Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Now that's sexy

A few weeks ago I read the following headline in our local newspaper: "Today's 'hot moms' are reinventing motherhood." After I threw up a little, I read the story (that's a link to a version that appeared in a Memphis paper). It left me a Hopping Mad Mom, thanks to comments like "I refuse to look like a disheveled mom. I have a husband I love and I want to look good for him," and "I still want to be fashionable. I absolutely don't want to let myself go."

What is this, 1957? Yes, I like to wear cute outfits (although the other day, when I showed up at day-care pickup wearing a shirt with actual buttons, Jo stared at me quizzically for several long seconds, then asked, "Mommy, where did you get those clothes?") and keep my toes polished. And I've already mentioned my million-dollar bikini wax. But can we have a little perspective here? Isn't it enough for us to keep the kids, husband, pets, and house clean, happy, healthy, fed, clothed, and entertained? Isn't our to-do list long enough? Now we have to add "Shop for latest fashions" and "diet until we fit into them" to it, lest we be accused of being un-hot moms who've "let ourselves go"?

My ex-boss had her face lifted at age 42. In the following decade she followed that up with Botox, teeth whitening and veneers, having her leg veins stripped, and more. And all this was happening under the watchful eye of her daughter, then a teenager. As if it's not enough to be surrounded by images of airbrushed celebrities served by personal trainers and diet gurus -- now our girls should learn this vanity at our own knees?

Sure, of course I support the proclamation of the Hot Mom's Club (no I'm not linking to it) that "a hot mom is a woman who knows how to balance her needs as well as the needs of her family." Well, bravo. But count me out if honoring my own needs means spouting inanities like "When I became pregnant, I vowed that [my baby] would be integrated into the life we already had. Sure, we don't go out as much and maybe we don't go clubbing until 4 a.m., but I'm not going to to stop doing the things I like."

Tonight Jo crowned herself "Princess Belle with the No Stinky Feet At All" as she dipped her toes, dirty from a day of playing outside, into the bathtub. That's the kind of inner beauty that our daughters -- and their moms -- really need.


mothergoosemouse said...

I'm all about taking care of myself and doing what makes me feel good. But as you said, the example we're setting is absorbed in much greater detail than most women realize. I want my girls to realize that we change as we grow older, but it's always important to be healthy and like ourselves for who we are.

Two words that I will consciously avoid saying in front of my girls: "diet" and "fat". I don't think it will require too much effort to avoid saying "Botox" or "plastic surgery".

Lady M said...

I think I needed to have put effort into dressing trendily before we had a baby in order to be able to "let myself go" now. Let what go? Still wearing sneakers, still wearing dull flats. I love a pretty little dress for dancing, but that's not my usual outfit, then or now.

Mayberry and MotherGooseMouse - good points about setting an example!

Jamie said...

I think you can strike a balance between taking good physical care of yourself (through exercise and activities with your kids and diet) and not losing yourself in your kids. I think that portrays self confidence to your children. However, women who feel like they are in a constant competition to stay young and who cannot be happy without seriously altering their physical appearance are teaching their daughters that beauty can and must be bought. And that is sad. Excellent post!

Nancy said...

I don't get why there's a perception that "mom" cannot be synonymous with "hip" or "fashionable." We're all individuals first -- we do not automatically lose that when we have kids. Makes my blood boil when people assume that.

And like you and MGM said, I really do want to set a good example for my girls, by being proud and happy with who I am -- not overly concerned with the image I project to society.