Got It From My Mama: 4 Ways My Parents Taught Me To Be Cool

by Zoe Sessums

I’ve always had a great relationship with my parents.

They never questioned my phase when I wore pillowcases as skirts.

They never hid my Hanson cassette or told me to turn down my "Legally Blonde" soundtrack.

I'm especially grateful for all the times they allowed me to be the third wheel on their dates, particularly when I was going through the sad, dramatic part of adolescence.

As I get older, I've noticed myself becoming more and more like my parents each day.

At this point, it seems inevitable I'll end up being exactly like them. And I've got to say, it's serving me quite well.

Who says you shouldn't want to end up just like dear old Mom and Dad?

Besides, my parents have always been cooler than cool, and they still are today.

By copying my parents' lifestyle choices, I've transformed into this surprisingly trendy and confident individual.

So thanks, Mom and Dad. Becoming you has me trending.

Here are four things I've learned from imitating my parents' lives:

1. How To Dress

As a child, I did the classic thing where you put on your mom’s shoes and walk around, even though they're many sizes too big.

My mom didn't have a ton of wild heels, but she had a selection of worn, chunky sandals.

I can still feel the smooth leather of her big-buckled Birkenstocks that I would clop around in and feel like an adult.

Little did I know that same thick platform and footbed arch support would enter my own fashion sphere.

I knew exactly which walking store to go to, and I knew how incredible they would feel.

It wasn't just my mother’s closet that had all the enviable shoes of my future, either. My dad had quite the arsenal.

One of my favorite pairs of his to wear were these old, black cowboy boots.

They had what looked like a snakeskin pattern and a bit of a heel, which my short stature loved.

I’d rock those all the time, shuffling around the house. These days, when I see the pointy black boots of fashion bloggers, I'm reminded of those vintage boots.

2. How To Eat Green

For much of my youth, we ate a lot of brown rice, salads and oat-laden things.

My mom subscribed to Vegetarian Times and Cooking Light. The bookshelf was filled with guides on eating for a better planet.

We often had dinner parties where my mom would try out exotic bean salads and quinoa pilafs. She was never afraid of an ingredient, and it definitely made me excited to try everything.

In a way, I was nurtured into a being an epicure, a foodie.

We were still allowed to eat Ben & Jerry’s and Oreos, and we could order the occasional Sprites when dining out and Dr. Peppers on road trips.

Food wasn’t a fad, and it wasn't there to make me feel bad.

Essentially, my mother was giving me the best guide on a healthy, moderate way to eat.

These days, there are so many chic websites and costly programs that teach you how to be this way.

When I'm struggling with food, I often think, “Would my mom eat this?” and her inspiration leads me to having the best dish at the table.

3. The Value Of Good Music

D’Angelo, Beck, Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones and Lauryn Hill are a small sampling of the CDs that were in my dad’s collection.

Every evening during dinner, my dad became a low-key DJ, selecting an eclectic mix of songs or a single artist to highlight the meal.

My rebellion transpired by listening to the Spice Girls and Sugar Ray.

I felt like Cher from "Clueless" when my dad would blast emotional rock throughout the house, and I'd think, “What is it about college and cry-baby music?” (My parents went back to graduate school when I was in kindergarten, so this was relevant.)

But, I eventually came around and asked to download my dad’s entire music collection on my personal computer.

My high school friends thought I was too cool for having all the Smiths' and Pixies' albums.

When I went to college, I’d call my dad and ask about what he had discovered lately.

Turns out, I stay most relevant in the music world by stalking my dad’s music catalog. I love it when he texts me about a show he saw or a new artist he can’t get enough of.

4. The Value Of Past And Present Cultures

Sometimes, I wonder if I come off as a snob with my copy of “Infinite Jest” on the bookshelf and my stacks of New Yorkers on the coffee table.

But, I'm just making my home familiar; these are the things that were important in my house growing up.

I come from educators and book lovers, and I'm pleased I can recite more authors I admire than Top 40 song titles.

Pop culture is still extremely important, however.

Just ask my dad to recite some Kanye lyrics or wax poetic on Radiohead.

He instilled in me the appreciation of a William Carlos Williams poem, but I also have a strong commitment to following celebrities and their fashion choices.

I feel balanced in the world of The New York Times, Project Runway, NPR and Will Ferrell movies; they all matter.

Philistine is a dirty word.

I could go on and on, telling you how my parents had quirky Sanrio accessories more than a decade ago.

I could tell you how some of my best interior design comes straight from their hand-me-downs.

I could tell you how I think of them as my best friends as well as my protectors.

But to me, they will always be #toocool.