You Look Good (for Your Age): A Rant About Backhanded Compliments
“You look good!”
“For someone who’s had four kids.”
“Especially since one of those kids is 21.”
Okay stop. In fact, stop two sentences ago.
I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that no mom ever wants to hear anything past “you look good”. If in fact someone says this to you, you must move away immediately to avoid the unavoidable follow up sentences. (I’ve discovered that slamming your hand over their mouth can result in a more unpleasant situation than simply being mildly offended.)
I’m not saying that having kids doesn’t do something to our bodies (unless you are Gisele Bundchen), never mind your face (worry wrinkles, bags under our eyes), but it’s not as if you can’t enjoy some of this same abuse without the pleasure of having borne children. I know loads of women, and men, who have never gone through a 30+ pound pregnancy, who could still do with some serious gym and diet time. And let’s face it, kids aren’t the only things that give us stress in our lives, or deprive us of our sleep.
So, instead of saying “…for someone who has X number of kids”, and focusing on the obvious body and face changes, it would probably be more appropriate to focus on these particular things that happen only if you are a mom.
You look good! For someone who:
- Has spent an unnatural amount of time waiting for things which have already been done, to be redone, in a far less efficient way. For example, toddler shoe putting-on, pre-school hair brushing, and seven-year-old face wiping.
- Visibly flinches and scratches at the mere mention of the words lice, rash, and pinworm.
- Enthusiastically volunteers to go to the grocery store, garbage dump, or to stand in line to pay a tax bill, as all involve leaving the house without minor accompaniment.
- Feels no conflict at all in judging some moms for bad parenting decisions, while totally defending others doing similar things, if they’re friends.
- Has sat through approximately 1,473 hours of school concerts, plays, karate testing, hockey practice, dance recitals, fencing demonstrations, assemblies, unnecessary graduations and countless episodes of Phineas and Ferb. Each hour in real time is the equivalent to five hours of “mom time”. There should be an award, but she would never willingly sit through a ceremony to get it.
- Can’t advise you with any accuracy as to whether there isn’t a child inflicted stain or tear someone on their clothing, at any time.
In fact, the next time you’re the victim of the “You look good…” backhanded compliment, do what I do – up the number of children by at least two, raise your age by at least five years, and let them think you look more than just “good” for a woman who has that many kids, at such an old age.