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Mom, Interrupted: Martha Stewart, on the beach, in a bikini

I wasn’t exactly sure what life would be like at age 81, but I was rock bottom certain that it would not be a continuation of every demand that society has tried to throw at me throughout my life.

If you haven’t seen this already, please put down your coffee/lunch/afternoon snack and know this: Martha Stewart will adorn the cover of the next "Sports Illustrated" swimsuit edition.

Now that we’ve avoided a nasty spit take all over your electronics, remember: she’s 81. 

And she won’t be wearing what my grandma Bessie or my mother would have worn to the beach when they were 81 (house dress or jeans, sturdy undergarments and sensible shoes). And she won’t be adorning the cover of a special honorary issue for aging models, which Martha is. No, she’ll be wearing an assortment of low-cut swimwear and showing a fair amount of ridiculously good skin in the actual "competitive" issue, right up against active athletes and super models. In the press release, Martha encourages women her age to "look good, feel good."

"For midlife and older women, it will be empowering to see someone in their age group represented on the magazine stands, in the grocery store, you know, somewhere that everyone's coming to look," Holly Thomas, clinical researcher and assistant professor of medicine at the University of Pittsburgh, told Yahoo Life.

I have thoughts. So many, many thoughts:

  • Martha looks very good for a woman of almost any age. I would aspire to that, if the thought did not cause me to desperately want a nap. 

  • For me, "looking good, feeling good" means very old jeans, comfy shoes and underwear that doesn’t ride up. 

  • If anyone’s going to slam me for commenting on a woman’s looks, please recall that the entire swimsuit edition is a ginormous commentary on just that, so please direct your understandable outrage to "Sports Illustrated" at

  • Oh dear Lord, does this mean that 80 is the new 60? 

I’m going to take the unpopular stance here and say, it’s not empowering, Dr. Thomas, it’s just more pressure at a time in my life when I was looking forward to finally not having one more ridiculous ideal thrown at me. 

I wasn’t exactly sure what life would be like at age 81, but I was rock bottom certain that it would not be a continuation of every demand that society has tried to throw at me throughout my life. For example, even if the Kardashians can do it, I did not believe for a minute that I could, nor did I try to, look good in a bikini two weeks after I had my fourth child, what with the usual maternity fallout (stitches and breastfeeding and no sleep). 

And when I dragged my sorry stitched posterior back to work after what passed as maternity leave, I ignored the constant societal chatter about whether it was a good thing if I had my kids in daycare while I strove to keep a roof over our collective heads. And heaven help me if that roof was not covering a Pinterest-perfect house, persistent overtime and multiple preschoolers be damned. 

The pressure doesn’t stop on any front: I catch judgment today if the back of my embroidery doesn’t look as good as the front. 

I figured that once I reached my 80’s, society would look at my obstinate, comfortable-shoe-wearing self and quit trying to make me look like a model. But no! At age 81, apparently y’all will be urging me to find incontinence pads that are color coordinated to my thong.

(I cannot believe I just typed that sentence, and I’m reasonably sure that you cannot believe you just read it). 

It’s not that I’ve been bowing to societal and media pressure all these years. I haven’t been spending all my time defying all civic ordinances and trying to squeeze myself into a size 0 monokini or trying to achieve a thigh gap, though it occurs to me that chasing after one would be helpful in achieving one, which is a philosophical jar of pickles we’ll open some other time.

No, as I approach my mid-60's I’m empowered just trying to corral my non-genetically-gifted derriere into something that fits and wondering how old I’ll be when no one expects me to give a damn about that anymore. 

I gave up years ago. When will society and the media give up and just go take a nap?

Elizabeth Evans is a local mother, wife, daughter, sister, former stay-at-home mom, former work-outside-the-home mom, former work-at-home mom and a human resources consultant.