No matter how cool of a dad I may be in my son’s eyes now, I’m led to believe that will all change about a decade or so from now.
But as for the time being, Jack looks to me as a leader in many aspects on how to be a guy. A cool guy, might I add.
While playing “Animals” with him, if I place a chicken on top of a horse on top of a truck, he will instantly repeat that awesome thing his dad just did.
Jack thinks all the cool kids have a blow-up mattress in their living room, which serves as a necessary wrestling mat. Because his dad set one up for him.
And several years from now, when I teach him to play Chess with me, I’m sure it will become our mutual obsession. Same thing goes for when I help him become the only kid in his class to solve a Rubik’s Cube… in less than 3 minutes.
Unless I’m the exception to the rule, then in theory, at some point I will stop being considered cool with the age 18 to 35 demographics.
As a modern young dad, wearing plaid or cargo shorts is in style. Wearing pleated khaki shorts, on the other hand, is not.
Similarly, being a fan of Dave Matthews Band and Jason Mraz means I have good taste in music.
But at some point, will my love for their music be a sign that I’m out of touch with what is cool?
Granted, I’ll never be a skinny jeans kind of guy. So if that’s what’s cool, I’ve already missed that boat. (Fortunately!)
But for now, I’m a 31 year-old dad who assumes the culture of a 25 year-old guy; minus the iPhone.
Jack thinks I’m the coolest guy in the world, even if by default.
I admit it. Last week I became an instant fan of the new NBC sitcom Up All Night starring Christina Applegate and Will Arnett. It is described as “the funny misadventures of a ‘cool couple’ with a newborn,” on page 28 of the October 2011 issue of Parents magazine. So far, the main premise of the show seems to be how a new mom and dad attempt to remain cool people after having a baby. As simple and even as shallow as that may sound, it actually makes for a very creative and relevant TV show.
Maybe it’s a trait of my generation (I’m 30), but I feel like parents of young kids today focus more on staying cool than any prior generation. We clearly remember seeing the hilarious “Mom Jeans” skit on Saturday Night Live and their appropriate slogan, “Because you’re no longer a woman; you’re a mom.” After seeing that, I think it’s possible that we, as an entire generation, decided to be more proactive about our post-baby hipness.
Admittedly, as for myself, I don’t want to end up a bland soccer dad with an “un-ironic mustache” and the hairstyle of a weatherman, who wears my cell phone on a holster attached to my pleated khaki pants. But it’s not simply about fashion; in fact, that’s the least of it.
More than anything, I believe my generation’s “stay cool after being a parent” motto has more to do with the fact that in elementary school, we were constantly told how unique and special we were. Now, as adults, we find much of our own coolness in the very things that make us unique.
We don’t want to become a boring stereotype of a lonely housewife or a henpecked dad. Instead, we want to keep our individuality while proudly displaying our ability to effectively parent.
And let’s face it: Being a parent is officially cool! From the rise in popularity of the stay-at-home dads, mommy (and daddy) blogs, and simply just being able to share your baby’s pictures with your 800 Facebook friends, being actively involved in your kid’s life totally increases your “cool points.”
So maybe as new parents, we don’t get out as much, we’re physically drained by the end of the day, and we struggle to embrace our new identity; but that doesn’t necessarily make us less cool than when a positive pregnancy test showed up in our lives.
If it’s possible to gage one’s own coolness, then I would have to say that I’m much more cooler as a 30 year-old dad than I was as a 24 year-old single guy. The forced maturity I have had to obtain during the past year of my life has taught me to become more relevant to the human population in general.
So because I understand other people better, I become more relevant in my culture. And isn’t that kind of what being cool is about anyway; being culturally relevant?