So many first-time parents truly believe — and bless their little hearts — that they will discover the secret to parenting without losing themselves. There must be a fountain of youth or a tree of knowledge somewhere that can unlock the ability to raise children and also maintain that ephemeral essence of what makes us human. Unique, special, even cool.
All parents think they were cool at one point, if not at the time, then certainly in retrospect. I used to go to concerts that involved neither The Muppets nor furries on ice skates. At one point I used to have conversations that included complete sentences. There was even a time when I was up to date with the current youth vernacular.
Sadly, this is no longer the case.
I don’t know “YOLO” from “FOMO” (though I do know what a Rolo is and it’s delicious!). I hear cryptic words and phrases all the time. I’m certainly not “on fleek” enough for anyone to say them to my face, but still I feel compelled to understand them. You know, from an anthropological standpoint.
One of my favorite new phrases is “Netflix and chill.” As in, “Hey girl, I’ve had a great time tonight, so why don’t we go back to your place and watch some Netflix and chill?” *hint hint wink wink nudge nudge*
“Netflix and chill” is synonymous with heavy petting, necking, or hooking up, depending on your generation. In other words, if your 14-year-old daughter tells you she and her boyfriend are planning to stay in and watch Netflix and chill, you probably want to accidentally forget something in her room at least every three minutes.
Accidentally forget is parenting vernacular. But we parents also deserve to have a good time. We like letting loose, having fun, and making out. And we’ve earned the right to coin a few new idioms of our own. They may not be as catchy as “Netflix and chill,” but they’re functional, practical, and just a little awkward, which is exactly the way parents like them. Here are seven parent-friendly equivalents that we can all use and enjoy.
1. Shave below the knee and go to Chili’s
Who says Mom and Dad can’t still be romantic . . . on short notice and a budget and a diet?
2. Disney Junior and a vasectomy
If there is one thing parents know all too well, it’s just how easy it is to become parents. And there is no better birth control than watching an episode of Caillou or Dora the Explorer.
3. Back rub and an ultimatum
Everyone loves a good barter system. You scratch my back I’ll scratch your . . . well, you get it.
4. Fold laundry and put on a pair of clean underwear
Housework and personal hygiene are the twin pillars of the parents’ mating ritual. If one partner successfully completes a difficult task, the other demonstrates willingness to reward said behavior by wearing fancy underthingies.
5. Chick flick and an ugly cry
Parents also love being reminded that they, too, were once young and exciting with dramatic lives that extended beyond sippy cups and potty training. We’re usually too tired to have lives of our own anymore, but we do revel in a good sappy story to stir up emotions and get our motors running.Thanks, Ryan Gosling.
6. Glass of wine and fall asleep early
When you’re young and first dating, having a glass of wine is sexy. It loosens inhibitions and makes everyone feel more attractive and confident. When you’re old and spend all day chasing after miniature lunatics, a glass of wine is less of an aphrodisiac and more of an Acme anvil to the head.
7. Get a babysitter and go to Target
Have you ever noticed that there are always mid-priced chain restaurants like Chili’s, Outback Steakhouse, and Olive Garden near Target stores? That is not an accident. Target knows that no mom can resist an opportunity to shop while her husband holds her purse and without her kids performing acrobatic stunts on the cart, shelves, and unsuspecting passersby.
Growing up and having children requires humility and sacrifice. It begins with pregnancy, when moms-to-be give up their freedom, their wardrobe, their body, and at least 10 years of their youth. And all for the privilege to incubate a tiny human who becomes not-so-tiny right before bursting out of Mom’s lady bits like an alien in a horror movie. And it ends with letting go of superficial attachments like popular music and movies, celebrity gossip, and current jargon. Once you have kids you will never be cool again.
But it’s totally worth it. Most of the time.
Product Credit: On him: Citizens of Humanity blue pants, Vince black t-shirt; On her: Tory Burch top, Levi’s jeans, Iconery rings, Jennifer Fisher cuff