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How I learned to stop worrying and embrace my inner MILF

The other day, a young male friend called me a MILF.   “Thanks?” I wasn’t sure if I should be insulted or not.   “You don’t know what a MILF is, do you?” “Yes, I know what a MILF is!”  I lied, a little. I’d heard the term before, usually in connection with porn, but I had never actually been referred to as one. Wow! The nerve of this guy! Shouldn’t he buy me dinner f
Sarah Maizes and her three children: Week one of Camp Mommy is all smiles.
Sarah Maizes and her three children: Week one of Camp Mommy is all smiles.Today

The other day, a young male friend called me a MILF.   

“Thanks?” I wasn’t sure if I should be insulted or not.   

“You don’t know what a MILF is, do you?” 

Yes, I know what a MILF is!”  I lied, a little. I’d heard the term before, usually in connection with porn, but I had never actually been referred to as one. Wow! The nerve of this guy! Shouldn’t he buy me dinner first or something?  

Seeing the wheels in my head spinning, he quickly backtracked, “I’m not saying I want to f--- you.  I’m just saying, you’re a MILF.”

“All right. That’s better.” I think….

My friend’s remark stuck with me all night. I couldn’t comprehend why this guy called me a MILF. Hadn’t he just seen me use my spit to clean spaghetti sauce off my shirt? Did he think I slept around? Could he see my thong?  (I pride myself on being a vigilant thong-tucker.)

Sarah Maizes and her three children: Week one of Camp Mommy is all smiles.Today

And what exactly was a MILF? Was a MILF a slut or a siren? More importantly, if I smiled and thanked him for calling me a MILF, was I inviting him to put his hand on my boob?  

As a mom, being perceived as sexy was right up there on my list of priorities with “learn to knit,” “buy a tea cozy,” and “confirm that Facebook friendship request from the girl who stole my boyfriend in 11th grade.” I wondered if society could ever allow a mom to be sexy without turning her children into a caveat or disclaimer? (“That woman sure is hot, EVEN THOUGH she has kids…”)

After he left I Googled “MILF.” After scrolling through numerous porn site listings, I found a definition on Wikipedia that seemed fairly inoffensive:

“MILF ▪ (slang) Mother/Mom I'd Like to F---: A (putative) mother or woman of childbearing age found to be sexually attractive.”

Well that’s not so bad. In fact, I could totally get behind that.

I was pondering this further when I heard a thump… and then a yell. (I usually wait for the yell before I respond.)

As I kissed my daughter’s head and applied a pink, pig-shaped ice pack to her newly acquired boo-boo, it suddenly dawned on me I had actually been paid a huge compliment! To be seen by this great, funny guy, who was at least 10 years my junior, as a viable sexual candidate was really flattering! He had met all three of my children, watched me wrangle them at the dinner table, and heard me shriek “GET IN THE TUB NOW!” till my pulsating vocal chords were visible through my open mouth. And he still thought I was pretty. Wow!

I realized that being called a MILF meant so much more than being sexually attractive. It meant embracing motherhood and sexuality simultaneously. The concept was revolutionary! 

I started noticing MILFs everywhere! At the park, at the movies, at the market. Beautiful women, hot women - and I noticed all of the men checking them out. They wore everything from cardigans to sweats; jeans to suits. Some were models of fitness, others were new moms – swollen breasts straining against their cotton T’s. They came in all shapes and sizes (and many had a proclivity for picking at their kids’ pretzel goldfish) but I noticed they all had one thing in common: they weren’t “hot” despite their children – they were “hot” because of them.  It was precisely their roles as moms that thrust into sharp relief their confidence, pride and age-defying beauty. Theirstrong sense of self made them more complicated, more captivating, and infinitely more intriguing creatures. These women didn’t disappear behind their families – they stood out.  They were whole women.  Not girls.  And they looked really f---ing great!    

There was no denying it. Being a MILF is a badge of honor. And you know what? I am going wear that badge proudly. Right over that spaghetti stain on my shirt.

Read the full excerpt from "Got MILF?" here.

Sarah Maizes blogs at Mommy Lite. Her book, "Got MILF?  The Modern Mom's Guide to Feeling Fabulous, Looking Great, and Rocking A Minivan," is available now.