"We're just sitting at the table drinking our OJ and my toddler says, 'Mommy says Fuck You when the cars honk their horns.'"
Does everybody tell you your child looks EXACTLY like her dad? Do you get grumpy thinking about the wretched 40 weeks of pregnancy and agonizing 30+ hours of labor that have resulted in comment after comment of, "She's her daddy's girl alright!" Don't fret. You and your child are far more alike than these idiots realize. Look for the moments of similarity. Treasure them. They will come. For instance, the other day Sofia was mommy's girl all over...crying and wearing nothing but a skirt. Ah, takes me back...
"I have a headache, and I'm on my period, so I'm eating all the marshmallows out of the Lucky Charms. Because fuck the kids, you know?"
Five Reasons Why I Refuse to Pretend I'm in Love With my Body 100% of the Time I'm With my Daughters
Go ahead, throw your stones. Or statistics or anecdotes or whatever. You won’t change my mind. I refuse to pretend I’m in love with my body every single second that I am ever around my girls (or boy, for that matter). Why? Most simply, because it isn’t true. But also:
1. Recently, I was killing two birds with one stone, doing some ab work while chatting with my eight-year-old daughter Iris and my husband Lee as part of Iris’s wind-down routine before bed. I was holding a plank when Iris, sweetly, crawled under me and looked up adoringly. Then she giggled.
“Your belly!” She squealed. “Why is it so squishy?!”
Lee looked at me, apologetically. “Iris,” he said simply, a cautionary tone.
“No,” I said, “It’s OK.” And it was. I explained that my belly was squishy because it had grown three babies, and that skin and muscles take time to shrink down, and sometimes never do. I was matter-of-fact, and I was clear that squishy bellies are natural and beautiful, but also that I sometimes miss my old body and clothes. I will never, ever beat myself up in front of my kids or insult any woman’s physical appearance. But I won’t be afraid of honest conversation in a thoughtful, safe setting.
2. I wake up at 5:30 a.m. to run before my hour commute and full workday. I snack on mixed nuts and carrot sticks. I ran my first 5K in 16 years this summer – and won. My desire to drop my pregnancy weight has birthed a new, healthier, happier version of me. Before my third child, I weighed 98 pounds but could get winded climbing stairs.
No, I will not obsess, privately or in front of my children, over a number on a scale. But I will continue to set goals that involve my body. And I will model behavior that celebrates dedication, grit and resilience. I will communicate with my body and my routine that self-betterment is attainable, though it often comes at the price of hard work. Yes, I will also communicate this with my professional goals and creative goals and parenting goals. But I will not be shamed into hiding my body goals. I will celebrate them.
We live in a culture that rightfully labels of childhood obesity an epidemic. Obviously, let’s take care and not be dicks about it, but also, let’s not be afraid to be open about our fitness goals and how they relate to body image.
Face it, mamas. Face it right now. The epic supermarket meltdown will happen to you. Maybe not today, maybe nor for years, but it will happen. No matter how many days in your perfect little life you leave the house in skinny jeans and a cute top with rosy cheeks and glossy hair and wicker wedges, this day you will be sweaty. You will dressed in dirty clothes with either a stain or a hole in them. You will probably have an angry pimple on your face. It will either be 97 degrees or 8 degrees, and your child will not be wearing weather-appropriate clothes. He may not even being wearing shoes (or pants) at all. You will have many bags, and your keys will be invisible to you, and your heart will audibly beat, and you will almost certainly be in a Walmart parking lot, even if it's only your second time ever going to one because of course you always go to Trader Fucking Joe's, but this day, this inevitable day, you are here. Because every decision has led you here because Walmart is the particular vortex that sucks all parents in to eventually endure their day of brutal reckoning. What kind of parent are you going to be?
Do yourselves one gosh darn favor right now. Zip your purse. Button anything that can be buttoned. This day will come. Don't make it worse.
We love our kids. They drive us crazy. We write about it instead of going insane.