I’m getting older. I find a grey hair on occasion, and the lines in my face are much more pronounced than they were just a few years ago. My butt is wider and flatter (this may be due to blogging and not aging) and my hands look old. I didn’t think it was possible for my boobs to get any smaller, but they have. After the nice sized milk bags I got to wear for a couple of years, this particular disappointment is the hardest pill to swallow. I don’t look terrible, but I’m only turning heads these days when I let a swear fly somewhere inappropriate. I never get a “How you doin’?”.
It’s fine, though. Except for the fact that I am not as fit or active as I would like to be, I am happy with the way I look. I like myself much more than I ever did before having kids changed my body, and I am comfortable in my mid-thirties, mom skin. Having kids and getting older has actually had a positive impact on my body image, and I am both realistic and content.
1. While my husband is at work, and I am home with my three-year-old and five-year-old, I am the strongest, fastest, and tallest person in our house. As a fairly weak, slow, and short individual, this is quite a departure from real life for me, and I like feeling like a giant. I am also the smartest (barely), and while this has nothing to do with my feelings about my physical appearance, it makes me feel good. I am definitely not smarter than a fifth grader, but I could beat the shit out of my kindergartner and preschooler at Jeopardy. Probably.
2. I have been fighting my hips and my pear-shaped body for as long as I can remember. Seeing a miniature version of my body on my perfect three-year-old daughter makes a lifetime of self-loathing melt away. If she is perfect just the way she looks, than I must be, too. I am just the way God made me. God and Hershey’s. And Doritos.
3. Scars, stretch marks, and loose skin are the graffiti of motherhood. It may not be traditionally refined, or considered classical art, but it’s beautifully flawed and unique. A masterpiece to be admired.
4. A body that housed humans is something to be proud of. Something to be respected. Even when your teats look like that of a retired breeding dog.
5. My hair has been in a ponytail for the better part of six years. When I finally get my ass to the salon and get a great cut, I strut around like I’m the hottest bitch on the planet. I hold my head high, and pull off hair flips worthy of a Pantene commercial. Before kids, a great cut made me feel good, but it didn’t change my life. Now, it’s the nicest thing I do for myself, and I feel amazing.
6. I have never liked heels. I like that they make me taller, but I’ve never been able to walk properly, and they hurt my feet. I do, however, like the way they look in my closet. Now that my work clothes are actually park and play date clothes, my heels stay where they belong. Off of my feet, and in my closet.
7. My children say endearing things like, “You’re so snuggly” and “You give the best kisses” which make me want to eat them whole. And when I jokingly ask my son after a day of volunteering in his classroom, “What did your friends say about me? That I’m the coolest, nicest, and prettiest mom?” he gently replies, “No. Every kid thinks their mom is the coolest, nicest, and prettiest.” And I smile, and squeeze him and kiss him until he begs me to stop.
8. My daughter is full of affirmations. She stands next to her father while he unclogs the sink saying, “Good job, Dad. You’re doing great!” and she affirms me, too. “You look pretty, Mom.” “You make delicious tomato soup (from a can), Mom. “You are my very best mom.” I may be coming in first in a competition of one, but I’m still winning, dammit. And it feels great.
9. Since my daughter is still young enough to compare me to any brunette, I like to leave my People magazines around so she can point to the Jennifers (Garner, Lopez, Lawrence, sometimes Aniston) and comment on the incredible likeness. Instant ego booster.
10. I am surrounded by people who love me. Children who see my flaws as part of the mom they adore, not things that make me a lesser person. My husband loves and respects me, and still wants to nail me any chance he can get. Even though my body has taken a beating the past six years, I feel better about myself than I ever did before kids.