As I sit in my 4th period meeting, belly squeezed comically into a vintage student desk where desk and chair unite as one through an awkwardly-placed elbow rest, swollen cankles propped on the wire book rack of the chair in front of me, hurriedly alternating between a lukewarm cup of Progresso soup and a stack of moderately bull-shitted essays, my gaze fixates on the two twenty-something student teachers giggling across the aisle. And I think to myself, “youth is wasted on the young.”
Their smooth faces unmarred by wrinkles. Their sharp eyes, weightless from adequate sleep. Their shiny hair freshly coiffed and smelling of free time and freesia. I kind of hate them. Not because they’ve done anything wrong to me by any means, but because they just don’t know. To them, time is both meaningless and endless, sleep is plentiful, and life choices are ephemeral. I used to be them. Now I’m a mom.
I recently found a photo that was taken after I was married, but before I first got pregnant, and I was struck by how much I’ve aged in the past three years. Don’t get me wrong, I love being a mom; motherhood turned my body into a sacred vessel that miraculously grew a whole person, and all that. But motherhood has also made me uglier than I used to be (I mean, seriously, why did my nose have to get bigger when I got pregnant? Feet, sure. Hips, obvi. But my nose??).
And then something else registered with me. Something that I’m aware of, but have never noticed so starkly until now. Parenthood has made me uglier, while simultaneously making my husband exponentially hotter.
Here’s the thing. My husband was not always hot. I don’t feel bad saying this, as we met when we were twelve years old. I was full of baby fat and braces. He was built out of bones and acne. Twelve-year-olds are by definition ugly. For those of you who don’t know our love story, here is a simplified equation:
middle school English class + summer school + musical theatre + friend zone + prom + attempted long-distance relationship at colleges in 2 separate states + breakup + drunken hookup after graduation + dating + engagement + big fat wedding + pregnancy = today
So here we are today. Me: stretch marks, saggy boobs, puffy eyes, and widened hips (not to mention a currently swollen belly). Him: laugh lines, sparkling eyes, silvery hair, and a cute butt. Life is so unfair. So what’s his secret?
Fatherhood. That’s it. The truth is, fatherhood is hot. Dads are super sexy. This may sound paradoxical, but for those of you who have watched your partner evolve from drooling frat boy to responsible Adonis, you know that I’m right. It’s why “dad bod” is a thing and probably why women make it to a second pregnancy. A well-fitted suit on the newest Bachelor star is dashing, but it’s no hot dad kissing a scraped knee. The part on Zac Efron where his abs meet his pelvic bone is nice, but it’s nothing compared to a hot dad reading bedtime stories. From cradling your newborn to roughhousing with your toddler, watching your man be a dad is the sexiest thing ever. Maybe it’s the juxtaposition of masculinity and vulnerability or maybe it conjures images of reliability and stability. Whatever it is, fatherhood is mom porn.
So indulge me, if you will, in celebrating my silver-fox eye candy in all his hot-dad glory. To you, my love, if I were to ever write you a love letter, this is it. You, who so graciously hold the camera to capture one million moments of my time as a mother, I want you to know that I see you. I’ve watched you be a dad for three and a half years, and I have fallen in love with you more every day for it. Imagine how hot you’ll be when #2 gets here. Happy birthday.