Do women lose their right to look hot when they become mums? Far too many people must be nostalgic about the days when housecoats were the rage, and when mums handed over the keys to their sexuality to their OB-GYN in the delivery room.

But wait. We need the back story.

On my radio show one morning, we spoke about mothers who have dared to remain fashionable and, in some cases, sexy. Svelte celebrity moms — from the now chikan-kurta-minimum-make-up Jyotika to midriff-bearing Malaika Arora Khan were mentioned as new mommy fashion icons.

But most callers complained that women who wear any kind of fashion-conscious clothing are selfish, are out to “beat the clock”, “self absorbed”, “trying to act like teenagers” and send out signals to others that they're “on the market.” Ouch.

I never realised that being a mother meant giving up your own sense of self, when you still have the energy and time to dress like some semblance of your inner-wannabe-fashionable-self.

Let's inventory your wardrobe. Though you mostly own cotton and various tent-like kurtas, please tell me you do own a few form-fitting pieces, including two tops that would be described as in the halter variety. And that your clothing choices migrate back and forth between comfortable and wanting to have a little bit of edge amid the child-induced food stains. I guess it depends on the day, doesn't it? Your mood too. And, whether you've had time to shower before trucking your three kids all over creation.

There is a view that just as you can't be a working mother and be a ‘good' mother, you can't be a sexy mother and be a ‘good mother', because in both cases you're being too narcissistic. But I have huge respect for mums who colour, wax, thread, use makeup, and go shopping for fashionable clothing. These things don't make them bad mommies. They don't come at the expense of their kids, although perhaps those chemical odours from the hair dye do kill off a few brain cells every six weeks. And here's the biggest bonus — if your kid's head is screwed on right, he or she'd rather have a hot mommy than a dowdy one.

singersuchi@gmail.com

(A fortnightly column on relationships)