Stop telling me to show off my post baby body

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I recently read an article about the realities of a post baby body.

 

The article, posted to the Scary Mommy Blog, focused on a professional runner, Stephanie Rothstein Bruce, and her mission to share the truth of a post baby body.

 

Now, there are a lucky few out there who were gifted with the perfect genetic combination that leads them to pop out a baby and be bikini ready in weeks, no sagging, no stretch marks, no sign at all that they just had a baby.

 

For the rest of us, having a baby forever changes our body. After my son, when I was in my 20s, I managed to get back into a bikini and look good “for a mom.” I was able to hide my small mommy pouch and stretch marks with a high waist bottom. I went from a size 3 to a size 5, not too bad.

 

After my daughter, now that I am in my late 30s, my bikini days are probably behind me. The sagging skin of my belly is more prevalent, and my stretch marks are more pronounced. I am no longer comfortable with the way I look. I went from a size 5 to a size 8.

 

For some women, size 8 sounds great. However, this is my personal feeling, about my own body. I am not ashamed, and I do applaud the women who choose to unapologetically share their post baby bodies with the world. It is just not for me, and that should be OK.

 

BUT, body shaming, for lack of a better term, goes both ways.

 

When I talk about not being comfortable in a bathing suit, I am told that I should feel proud that I had a baby. I should not feel like I need to hide my belly. I should wear my pre-baby bikini with pride, and if other people don’t like it, then tough on them. And so on, and so on.

 

Here is the part that these good intentioned people are missing. I don’t care what other people think. It is my choice. I decide what I feel comfortable in. I should be able to wear whatever I want…even if what I want to wear is a loose-fitting cover-up.

 

I am all for being body positive, but I am also all for NOTpressuring anyone into doing something that they are not comfortable with. There is a difference between being supportive and being pushy.

 

So, when you talk to a mother who isn’t comfortable with her mommy pouch and stretch marks being on display, try to remember that it is her body and her choice of how to present it to the world. Be supportive of each other, even if you don’t agree.

Why doesn’t my husband see the laundry?

I’m curious, does your husband ever do chores without you asking him to do them?

The invisible, yet never ending
pile of laundry
Many women have the same complaint, that they have to continuously ask nag their significant other to do chores that OBVIOUSLY need to be done.

Why? Why do men look right past a pile of dirty laundry, or a sink full of dishes, or a messy floor?

While I can’t claim that I am an expert, or that I have it all figured out, I do have a theory.

In a nutshell, genetic memory is the instinctual understanding of the world that we are born with. Male babies may be born with the basic psychological understanding of what has historically been considered “women’s work” vs. “men’s work.”

It is only recently that the idea of shared household responsibilities has been prevalent. Just three generations or so of men have been involved in child rearing and basic household cleaning.

The storage device for dishes
Think about it, your grandfather probably didn’t help your grandmother out too much in the kitchen, did he? I know that my grandfather and great-grandfather where lucky if they knew how to turn on the stove, and I am fairly certain that they thought the oven was a portal to a world full of already cooked food.

Go back another 3 generations and you are on the homestead with women who couldn’t even own land.

We all know that evolution takes time. So, I would image that changing the genetic memory of an entire gender would also take some time, not to mention effort.

Unfortunately, what this means for us ladies, is that we are probably going to be nagging our men folk for the rest of our lives.

Multi-tasking Moms vs. Dads, why Mom wins (and loses)

One of the biggest complaints that I hear from the women in my life is that their husbands can only do one thing at a time.

Usually, this doesn’t become an issue until there are kids in the household. It seems as though, if Dad is watching the kids, then that is all he is doing. There is no cleaning up, throwing a load of laundry in the washer, or making calls. The honey-do-list becomes seemingly invisible when Dad has the kids.

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Why is it that Dad cannot care for the children and do his chores? Are women just inherently better at multi-tasking?

Most women would say yes, many men would tend to agree.

There isn’t much research into this particular claim. One study published in 2013 by Gijsbert Stoet, Daryl B O’Connor, Mark Conner, and Keith R Laws, did find that women out performed men in multi-tasking tests, but there just isn’t enough evidence to say that women are categorically better than men at juggling more than one thing at a time.

In 2017, Nevin Martell wrote an article for the Washington Post that aptly titled, “Believe it or not, dads can multitask, too.

In it, Martell points out that his multi-tasking adaptation was not necessary until he became a father. He also discusses the myth of the 50/50 partnership with his wife, especially in the early stages when she was breastfeeding.

Martell also alludes to, what I believe to be anyway, the root of the issue…the fact that dual income households have only become the norm in recent history.

Think about it. For a majority of us, our mothers were the first generation of women to hold fulltime jobs. Our grandmothers were stay at home mothers, as were our great-grandmothers and so forth.

Women have developed the skills needed to take care of children and chores, and whatever else needs to be done, over thousands of years. For men, this just the beginning of the journey.

Dads, in general, are doing the best they can to catch up with us. So, when you are ready to kill your husband because he is too overwhelmed with 3 tasks to help you with any of your 50, just take a moment to remind yourself that this is new territory for not just him, but his entire gender.

Cut him some slack, and don’t kill him, maybe just wound him a little.

 

How having a baby ruined my life, but it’s OK

In this society, there are things that we are allowed to say, and then there are things that we are forbidden from saying.

I am about to say one of those forbidden things, and I am going to defend my opinion and, hopefully, make you feel better about agreeing with me.

Here it is:

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My baby #1 and baby #2

Having a baby ruined my life.

Now, if you are a mother, you are probably feeling a bit conflicted right now. On one hand, you know I am right. On the other hand, we aren’t allowed to say that.

We can only talk about how much better our lives are since our perfect little angels came into this world.

The truth is, of course I love my children. I love them so much that I don’t even hold it against them that they took away all my hobbies, my free time, my indulgences, and let’s not forget my sleep. I love them more than I loved being able to do whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted.

Before my son came along, I used to live in a small loft apartment. Even as a college student, I had enough money to do what I wanted. I was perusing my dreams and I had plans to become a writer, move to NYC and live the fast-paced party life that I had always seen on TV.

When I found out that I was pregnant, I had to move into an apartment that cost 4 times as much money per month. I finished out by semester at college, earning an Associate’s degree. I eventually gave up my budding career as a journalist for a more lucrative career in Marketing, and ultimately went back to my roots as an IT support person.
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My Husband and I loved being physical
Fast forward 10 years.

am living in a nice house, reasonable monthly payments. My hobbies include Obstacle Course Racing, rock climbing, cross-fit, running, and martial arts. My husband and I spend our nights and weekends doing what we want. We attend so many concerts over the spring, summer, and fall that we have a favorite lot to park in at every local venue.

That is when we find out that we are having a baby.

We break our lease, losing 3 months of rent payments, and move into a new, more expensive, house with an additional bedroom. OCR, cross-fit, martial arts, rock climbing, running, and concerts are all a thing of the past.

My husband and I, now in our late 30s, spend our nights and weekends chasing a tiny tornado around our new home. Bed time has gone from 10PM, 11PM, 12AM, to 8PM. Sometimes, when we are feeling wild, we push it to 9PM. That is not to say that we get any sleep, of course. See, we have one of those babies who despises sleep and fights it with every fiber of her tiny, beautiful, little being.

Trips to the nail salon for mani/pedis are reserved for birthdays or other special occasions. My clothes are generally covered in crusted baby food. My hair is greasy and unruly. My skin is blotchy and unloved. My toned muscles are neglected and saggy.

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You see, the life that I had before my kids came along was completely and utterly destroyed by their arrival. It is OK to acknowledge that. It is even OK to miss that life sometimes.

We make so many sacrifices for our children, and society puts so much pressure on us to ignore the fact that we basically give up who we are and what we love to take care of these tiny, helpless, little strangers.

Perhaps, if we stopped pretending that giving birth is some magical exercise that wipes away any negative thoughts or emotions, we can start being honest about the real life struggles that both new and renewed parents face. Maybe, just maybe, we can chip away at the stigma associated with post-partum depression. Possibly, we can even shed light on the emotional hardships that fathers deal with post baby.

We can’t face reality while being afraid of the truth.