Category: Uncategorized

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

 

Friday Unfavorites- Computer Crash

For the second time this year my computer has failed me. Womp. Womp. I am sending my life line to the digital world out for repairs. Keep your fingers crossed I am up and running quick! I have so many fabulous things to share with all of you!!

Hopefully by this time next week not only will I have a functional computer, but I will have successfully moved my blog to a self hosting site! I feel like this is the year of Roxanne and to take my blog to the next level this is the first step!! I’m so excited!!

 

Have a great weekend and see you all real soon!

 

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

She’s Come Undone

Man do I love my kids. I really truly do. They are the reason I get up out of bed every day, and the reason I battle against perfection. From the day they were born they were independent little sensitive souls who have consumed all of my physical and emotional energy.

One of the great myths about twins is that there’s always one “easy going” twin. Maybe I hit the mother lode when I received two very demanding and high strung kiddos. My little loves will go to fisticuffs over who gets to spend time in my lap. Sometimes I have to just walk away and leave them both to cry. That KILLS me. I never know which one I should comfort first. When I try to comfort both at the same time they won’t allow it. I often think I am the worst mom on the planet because I can’t handle how overwhelming it is to have them both so needy at the same time. They get so unreasonable with the screaming and crying that it escalates into total and complete chaos.

I rarely share this part of my parenting because the standard response is, “I just wouldn’t put up with that.” Well, that implies that my parenting is weak. Let me tell you, no parent could handle the intense demands of two VERY strong willed children and come out a winner (and yes, I have tried behavior charts, reward systems, Early Intervention and even a behavior therapist). I don’t get angry at those statements anymore because I was that person before I became a parent. I was THE PERFECT PARENT before I even had kids.

What I have learned is that kids will push and pull you in directions you never thought possible. I have sat in a corner and cried because my kids’ behaviors have forced me to become a screaming, impatient wreck. I have felt wild and unhinged; a rare experience for me before parenting. I was patient and calm and could keep my cool under some serious pressure. Now I can come undone so quickly.

Why am I sharing this now? Well, I want other parents feeling guilty and overwhelmed to know it’s going to be OK. Our kids over the top behaviors and emotions can leave us feeling defeated and unprepared, and even knock the wind out of us for a moment. But, we just keep getting right back up. We take a breath. We take some time for ourselves. We empty the guilt and refill our compassion. We find the reset button and remind ourselves that tomorrow is another day. Sometimes all it takes is leaving your kiddo in their room to cry it out, while you go to your room and do the same. Or, it takes a phone call to a friend to talk it through. And sometimes tagging out when your spouse returns home, or asking a neighbor to sit with your kids while you take a walk.

No matter what, remember you are doing a great job moms (and dads). You are working hard at loving your kids. Even on those days it feels like love is the hardest thing to do. No one really talks about the difficult side of parenting, or the deep pain you will feel some days. Those moments happen for so many of us, yet so few of us are willing to share it. It doesn’t mean we love our kids less. It means we are human. And by sharing our struggles it assures us we are not alone.

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

 

Secret Sister Gift Exchange, Scam or Solidarity

In October a friend of mine posted about a Secret Sister Gift Exchange. Maybe you have already heard of this? You post on Facebook asking for 6 friends to participate and when they reply you send them the details. To participate you only have to send one gift, and you will get 36 in return. Well, after mapping out the number of passes my name makes, it only works out to 12 gifts, IF everyone participates. I had already sent out the info to my six gal pals and purchased my $10 worth of gifts when I started getting emails and texts from friends saying this was a scam and an illegal chain letter. So, I did a little research.

According to Snopes.com this is considered a chain letter type of post and it validated my math query. (I am notoriously horrible at math so I was glad to see I was right this time). It also shared the United States Postal Inspector’s definition of chain letters:

“A typical chain letter includes names and addresses of several individuals whom you may or may not know. You are instructed to send a certain amount of money–usually $5–to the person at the top of the list, and then eliminate that name and add yours to the bottom. You are then instructed to mail copies of the letter to a few more individuals who will hopefully repeat the entire process. The letter promises that if they follow the same procedure, your name will gradually move to the top of the list and you’ll receive money — lots of it.”

Here is how the Facebook Post reads:

Secret Sister Gift Exchange

I felt really skeptical and a little embarrassed that I sent this out to friends. How could I have not known this was a scam? So, I sent a group message and cancelled the entire thing. I still sent a gift to the woman on my list because I knew she was probably just as excited as me to participate. I didn’t want her to feel gypped. I thought no harm in bringing a smile to someone’s face. Who doesn’t love to get a fun gift in the mail?

Just a day or two after I cancelled, a package arrived for me and I thought, “Did I order something online and forget about it?” Nope. It was a gift just for ME- two beautiful scarves! Both sent from a mom I already know who did not reply as one of my original six sisters.

secret sister scarf

A week later another package arrived on my door step addressed to ME. I did not recognize the return address and I could not figure out who it could be from. It was another secret sister gift! This time a fabulous candle and a beautiful dish towel to hang in my kitchen. This gift came from someone I have never met. So, I sent her a thank you card and in return she sent me a Christmas card.

secret sister candle

Despite everyone’s skepticism (including my own) I have no regrets in participating. I think if you are sharing with friends you know personally, and the original poster isn’t the only one benefiting and getting all the goods, then this is just a fun way to brighten someone’s day. As a mom it is rare I get gifts just for me. As much as I would like to I wouldn’t spend money on these things for myself (which are all things I love). Having someone take the time to purchase a thoughtful gift for me to enjoy is truly uplifting. I am grateful for the two optimistic and caring individuals who threw caution to the wind and made me their secret sister. I hope someone else did the same for them!

If you have the same concerns, or only want to exchange gifts among friends you can use this Secret Santa Generator at Drawnames.com (I have never used this site personally, nor do I endorse it. Just offering as a suggested alternative).

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 more from Roxanne at Hudson Valley Parent and at Masshole Mommy

 

 

 

 

On The Eleventh Day of Service Give A Stranger Warmth

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How many of us have a scarf we no longer love, or a hat that just never fit right or a pair of gloves we got at the office Christmas party and never wear? Maybe you only have one random winter item and wonder where to donate it? Why not tie it to a tree? No, seriously! Leave it for someone else in need to find it!

My kids and I like to spend time at local parks where we meet new friends to play with. Right now we have a warm snap happening in the North East so families are still utilizing the parks. I’ve asked some of my mom friends to gather at a park to help decorate a warmth tree for families in need. Each family will bring just one hat, a scarf, and a pair of gloves or mittens.

Kids will love creating a warming tree!

I checked with my local police and parks department and have the go ahead from both. Now, it’s up to us moms to bring one item to hang on the tree and then enjoy a play date with our kids. This is the first year we are implementing this service, but I hope we can continue to do it each year!

How can you help? Kids outgrow things so quickly. Why not wash any gently used items and hang on a tree at a park, a school yard, or if you have a place in your own front yard that people pass by. Leave a note that says “Need a mitten? Take a mitten!” to let people know it’s there for the taking.

Create a Warming Tree

 

This is a really easy way to get little ones of any age involved. Even toddlers can help carry items and place them on a tree, or small bush. It doesn’t require much strength, or more than a minute of time. Sharing this random act of kindness is a fun way for kids to feel like a secret Santa and teach them that it is in the giving that we receive.

 

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

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

 

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

On The Ninth Day of Service Share Your Spirit

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I LOVE Christmas caroling! In fact, while I was in high school some friends and I started our own tradition of late night caroling. We used to get together at my friend Annie’s house for a sleep over to celebrate her December birthday. It was perfect timing for caroling! We waited for her mom to fall asleep so we could sneak out and attempt to annoy the neighbors by knocking on their doors after curfew and singing carols. Turns out the neighbors weren’t annoyed at all! They loved it! So, we sneaked out again the next year! (We were SUCH rebels!). 

This weekend my family and I joined local friends at a nursing home for a Christmas carol sing along. My friend Erica has arranged this wonderful event for years now. She makes sure to include everyone from age 0-100! This year was my first time attending and it was a lot of fun! Some of the residents truly enjoyed seeing the little children. My girls were able to chat with one resident who misses her grandchildren. She helped my girls feed the fish in the small fountain and enjoyed listening to all their stories. It was so heartwarming to see the interaction!

Photo credit: clearcareonline.com
Photo credit: clearcareonline.com

How can you help? Contact a nursing home or senior residence near you and ask if they already have carolers coming. If they do not, ask if you can bring your friends and family with little kids to spend some time caroling for the residents. You can carol through the halls from room to room in true caroler fashion, or assemble in the activity room. If you are affiliated with a scout troop invite them along. The more the Merrier! If there is time you can assemble some cards, or holiday crafts to bring along for the residents (or even the staff) to enjoy.

Erica and her family brought along a stash of festive hats and head bands and some simple instruments for kids could use. There were jingle bells, tambourines and plenty of shakers. She also brought along song books for carolers to hold and prompted us along while singing.

 

Be sure to bring along festive hats and song books for carolers.
Be sure to bring along festive hats and song books for carolers.

There is so much learning that transpires when different generations mingle. Teaching our kids to extend the holiday spirit to seniors who are missing their families is a great way to help foster compassion and empathy. Most importantly, showing our kids how to treat our elders is modeling for them how we would like to be treated one day.

 

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

 

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

 

On The Seventh Day of Service Make a Furry Friend

12 Days of Service

My kids have been asking for a puppy, or any pet for that matter, for the last year. We lost our beloved Kodiak just days before my girls’ second birthday. He passed away suddenly at age 16. He was my first “baby” and my constant companion for 13 years. I was deeply saddened when he passed and now three years later, I am ready to think about bringing a new pup into our lives.

Our Beloved Kodiak

But, I am still worried my kids aren’t exactly ready yet. So, to satisfy their love of animals and to help them mature in their understanding of the responsibilities for caring for a pet, we began volunteering at the SPCA. This is our first official volunteer work outside of the house. This summer we made a cat bed from a recycled tire. The girls LOVED it and they were rewarded with spending time with the kittens.

I asked what else we could do to help and the youth director suggested we look at the wish list on the website. The list includes things from office supplies to dog and cat food to medical supply needs. You might be wondering why the SPCA would be asking for so much. Well, it turns out the SPCA is not funded through any grant, or government agency. Each animal shelter has to raise their own funds to care for the animals and keep their building operating. The SPCA in your town most likely provides inexpensive shots clinics, animal adoption clinics and even advocacy for animal abuse. There is a team of amazing volunteers that finds homes for animals rescued from abuse.

American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA)
American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA)

How can you help? Find your local ASPCA shelter and visit their website. Make a donation right online, or find their wish list and make a shopping list of supplies.  You can ask your friends and family to donate items from the wish list in honor or in memory of a beloved pet. Kids can help sort items and deliver to the shelter. Take your kids shopping at the pet store, or have them help you fill a cart on Amazon.com and have the items shipped to the shelter. You can do which ever is easiest for you to do!

Teaching our children compassion for animals reaches further beyond their interaction with just animals. It fosters compassion for all living things.

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

 

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

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

 

Body Beautiful Part II

Part II

Society and the media often view our postpartum bodies as weak and flabby. It is not only expected that we WILL “get our bodies back” but it is also expected that we want to get our pre-baby bodies back right NOW.  Lifestyle magazines devote entire editions to watching and tracking new celebrity moms for weight loss and speculate how quickly they will return to their pre-baby body. If any celebrity mom should take a little too long to get back into screen-worthy shape after childbirth it becomes headline news. I want you to see your body as more valuable than a commodity and front-page fodder.

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It doesn’t matter if you’re 200 pounds or 130 pounds–bodies are beautiful, strong and multifaceted. I’ve always had body issues, but been very confident on the outside. After children, I felt like I had completely let myself go. It’s very hard to make yourself a priority when you have kids. With my daughter I was induced on my due date and labored for 47 hours and 41 minutes before she finally arrived. With my son I labored for 60 hours. I kept begging the midwife to let me go a little longer… a little longer… a little longer. She let me go another 10 hours and at 6 am on his birthday, she said I had to go for the C-section. Best thing we ever did. I was very impressed with my body! However, while not making it a priority, I let it go. Now, it’s my turn for rebirth! –Amy, mother to two ages 6 and 4.

Every time you catch a glimpse of yourself in the mirror and turn the other way or you hide out from the camera, I want you to remember your body is a powerhouse. Embrace it. Don’t ignore the newness of it–how it looks and feels. This is the skin you are in now. You aren’t who you were last week. Let the camera capture where your child came from. Show how much you loved them with your whole body, not just your heart.

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I didn’t gain too much weight while pregnant. I was active the whole time doing yoga and walking and went back to my pre weight almost right away. I’m 41 and in a great place in my life where I don’t care much what other people think. I have one boy, born three days early. It was a fast laborhe was in a hurry and still is. He was walking at 10 months. Some heart distress at birth and there was talk of an emergency C-section but in the end he came out on the third set of pushes with suction. I love my body after childbirth. It was the first home of this incredible little personit made him and fed him. I have new respect for it and will never abuse it again, only nurture it. Linda, mother of one age 1 year.

Use kind words to describe your body. Not just in front of your kids, but to yourself. In that early morning hour before you step into the shower and you look down, please think loving thoughts about what you see. Remember to be grateful to those powerful legs that helped you carry the extra weight as your body grew. Give thanks for the way your hips shifted to make more room. Nothing and everything may look the same. Your child is a part of the beautiful body that created it. Would you ever look at your child and say or think they are less than gorgeous? Please don’t think that about yourself.

bodybeautifulBLOG-14

Being photographed “naturally” scares me.  My inner critic feels ashamed that I haven’t kept up the shape I had two to three years ago. So my thoughts of myself get pretty wicked: “stop eating so much”; “your arms look awful in those pictures”; “need liposuction on those thighs of yours”; “if only you didn’t like food so much”.  
I have boy/girl twins. They are our miracle IVF babies. My husband and I went through a lot and we were finally blessed with my son and daughter. After hating my body and being so heartbroken and devastated at not getting pregnant, I totally fell in love with my pregnancy. I was so healthy and happy while pregnant. I know it’s vital that I show inward and outward love for my body because I have a daughter. I don’t want her to see or hear me getting down on myself. I want her to always feel beautiful and confident and I know that starts at home. –Melissa, mother to twins age 3. 

bodybeautifulBLOG-38

I want to show my children and myself how amazing the female body is–also to view my body in a different way. [I felt] pressure to get back into shape quickly. Though it took nine months to gain weight, I should be more gentle with myself. [It’s] pretty amazing how your body can swell, organs move, ligaments become stretched and loosen all to accommodate a life and create a placenta and cord to feed it.  Only to return to a somewhat normal version again after birth–and multiple times! Also, to provide nourishment, protection and antibodies for months afterward is amazing. My body is pretty strong, capable and amazing. -A.S., mother of two boys ages 3 and 8 months.

If we can see the power within ourselves, perhaps it will start a movement. Maybe together we can shift the perception of the mom bod from being a flabby, worn-out body to an intrinsically competent being. If we can celebrate in awe the amazing feat of childbirth and what our bodies can do then perhaps our children will look at their own bodies with awe and wonderment. And thus starts the movement.

Love,

The Whatever Mom

Body Beautiful Part I

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.

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

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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