I had to have my photo taken today for an office presentation. I got up early to ensure my hair would get the flat iron treatment. I picked out my most flattering summer dress. And I didn’t just “do the eyes” when it came to makeup – my usual daily routine. I put on foundation and everything! And when the photos were done, I scrutinized each one for what was probably an excessive amount of time until I found the one that seemed the least flawed. I’ve talked about this before, people. Photos are a thing for me.
What can I say? I like to look nice. I like to feel like an attractive woman on the inside and the outside. Heck, I even like to feel as if I’m at least somewhat attractive to the opposite sex even if I am a very married mom to a toddler. And you know what? An important goal since having Charlie has been to not only get back into my pre-baby clothes, but to go even further and look even better than I did before I got pregnant.
Imagine my reaction when I read this Huffpo opinion piece by Kate Spencer, whose work I normally enjoy. She says that it’s lame to focus on getting back into shape after having a kid and that both our conversations as mothers, and those in the media, should be entirely about how hard it is to be a mother instead of what Kim Kardashian is doing to get back into shape after having North. Naturally this piece caused me to ask quite a few questions, such as:
- Are there women my age out there who actually compare their bodies to those of celebrities? I thought we were supposed to be way smarter once we got to our 30s. Just like kids learn that the things that happen in movies are not real, aren’t we supposed to learn that celebrities have things like trainers, plastic surgeons, private chefs, and photoshop? If Kate is basing her self-esteem on what she reads in People, there are bigger issues at stake here than what mommies talk about at playdates.
- Why is it so bad to want to look good? I know I’m a mom, but uh, I’m a professional and a wife, too. I still want to look good in a suit. It’s nice to feel attractive. I’ve written here before about how part of the reason behind my weight loss is to set a positive healthy example for Charlie, but I’d be lying if I said I had no interest in also looking hot in a nice pencil skirt and heels. That part of me shouldn’t have to die just because a baby came out of me.
- She claims that in our society, the media talks only about bump watches and post-birth comebacks, instead of the laundry list of “hard decisions and challenges that mothers face” in areas like birthing, feeding, coping, working (or staying home), etc etc. (Her list was an entire paragraph long.) Seriously? I feel as if I do nothing but talk about these decisions with other parents. Kate seems to be in the same boat, but somehow thinks it should be discussed MORE. I, on the other hand, make a conscious effort to make sure my conversations are about more than just the challenges of parenting because, once again, I’m not just a parent. I can guarantee that I have yet to sit down with fellow mothers and talk about KK’s post-baby body, so who cares if Us Magazine is discussing it?
Basically she says that the conversation in the media should be about how hard it is to be a mom because that’s the conversation she’s having with all of her friends. Yeah, maternity leaves should be longer. Yup, it sucks that parents very often have to choose between a career and being with their children. And sure, it’s horrible that our society takes a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” stance on breastfeeding. I agree that our bodies do amazing things by carrying and birthing babies, but here’s the rub – our bodies have been doing it for thousands of years. I acknowledge the challenges, but have grown weary of wallowing in them under the guise that doing what millions of other women have done gives me membership to some sort of exclusive club. After all, I have a two year old who reminds me on a minute by minute basis of all the utter joys of being a mother. I’d go through a short leave, the post partum struggles, and all of the other challenges of early motherhood a million times over to have the moments I’m having with Charlie now. That’s what I choose to make the focus of my thoughts on motherhood. It makes it far easier to read the occasional gossip mag.