Many women fear that once they have kids they will no longer be perceived as attractive. But author Sarah Maizes’ new book can help any mom get her groove and confidence back on track. Read an excerpt from “Got MILF? The Modern Mom’s Guide to Feeling Fabulous, Looking Great and Rocking A Minivan.”
The other day a young male friend called me a MILF.
“Thanks?” was all I could think to say since I wasn’t entirely sure if I had been insulted or not. His tone was complimentary, but a “MILF”? Really? I felt a little dirty. Maybe I’d heard him wrong. Maybe he needed a glass of “milk.” Yes ... that was it. After all, he was still in his twenties. Practically a growing boy ... Let’s see what’s in the fridge...
“You don’t know what a MILF is, do you?”
Nope. He wasn’t asking for milk. “Yes, I know what a MILF is.” It wasn’t a total lie. I had a general idea....
“It’s a ‘Mother I’d Like to F@#k.’”
“DUH!!!” I knew I sounded like a high school girl, but he had caught me by surprise. I wasn’t exactly sure what he was implying. If he thought I was going to have sex with him, he was very, very wrong.... That would change everything! After all, he was just a friend, and I had a boyfriend. Besides, he was really too young for me and ...
He quickly backtracked. “I’m not saying I want to f@#k you; I’m just saying you’re a MILF.”
Whew! “Well, that’s better,” I said, pleased that crisis had been averted. (Okay, my ego quietly quipped, What the hell do you mean you don’t want to f@#k me?? This forty-year-old baby-makin’ machine! You should be so lucky, you cocky little schmuck.... Hey, I’m only human.)
Putting my ego aside, I tried to move on. I wasn’t sure how a MILF would get past this awkward moment, so I did what came naturally. I offered him a slice of homemade chocolate cake and changed the topic of conversation. “So ... about those Jets ...”
Long after my friend left, his remark boinged around my skull like one of those Hi-Bounce rubber balls my son loves. I had been completely caught off guard by him calling me a MILF, and the fact he’d had to spell it out for me — and that “DUH!” had been my snappy comeback — didn’t exactly fill me with pride.
I’m hip. (Stop laughing....) I know a thing or two. I’ve been around the block. And even if I haven’t been around a particular block, I at least like to give the impression that I have — that I know all the side streets and shortcuts. But I was completely unfamiliar with this neighborhood. It was like some exclusive gated community about which you always hear wild, sordid tales, but have never actually visited.
Of course I’d heard the term “MILF” before, usually in connection with porn, but I had never been referred to as one. I knew enough to know the word referred to a mom who was really “hot” — but I imagined someone who washed her car wearing jean shorts, like in the “Stacy’s Mom” music video. I don’t even own jean shorts. And if I did, I certainly wouldn’t wash my car in them.
What exactly had he been thinking when he’d called me a MILF? What sparked the comment? Did he think I slept around? Had he seen my thong sticking out of my pants? (I pride myself on being a vigilant thong tucker....) Maybe he just thought I was sexy. I mean, a guy could call a woman a MILF without having an agenda, right? ... RIGHT?!
I wanted to know more about MILFs. Was calling someone a MILF rude or flattering? Had the term taken on new “street” meaning — like “bad” or “fly”? Was there some kind of MILF movement going on? And if I was indeed a MILF, were there more of us? Where would I find them? Was there a MILF union of some sort I could join, and if so, did they have dental?
I was determined to find out what exactly made a woman a MILF. Was a MILF a slut or a siren? More important, if someone called me a MILF and I simply smiled and said, “Thank you,” was I inviting him to put his hand on my boob?
I was in virgin territory (which, needless to say, as a mother of three, I hadn’t been in for a long time).
So I decided to research the topic thoroughly. I Googled “MILF.” After scrolling through numerous porn sites’ listings and learning a bit about the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, I found a definition on Wikipedia.org that seemed fairly inoffensive:
MILF • (slang) Mother/Mom I’d Like to F@#k: A (putative) mother or woman of childbearing age found to be sexually attractive.
Well, that’s not so bad. But sexually attractive? To him? I thought about the times my young male friend and I had spent together writing sketch comedy, performing improv and talking about life. I had never given him any impression that I was interested or available to him for sex. Besides, I was a divorced single mother with three kids under the age of eight. (Who doesn’t want a piece of that?) I was pondering this further when one of my twins shook me out of my stupor by running into a doorjamb.
I went to assess the damage.
As I sat on the floor holding a pig-shaped ice pack to the forehead of my child, it dawned on me that I had in fact been paid a huge compliment! This great, funny guy, who was at least ten years my junior, was saying that he saw me, a divorced, over-thirty-five mom with three kids, as a viable sexual candidate — albeit not for him, but for some guy out there. It was safe to say that whatever he found “attractive” about me was definitely not based solely on looks. It couldn’t possibly be. My midsection had experienced two pregnancies (one being a twin pregnancy), my graying roots needed vigilant attention and gravity was obviously stalking my ass (and was closing in fast). On top of that, as a busy mom of three, “primping” was now defined as showering for seven minutes rather than three, possibly using a hair dryer, and throwing on clothes I knew I didn’t first have to smell. But this guy had met all three of my children, seen me bandage boo-boos, watched me wrangle them at the dinner table and heard me shriek, “GET IN THE TUB NOW!” till my pulsating vocal cords were visible through my open mouth. And he still thought I was pretty. Awww.
That was when I realized that being a MILF meant so much more than being “f@#kable.” It meant that even though I was ready for a nap every day by eleven a.m., and my priorities had shifted from looking good to not smelling too bad, and instead of accenting my “charms” with pleasing, buttery-soft leather accoutrements, the “accessories” I now proudly toted talked back and needed help wiping — I was attractive. Nay, not just attractive, but sexy. And get this — being a mom didn’t hinder my sexiness; it was part of what made me sexy!
This was hard to fathom. Apparently, that funny, exciting and vibrant woman I thought I had kissed farewell to in the lobby of Cedars-Sinai as they wheeled me up to labor was still hanging around. I hadn’t lost myself just because I was a mom!
Being a MILF meant that the girl who laughed easily, who loved to travel, who believed in finding your passion and pursuing it was still alive! Frankly, there were times I thought she’d gone down with the ship once the tidal wave of motherhood swept over the bow. But there she was, in her little life raft, waving a tiny flag. What a trouper! I suddenly noticed her for the first time in years. I couldn’t believe I hadn’t seen it before. She’d been there all along. She was the one who organized movie nights with girlfriends, who took writing classes, who attempted a career in comedy and taught her children the importance of being beautiful on the inside. And you know what? She wasn’t rail thin anymore, but she looked pretty darn good in her swimsuit frolicking with her kids and the dolphins in Mexico. Yep, she was cute, all right.
It was obvious being called a MILF was a compliment. In fact, it was the biggest compliment of all. It meant embracing motherhood and sexuality simultaneously. The concept was evolutionary!
I could own this. I deserved this! I would embrace being a MILF! Intrigued and thrilled by my newly discovered MILFdom, I couldn’t help but try it out. Like it was a shiny new car hot off the lot, I wanted to take it for a test-drive around the neighborhood. My first stop? Starbucks. Why? Because MILFy or not, without my caffeine for fuel, this mom wasn’t going to make it around the block. I walked into Starbucks, head up, shoulders back and just plain feelin’ good. I sidled up to the barista, looked him straight in the eye, smiled and said, “A venti vanilla latte ... please.” How often had I growled “venti vanilla latte” at this poor kid, whose misfortune it had been to encounter me every morning before I’d had my caffeine? He seemed surprised and pleased by this change in me, and with a big smile he gave me an extra dollop of foam and said, “Have a great day.”
Wow! A little MILFiness could go a long way! There was no longer any doubt in my mind ... I was onto something big.
And I continued on my way. I charmed the information guy at Barnes & Noble, and he gave me someone’s saved copy of Three Cups of Tea. I winked spontaneously at my boyfriend, he was intrigued ... and confused ... but more intrigued. Feeling bolder and more confident, I wore more fabulous accessories; I took risks with my writing; I led my kids on interesting culinary expeditions in our kitchen and we all positively glowed from the shared experience. I stood taller; I felt happier; my family and I flourished. Being a MILF was great!
I suddenly saw MILFs everywhere. At the park, at the movies, at the market, at Gymboree. Beautiful women, HOT women, many with their kids in tow, and I noticed all the men (and women) checking them out. They wore everything from cardigans to sweats, jeans to business suits. Some pushed newborns in carriages, and others walked astride their texting teenagers. Some were models of fitness; others were new moms — swollen breasts straining against their James Perse cotton tees. But I noticed they all had one thing in common: they weren’t “hot” despite their children — they were “hot” because of them. Their roles as moms thrust into sharp relief their confidence, pride and age-defying beauty. Their strong senses of self made them more complicated, more captivating and infinitely more intriguing creatures. There was just more to these women. They couldn’t just walk, talk and chew gum at the same time — they could feed toddlers, buy groceries and organize a school fund-raiser armed with only a PDA, a broken crayon and some macaroni. Now, that’s multitasking! These were women with families, responsibilities and passion. They didn’t disappear behind their families — they stood out. They were sharp, savvy women who commanded you to take notice even as they were occupied with their offspring. These were whole women. Not girls. And they looked really f@#king great!
Being a MILF was a badge of honor!
I had unearthed a secret. A BIG secret. I had discovered that EVERY mom has the potential for MILFdom. You just need to take out your binoculars, scan the horizon of that swirling, churning ocean called “motherhood” and look for that chic little woman bobbing about in a dinghy and waving a flag! (I bet she keeps it in a really cute tote.)
And get this — maybe you know it already, or maybe what I’m about to tell you will shock you — someone out there thinks you’re hot. Really hot. Not your spouse, partner, boyfriend or that guy you have a restraining order against ... No, someone else. Maybe someone at the market, at the movies, at a restaurant; maybe someone you were stuck next to in traffic. He saw you when you were completely unaware, watched you sing in your car, laugh at something funny or take a bite of something really, really delicious, and he thought, That’s a MILF. And believe me, it’s happened more than once.
No, no ... don’t go shower. Just because someone considers you a MILF, you should not feel “icky.” It doesn’t mean someone is undressing you with his eyes, fantasizing about you or memorizing your license plate number. Like Heath Ledger as the Joker said in The Dark Knight, “I’m a dog chasing cars. I wouldn’t know what to do with one if I caught it.” For men, it’s the same thing. They enjoy the view — from afar. They noticed you and had a complimentary thought. But seriously, if they caught you? They wouldn’t know what to do with you. You’re too much for them. You’re too much for most. You’re an incredible, beautiful, fascinating woman, and being near you is exciting and pleasurable — it doesn’t mean they want to chew on your bumper.
It’s time to recognize the fact that you are MILF Material. Your spouse knows it; your girlfriends know it; even the girl who makes your caramel macchiato knows it — and she secretly wants to be just like you when she has kids....
Now YOU need to own it and share your fabulousness with everyone around you! The time has come for MILFs everywhere to stand up and be counted!
We are not mothers who will gladly fade into the woodwork of our families and hide behind their achievements. We will not put aside our own wants and needs to make room for only the wants and needs of others. We will not set the example for our sons and daughters that choosing to have a family means choosing to lose ourselves. We will nurture our children, we will nurture ourselves and we will all thrive!
Say it with me.... “I am f@#kable! I am MILF! Hear me roar!”
From "GOT MILF?: The Modern Mom's Guide to Feeling Fabulous, Looking Great and Rocking a Minivan" by Sarah Maizes. Copyright © 2011 Reprinted by permission of Berkley.
© 2012 MSNBC Interactive