Lesson of the week: Do not get between a mom and her sweatpants.
Eva Mendes learned this the hard way after making the following comment: “You can’t do sweatpants. No, ladies! Number one cause of divorce in America: Sweatpants.
Of course, after the fact, she said she was joking, and her hottie—er, I mean, her significant other—Ryan Gosling came to her defense online. And I’m sure she was joking…to some degree
I didn’t take her comments to heart. But I knew that they were (unintentional) fighting words. So I read through the maelstrom of angry comments about how her words placed even more pressure on moms, about how it was mom-shaming at its finest and about how we might as well all be transported back to the Mad Men era.
I’m not arguing with those assessments. Joke or not, it was a thoughtless, anti-woman thing to say, and it oversimplifies the complex issue of divorce. It also faults a woman for not staying sexy enough for her man if a relationship fails. As a woman, it’s hard not to be offended by her sentiments, and all of this has been discussed extensively online.
But there’s something else that hasn’t been discussed in Sweatpants-Gate, and I realized it after I came across this comment: “I feel bad for her.”
“Feeling bad” and “Eva Mendes” aren’t groupings of words that are usually found in the same sentence. After all, she’s one of the most gorgeous women on the planet. She has a fantastic career and an enviable closet. She has (what I can only assume is) one helluva beautiful baby girl, and she shares a bed with Ryan Gosling. So no, there’s not a lot to feel bad about.
But I couldn’t get that comment out of my head: “I feel bad for her.”
Who knows exactly how it was meant. The commenter probably meant to convey her pity that Eva didn’t know the full glory and comfort of sweatpants. But to me, it kept nagging at a different type of comfort: the feeling that she has to look a certain way to keep her significant other. And that does make me feel bad for her.
Now, I don’t know Eva personally, so I may totally be off-base here, and maybe she just needs to take a comedy-delivery class. Or a crash course in how sensitive moms can be—and how they sometimes take everything as a personal attack on their own choices. (Side note: Ladies, get a grip and some sleep. She’s an actress, not a policymaker.) But the thing is, even when you’re making a joke, there’s usually a modicum of truth in it.
I’m writing this post in yoga pants (the oh-so-sexy 2015 version of sweatpants), an old green sweater and fluffy, bright blue socks, and I’m miserably sick. It’s just a cold, but a super-nasty one, and I’ve been sneezing and blowing my nose for 48 hours straight. My eyes are puffy and watery, and well, let’s just say that I look as awful as I feel.
But this is what you sometimes get when you’re married (or in a serious relationship, as Eva is). For better or for worse, right? At the moment, this feels like it’s on the worse end, but it’s of course nowhere close to as bad as it can get. Sickness of all types unfortunately happens, and you want to be with someone you don’t have to pretend around, someone who loves you unconditionally—sweatpants, snot and all.
And pregnancy and childbirth? It ain’t pretty. I think that my husband is still slightly scarred from the delivery room, though he knows better than to ever verbalize that, but then there was the aftermath: the doughnuts to sit on while my lady parts were recovering, the Sitz baths, the sleepless and showerless days. Nothing glamorous about any of that, but I knew that he wasn’t judging me. Not to mention, I was too damn tired and in too much pain to care.
Sometimes you’ve just got to let it go, in the immortal words of Elsa, because that’s life. Having a baby and being in the thick of it with my husband helped to give me that perspective, and I’m incredibly grateful for it. And it has truly made my relationship stronger.
That’s why it makes me sad to hear that anyone might feel the need to put up a facade of perfection at home, in the place you’re supposed to be the most comfortable, with the person you’re supposed to be the most comfortable. The fact of the matter is, that’s what causes relationships to fall apart.
So, Eva, a word of friendly advice, just in case you weren’t totally joking: Embrace the sweatpants upon occasion. Fully, enthusiastically and unapologetically.