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What it’s like when your mum is hotter than you

WORDS BY KAYA MARTIN

“During my awkward teenage years, I would look at pictures of my mum and me together and cross my fingers that the good genetics would eventually kick in.”

When I was in high school, I went to a music festival with my mum. She wanted to see Mos Def, who I had never heard of – she’s always been cool like that. In the crowd, we chatted briefly with two guys in their mid-twenties who were smoking a joint behind us. When the music started, I felt one of them put a hand on my waist. Stunned, I looked over at my mum. The other guy was trying to dance with her.

As unsettling as it was, for me at 16 and her at 45, it’s not all that surprising. I think it would be a bit crass to call my own mum a MILF, but friends and classmates have not been shy about voicing this perspective. Over the years, the offhand comments and sly remarks have piled up into an undeniable truth: my mum is hot.


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Having a foxy mum is both a blessing and a curse. Of course, growing up, I had to be ready at all times to swat away the pervs who were intent on tearing my family apart. I was advised not to let her meet specific guys at my school who had a reputation for their, uh, explicit preferences. 

On the bright side, there’s that sweet, sweet DNA that gets passed down the line. During my awkward teenage years, I would look at pictures of my mum and me together and cross my fingers that the good genetics would eventually kick in. We don’t look all that similar, but there are traces – rounded cheekbones, high arched brows. I still hope that these features will one day mature like a smoky cab sav but my mum’s beauty is not as simple as genes, although that certainly plays a part. It takes a lot more than that. 

As you move through life, your experiences and choices shape the person you become inside and out. In other words, if being hot is a life-long journey, my mum has been playing the long game. From daily habits like diligent SPF usage to a thoughtful curation of her wardrobe, her goal has always been to enhance and optimise.

One of the lessons she taught me was to find the things that look good on you and stick with them. As I experimented with unflattering haircuts and tried out makeup looks ranging from Jersey Shore to haunted marionette, my mum’s style remained the same as always: poised and graceful. 

When we go shopping, I can pick out the items my mum will go for in a second. Military jackets, men’s Levis, sparkly shoes, slouchy leather bags. She’s been wearing the same brand of pale peach lipstick for as long as I can remember, and no matter how much my sister and I beg her to mix it up, she has held strong. She knows what she likes.

My beauty routine has in large part been inherited from my mum as well. It’s an elaborate morning and evening ritual involving various serums, sprays, creams and powders. It’s because of her that I never leave the house without my Avène mineral water spray. As a health coach, she has a holistic view of beauty. She’s acutely aware of how nutrition and lifestyle impact the body and she uses this knowledge to maintain her wellness through diet and exercise. 

I, on the other hand, have a more laissez-faire approach. I try to drink enough water. Sometimes I take a handful of vitamins and do some crunches on my bedroom floor. My mum’s diligence in taking care of herself is something I admire, but sometimes I feel like I can’t keep up. The bar is set high! I’m grateful for the wellness values that were instilled in me from an early age, but sometimes I just want to be a little goblin girl and eat hot chips without feeling like I’m letting myself go. Life is exhausting, and I want to feel okay about going to the grocery store without looking my best.

The world is hard on women, especially as we get older. A lot of our power is still tied up in how we look thanks to the (stupid) patriarchy. There is dignity in meticulous self-care, in the time and expertise that it takes to feel confident that you’re the best version of yourself each time you walk out the door. My mum taught me that. But at the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter. She’s my mum – I’m going to think that she’s beautiful no matter how she looks. 

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