I like to think I’m pretty cool. But I guess everyone thinks they’re cool, right? (I would say I was hip, but everyone knows that anyone who calls themselves hip is certainly not. So, cool it is.) But I do kinda think I’m a cool mom. Not in the ‘I’m your best friend, you can have whatever you want and we’ll never fight’ kinda way, but in the sense that I never lost myself after I had my children. I think a lot of times women become mothers and they just settle into mom-dom. They think of themselves differently, dress differently, watch and listen to different things, and I don’t want to say that those women are wrong in any way, as long as they’re happy, but I do think a lot of times they may have changed because they felt they needed to?… Like now that they’re a mom they can’t put on a heel or a piece of jewelry or their kids will think less of them. They feel ashamed to spend time on themselves, guilty about taking twenty minutes away from kid time so they can spruce themselves up a bit. I know that once I figured this out and began taking better care of myself, my son started noticing and would compliment me on how I looked. His eyes light up when he sees me looking nice and he says, ‘Ooooh, hello fancy pants!’ It’s adorable and makes me smile. It’s not all about the material and the superficial, of course not, I’m not saying that, but we can all agree that we feel better when we look better. And when we feel better, we treat other people better…like our kids and our spouses. I have those days, or weeks, when I stay in my sweats because I’m working a lot from home, or this past week when I didn’t have a car and was literally stuck at home, and I felt horrible all week. I also wasn’t a very good mom or wife all week. But my point is that when I’m in my normal state of mind, I still like to put on make-up, I exercise and take care of myself and still listen to real music…like I did before I had kids. Because I am still the same woman as I was before I had kids, only better and wiser and cooler.
I was sick (and still car-less) on Halloween and my son desperately wanted me to dress up so I pulled together a pretty impressive Cow Girl in 5 minutes. Just for him, because he’s my man. And I’m so glad I did because it made me feel better. And cool.
|That’s my youngest child as Little Red Riding Hood and my oldest, being a zombie…as Thomas the Tank.
And, since we’re on the subject of me trying to convince you that I’m cool, I think my family costume concept for the local Halloween parade was pretty cool…
|Greased Lightning, baby!
But then I have my moments where I go, Oh no, it’s happened. I’m old. Does this also mean I’m not cool anymore?! I watch those shows with teens and their parents and I’m suddenly relating to the parents now. I go to college basketball games and have to remind myself that I’m not one of their peers, but rather their elder, no matter how much bigger they are than me. I’ll find myself kinda flirting with a cute cashier and then he calls me ma’am when he hands me my receipt. (Like a dagger to the heart.) I no longer get carded at either the wine store or the liquor store (where it is, in fact, illegal to not card someone who appears to be anywhere close to under 35 years of age) and I’ve started to have those moments where I complain about back aches that seem to have appeared out of nowhere. Once I turned 30, something happened to me where I really started to pay attention to my skin and body. And it no longer comes from a vanity place, but rather from a place of prevention and obligation. I started, out of nowhere, buying the expensive wrinkle creams with the retinols and all the letters and numbers, putting on sunscreen to go to sleep and exercising three times a day. (OK, so as I read that back it actually does sound incredibly vain. The irony is not lost on me. And, just so you know, all the workouts involve my kids and at this point in my life I do it to be stronger instead of to be smaller.) But now, at 31 years of age, I feel very aware, for the first time in my life, of my ticking clock. I’m aware that I’m simply not a young person anymore. I’m a mom. I love it, wouldn’t trade it for a day in my awkward, overweight and uncomfortable teen years, but it’s just that I now feel different and very, very adult.
My SUV, the second SUV I’ve driven since high school (cool car, right?), died two weeks ago and to replace it, I did something very, very huge. I did something very, very, adult and very, very old. And what I did is now causing me to fight for my cool-ness. Thus, the reason why I’m trying to convince you how cool I am. As of two days ago, I was accepted into the club of moms who came before me wearing pants up to their breasts, sensible shoes and soccer stickers crowding the bumper. I, my friends, now drive a minivan. I know, it’s huge. Huge. I was so very worried about when this day would come. I tried to make it not come, but then my cool car up and died on me. I have never felt like the kind of mom who drives a minivan. Aren’t those the moms who never comb their hair and celebrate their anniversary in Disney World? Aren’t I cooler than a minivan? Mini vans are so…old. And boring. And certainly not cool.
I believed every one of those things I just said about minivans up until three days ago when I got inside of one for the first time. And, oh my gosh. Why would anyone want to drive anything else?!?! It’s freakin’ unbelievable, this thing. I’m gonna host my next cocktail party in there. I fell in love with it the second I opened the door and forgot all about why I didn’t want one in the first place. Driving this thing just feels right. It feels downright cool. I do, however, wonder if there are other moms I pass by who see it and think, Ugh, I will never get one of those. I will never be that mom. Then I will amaze them as I emerge from my minivan, platform pumps and bangles sparkling, and prove to those mommies that the minivan is the new SUV. They will look at me and think, Oh wow! I didn’t realize cool people could drive one of those things! Cool people can, and do, in fact, drive a minivan without being choked by their belt buckle. And I will be proving that fact all around my town.
Now all I want to do is dress up and drive my minivan. I seriously want to drive it everywhere. It gets 30 miles to the gallon on the highway so I kinda can. I want to eat dinner in it, I want to brush my teeth in it, I want to sleep in it. I want to breathe it in, that new car smell that I have dreams about, every minute of every day. Music sounds better in it, food tastes better in it and I feel better in it. And the best part is that my kids love it. They had a dance party in it the day we brought it home and my son wanted to hang out in it and read his Auto Trader in it the following morning. And because I now drive this super awesome minivan, I am the coolest mom they have ever known.
These little delights are wonderful and oh-so-cool. I made them the day after we got our new car, wanting to celebrate in some way. One of my clients requested them this week and I was sure to make extra so I could win extra cool points from the family. My husband, son and I split one straight from the oven and that is exactly how I recommend having your first. They’re good on their own with coffee or sliced in two and used as the bun to a warm ham and cheese sandwich with Dijon mustard. You may have had them at Starbucks, but I will warn you- my recipe is a little less, shall I say, candy-like and sweet bun-ish. Enjoy!
*Pan de Mallorca
-1 pkg dry yeast
-3/4 cups white sugar
-5-6 cups AP flour
-1 cup warm milk
-1 warm water
-6 egg yolks
-1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, melted and divided in half
-2 tsp + punch kosher salt
In the bowl of your stand mixer, combine the yeast, warm milk and water (warm like bath water), sugar and 1 cup of the flour. Mix with the paddle attachment until combined and let sit until it rises and foams (45 min to 1 hour).
Beat your yolks into the mixture and once they’re well incorporated, add the rest of the flour a little bit at a time. (The amount of flour depends on the weather, you may even end up needing more than 6.) Add half your melted butter and mix well. (If it seems too sticky, add more flour until it better resembles a thick, moist dough.) Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise until doubled in size, at least an hour.
Dust your counter with flour and transfer the dough to the counter. Top with more flour. Divide the dough into 16 equal portions and shape each portion into a long strip. Brush each strip with butter and coil them up like a snake, tucking under the ends. Place onto a greased cookie sheet (I ended up using 3 sheets) and brush the top with more butter. Continue until all your dough pieces are coiled and buttered.
Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise until doubled in size again, about an hour or so.
Bake at 375 for 12-15 minutes until barely golden brown. These can burn on the bottom very quickly because of all the butter so keep a close eye on them.
Cool completely and brush with more butter (optional) and sprinkle heavily with powdered sugar.
Enjoy quickly or freeze what you don’t eat within 2 days. In the short term, store them in the fridge and warm them through either in the microwave or oven until room temperature or slightly above.