I was walking to the park to meet my girls, who were hanging out there with their grandma while I worked out, there was a mom walking hand in hand with a lanky string bean with sawdust colored hair bouncing just below her shoulders. She reminded me of Elle, except she was maybe 8. I was hit by that wave of sentiment that hits all mothers, whether it be of the feeling of nevermore when we see a tiny baby after we are decidedly done having kids or the feeling of time slipping almost visibly through our hands when we see grown children. We will be there soon, Elle and I, walking together through a park, and I will be able to look almost right into her grey eyes instead of down at her long, baby eyelashes.
When my focus shifted from the girl to her mother, I had a couple thoughts hit me at once. She was thin and dressed nicely and I thought, "I have a few years to get that thin/stylish/perfected as a mom/woman/wife". Ugh. I am beyond sick of my brain.
I will say that I do workout and I recommend going to the gym as a mom for a couple of reasons. 1. It always makes me FEEL good, no matter how much I did not want to go. 2. My child insists on being held pretty much all day and I need to put in after hours work to get the muscles to support this needy child. 3. A much needed break from my children. Has going to the gym made me look like the celebrities in the magazine who just had their babies six weeks ago and are, by some act of one god or another, in a bikini at the beach? No. Not at all. Am I stronger? Yes. Do I feel better? Yes. Do I look like a mom when I am naked? Yes, flubby little belly pouch, small pancake-ish boobs, two asses (one big one, one small one hanging out under the big one), arm flap that waves when I do. It's all there.
It is a been a tremendous struggle not to hate my body. Like when I get out the shower, I see it and say out loud, "ughhhhhhhh....". The weird part about it is, I am the only person that seems to notice how "horrible I look". My husband loves my butt. My kids don't care at all about the softness of my belly. Strangers on the street do not gasp in horror when I walk by. In fact, the person I look the most like are other moms I see out and about.
I am trying desperately to accept myself. To be proud of my body and the know that it will never be the same as it was before kids. But that being a different body, does not make it a bad body. This has of course, all come to the forefront of my mind as summer and bathing suit season it upon us. We are headed to San Diego at the end of the summer and you know what I really want to do when I am at the beach? I want to wear cute shorts and tank tops. I want to lay in the sun in my bathing suit. I want to RUN in said bathing suit and play in the waves with my kids. And you know who is stopping me from feeling like I cannot do that? Me. I am the jerk.
It is not society, as in the actual people who live in the real world, because when I am at the beach or the park now, I never really have a seen a mom of small kids busts out her bikini and looks like a super model (even though that is how we somehow feel we are supposed to look). Us moms, we all look very much the same. Covering our various lumpy parts with cover-ups or hiding under the umbrella. And when I honestly think about it, the women I am the most jealous of at the beach are not the ones who look super good in their swimsuits. It is the woman laughing, playing and running around with her kids. I want to be THAT woman. And I am the only person in the way of being just like her.
It is a tough battle. I know all of this. I can write these words. I know that if I went to the beach tomorrow in a bathing suit and played happily with my kids in the lake, nobody would never bat an eye. No one would walk up to be and ask me to PLEASE cover up my cellulite or laugh at my arm flub. So I am trying win this battle. I am trying to BE the mom who can be in pictures without hating herself. To wear fun clothes without worrying. To be the type of woman I want my girls to see me as and grow up to be.
I am.... a work in progress. But I WILL be in a bathing suit the next chance I get and I will have fun. C'mon brain, you can do it.