I was reading an article earlier this week about the "new" Hot Mom - a woman who manages to be hip and sexy and have her own life even after she has children. The Hot Mom stays sexy for her husband and still does "hip" things like travel and party with her girlfriends. The article quotes the founder of The Hot Moms Club as saying that a Hot Mom loves being a mom but doesn't get "consumed by the madness of motherhood." She "radiates confidence" and is able to "balance her needs as well as the needs of her family."
My favorite quote from the article was this: "When I became pregnant, I vowed that he would be integrated into the life we already had," Bolstad said. "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 stop doing the things I like." Maybe you don't go clubbing until 4 a.m.? Maybe?? I don't know about you, but I found it impossible to integrate kids into a pre-kid lifestyle. Those little buggers still won't let me read the Sunday paper in peace and what with all the dishes to do, manicures are a complete waste of time. It strikes me that you don't usually hear women saying "When I got married, I vowed to integrate my husband into the life I already had." I mean - isn't the idea of marriage to create a life together? Instead of insisting that our children be integrated into our pre-kid lives, shouldn't the goal be to create a new life together as a family? That doesn't mean you stop doing the things you love. My husband and I have always loved theater so now we make an effort to bring the kids to shows that are appropriate for them. Granted, if we were into the club scene, it would be a bit harder to include the kids . . .
I know I probably need to relax and get a sense of humor but this whole "Hot Moms" movement bugs me. Most mothers I know are under tons of pressure already. It's hard enough to juggle all our responsibilities and find even a little time for ourselves. I just figured out that I should stop trying to be the woman in the Enjoli perfume ad and now I hear that moms are supposed to be hip? And sexy? Maybe my irritation at the whole thing is just sour grapes because I'm so not hip. In recent memory, the closest I've gotten to being hip was doing the Electric Slide at the school picnic and embarrassing the heck out of my third grader. Which, come to think of it, was really fun. Especially the embarrassing my third grader part.
As a '70s kid, I thought I would grow up to be like the Enjoli woman, easily shifting from good mom to successful employee to great-in-the-sack wife without breaking a sweat or inappropriately allowing the different parts of my life to seep into another. I really thought I could have it all - at the same time - with a smile on my face. But the reality is that it's hard to juggle those roles. And I have it easy - I have a husband who does more than his fair share of the household duties. We're also lucky enough to be able to afford vacations and the occasional spa treatment.
The "Hot Mom" thing irks me for the same reason the book 12 Simple Secrets Real Moms Know : Getting Back to Basics and Raising Happy Kids bothered me. They imply that there's an easy formula - for happy kids, for a balanced life - and if you're struggling, there's something wrong with you. Have you ever watched someone try to balance on a big rubber ball? They're never standing still - they constantly adjust their position to stay in balance. If they relax, even for a second, they fall. A minor miscalculation throws the whole thing off. Keeping in balance is a constant struggle. It seems to me that if balancing your life isn't at least a little bit hard, maybe you're not really balancing.
And, finally, what's up with this whole idea of not being "consumed by the madness of motherhood?" Is that really possible? The moment I gave birth to our children I became insane - with love, worry, frustration and admiration. (Oh, and hormones, too.) I may not be a Hot Mom but I'm a better, stronger, less selfish person than I was before I had kids. Becoming a mother changed me. Consumed me, in a way. And I wouldn't change that for the world.