome which I think is Awesome:)

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