When I was brushing my teeth this morning, like most mornings, I was flipping through the news headlines on my phone. All the normal, grown up news tabs are there: “Top Stories”, “World News”, “U.S. News” and “Health and Science”. Unfortunately, like an irresponsible adult, I forgot to remove the “Entertainment” news tab when I first activated the phone. For the record, I can’t bring myself to care about celebrity news/ gossip, reality television or “who’s currently sleeping with who and guess who’s mad now!” crap. My brain is already pretty full, and what precious little brain cells I still have, I’d desperately like to keep. So, there I was, brushing my teeth, when the headline that made me spit came across my phone: Is Megan Fox the Sexiest Celebrity Mom?
Ok, firstly, I didn’t know she was even having a baby. Then again, I don’t have cable television/ read magazines/ don’t usually give a rat’s about celebrity gossip. I didn’t bother reading the article, largely because I didn’t need to bombard myself with images of a spray tanned new mom with a magically perfect body three weeks postpartum. Bring on the waves of inadequacy! It did start my sprockets a’ turning, though. What makes a mom “sexy” and what makes a mom?
You can probably conjure up plenty of mental images of what equates to “sexy”. Our society and media have made darn sure you’re bombarded with sexiness at every turn from a young age. We currently have this idea of what makes a woman desirable: tanned, tone, long, flowing hair, nine percent body fat that’s all located in her bra. If she talks, it better be something low, sensual, and short. Maybe a whisper of a perfume name or a lingerie brand. In these thirty second sexy bombs there are never children at her feet.
What makes a mom? That’s probably pretty easy: she popped out a kid or two. It doesn’t really matter if she’s raising them or not, by definition, if she has reproduced, she’s a mom. Come forth, mom jeans and minivan! Just kidding. After baking a bun in my oven and pouring my everything into the successful rearing of mini Gwinn, I have a few things to say about what makes a woman a “mom”.
For starters, just having a baby doesn’t make one a mother. If that were the case, octo-mom (is she still relevant?) would be pretty incredible. What about the women who’ve never given birth but have a family they call their own? Or the women that raise the children of others- nannies, teachers, care givers. Being a “mom” isn’t always a biological rite, but a labor of love and an investment of one’s self into another.
I won’t lie to you, reader. I’m wearing some sweatpants and a cheap tee shirt right now, typing this all up in my unbelievably cluttered home. My legs are covered in bruises of unknown origin. My arms are tired from doing new weight exercises at the gym. Dinner isn’t cooked yet. My nail polish is chipped. I am in no way the mainstream image of “sexy”. I’m one pair of elastic waist mom jeans away from momville.
Something tells me that right about now, Megan Fox is working with a trainer to regain her bombshell body (for which she is paid, mind you). Someone is holding her newborn. Someone is cleaning her home. Someone is making her food. She is rebuilding the fantasy that she is while others are doing “mom duties”.
We’re expected, as real women, to replicate the fantasy. Unless we’re sitting on stacks of Benjamins, I don’t know how the average woman is going to recreate the fantasy from the pages of Maxim as a sexy mom in her home. We don’t have the spare hands to cook and clean, hold the children, drive the car. We aren’t paid to be fantasy women, and even if we were, most of us (with the exception of a lucky few) would need a lot more than a personal trainer to get to Megan Fox status.
I can’t help but wonder where the pressure is coming from: men, other women, or ourselves. If we removed the stimulus (media) from our own eyes, some of the “need for perfection” would fade, maybe not immediately, but over time. If we stop feeling the pressure on ourselves to be fantasy women, then we could stop imposing that ideal onto others.
How would a woman “stop a man” from imposing the fantasy ideal onto herself? The simple answer is I don’t think it’s possible. However, I do feel like “real” men are the ones who already find the mothers of their children sexy. If he recognizes the beauty of true motherhood, investing in the relationship between the mother of his children and himself, he isn’t investing in the fantasy of other women. A real man admires the beauty of a mother. To loosely quote a comedian, “she’s strong from picking up the kids. She’s fed them from her body. She’s changed.” I can easily think about the many, many men who put their attention, their money, their thoughts into the fantasy, and I feel like they may as well still live in their mothers’ basements and play with ninja turtles. They’re not adult enough to recognize the worthwhile investment in a real woman, therefore, they’re not real men.
So, am I sexy like Megan Fox? Nope. But I could totally punch her across a football field. My arms are strong from picking up my boy (and doing 80 lb. farmer’s carries). I’m wiser after having a baby. I’m more patient. I love more deeply. I’m not a fantasy woman- I’m the real deal.