My parents are cool. Very cool. In fact, in some ways, they are cooler than I am. They know they all the hot restaurants in New York City, and they’ve been to every new play. They stay out late at jazz clubs, and put together ensembles with the ease of stylists. Their apartment looks like a page out of Dwell.
However, when I was a teenager, I was absolutely mortified by my parents. I remember one time, I was a few minutes late meeting my dad, who had agreed to pick me up from a school dance. Because he didn’t have all day to wait around for me, he walked on into the gym to find me. As I saw him stroll through the pathetically ballooned gymnasium, I felt a tsunami of shame rush over me. As if having parents was something none of my friends and classmates could possibly relate to. I still can hear the awful tenor of the voice I used when my mom once dared to ask me if I’d done my homework when my cooler, older friends came to pick me up to go to a party one night. “Mooooom, you’re embarrassing me!” It’s a teenage refrain.
So I was felt a little better to hear that Kate Beckinsale, admittedly one of the coolest women in the world, has a teenage daughter who is thoroughly embarrassed by her.
“She’s become a teenager so all of a sudden I became a whole lot more embarrassing than I’d ever been in the past,” Beckinsale tells The Telegraph. “I do have a tendency to be that sort of awful mother who thinks she’s really hip so right now I have to give her space and realize that as far as she’s concerned, I am really not cool.”
While it makes me feel better about my own behavior, I have to admit that this is one of my fears about becoming a parent. Yes, I know there are bigger things to worry about—for example, the pain of childbirth, the radical life-alteringness of having to put another’s needs in front of yours in a way a significant other doesn’t demand, the fear of your child being sick, hurt, or just generally going through tough times. I know that teenagerdom—when many people go through a phrase of feeling generally irritable and ungrateful—is a natural part of growing up. And that most child psychologists say it’s a vital time in terms of forming identity and differentiating oneself from one’s parents, yada, yada, yada.
But when I’m a parent, I hope I can do what my parents did when I was so annoyed by their every move—brush it off, carry on, and know that some day I’d grow up and be able to truly appreciate them.
This post originally appeared on Kate-Book.com, the website for, by, and about Kates. More from Kate-Book.com: