Ever since I had Ruby last January, I generally cringe when people try to take my photo. Between being 38 & my Hashimoto’s thyroid issues-I’m literally about 40 pounds heavier than I normally am at this point (1 year postpartum). It’s horrible. I’m so self conscious and think about my weight all of the time. I look in my closet and see a full closet of items I can’t fit into. It’s depressing. It’s annoying. It’s especially frustrating because weight loss is very hard with my autoimmune issues. If I workout too hard and “push myself”, my body doesn’t function properly and will not recover properly either. It doesn’t matter how locked down my nutrition is either. It sucks. I’m finally at a place where the scale is starting to go down, so I don’t want to jinx anything!
I find myself struggling to remember the exact moment when my self worth became highly dependent on my physical appearance. I don’t remember obsessing about my weight or the shape of my thick legs when I was a toddler. I DO remember that by 7th grade, it was something I paid attention to and thought about frequently. Everyone loves a big booty and thick thighs to support it nowadays, but when I was growing up that had not yet been normalized like it is in today’s society. No one knew who Jennifer Lopez was yet and Kim Kardashian hadn’t even boarded the big booty train then. I prioritize intelligence and it is very important to me, but it definitely says something about our culture that everyone from tweens to grandmother’s are overly concerned with looks. Do women in other countries obsess like Americans do? Are we all super shallow or merely products of our environment? Why have we been shown images our whole lives of women with insane genetic compositions (or photoshop) when the majority of us will never be able to attain figures like that?
I notice my 12 year old daughter is already struggling with body image issues. It’s also not lost on me that my 8 year old son has started to make comments like, “I don’t want to get fat”. I will never be able to experience a male perspective about this or anything else, but I’m betting this obsession with “being hot” and “looking good” isn’t gender specific. So, many conversations have been taking place in our home about models, Photoshop, and realistic expectations. I’ve tried to be cognizant of how I speak about my body and myself in general in front of the kids as well. We are focused on health more than being hot. To be honest though-I feel like it’s a losing battle no matter how hard we try as parents between magazines, billboards, commercials, and everything else they’re exposed to in mass quantities on a daily basis.
Let’s go back to how this affects me and many other Mom’s out there. There’s way too much emphasis on how we look as mother’s and less emphasis on how GOOD of a mother we are. Let’s be honest, expectations of us while we’re still recovering from childbirth are absurd not to mention a hindrance to our recovery. No world, I’m not Blake Lively and capable of “bouncing back” 5 nanoseconds after delivery. I have boobs, a big bubble butt, and the thighs to support it. My tummy has stretch marks to commemorate my pregnancies. My children see none of this. They see their Mom. It doesn’t matter to them if I’m 100 pounds or 1,000 pounds. If I only have 1 redeeming factor about me, it is most definitely that I love my kids more than anything and strive to be an excellent mom. They are all angels, sweet and unique in their own little ways. Regardless of how I think I look, my babies love me regardless. Instead of shying away from photo ops, I need to learn to lean in. Capturing memories is so much more important than my ego.
To all the Mom’s out there, remember-your kids love you no matter what your appearance is (even though I’m sure you’re all beautiful). Live your life to the fullest, right now, in this moment!