Down & Out In A London Kitchen

Esther Walker started a food blog called Recipe Rifle in 2009 when desperate and unemployed. In 2010 she married restaurant critic Giles Coren and far, far too quickly had a baby daughter, called Kitty.

Mummy Cool

Posted by Esther Walker
Esther Walker
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on Tuesday, 27 March 2012

It’s difficult to feel cool when you’re a mother. Pretty, yes; sexy, maybe (sometimes), but cool? Edgy? No. It’s the lack of real danger, you see. Isn’t danger what’s cool? And when you’ve got a child, you can’t kid yourself, or anyone else, that you’re actually going to put yourself in harm’s way. (Unless trying to park in Waitrose at 11am on a Saturday can be considered mortal danger.)

My friend B summarised it for me. She emailed, having returned from Monkey Music with her two under three. “I am having a fag in the back garden to recover my edge,” she wrote. And I totally know what she meant.

It’s not like I was ever actually cool. I am too ruddy of complexion and round of cheek to ever look cool to anyone: even in sunglasses, sitting on a motorbike, smoking a fag, chatting casually to Angelina Jolie, I don’t think I’d look cool. But I might have felt cool.

It’s worse if you’re a stay-at-home – there are even fewer opportunities to dress like you don’t have a toddler, (i.e. not like you’re about to go to war), or impress people at meetings, or, or... or God I don’t know – what else is cool? I can’t even imagine these days.

The nearest I get to feeling cool these days is when I’m alone, driving my car a little bit too fast with very loud music on. But even then I am driving a sensible family estate, complete with baby seat covered in crumbs and single baby shoes and rattles rolling around on the back seat. And how cool, anyway, is driving a bit too fast with loud music on? That’s what boys in their late teens think is cool, and the Lord only knows that they haven’t got a clue about anything.

Maybe I’m looking at it all the wrong way. Maybe cool is a state of mind. Maybe facing down with a flinty eye the massive uncoolness of babies and toddlers - with their pooey nappies and songs-with-hand-movements and having to do that thing where you are bent over the car seat, red-faced, with your car keys in your mouth, arse in the street - is cool.

Anyway, that’s my story for today. And I’m sticking with it.

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