What exactly does a Mum look like?

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I recently read a piece in Daily Life titled “Why doesn’t anyone want to look like a Mum anymore”. Here are a few snippets of what the author had to say:

I see these mums everywhere, and they are so toned and put-together. They are pushing a stroller with an infant in it, so it’s pretty clear that they’re mums, but that’s the only clue. They have neat little waists and they are sometimes, shockingly, wearing tall, sexy heels. Their hair does not have a trace of spit up or poop in it. It looks freshly washed, and it falls perfectly, with a sweep that suggests a mastery of personal grooming that I have never approached, even on my girliest days. Everywhere I look, I see the women who would be described as MILFs. As in DAYUM, that is one FIIINE lookin’ mama!

All the emphasis on staying toned no matter what and looking great no matter what and looking, as a mum, a lot like you didn’t even have a baby—that stuff all suggests that being a MILF is more important than being a mother.

I have a sort of weird goal for new motherhood: I want to let myself go.

I want to not think about it at the time. I want to let go of these beauty-related rules and hang-ups and feel sort of liberated and appreciative of all the crazy new stuff my body turns out to be able to do. Make a baby, for instance. Grow it. Birth it, let’s hope. Feed it. Carry it around. What the hell is so wrong with looking like a mum, when a mum can do all of that? 

Opinions like this annoy me profusely. And not because I am that stiletto wearing “MILF” strolling that stroller round town looking too fly to be a Mamma… no, not me girlfriend. Because not only did I put on in excess of 20kg in both my pregnancies (and stopped weighing myself in the later stages because the horror… oh the horror) but I took my sweet old time getting it off too. I didn’t even contemplate dieting until both my kids were at least 6 months old (and breastfed them until 13 months so major dieting wasn’t an option anyway) when it became apparent I probably should give the Vanilla slices a miss if I was going to fit into my clothes any time soon.

BUT.

Despite my very relaxed attitude when I was a new Mum, I never lost sight of the fact that I was still a woman – a woman that liked to be the best version of herself – on the inside and out. And even though I thoroughly enjoyed having the best excuse in the world to have my ugg boots superglued to my feet, I knew that as my little baby got older and sleep became more regular, I would want to swap the disheveled look for a far more polished appearance – like that before I was a Mum.

But here’s the thing I don’t think people get and it irks me no end – that perhaps, just perhaps, these “shocking stiletto wearing” new Mum’s feel like the best versions of themselves by whipping themselves back into shape straight after baby. That those hours on the treadmill and the calorie counting is well worth the feeling they get when they strut their stuff baby in arms. And who’s to say they aren’t still putting their baby first? Who are we to say they care more about their appearance than their baby?

My point is this – why are we constantly judging other Mums? What exactly does a Mum have to look like? Why can’t we simply apply the “each to their own” philosophy to another woman’s right to physically be the Mamma that they want to be, as long as their child is loved and loved.

I will never have the body of Miranda Kerr. I will never wear stilettos in the day – I can barely walk in them. I will not always have freshly washed, glossy hair and you will often see me wearing a white top with Nutella painted over it in patches. But I will never judge the woman that looks perfect, baby in arms – because she is her, and I am me.

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