Do you remember when Kim Kardashian cropped North out of a selfie and the world had a collective meltdown? What about the time Chrissy Teigen was photographed going out to dinner with her husband a week after Luna was born? The internet slammed her for “showing off her body” and “abandoning her baby.”
Moms experience all kinds of judgment when they post photos. It applies to sexy selfies and non-sexy selfies alike, and even non-selfies (which I believe are known simply as photos). Both Kim and Chrissy clapped back at their trolls, but it begs the question – why do people have such a problem with images of moms looking good?
The issue isn’t that people don’t want moms to take care of themselves. If you surveyed a group and asked, “Do you think moms should be able to shower regularly, wear makeup, and dress nicely, if they want to?” you’d find that most people said, “Yes, obviously. What kind of monster wouldn’t want that for an incredible woman who is in charge of one or more very challenging tiny human creatures?” Admittedly, one or two dummies would say no. Some people are just jerks, and there’s no such thing as unanimous opinion on the internet.
But where it breaks down is when mamas have the audacity (insert eye roll) to post proof of this self care on social media. Suddenly the masses are in an uproar. This mother is self absorbed! She’s a hussy (keeping it PG, folks) and is attracting the wrong kind of attention. And where was her baby while she was so busy tarting herself up? That poor child must have been wailing and sobbing in the next room, but that awful woman just didn’t care.
Listen, friends. It’s time for people to a) calm down a little bit, and b) get on board with moms living their lives. I do not personally post sexy selfies on social media, but I am all for it if it makes you happy!
One of my close friends from college, Denise, is mom to an adorable four-year old boy named Roman. She also happens to be QUEEN of the sexy glam selfie and queen of glam in general, since the day I met her when we were cute but useless college freshmen. Looking great has always been important to Denise – it’s part of her inherent being. On her laziest days she looks about 40 times more glamorous than I do at my absolute best. And her sexy selfies are killer! Whenever they come across my Instagram feed, I am ecstatic that she has mastered what some mamas spend years trying to figure out – how to be an incredible mom while maintaining her autonomy and staying true to herself. And I know Roman is better off for it – because when Denise is 100%, she can give 100% to her little man.
So I’m taking a stand in defense of the sexy selfie, in part because I’ve been there. Back in the day I had a long-term, long-distance boyfriend, and you can bet I sent some saucy photos to that tall British drink of water. These days, my husband’s phone is no stranger to a gratuitous cleavage shot, or some bedroom eyes and a sultry pout when I’ve discovered a lipstick I thought I’d lost. Yes, even since having a baby last year. I send him sexy selfies and – gasp – I’m a mother. (Bring it on, internet. Let’s rumble.) Because why not? I’m in a happy, healthy, committed relationship. Nowhere when I had a baby did I sign away my sexuality, my playfulness, or my mad selfie skills.
I’m not trying to suggest that a sexy selfie is for everyone. If it’s not your cup of tea, that’s okay! Nobody is going to force you into glamming up and posting the results. But maybe you’re new to the selfie game, or you’ve always wanted to take a sexy selfie but didn’t know where to start. Allow me to help.
A Beginner’s Guide to the Sexy Selfie:
- Glam it up – whatever that means to you. For some mamas it’s going to be full face makeup. For others it will be an au naturel tousled bedhead situation. Does wearing four-inch heels make you feel your best? Put those puppies on – yes, even if your feet aren’t in the photo. When I’m looking to go glam, I opt for a soft contour, a bold lip, and a little extra cleavage.
- Find your lighting – it can make or break a selfie. Look for natural light, and don’t be afraid to try some different locations (there’s a reason car selfies are a thing). I know there’s a certain time of day when my living room has perfect selfie lighting, and I absolutely take advantage of that. But if I miss that opportunity, I’m not above standing awkwardly at a kitchen window to get my shot.
- Try some angles – practice makes perfect. You don’t have to stick with the old school high angle (you know the one – pointy chin, straight-down-the-shirt, kind of makes you look like an alien). Roll those shoulders back and put that bone structure to work. And figure out your face! Is it a demure smile? Or an arched eyebrow? I recommend avoiding duckface, but do what makes you feel good.
- Share – or not, it’s up to you. This selfie is yours, and you get to decide what that means. If you want it on social media, post it and own it. Or send it to your special someone – that’s okay too. Maybe you don’t want to do anything with it. Maybe you just want to keep that photo in your phone as a reminder that you are sexy and glam and beautiful and playful and, even after kids, you are still YOU.