*Fair warning. If you don’t like ‘body talk’ or you believe discussion about certain parts should be left only to you and your doctor, skip this post:)
I’ve been told that I need to be more confident in certain areas of my life. It is a fact I’m aware of and I’m working on it. But let’s be honest, being a modern day woman is hard work and some days it’s not easy to feel super confident. There is pressure from a variety of outside sources that leads us (I say ‘us’ because I assume I’m not the only one….please, please tell me I’m not the only one) to feel less than adequate. The good news is that we can step through the doors of our home into the loving arms of our spouse and children and feel the confidence flood over us again.
Mothering is humbling to say the least. It begins before delivery with the frequent prodding and probing at appointments and the eventual baring of your birthday suit to the 90 person army charged with bringing a child into the world. You’re in the most vulnerable position possible and they bring a medical marching band through the room.
And so it begins.
When our oldest daughter was five she walked in as I was exiting the shower. As I quickly reached for a towel, she stopped dead in her tracks, eyes getting bigger by the second, jaw dropped and said, in the most tiny, pitiful voice, “What happened?!”
She was so perplexed.
As was I.
How do you explain the ravaging effects of childbirth and nursing to a five year old? Or to a 35 year old for that matter?
I remember looking through the National Geographic magazines that were in the back of my first grade classroom. I couldn’t quite comprehend what happened to these women and their bodies but I was convinced it had something to do solely with Africa. And maybe being naked all day.
My friend Ann fondly recalls the heartwarming moment when her own daughter told her, in a voice overflowing with adoration, “Mom, I hope one day my boobs are as long as yours!”
Now, friends, tell me again how to work on that confidence, will ya?
It’s not just daughters who have the gift for kind words, but apparently sons, as well. My friend Jenny told me recently about the time her son asked if she was growing out her mustache “for Movember….just like dad.”
Ummm, no, son. Not exactly. But thanks for the reminder to find my tweezers.
Who needs enemies when we have friends and family to make us feel so utterly ridiculous, right?
I remember picking up our daughter from daycare a few months after having our fourth child. A cute classmate of hers came up and asked about the baby in my belly. I chuckled and told her the baby had been born. She persisted and said, “No, there is a baby in your belly.” I corrected the little girl, surprisingly less cute by the minute, and let her know that while I had been carrying a huge belly previously, the new baby was at home and I was definitely NOT pregnant. To put the nail in the coffin, she gently rubbed my stomach and told me that she was asking about ‘this baby…..the one in this belly.”
I took my daughter and left.
We changed daycare centers.
Ok, that didn’t happen but the thought crossed my mind.
Surgery is an option. Embracing my war torn body is another option. However, the option I like best is commiserating with other moms who share their stories. Like my friend Brittney who, admitting she might need to limit her sons’ future exposure to popular music, said she was running up her staircase when her 11 year old called up from behind her, “Wiggle, wiggle, wiggle….”
Or my friend Kristi who told her son that his daycare provider (a woman in her early twenties) was having a baby. His response, “She’s not old enough to have a baby. She’s not all crinkly like you are.”
My sister didn’t even get to receive her first ‘kid slam’ from a biological child. As a high school teacher, it was one of her students who informed her, “Well, first you got your baby bump…..but now your butt is getting so big that it’s like you got two bumps.”
So, moms, when you’re feeling less than the amazing, gorgeous, fabulous, accomplished, multi-tasking wonder that you are, seek out another mom. If she’s a good friend, she’ll build you up and remind you that the saggy skin is from the creation of beautiful, albeit less than complimentary, offspring. She’ll tell you the bags under your eyes are from the midnight nurturing you’ve given your toddler as he teethes. She’ll tell you your hangnails and dry skin are from doing the dishes, the snag on your favorite sweater from carrying around a kiddo’s sports bag, and the ‘crinkles’ around your eyes are from all the laughing you do with your family.
If she’s a great friend, she’ll tell you it’s time for some girl time and a pedicure!
On a positive note, this is a Play-Doh interpretation of me, crafted by my oldest daughter. I clearly need more sleep as my eyes are red, and I’m concerned about the color of my legs versus my arms , but I am rocking that dress and apparently improving in her eyes!
Much love to all my girlfriends. Thanks to all who share their horror stories with me so I can chuckle. I selfishly ask for more! If you have a story you’d like to share, PLEASE do because misery loves company!