Category: Healthy Moms

Learning To Fall with Grace

Learning to Fall With Grace

This week a group of my mom friends trusted me to take them on an adventure. We traveled an hour to take an Aerial Yoga class with my friend Delia. Delia has instructed newbies on the “silks” for about three years now. She is a natural at it and really great at letting people find their own comfort zone.

When I suggested this adventure I really had no idea what I was getting us into. I had zero reservations about the experience. That is until I arrived at the studio, took off my shoes and got into place in front of my silk. Silks are 10 feet of hanging fabric clamped to a chain and attached by a cable to the rafters or some other structure. I had no clue how demanding it would be to stay steady on them.

I followed Delia’s instructions very closely. I tried to mirror her movements as accurately as I could (and this old body would allow). But, half way through the class I was stuck upside down and swinging inches from the floor. I could not figure my way out and she instructed me to simply drag my hand over the floor to slow myself down, and then how to stop myself and lower myself out of the silk.

In that moment my instinct was to panic. I wanted to fight against the momentum and drop to the floor. Instead, I embraced this new feeling of flying and stretched out my arm to emulate the grace of an ice skater. I joked with my group and made silly faces as I slowly, and as gracefully as possible, came to a stop. I stood up with confidence and said, “I like to fall with grace and style.” My friend Delia commented, “Isn’t that what life is about, learning to fall with grace?”

That statement stuck with me. How many times do we find ourselves in new and sudden situations outside of our comfort zone? Parenting for sure will push you into realms of discomfort you didn’t know existed before. Do we brace ourselves against the momentum of life or do we embrace the chaos? Do we slow ourselves down long enough to gain confidence to get back up?

I feel like every new stage has brought about new challenges with my kids. From their behaviors to their food preferences to a first time with a new sickness. Most often I want to bristle and try to control things into perfection and make them more efficient and convenient for me as a parent. That seems to only make things worse. But, when I truly lean into the moment and just go with the flow and leave behind the instinct to panic things seem to get easier for me.

I stumble most days on this parenting journey. I rethink my choices daily. I wake up with zero reservations about my life with kids. That is until I am standing in front of the empty coffee pot with one or both of them screaming at me. When I find myself pushing back and yelling I remember to take a breath, find that amazing mom I want to be and let go of making the outcome perfect. If I fall, I get up and declare my grace through humor. I dust myself off and try again.

I wish I could say the rest of the class was easier after that, but it wasn’t. I got stuck two more times, thankfully not upside down. Delia came to my rescue with a boost both times. That’s what friend’s do.

Who knew taking a yoga class would help me discover that I am stronger than I realize? That when I am faced with a challenge I have a deep inner strength and determination that doesn’t allow me to give up. Who knew I would get a life lesson from a yoga class?

 

The Whatever Mom is a twin mom learning to let go of perfection. She shares her real life struggles with parenting through her blog and contributes her time and talents as a writer to Hudson Valley Parent and Masshole Mommy. When she isn’t writing you can find her chugging coffee, folding laundry and not judging other parents. Don’t forget to subscribe via email so you never miss a blog post again!

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Kids Get Sick – Get Over It

The Whatever Mom (7)

 

I am on day 10 of this crappy sickness with my kids. Is it a cold virus? Is it strep throat? There’s no fever or vomiting. They have tons of energy. But, I keep them home for their comfort. Thankfully, I work from home and can afford to keep my kids home as long as they need. By afford I mean not paying a baby sitter; I didn’t mention the cost to my sanity.

When my kids get sick I am wary about sharing on social media for fear of judgement. There is always a parent out there that has an opinion on what kind of cold medicine you give your kids- is it organic, dye free and homeopathic? “You do know you shouldn’t give kids too many antibiotics.” “There are alternatives to eye drops for treating pink eye.”  Then, there are the teachers who blame the parents for letting their kids get them sick. “Keep your kids home if they are sick.” No one intentionally sets out to spread germs. Germs are everywhere and during every season. If I post what we are sick with and show up to a party 3 days later I’ve just branded us as the source of everyone else’s illness.

So what is a mom to do?

  1. Don’t post every illness to social media. I have been guilty of posting about our second round of pink eye. I administer the drops and release my kids back to school three days later (per doctor’s permission) and suddenly another kid in the class gets pink eye. Now my kids are the target of blame. Really does it matter where the pink eye came from? A kid can get pink eye from a shopping cart, play spaces or a doctor’s office. If your kid gets pink eye identifying the source isn’t going to cure it. Following the doctor’s orders will.
  2. Use the medicine that works best for your child. If you are not one to follow homeopathic methods because you don’t feel they work for your child, then don’t waste the time or money paying into the guilt of “over medicating” your kid. It is completely OK to seek out the advice of a pharmacist or doctor on which over the counter medications you can safely use to comfort your child through illness.
  3. You don’t have to rush your child to the doctor for every sniffle. It is OK to use the wait and see approach. Most often that is the response a doctor will give you anyway. You are not neglecting your child if you wait a few more days to see how they are feeling before taking them to the doc’s office. Not only are you saving co-pays, or an extra bill but you are saving your child exposure of additional germs.
  4. It’s OK to send your kid to school with a runny nose. Every school has a different sick policy. Learn what your school’s policy is and follow it. Typically, it is the rule to be free of a fever and vomit for 24 hours before returning to school. If you have followed the rule and your child is fever and vomit free, but still has a runny nose and a cough with no other symptoms; it’s OK to give them cold medicine and send them to school. If they have the energy to make it through the day and their doc doesn’t see a reason for them to miss any more school. Always have a doctor’s note for their return to school. It won’t save you from judgement, but it will save you from some guilt.
  5. Disclose your kid’s sickness when necessary. It’s OK to cancel plans or disappoint your kids because they are too sick to attend an event. It might be tempting to send them to school or a party at friends while not recovered 100% to see if they can make it through. This runs the risk of exposing other kids to germs and setting them back a bit in their healing. I promise kids will get over the sadness of missing a birthday party, or a fun play date.

Most importantly, don’t judge another parent’s methods for dealing with their kid’s sickness. Unless you can see definitive proof of neglect there is no reason to suspect a parent isn’t doing everything they need to, to ensure their child’s health.

Instead of lashing out on Facebook about the types of meds a parent administers, or judging a parent for not keeping their kid home long enough; why not offer to help? Would you be willing to bring a meal, some cold supplies like tissues and cough drops? Can you send a get well card, or drop a note saying you are thinking of them? Taking care of a sick kid and balancing the rest of our life is stressful enough; we don’t need to hear someone else spouting their own opinions and standards.

I have the fortune of staying home with my kids on sick days. I understand not every parent has that luxury. When I drop my kid off at school and hear another kid coughing, I don’t think “man, couldn’t their mom keep them home longer?” I think, “Poor kiddo he/she must not feel well.”  Then I ask the teacher if she needs any additional supplies for the classroom and I make sure my kids wash their hands. The best way to safeguard my kids during cold season is to worry about what we are doing in our own home to stay healthy. I don’t have the time or the energy to get caught up in how everyone else is living.

The Whatever Mom is a full-time wife and twin mama living on coffee and wine. She enjoys the pure rush of cleaning the BIG potty between loads of laundry. It is her dream that moms everywhere accept and embrace the Whatever Mom philosophy which can be found here.

Find more from Roxanne at Hudson Valley Parent and at Masshole Mommy

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Oh The Humanity of Game Night

Oh The Humanity of Game Night

Recently a group of my mom friends and I gathered for a game night event that can only be described as adventurous. Nothing about it was hazardous. We didn’t even leave the living room. We simply gathered to play just one game: Cards against Humanity.

Let me start by sharing that this game is NOT for anyone who is uptight, or timid about hearing and using colorful language that includes descriptive sex acts, body parts, bodily functions and worse. The list of offenses can go on. But, now that the disclaimer is out there let me share why this game was so much fun!

As moms we spend our entire day being appropriate. We model for our kids the appropriate topics to discuss at the dinner table. We teach them to use manners and respectful language. We even refrain, with intervention from a force deep inside, from dropping the ole F-bomb on a daily basis. I KNOW I’m not the only one who has stepped on a Lego piece and held back a generous amount of curse words.

Cards against Humanity

Our night wasn’t about getting together to use bad words and yuck it up over innuendos. It was about getting to share some laughs. Plus, it was nice to be in a kid free space eating snacks we didn’t have to share, and drinking our own beverages. We didn’t have to worry about whispering or spelling out words our kids can’t spell yet.  We could really relax and know no one will judge us for the non-politically correct things leaving our mouths because we could blame it on the cards. No one panicked about “how am I going to explain this to my kid later.” The freedom to let loose and go uncensored was darned exhilarating.

Moms playing Cards against Humanity

After the game was over and the cards put away a group of us lingered to talk. We were up well passed our routine bed times. The last time I was up until 1:00 a.m. it included a puke bucket and a thermometer. So, it was a thrill to be up that late catching up with moms I only get to toss out a quick hello to in passing.

I highly recommend starting your own game night with friends! You don’t have to play this game, any game will do. Just find a kid free space to let down your mommy-guard for a short time and relax. I know I felt refreshed and ready to tackle my mom duties the next day.

Tips for hosting an Epic Game Night:

Make sure you have a place for the kiddos to go. Whether it is off to grandma’s house, or upstairs with daddy, you will want a distraction free environment. Make it a place you can truly relax.

Ask everyone to bring their favorite snack to share! It can be as simple as chips and dip, or as fancy as a decadent dessert. Can’t go wrong with store bought!

Decide in advance on beverages. If you want an alcohol free space, or if you would like to include a little wine, make sure your guests know what to expect in your home.

Don’t worry about cleaning the house to white glove standards. You’re inviting moms! They get it! Just make sure there are plenty of comfy places to sit and maybe clean up some of the sticky parts.

Have the group decide on a game and let the fun begin! The mission of game night is to just laugh and connect with friends. Keep the game simple and energetic and the crowd will do the rest!

Got a game night suggestion? Leave it in the comments below!

The Whatever Mom is a full-time wife and twin mama living on coffee and wine. She enjoys the pure rush of cleaning the BIG potty between loads of laundry. It is her dream that moms everywhere accept and embrace the Whatever Mom philosophy which can be found here.

Find more from Roxanne at Hudson Valley Parent and at Masshole Mommy

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The Bitterness In My Parenting

Jealousy is counting someone else's blessings instead of your own. - unknown

I was chatting with a friend and a seasoned mom about her grown kids, and how she’s moved on to grandma status. She was marveling over how big my kids are already. As we continued the conversation about my life with kids I commented, “I think it would be different if I had a mom, or a sister I could call to come over when I need help.” She replied, “oh so you do this alone, ALONE.” Yep.

I do have a husband, but he works outside of the home most days and the larger portion of the child rearing falls on me. Yes, I know single parents have it more difficult and I would never minimize their hard work. My own mother is a single mom. However, she was able to send us off to my grandparents on weekends and during the summer. My mom lives several hours away and is unable to drive. Growing up I loved when my aunts and uncles would drop in to spend time with us. It is rare my family makes the trip to visit us. I remember running around the yard and having sleep overs with my cousins. My kids are the youngest in our family.

My husband and I typically get one date night a year. We did not celebrate our tenth wedding anniversary two years ago, and we have never gone away on a vacation alone. I know my situation is not unique. There are thousands of other couples living like this. But, what I have a hard time with is when jealousy takes hold of me. It’s hard not to feel envious of friends whose parents go on vacations with them to make it easier. Or, how many of my friends get to go away with their husbands alone for birthdays or anniversaries. Or, how much fun my friend’s kids have celebrating “cousins day.”

I hate that I get jealous. It’s typically not in my nature. But, here I am. I just want my kids to have what other kids have, a big family to cherish them. I want my kids to have fun memories of jumping on beds at sleep overs with their cousins. Or, spending holidays surrounded by family. It would be really cool if they had an aunt or uncle to take them out to the movies or on picnics. It isn’t about having time for me, or getting a regular date night with my husband (although either would be appreciated). It’s about my kids having more than just mom and dad.

As twins I know they’ll always have each other, but that isn’t a relationship they can fully appreciate until much older. I worry they won’t get to have the closeness with their extended family like I did growing up. I worry one day they will be disappointed with their childhood.

Yes, I do this alone without the physical and emotional support an extended family can provide. It’s hard most days. It’s lonely and I get jealous of my friends. I have accepted it’s just the four of us. Thankfully, I am learning to move my bitterness to happiness for my friends. I don’t know why life worked out this way, but I know I can’t change it. So, we make the best of what we have together, even if it’s just me, a husband and two kids.

The Whatever Mom is a full-time wife and twin mama living on coffee and wine. She enjoys the pure rush of cleaning the BIG potty between loads of laundry. It is her dream that moms everywhere accept and embrace the Whatever Mom philosophy which can be found here.

Find more from Roxanne at Hudson Valley Parent and at Masshole Mommy

 

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Friday Favorites – Alyssa Milano

Good morning!! I hope you will watch this clip of a very honest discussion about breast feeding. I like that it shows opposing views and each party is respectful in their exchange.

 

Breast feeding is one of the most divisive and controversial topics in parenting today. Growing up I don’t remember it being such an issue. I remember being curious about it as a kid and my mother explaining to me that’s how some moms feed their babies. Notice she didn’t say all moms. She left room for other moms, like herself, who formula fed. She was a working mom and if she had wanted to breast feed she would have. But, no one questioned her or shamed her for her choice.

I have steered clear of this topic until now because it can be so alienating to some moms. Myself included. I wasn’t able to breast feed my babies and most people think it is because I have twins. I know several twin moms who breast feed successfully and for over a year! Unfortunately, I couldn’t feed my babies because my milk supply never came in. I was ready and prepared to breast feed them. I felt a truly deep despair when it couldn’t happen. I felt like a failure before I even left the hospital five days after giving birth. So, for the first year I had to feed my babies formula.

It took me nearly three years to get over that feeling of guilt. I felt like it was my biggest failure as a mom. Not only was that because of the pressure I put on myself, but also because of the pressure of “breast is best.” Since I couldn’t give my kids the “best” I had failed. I stood quietly in the middle of the mommy war hearing judgments from both camps. I’ve met the finger wagers who spout statistics about health benefits of breast milk. I’ve met the moms who are too ashamed to feed their babies in public so they let them cry out, or hide themselves away. I’ve met the moms who participate in breast feed-ins and feed their babies openly in defiance. I’ve also met moms who have said breast feeding is not for me and boldly choose formula.

Here’s the thing… moms just want to feed their kids. Why is this deserving of media coverage, argument and a division? Why are we (moms included) relegating motherhood to the peripheral? Not only are breast feeding moms expected to remove themselves from view, but so are moms who have kids melting down in public, or moms who have “too many kids.” Why is motherhood so marginalized and minimized? Doesn’t it take a village to raise a child? So, why is my village sending me away and shaming me for my choices? Every family is different so why are we trying to put each other into a box that makes other people’s parenting a more acceptable and palatable experience for ourselves?

Here’s to the moms who choose to put their baby’s nutritional needs first- whether you choose formula, or breast milk you are making the right choice for your child. No one can ask for more than that! 😉

 

The Whatever Mom is a full time wife and twin mama living on coffee and wine. She enjoys the pure rush of cleaning the BIG potty between loads of laundry. It is her dream that moms everywhere accept and embrace the Whatever Mom philosophy which can be found here.

Find more from Roxanne at Hudson Valley Parent and at Masshole Mommy

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On the Tenth Day of Service Give the Gift of Your Best Self

10

Our nine days of service have included some great experiences to share with the kids. I hope you enjoy the simplicity and are inspired to find creative ways to include your kids in service to others. Now, I am going to suggest you give back in a way only YOU can. Give a friend, a neighbor, or a stranger your best self.

How can you help?

  1. See another mom at school drop off who looks overwhelmed? Ask her out for coffee. As moms we don’t take the time for ourselves, we so easily give it way. But, if we schedule time with someone else we are more apt to follow through. Connecting over coffee will give both of you time to recharge.
  2. See a neighbor who lives alone? Don’t just drop off a note, knock on the door. Invite them over for tea and chat for a while. If they aren’t able to make it out of the house take them a meal and stay a while to talk. Giving someone your full attention even for fifteen minutes of small talk could mean the world to them.
  3. See someone who needs a shopping cart? Offer them yours. Give them a big smile and wish them a great day. The thoughtfulness of strangers can be very uplifting.
  4. Is there someone you miss talking to? Put away the to-do list and pick up the phone. Give them a call and check in. Ask how they are doing and find out what’s new. You’ll be glad you took the time to catch up.
  5. Look at people’s faces while standing in line at the grocery store. Talk to them about the weather. Notice something about them you like: a scarf, a pin, their shoes and give them a compliment. Talk to the cashier about how busy the store looks today and thank them for their service. It can be rare that someone tells us something nice about ourselves that even the smallest compliment can give us a boost.

I know all of my service posts have featured small acts with big impact. I’ve showed you how to package up gifts and cards and send them out to people in need. But, not all of us need material things. Some of us just need to be recognized. Some of us just need a little kindness in our day. Like a pebble dropped into the water the ripples travel outward until they join the current and create a big wave. Together we can start a tidal wave just by being our best selves this holiday.

 

Related posts:

On The First Day Of Service Host A Food Drive

On The Second Day of Service Host A Coat Drive

On The Third Day of Service Make A Special Delivery

On The Fourth Day of Service Send Some Cheer

On The Fifth Day of Service Give Some Swag

On The Sixth Day of Service Rise Together

On The Seventh Day of Service Make A Furry Friend

On The Eighth Day of Service Express Your Gratitude

On The Ninth Day of Service Share Your Spirit

 

The Whatever Mom is a full time wife and twin mama living on coffee and wine. She enjoys the pure rush of cleaning the BIG potty between loads of laundry. It is her dream that moms everywhere accept and embrace the Whatever Mom philosophy which can be found here.

Find more from Roxanne at Hudson Valley Parent and at Masshole Mommy

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Friday Favorites – Poofy Organics GIVEAWAY!

The Whatever Mom Giveaway
Poofy Organics does not offer samples of products for personal consumption, or review. They are a small family run company and unable to fulfill sample requests. No financial compensation was received for this review. All honest opinions belong solely to The Whatever Mom.

Does facing hundreds of little ghouls and goblins, princesses and pirates make you break out into a cold sweat? No worries! I’ve got you covered with this weeks Friday Favorites and a special give away!

First, let me share with you a little bit about why I love Poofy Organics. This is a very small, family run company that is dedicated to producing small batches of product made by  hand. This means significant quality control measures and higher standards for production methods. You can visit their website to meet the team and for an inside look at their production. They are also one of a few USDA Organic Certified personal care companies (but, not every single ingredient has an organic counterpart so organic ingredients are listed individually).

I ordered a few hair care products for my girls. They have thick hair that tangles easily. So, I purchased the Raspberry Lemonade Punch Shampoo and Leave in Conditioner from the Young Wild and Free kids line.

Young Wild Free Poofy Organics

Now that my kids are in school I worry about lice so I also purchased the Organic Lice Prevention Spray (also comes in a shampoo).

Young Wild And Free Poofy Organics

All the products are toxin free and use mostly essential oils. I love that the website lists every ingredient in each product so you know what you are getting before you buy. Each product I purchased is labeled as vegan, eco friendly, cruelty free and made by hand. (Except for the lice prevention spray- it is so new they haven’t even designed a label for it yet). The only thing about the shampoo that I don’t like is that it is not tear free. So, we have to be very careful while shampooing. Otherwise, these products smell great and my kids get excited to use them. And, I like that I can pronounce every ingredient.

Now my next product of choice is the Max Deo. It’s a natural deodorant. I have been reluctant to make the switch to natural deodorants because well, in the past they’ve never worked for me. My friend Rachel and Poofy Organics Guide gave me a deodorant to try. The results are it works! I started using the Peppy Mint a few weeks ago and so far it has worked just as hard as my traditional deodorant. It absorbs quickly and doesn’t leave a white, flaky residue.

Max Deo Poofy Organics

I love it so much I’m giving away one Peppy Mint Organic Max Deo for you to try!! Just follow the Rafflecopter link below to enter for your chance to win! One lucky reader will be chosen at close of the contest on Sunday at 12:00 Midnight EST. Winner announced on my Facebook page on Monday morning!! (If you aren’t following already head over there now!).

OK, so you won’t receive this in time to get you through the Halloween rush, but it will arrive in time to get you through Thanksgiving with the in-laws!

**GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED**

The Whatever Mom is a full time wife and twin mama living on coffee and wine. She enjoys the pure rush of cleaning the BIG potty between loads of laundry. It is her dream that moms everywhere accept and embrace the Whatever Mom philosophy which can be found here, Find her two party Body Beautiful project here and here. 

Find more from Roxanne at Hudson Valley Parent and at Masshole Mommy

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Whatever. It’s Just Breakfast.

Breakfast Ideas

Before I was a mom I knew my kids were going to eat perfectly balanced, delicious, organic meals because that’s what I planned for them to enjoy. It was like I had psychic abilities and just knew they would love wearing adorable coordinating outfits and having their hair tied up neat with pretty little bows. And, of course, my children would know how important it is to follow directions perfectly and need only a few gentle reminders.

Then I had kids. Twins in fact. So, that’s two at once. I didn’t know that I would eventually eat my own words. My kids are picky eaters who typically wear crazy mismatched outfits with their hair tied up loosely in a sloppy bun. Most of their outfits are accessorized by large, rubber rain boots. I once had a parent look at my kids outfit and ask me during preschool drop off, “I thought wacky day was next week?” There is just NO “bending my kids will” in my parenting.

My one daughter is NAHAHAHAT a morning person. Waking her requires three stages:

  1. Duck and cover.
  2. Run like hell.
  3. Screw it you’re going to school like that.

It is rare we have a peaceful morning. There is usually a 20 minute meltdown about the breakfast choices; which is then followed by another 20 minute crying fit because I made her selected breakfast items according to her exact specifications, but “that’s NOT WHAT I WANTED!!” This has resulted in many mornings of me shoving a piece of sandwich meat, or string cheese in her hand and marching her out to the car. We have exactly a four minute commute to her school so she eats what she can eat during our short trip.

Just as I began feeling guilty about the food choices she gets in the morning, I realize she only rejects the hot meals I wake up early to make. So, I no longer feel like a bad mom because she just won’t accept the available choices. I have come to accept that doing whatever it takes to make it through my morning is giving my kid a strange breakfast in the car on the way to school. Fighting against that just makes for more tension and arguing and resistance from my already super strong willed child.

I used to think (and judge) parents giving into their child like this was bad parenting. But, now that I am a mom I think it’s good parenting- good parenting looks like picking your battles. Fine, eat cold cuts for breakfast, but you are not getting away with pushing your sister. Go ahead and take your socks off before getting out of the car, but you cannot run through the parking lot without holding my hand. Sure wear that crazy outfit to school, one day you’ll decide six different layers of stripes isn’t necessary.

My mission isn’t to go to battle over every little thing my kids do that goes against my grain, or to control their behaviors to the point they can only respond with robot precision. With two kids in the same developmental stage of pushing boundaries, I’d loose my ever loving mind (and many days I do) trying to keep them perfectly in line. I think they’ll go farther in life when they know mommy loves them enough to accept them just the way they are; even with their crazy hair, mismatched outfits and refusal to eat my stellar breakfasts!

So parents with strong willed picky eaters your kids are going to be OK! You, are going to be OK! Believe me, I know how hard it is to choke back the tears and suppress the obscenities every time your efforts are rejected. As for me, I don’t think eating breakfast before leaving the house is ever going to be a non-issue, but I also won’t let it be our biggest battle. In the grand scheme of life letting my kid eat a weird breakfast on the way to school isn’t what’s going to land her in therapy one day. I am sure I am doing plenty of other things wrong that will keep her future therapist in a comfortable lifestyle.

Whatever. It’s just breakfast.

 

The Whatever Mom is a full time wife and twin mama living on coffee and wine. She enjoys the pure rush of cleaning the potty between loads of laundry. It is her dream that moms everywhere accept and embrace the Whatever Mom philosophy which can be found here, Find her two party Body Beautiful project here and here. 

Find more from Roxanne at Hudson Valley Parent and at Masshole Mommy

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Love Me Or Leave Me

Love Me Or Leave Me

I hope you enjoyed  Part I and Part II of my Body Beautiful series. I asked moms everywhere to accept the beautiful bodies they have been given through pregnancy and child birth. During this process friends kept asking me why I wasn’t posing in front of the camera and including my own post partum body. Well, I didn’t want this project to be about my image, I wanted it to be about the journey’s. I thought I’d offer a more intimate look at my post partum body acceptance journey by sharing my story and how I got here.

Nearly five years ago I stood in my bedroom and cried. I was only a few months post partum, but this was the first time I had looked at my body. I was so big during my pregnancy with twins that I couldn’t see the stretch marks forming. Now they were bright red lines stretching out like lines on a map. I was also left with a C-section scar and what most twin moms are lucky to receive, the “twin skin.” That’s a nice roll of skin that will never snap back into place and so it just kind of hangs off of your mid section. I was feeling pretty powerless.

My husband walked in just as I was in the moment of taking it all in. I covered myself up quickly because I didn’t want him, or anyone else to see me like “this.” He asked me what was wrong and I told him, “I am hideous now.” Then he stepped closer and said, “show me.” I wasn’t prepared for what he said next. He looked me in the eye and said, “how could you ever think this isn’t beautiful? This was our babies first home. It kept them safe and healthy.” I was absolutely stunned. So stunned I stopped to really soak in what he said.

Now don’t get me wrong, I didn’t just flip a switch and suddenly love my body. But, that moment is the touch stone that keeps me on this path of acceptance. I worked my body hard after having the twins. Despite five months of bed rest and a painful year of physical therapy I made myself lose the baby weight and then some. I felt accomplished. But really what did I accomplish? There wasn’t a trophy or award handed to me. No pat on the back with “atta girl.” What I accomplished was satisfying everyone else’s expectations of what I was supposed to look like after having children. I mean every mom is supposed to make it her mission to lose the baby weight, right? I started to really wonder where that pressure comes from.

People made comments about how I looked good “for having twins.” I wondered what they would say if I only had one baby at a time. Did their comment mean I didn’t look as good as my singleton mommy counter parts? Did they mean I look healthy after coming through medical complications and a major surgery? Did they mean I looked great now because I looked like a giant whale before?

Maybe I don’t have the time in my day to really focus on my flaws like I did before having children. Or, maybe since turning 40 I am just tired of listening to my inner critique. I’ve gained a bit more wisdom about what’s really important in life. I don’t really care that I now weigh more than I did right after having kids. I don’t really care for people’s judgement of my body because they don’t know the story behind my body. They don’t know how fit I used to be, or how months of bed rest reversed all of that hard work. They don’t know what my body has lived through and survived. I don’t really need them to know either.

So go ahead world, judge away. What  you see on the outside isn’t a reflection of the love and care I’ve given to my body to be able to create two healthy and amazing little humans. It isn’t equal to how big my heart is, how generous I am, how much I love to laugh or how much I love my children. I’ve always had a “love me or leave me” attitude. So, if someone isn’t going to love you for the person you are (not the body you are)… just let them leave.

 

The Whatever Mom is a full time wife and twin mama living on coffee and wine. She enjoys the pure rush of cleaning the potty between loads of laundry. It is her dream that moms everywhere accept and embrace the Whatever Mom philosophy which can be found here, Find her two party Body Beautiful project here and here. 

Find more from Roxanne at Hudson Valley Parent and at Masshole Mommy

 

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Body Beautiful – Part I

Dear Moms,

In my last call to arms I asked you to take up charge in my Whatever Army and fight against expectations for perfection. I asked that you spend more time accepting each other rather than judging each other. Now, I am asking you to join me on another quest. This one won’t be so easy and it will require you to dig deep and sift through years of programming. Moms, I want you to accept yourselves. I don’t mean accept who you are. I want you to accept your “mom bod” just the way it is with scars and flaws and every inch of stretched out skin.

Mom Body Beautiful

I feel like the pressure society puts on women to lose the baby weight is ridiculous.  I had an emergency C-section after being induced with my first. I was considered high risk due to high blood pressure. We later found out the cord was around my daughter’s neck a few times. I chose a C-section for my second daughter and glad I did. When they delivered her the cord was also around her neck. I honestly go between being disgusted with my size, and feeling beautiful knowing my body was able to grow and nourish two perfect beautiful girls. –Carrie mother of two daughters ages 3.5 and 2

The term mom bod can have a negative connotation. It segregates us as something less than vs. more than. Bringing a child into this world requires we place ourselves closer to death. If only stretch marks and extra weight were the only tribulations we faced during pregnancy and labor. So many of us have experienced medical complications and traumatic births and survived. The truth is moms our bodies have power and we need to celebrate that!

Mom Body Beautiful

Suddenly, you have a body that seems foreign to you. You don’t know how to dress it. You may find that the pounds don’t come off as easily; you may have the “mom pouch” and extra stretch marks. We might not see this reflected in the media, but our bodies have done something amazing–maybe more than once. While it’s hard to embrace something that society does not deem to be perfect, in reality it IS perfect because it’s ours. The people who love us will love us for who we are not for what size the tag on our clothing says or how many stretchmarks we have. –Gizella, mother of son age 6 and daughter age 4.

Every mother’s body has a story hidden just beneath the surface of our skin. Our skin becomes the book jacket to our stories. The stretchmarks, red lines and scars on our bodies read like paragraphs of secret language that only other mothers can understand. Every pound we gain during pregnancy tells the tale of how far our bodies will go to accommodate our baby’s safety. Every stretch of skin chronicles how week after week or bodies grow to build a safe home for our babies. And, (for some) sagging breasts illustrate our bodies ability to provide nourishment to our children.

Mom Body Beautiful

As soon as I had my daughter 6 years ago, I thought about how I could get rid of the 50 pounds I put on. I want to have more children, but a cancer diagnosis soon after birth caused me to give up on that dream. There are days that I struggle and days that I’m OK. I’m proud of my body. It carried a kind, sweet soul in it for 10 months and I’m happy to see the changes in it. I struggled a lot more with the neck scar I have left from my cancer battle. It changes you. But, it strengthens you. Now, I wouldn’t give it up. –Liz, one daughter age 6.

(Liz was diagnosed with thyroid cancer only 4 months after giving birth. She cites it as the most common cancer diagnosed during pregnancy (second to breast cancer). Her doctors believe the hormones released during pregnancy caused the cancer to grow more rapidly.)

The reality is we willingly put our own lives in jeopardy so we can bring life into this world. Many of us do this more than once. By nature we have everything we need to create and sustain life inside our bodies. Yet somehow, leftover weight and sagging skin are perceived as horrible side effects that we must rid ourselves of. Instead I ask you to see the “side effects” of your pregnancy as beauty marks and medals of Honor. You would not have those marks without enduring pregnancy or child birth. Instead of viewing them as nagging reminders of the body you can no longer have, I hope you see them as souvenirs of the start of your amazing parenting journey.

Be happy in the skin your in NOW.

Now that I’m a mom, I tend to feel invisible to the world. There’s a freedom there – the freedom to stop trying to look good, the freedom to wear yoga pants and a pony tail every day. I wouldn’t say I’m more secure in my body, I’ve been insecure about my body since I knew what the word meant. I’ve spent the last 40 years being annoyed with, ashamed of, critical of and generally hard on my body. I did suffer post-partum depression and anxiety with both of my babies. I was so hard on myself during that time and felt like a failure in so many ways because I was an imperfect mom. I feel like celebrating woman’s bodies in this way helps us all be easier on ourselves, even if just for a moment. –Katy mother of two ages 8 and 4. 

Please stay tuned for Part II of Body Beautiful.

All images belong to Leyla Cadabal Photography http://leylacadabalphotography.com/. Any use of these photos without express written permission from the original photographer is prohibited. 

The Whatever Mom is a twin mom learning to let go of perfection. She shares her real life struggles with parenting through her blog and contributes her time and talents as a writer to Hudson Valley Parent and Masshole Mommy. When she isn’t writing you can find her chugging coffee, folding laundry and not judging other parents. Don’t forget to subscribe via email so you never miss a blog post again! You can also find her work featured on Mamapedia and The Novice Mommy.

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