Body Positive: Time to Love Our Mom Bods
I can still remember when I was in middle school, I looked in the mirror at my naked body and noticed a few new additions. Right on my ample love handles were new, purple zig zags.
I was certain I had shingles, like a fellow classmate, and ran to my mother excited for my new break from school.
My mom had the difficult job of explaining I did not have adult chicken pox, but I did have some serious stretch marks.
Stretch marks?! Now, my fatness was scarred into my flesh. It was there forever like a chubby branding. My mom tried to counteract that thought, she explained I was growing and my skin couldn’t keep up. All I could hear was, “Fatty, Fatty Two-by-Four, can’t fit through the kitchen door.”
Like most things embarrassing during puberty, I quickly made up a story for my stretch marks. The next day in gym class, I told a tale about crawling through my small bathroom window with shards of glass around the frame that managed to scratch and scar my sides. I included a vivid storyline about my mother locking us out, the dog trapped inside and smashing the stuck window out with my brother’s football helmet (a rock would have been too predictable).
I’m not sure if my fellow 12 year olds bought that story, but thinking about it now makes me itch with embarrassment. I’m pretty sure no one ever noticed my new stretch marks, but I felt like they were lit up like Christmas lights along my sides. As long as I can remember, I have been trying to make excuses for my body. Kids, depression, anxiety, food addiction, kids, kids, kids, twins…it’s a constant cycle of reasons why my body doesn’t live up to expectations. One of my favorite pastimes is poking and prodding in the mirror and envisioning what a skilled surgeon could make out of this lump of peachiness.
This morning, I look at three, yes, three little girls’ faces who are going to go through puberty at the same time (lord, help me). They are going to want to question their bodies, make excuses for what’s happening and tug and pull on their clothing to cover up their transition into motherhood. I pray things like Dr. 90210, Extreme Makeover and any other of these tacky displays of body hate are outlawed before then.
I’m so overwhelmed with emotion thinking about helping this tiny little ladies deal with all their bodies will go through and all they expect from them. Sure, I may have almost a decade until the first crosses that threshold into: demonic personality, budding breasts, hiding tampons and shaving all the things. I definitely need a decade to prepare myself.
Every time I watch my daughters watch me criticize my body I want to punch myself in the throat. When I step on the scale every morning and my oldest daughter steps on afterwards I want to sob. When I put on makeup and she asks me what each item is for and I quickly list off all the things I’m trying to conceal, I want to cry for her and myself.
But, how do I stop? How does it all stop?
I guess it starts to stop with this post, both myself writing it and you reading it, fellow moms. We need to be aware of what we are doing and teaching these little women. I believe society has come leaps and bounds from when I was young and now a simple Google search will show many uplifting stories of body positivity. This is so important. However, what’s more important is that the woman of the house, the one they admire and watch each and every day takes claim over her body. She doesn’t make excuses for why it looks the way it does. She rejoices for the way it dimples and curves.
Let’s start today. I’m with you. Put down the Spanx. Step away from the scale. Smile at your body. You made these beautiful children. You’re fucking gorgeous. You can do this. You can take a little time to appreciate all the places your body has taken you and the things it has given you. Maybe you shouldn’t have eaten so many wings in college, but if you didn’t, you wouldn’t have met your best friend at that grimy bar your sophomore year. Maybe you shouldn’t have eaten so many cinnamon rolls on Christmas, but you laughed so hard that morning with your kids at the breakfast table. Maybe you shouldn’t have done a lot of things, but maybe, just maybe they were worth it.
So, after today, let’s make a little effort. Let’s do this together. It all can stop with us. We can be the moms that make a difference. Let’s do this.