Masking mum’s identity


Sarah Murdoch bares it all and raises the bar for Yummy Mummies

I’M no Sarah Murdoch and for this, I am grateful.

Sure, she’s beautiful, rich and wealthy but she is also open to derision from complete strangers. I know this because I have scoffed and snorted at her attempts to buck the media trend and grace the cover of a women’s magazine completely untouched.

Jen Hawkins followed suit going one better with a nude full frontal but she hasn’t had kids so she’s in a whole other league. But Sarah, now she may not be touched up in the Adobe Photoshop sense but her hair and make-up have been done and she’s undoubtedly got some expensive designer number skimming over her full-time-trainer chiselled body.

A poster girl for the Yummy Mummy brigade? Yes. But an average woman? No.

However, it did get me thinking on a mother’s image. The desire to uphold our attractiveness during motherhood isn’t a new thing; the “Stepford” wife of the 1950s for example, but the YM label puts on a whole other set of expectations that busy mums could gladly do without. And don’t get me started on the MILF label – that’s just wrong. No other type of woman has that particular branding, I’ve never heard of a C-WILF (career woman I’d like to f***.)

But I digress. I made a 2010 resolution (just quietly in case it folded. It has {circa Feb 2010}.) to start wearing make-up again – a habit I dropped when I left the newsroom. But foundation just isn’t as much fun when your daughter sucks on your chin and you wonder what toxins she just swallowed.

I made this simple resolution in the hopes of bolstering my self-esteem as I found myself slipping into another well-known category of parenthood: the invisible mum.

As one mum succinctly put, you can feel pushed into a corner of your own life. Suddenly people step in front of you at the checkout, push through doors and let it slam behind them (leaving you to gracefully use your arse since both arms are full with kids, wipes, toys, etc), well-meaning family and friends make plans without your input because “you’ll be looking after the kids, won’t you?” and even construction workers don’t whistle at you anymore. Oh, the injustice!

You see? I’m sure Sarah Murdoch and her army of yummy mums don’t suffer such ingracious hospitality.  Of course, they have their own set of issues and perhaps the extra effort into appearance helps stave off the “invisible mum” syndrome (doors would certainly get held open, in any case).

But one day as I powdered and changed my two children in the back of the car after a dip in the ocean, offering drinks of water and tossing wet towels and hats into bags, my husband said to me “you’re a good mum”.

And there it was. The label I did want to own.

If only it was as simple as applying foundation.


3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. I like makeup
    Feb 09, 2010 @ 04:02:48

    It hit me like a ton of bricks when i recently realised that the hot guys were not looking at me anymore – but at my 15-year-old sister. I felt sort of devastated that my time was over. Now when i walk along the streets i’m dragging along two kids like you Peta and it’s just not as easy to look like a stunner with the stragglers is it?

    Not that i’d change my lot in life for a minute – i love being a mother.

    That said, I love making an effort and always have since my first was born. My mother said to me at the time, “always make sure you get your hair done. No matter how fat you feel or how bad the bags are under your eyes, so long as your hair looks beautiful, you will feel beautiful”. Wise words that i took on and for me this has worked. I have made the effort to go to the hairdresser for the past four years, even with the kids (and it takes 3 hours – poor children) but it’s something i insist on. And i nearly always wear makeup. It makes me feel nice and i love pretty things – always have – so why should i have to surrender this stuff just because i’m now a “Mum”? I like to look good and somehow, i fit it into my daily routine but that’s because i make it a priority. Am i vain? Probably. Is that a bad thing? I’m not sure it is!

    The Yummy Mummy tag makes me feel slightly uncomfortable. Why should mothers be segregated according to how much makeup they wear? My best friends have both just had babies – they have jelly bellys, massive leaking boobs and sleep-deprived eyes but i still call them yummy mummies because i think they look so beautiful as mummies!! Other women have said to me before “oh you’re such a yummy mummy” but they say it rolling their eyes, like as though it’s uncool to look like as though you try too hard or dress too nicely.

    Peta i think the yummy mummy tag is as simple as applying foundation. Or getting a new haircut or colour. Anything that makes you feel good about the way you look is enough to warrant yummy mummy status – even if it is a dumb status at that.


    • petajo
      Feb 10, 2010 @ 02:48:39

      Thanks Ellen, I think it’s a shame that YMs is used as almost a derogatory term, as it generally means that most mums are not “yummy”, same as most mums are not f**able, hence the MILF label.
      I think if you watch any mum with her kids, you’ll see something beautiful: unbridled love.
      But I agree with you that it’s important to keep your own interests alive – including personal appearance. I just find it so hard. I did come across a mobile hairdresser that comes to the house (and even minded the kids while I washed out my colour!), I was in heaven – but we’ve since moved and I haven’t found the same here yet.
      PS I’ve always thought you had gorgeous hair!


  2. sarah j
    Feb 09, 2010 @ 04:28:25

    Love it!! So true!


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