Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Perfect mommy

An opinion-editorial by Abigal Jones in The Boston Globe this month taught me two things:

  • There is a new book out called My Beautiful Mommy, which according to the piece "helps parents tell their young kids why mommy, who just came home from the hospital in bandages, will now have a new nose and a thinner waist". I kid you not. It's available on Amazon for $19.95.

  • In her column Jones writes that "everyone knows what a 'mommy makeover' is" leading me to think really? I don't. She fortunately writes in the next line "in case you missed it: liposuction, tummy tuck, and breast lift, with or without breast implants". Thank you (sincerely) Ms. Jones. I had missed it.
Why had I missed it? Because when my kids poke my gut, the gut they were formerly residents of, and say "Mommy you are fat", I declare, in no uncertain terms that my belly is that way because of them.

I earned this body I am in. I have earned every wrinkle, every sag and every lumpy bump on it.

But the op-ed author makes an even more important point and I've seen it. It is in those moms who wear the same clothes as their teen daughters. Last summer I saw one mom of a teen boy who walked by a group of youths, was noticeably ogled, and puffed up like she was Miss Sexy as her son looked down in horror.

The point is are we really not going to let our children have the spotlight? Are we not going to let them be more beautiful or handsome than us when it is their time? I'm not writing that we shouldn't enjoy our bodies and dress as we want, but do we really want to be compared with 16 year olds?

I am getting older so my children can enjoy being young.

We should be proudly aging. We should be proudly showing our intelligence and skills, not fake skinny waists. We should be promoting books like My Mom is Great by Gaby Goldsack.

    [Thanks Theresa, Kendyl and their awesome daughter Meg for telling me about this book at the playground then tracking down the title when I couldn't remember it and scanning the cover for me! You all are great].

    So let's go be great. Great as we age.


    Jenn said...

    oh dear god. parental horror is the perfect tag. a book about helping your child come to terms with her mommy's plastic surgery du jour??!!

    I'm not about to deny anyone a little botox if it makes them feel better, but having a book to tell the kid that mommy is (now) beautiful? so very, very wrong...

    Lilacspecs said...

    I've read about this book in someone else's blog a while back and I was disgusted. If this isn't the pinnacle of vanity and shallow mindedness in our society, I don't know what is. I don't even have anything productive to say, I just feel myself veering off into a red glazed miasma of postal pissed offedness.
    So Im going to go do some deep breathing now.

    Goofball said...

    plastic surgery..Yikes....I don't want the world to turn into plastic baby dolls. Thank goodness some moms want to stay unique and natural !! Hurray for that! Perfect mommies indeed.

    CableGirl said...

    My friend Mom's Tin Foil Hat posted about this book a few weeks back. How horrifying is that! What a great message to send your kids,

    "I love you, honey, but I hate what you did to me. In fact, I hate me." *sigh*

    I've never understood cosmetic surgery. Sure, breast reductions for back issues, nose jobs for deviated septums. I get that. Tummy tucks because you aren't happy with your body and you're willing to work for a better one? Bah!

    Personally I'm proud of my MJ stretch marks. I think they are beautiful no matter what any one else thinks!

    Ms Picket To You said...

    You know what comes next? A book for kids explaining why mommy won't get out of bed all day because even though she's all "pretty" now, she still can't kick that nagging feeling of worthlessness.

    How in the world can you explain your new boobs to a daughter (or son) without implying that your old ones weren't "good enough"?

    Anyway, thank the lord for Spanx!

    Heather said...

    Ahhh. Good old-fashioned values at their best.


    Brillig said...

    Oh. Mygosh. That's so disturbing. I'm a good fifty pounds heavier than I'd like to be... Birthing four kids in four and half years will do that to ya. And you know what? My kids think I'm beautiful. Children understand that beauty is a lot more about what you do with them and how they feel around you, and not at all about how flat your belly is. How earth-shattering it would be for them to be taught that mommy isn't pretty until she's been surgically altered. Yikes.

    Jen of A2eatwrite said...

    How horrifying. I'm so glad you shared this. One of the things I love about C is that he's absolutely disgusted by the idea of people getting makeovers of the surgical kind.

    Another thing I love about C is that the young girls he's attracted to are all different shapes and sizes and colors and levels of society's measures of "beauty."

    cathouse teri said...

    I looked straight at my boyfriend one night at dinner and said, "I am NOT getting a facelift!" He was a little shocked, since we were having no conversation at all of any kind. And also because we have never discussed this. He said, "Okay." I said, "Or any kind of a lift!" He said, "K" Then I added, once I start getting wrinkles, I figure I've earned the right to wear them!"

    So there.

    My kids think I'm beautiful and great. And their friends think I'm hot, too. And I do NOT dress like a teenager!

    So there.

    You make some good points, here, Mommy.

    I did have a friend say last night that he knows no one who wouldn't have some sort of "alteration" if they could. Everyone thinks something needs to be improved. I said, "I wouldn't." He said, "You wear make-up." I said, "That is not at all the same thing."

    So tell me what I'm supposed to say to that!

    soccer mom in denial said...

    As I wrote in my email response to you, Dear Teri, I needed time to think about what is the line between make-up and more extreme forms of changing your appearance.

    Make-up is temporary and isn't inserted into your body. You can take it off, just like bras, nylons, even hair color (although that takes some time).

    There is something about permanently altering your body - putting something foreign into it or removing parts of it - simply for vanity that is abhorent to me.

    However, I do make exceptions for victims of violent crime (especially survivors of domestic violence), accident survivors and medical patients dealing with disfiguring treatments. They are a group of folks that should have every single plastic surgery available to help them deal with those issues.

    And, of course, those in the wrong bodies. People who are transgendered and wish to correct their bodies should be supported.

    Everyone else needs to welcome aging. We need to counter this horrible trend to stay young at any cost - even if that means disfiguring our bodies. Embrace the folds, wrinkles and bulges. At least our faces will be able to smile naturally....

    cathouse teri said...

    Wonderful how you took such time to answer me! That was so sweet!

    I was also thinking that to wear make-up, color or curl my hair or even (as I pointed out to my friend) wash my hair and keep myself cleaned and pressed ~ just means I am making the most of who I am and what I have. That is different to me than making alterations.

    Of course, the exceptions you mention are definitely not in the same category as "mommy makeover."

    Once, I was wrestling with this idea of no make-up. It was a number of years ago. My kids used to just rave about how beautiful I looked when I came downstairs in the morning all dressed and ready for the day. It was so sweet. And then one day I was thinking out loud and said, "Wonder if I should quit wearing make-up?" and they (along with their father) made a collective GASP. I guess that was a "no." haha

    But then, if you ever saw me with NO make-up on, you'd agree with them. :)

    Thanks for the help, babe.

    Alex Elliot said...

    Wow, I hadn't heard about this book! That is just so disturbing. Does the second book address moms not looking like they're 16?

    Suzanne said...

    I think someone covered this at BlogHer, and it turns out it is some self-published vanity thing. Still, it's totally vile.

    Speaking of BlogHer, I am planning to go to the Boston conference with Alex, so I hope that I will get to meet you!

    painted maypole said...

    yes, yes

    (and good gravy, you are NOT fat!)

    Jenn in Holland said...

    Nothing left to say but "hear, hear" to a post like this! Well said, well thought and well presented friend.

    chelle said...

    I really wish society would stop with the unrealistic expectations on women. Although I want to loss some weight to get to healthy range, I exercise to set an example. I cannot imagine getting work done.

    Jami said...

    OK - now you have to go see this.

    Aimee Greeblemonkey said...

    Great post.

    And you are sooooo NOT fat.

    And I hate when Moms dress like their teens. But I do admit, I also hate when mom's dress like *their* moms too. Let's dress like US!