Friday, November 4, 2011

The Anti-Mom Jean Gene

The book “Thin is the New Happy”, by Valerie Frankel, should be required reading for anyone that has (or likes) a vagina.

I picked it up in haste before a cross-country flight hoping it would do one of two things… Teach me how not to raise girls with self-image issues, or knock me out before the Ambien kicked in.  Since the former is seemingly an impossibility, I considered the latter a shoe-in.  No dice.

Whether about relationships, dating, marriage, parenting, sex, career or fashion, the author had me at all of it.  The most eye opening, though, was her recount of a somewhat traumatizing closet dissection with Stacy London, television host of “What Not to Wear”.

Of the many things I learned in this chapter, the first the most profound may be a greater appreciation for my sister Jeni, who as a successful celebrity stylist, never (ok, rarely) critiques my wardrobe.  Second, came an enormous realization that you aren’t always what you wear.

Many women are born to wear Mom jeans.  Unfortunately (or fortunately?) I wasn’t.  Now, I’m certainly not saying there is anything wrong with wearing mom jeans, or driving a minivan, or dedicating your life to the coordination of a PTA bake sale.  It’s just not me.  At least, not yet.

Looking back, I realize that I was afraid of losing my identity in my pregnancies.  I always swore I wouldn’t be the woman who had her first child and went for an obvious rite of passage: the pageboy haircut.

I decided as a senior in college that I wanted a nose ring, but talked myself out of it, as I was about to start interviewing for ‘real’ jobs.  I wish I had known then that I’d end up working in an industry where piercings and tattoos are as frowned upon as a banker carrying a briefcase, but I digress… Then somehow, right after I started needing a hair elastic to securely button my jeans, (the tell-tale sign of being knocked up), time was of the essence.

It came as no shock that the piercing parlor wouldn’t poke a preggo, nor should it come as a shock to you that within days after giving birth, my nose was pierced with a tiny diamond.  Shortly after came my 2nd tattoo, designed for my first daughter, and then my 3rd tattoo, designed for my second daughter.  (I got my first when I was 18, after my dad lost his battle with cancer.)

After each of my pregnancies, I took a few months at home, and then returned back to the grind of producing reality television.  In some households, that would be out of necessity.  In some, it would be frowned upon.  In some, commendable and in others, it would be flat out unacceptable.  In my household, it is a mix of all four.

I don’t think doctors can test for the Anti-Mom Jean Gene quite yet, but the good news is that having it isn’t a death sentence.  On the contrary, pursuing the things you are passionate about will help you to raise well-rounded, well-balanced children.

The bad news is, Mom Jeans never look good… on anyone.

PS.  Jeni, as a sign of my appreciation, I promise never to wear a sports bra unless it is athletically necessary.