Are Babies the New Boyfriends?

Are Babies the New Boyfriends?
Love, Family

Young Hollywood thinks so. Why diaper duty might be preferable to dating.

A gorgeous, muscle-bound boyfriend? So last season! The most-wanted arm candy right now is fat, slobbering and breast-obsessed. Yes, babies have replaced boyfriends as the new "It" accessory in Hollywood. Already A-listers including Julia Roberts, Salma Hayek, Milla Jovovich, Keri Russell and Maggie Gyllenhaal have just gotten one; Halle Berry, Jessica Alba, Lily Allen, and Nicole Richie are on the waiting list, and Sheryl Crow and Meg Ryan adopted theirs.

Though the paparazzi breathlessly track every maternal milestone from bump to baby's first photo, one tiny little detail is consistently underplayed: the baby daddy. But, um…whatever! Boyfriends are like, so 15 minutes ago!

Even in big-screen romantic comedies, boyfriends have gone from raison d'etre to third wheel. Two of 2007's biggest hits, Knocked Up and Juno, are about single women who get pregnant and decide to have their babies, even though they're not in a romantic relationship with the fathers of their children (or anyone else).

Still, most experts agree not everyone should be sporting a baby. But like low-rise jeans, lots of people who should be avoiding the trend are jumping on the offspring bandwagon. Exhibit A: Jamie-Lynn Spears. Not only is a baby not a good look for a sixteen-year-old, but her family's mommy track record so far isn't so great. Jamie-Lynn's pregnancy, though, has been a boon to her career.

Pre-procreation, she was barely recognizable except to tweenybopping Nickelodeon fans. Ten or so condom-free minutes later, though, and she's a household name, even managing to momentarily push big sister Britney off the tabloid covers, a feat few have managed in recent history. (And did we mention the $1 million she reportedly pocketed for giving an exclusive on the story to OK!?)

But it's not really that surprising when you think about it. For many stars, babies may be a better bet than most boyfriends (at least in Hollywood, where there's a nanny to change diapers and get up for 3 A.M. feedings). Babies don't dump you, sleep with your friends or get caught making out with strippers in Vegas. They don't sell sex tapes of you. They don't whine because you make more than they do. And babies actually like it when you gain 30 pounds (it means they're getting plenty to eat). Their toys are a lot cheaper, and they don't expect you to bankroll their careers (at least not for a few years).

And nothing can change your image from Train Wreck to Saintly faster than starting a family. Before becoming a mommy, Angelina Jolie was best known for her penchant for porn-star-ish publicity stunts: She made out with her brother…at the Academy Awards! She wore a vial of her (unlikely) second husband Billy Bob Thornton's blood around her neck. She stole Brad Pitt from America's Sweetheart, Jennifer Aniston. Then there were the tattoos and rumors of drug use and lesbian affairs. Jolie seemed destined to be the brunette Anna Nicole Smith…until she adopted an adorable Cambodian baby she named Maddox. Six years and three more kids later, Angelina has been transformed into a latter-day Mother Teresa—with a better wardrobe.

Katie Holmes is another example of how a baby can give your reputation a much-needed makeover. When she first contracted a relationship fell in love with Tom Cruise, the whole world seemed convinced she had sold her soul to boost her career. But her tenderness with daughter Suri (helpfully chronicled by the paparazzi) has almost made people forget her Scientolo-palling husband.

But one caveat before you try to keep up with the Angelinas, the Katies and the Halles: Just getting knocked up isn't enough. You have to be a good mom (or at least have your Mommy Dearest moments in private). Britney Spears is the perfect example of how motherhood can be the ultimate What Not To Wear. Pre-kids, Britney's career was red-hot: She was the hardest working girl in show-biz, renowned for her discipline and good nature, if not her smarts. Now her antics, while probably no worse than Charlie Sheen's soberest weekend, subject her to much harsher judgment, because she's a mom.

So Jamie-Lynn, we hope you learn at least this lesson from your big sister: Babies are cute and all, but any fashion expert will tell you they don't suit drunks, drug addicts or bad drivers. So here are some tips on showing off your baby to best effect:

  • Wear underwear…every day.
  • Read the directions on the car seat. Put your child in it when driving.
  • Most grocery stores sell milk as well as soda. Buy some.
  • Leave the haircuts to professionals.
  • Don't pimp your kids out to the highest-bidding tabloid (your momma did it to you, and we've seen how well that turned out).

And lastly, after the baby is born, invest in some birth control. A baby at sixteen is an honest mistake. Four kids by the time you're twenty…not a good look.