Friday, 24 May 2013

Dear-Insecure-Mama: You're not unpretty...


Hey, hows it going?  I know you.  You're the girl who likes to feel pretty, to be put together, and you always have your makeup done properly.  To put it bluntly, you're pretty vain.  You won't leave the house with out at least concealer, mascara, and some blush (...sometimes too much blush, but hey... it looks pretty).  Your hair is always done.

You are that girly girl who overcame her awkward tomboy years of having a brush cut and a rat tail.  You persevered through the 90's with your frizzy perm, mile high bangs, and Club Monaco sweatshirts.  You even survived high school as you competed to be liked by the mean girls in their white eyeliner listening to the Spice Girls on their bright yellow portable CD player, who tormented your self-esteem daily.  You learned to love yourself and became a confident woman, especially towards your body and looks.

I've watched you when you judge 'those women' who don't have it all together.  Who have that screaming child in their grocery cart, a falling apart pony tail, dressed in all black, with dark tired circles under their eyes.  I've read your mind as you thought, how hard is it to throw on a bit of make-up lady and have some pride in your appearance?

You're that woman who will never be the quote, un-quote 'Mom'.  You'll be different.  You'll be able to keep it together.  I mean really, there's no reason why a Mother can't be pretty and fashionable at the same time... right?

Then you went and had a baby.

Vanity didn't leave you but your sense of all things pretty did.  Your maternity leave is almost done and the fifty pounds of baby weight are long gone yet you still feel unpretty.  The hit to your self-esteem after having your son is indescribable.  You kept telling yourself that once the numbers on the scale were back to 'normal' you would regain your confidence.  Sadly, although you're past that magical number... your just as insecure as ever.

You have acne on your chin that rivals most teenagers.   People think you eat too many chocolate bars or that you don't wash your face.  Your skin is ridiculously dry from breastfeeding.  So much of your hair has fallen out that you have actually asked your husband to check if you have a bald spot.  You used to be that girl with the hair from a Salon Selective's commercial.  Now you're that girl with the hair all over the bathroom sink and floor.  It's falling out all over the place and you feel like Demi Moore in G. I. Jane as she stares at her unfamiliar new appearance in the mirror after she shaves her head.  Except you have all your hair, mostly... except for the broken patches along your hair line making you look like the Barbie doll you gave a shitty haircut to as a 4 year old when you tie your hair back.  Which I might add is more out of necessity than a fashion statement because of your sons ninja fast moves and iron clad grip.  He has you in constant fear of having your hair ripped out in clumps like you're in a match with one of the ladies from Glow Wrestling.

On the odd occasion that you you get to go out and wear your hair down and try to curl it like you used to... it flops, has no body, and is limp and pathetic.  Mocking you with every fallen curl, reminding you that the price for your perfectly angelic son who may or may not sleep through the night was your once beautiful hair that could hold a curl for days.

And your belly.  Oh your jelly belly.  I don't think you were ready for this jelly Beyonce.  Seriously, what the hell is up with your jello jiggler and muffin top?  And can I get a what-what for your back fat?  While we're at it, lets give your hips a full out eff you for widening out to birth your child, because I hate to tell you this... but you have no ass either.  I have no idea how to segue into your boobies so I won't.... but lets just say, they be destroyed from almost a year of perpetual sucking.  And let's not forget that the veins all over your chest look like the tear stained face of someone who forgot to wear waterproof mascara while watching The Notebook.  How pretty.  

With all of this, you don't know any other way to feel about yourself.  Most days you feel yucky.  Plain, dishevelled, and yucky.

You are now that woman you hated.  The one that scoffs at people when given a compliment and promptly proceed to tell them they're just being nice.  You no longer walk into a room with confidence.  You feel that unwanted glance to your tummy and telepathically hear, "Oh she definitely has not lost the baby weight yet."  

Negative self-talk is killing you from the inside out.  Like a toxin that seeps into your everyday moments.  You bend over to pick up your son, and feel that extra gushyness at your belly and wonder how the hell do those other moms look so good.  Your baby boot camp is supposed to make you lose some weight and gain some confidence but it's so hard not to compare yourself to all those 'skinny Moms'.  You know, the ones whose child is three weeks old  and somehow they are in way better shape than you've ever been.

Be honest.  You don't recognize the woman you see in the mirror anymore and there isn't enough concealer in the world to undo the sleep deprivation and constant go-go-go of motherhood.  Bluntly, a lot of the time, you feel ugly.  And no matter how many times your husband tells you how beautiful you are, you just don't feel it.

This wasn't something you were prepared for.  It's the giant secret that all seasoned Mama's hold close.  Refusing to tell the newbies what they're actually being initiated into.  A whole new world of self-doubt and at times, self-loathing.  It's like you spent nine months preparing for one day.  Being scared about one day.  Being excited about ONE day.  And then one day turns into a lifetime, where you thought the only think that would change is the 'plus one' to your family.  But instead... you have changed.  Your friendships have changed.  Your thoughts have changed.  Your responsibilities have changed.  Your perspective on life has changed.  Your body has changed.  Everything about you has changed and you're stuck fumbling in the dark trying to figure who the hell you are now.

The metamorphosis of becoming a Mother is more challenging than you can ever prepare for.  It's hard feeling like a stranger in your own body, a body that doesn't feel like your own.  But you are not alone. The dark feelings of self-conciousness that encompassed you after becoming a mother are felt by many.  You are not that woman whose belly sprung back to it's old shape three months postpartum.  Instead, you are that mother who still looked 6 months pregnant when your son turned 4 months old .  You are not that woman who lost the 50 pounds by just breastfeeding.  Instead, you are that mother who watched what she ate and busted her ass with Shawn T, all the while caring and nurturing your son.  It took you nine long months to loose the 'baby-weight', and even then... things will never be the way they were.  But you have a completely skewed vision of yourself now.  That needs to stop.  Trust me, it's going to be ok.

You will start to have these 'moments'.  They will creep up here and there when you least expect it, like a bit of sun peeking through the thick fog that has surrounded you since the birth of your healthy baby boy.  Perhaps it's a quick glance to the mirror, and suddenly you feel saucy in the new 'big girl' thirty-five dollar Clinique lipstick you just bought.  It could be a spontaneous moment of trying on hot pink ridiculously trendy pants that you were certain would make your ass look enormous, but they magically fit and make you wanna give your booty a "hell-yah" when you look at it.  Or maybe it's a skinny, beautiful, tan leather jacket that you thought you'd never fit again so you decide to try it on as a final 'farewell' before you shove it to the back of your closet where all your skinny clothes go to die... and wouldn't you know it, the zipper does up.  Whatever they are, these moments will start to happen more and more, and each time they do a small teeny-tiny part of your old confidence will come back.  

And before you know it, you'll be feeling good again.  

Before you know it, you'll be feeling pretty again.  

Before you know it, you'll be feeling like you again.   

The trick with this journey is realizing you're not alone, and making sure to take back a little bit of yourself with every tiny little victory you achieve.  There is nothing sexy about a woman without confidence, and it's time you started to stand tall and embrace the new amazing, wonderful, beautiful Mama you are.  You made a human, and may have felt like you destroyed your body in the process of doing so... but you've done a good job, your baby is healthy and happy, and you look great.  Now start acting like you believe it.  


To all of you childless women, who think you'll never get to this point of despair on your road to motherhood.  Kudos to you.  But before you judge, allow me to give you some advice...

The next time you're walking down the street and start to judge that dishevelled Mom who is out in her pants that are saggy on her ass, or with her broken down pony tail -- take a step back and give the girl a break.  In fact, give her a high five for getting herself out of the house in something other than black yoga pants.  Give her a knowing look of sympathy.  Hell, buy the woman a coffee or better yet a bottle of wine.  Open the door for her.  Say hello to her.  Be nice to her.  Thank her for taking one for the team and populating the planet with another adorable baby who will one day surely find the cure for Ebola, or muffin tops, or something equally impressive.  Tell her it's all worth it in the end.  Tell her she's doing a great job.  Tell her it will all be ok.  Make her feel good, somehow.  Remind her that she's not invisible.  Remind her that this too will pass.  Remind her that while some people suck, and judge, and love to argue and belittle any chance they get -- some people don't.  Remind her some people still care, whether she knows it or not.  Remind her that some people still like her, whether she likes herself or not.  Because one day you just might become that woman, and trust me, you'll appreciate it.

Remember this?

Kinda like what I wrote?  Pop over to naptimerambling's Facebook page to stay up to date on my new posts, and other funny stuff.  

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One more thing, looking for a great website all about Moms?  Great recipes, awesome bloggers (shameless self-plug here), lots of amazing support by cool Mamas.  Jenny has created an amazing space for Mama's to connect, a total judge-free zone.  I love it over there.  Make sure you take a peek.

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

What I really want for Mothers Day...

I don't know where the time has flown.  My once eight pound one ounce, all knees and elbows, scrawny, little babe with a dark crop of thick hair has transformed into a twenty-five pound, head strong, ridiculously big for his age, walking around furniture munchkin with blonde flowing locks past his shoulders.  I can remember just like it was yesterday, being twelve hours into labour and the horribleness of dilating from eight to ten centimetres, all the while moaning like a wounded cow.  And in between the worst pain I've ever felt in my life, I said to my nurse in the most pathetic voice you can conjure, "Mothers day should be celebrated quarterly."  She laughed and said it was the funniest thing she's heard a woman in labour say in a long time.  

And here I am, ten months later.  Ready to celebrate my first real Mothers day.  And let me tell you, I've earned it.  I've gone through the sleepless nights.  I've gotten up around the clock and have been able to continue breastfeeding despite many challenges including avoiding near nipplectomy's more than once thanks to brand new teeth and a babe who wants to try them out.  I've finally widdled down the once suitcase of things I thought I had to bring out with me anywhere, to a modest, large Mama purse.  I've survived his first, and second injuries.  I've made it through his first cold and the appearance of all six teeth.  I've taken him to a public swimming pool and managed to keep him from getting plantars warts on his tongue from gulping so much of the disgusting water.  I've fed him chicken, strawberries, and eggs with out him dying from anaphalictic shock.  I've taught him to wave bye-bye and to play peek-a-boo with my, ah hem, his favourite bright green colander.  I've made it past the "I-hate-the-car-and-will-scream-for-every-second-you-make-me-sit-in-here-until-you-drive-in-to-a-ditch" stage.  I've become immune to the tantrum, and could care less if people stare at me while he cries.  I also now have the strongest arms that can easily transform into a makeshift straight jacket when needed to subdue Captain Crazy Arms during a meltdown. I've been pissed, puked, snotted and shit on more times that I can count.  And I've even got him to say Ma-Ma as his first word.  I've earned my Mama stripes alright.  

So I sat down to think, what do I really want for Mothers Day?  What would make me feel special and valued and appreciated like the rockstar Mama I am?  A pedicure would be nice because these feet aren't going to just exfoliate themselves.  They look like I suffer from leprosy and keep catching on the bed sheets.  It's probably time to do something about that.  A nice dinner would be thoughtful.  One that I didn't have to make, or clean up after, or occupy my small child during so I could actually enjoy it.  Pretty flowers always look lovely on my dining room table.  And nothing says, I love you and thank you for taking one for the team and destroying your body to make our perfectly wonderful happy genius son like a robin's egg blue box from Tiffany's.  Or maybe something practical like a book, or a magazine about anything but parenting like the new Paulo Cohelo... with some actual free time to read it.  How about a bath bomb from Lush, with a beautiful Italian Amarone... it doesn't even have to be vintage.  New runners with flashy neon on them to make me want to run more?  A new Lulu jacket, or wonder unders to perk up my mom bum?  All excellent ideas, dammit, now I want to go shopping.

But then I start to think about what I really could use.  You know, the practical stuff.  An extra set of hands during the day to change the poopy diaper to avoid the inevitable poop-on-knuckle conundrum, as my child thrashes his body like he's in a mosh pit and tries to roll off the change table.  Dishes that go into the dishwasher and magically put themselves away when clean.  A fancy vacuum that can actually find all the rogue cheerios hiding around my house.  A laundry fairy who does it all and puts it away, folded perfectly like in a store.  Actually, forget the laundry... what I want is a sock elf whose sole source of happiness is finding all my socks and actually matching them, all seventy-two thousand variations of gawd damned black socks.  Oh, how about a chef that comes to my house and has dinner ready for me every night and cleans up while me and my boys go out for a walk. Oooh, or someone who magically disposes of all the coffee cups I've been accumulating in my car.  Even better, someone to clean out my pantry and organize it, oh yah... now we're talking.  While you're at it, attack those junk drawers, I swear to God the dried up pens, pennies, and expired coupons grow at an exponential rate.  Or how about some sleep.  Some sweet, uninterrupted, I-don't-have-to-get-up-until-I-actually-want-to sleep.  

Here's the thing.  Material things are nice, but you open them up and then its done.  Flowers die.  Clothes get old.  Jewelery gets saved for special occasions.  A spa day comes and goes, and you're stressed again in three days.  And as for the other crap?  Well, I've got too much pride to pay someone to clean my house and quite frankly I'm too cheap to spend my money on something that I can do just fine (except the sock elf, I would pay some hard cash for a sock elf... I mean seriously how many pairs of black socks does a man need!?).  

But what I really want .... is time.  Chores out of the way.  Adult responsibilities forgotten about.  I just want time.  Time to enjoy the short weekends I have with my husband and son.  Time to put away the cell phones.  Time to shut off the television.  Time to reconnect.  Life gets so busy.  So much needs to get done.  The grind of daily life becomes imprisoning, that it's hard to just stop and say, this can wait... and just take the time to be with each other.  

I want time to play silly games together as a family.  Time to go for a long walk.  Time to stop looking at the clock, and just go where ever we please.  Time to stop and watch the birds.  Time to watch clouds go by, and see a plane flying over head.  Time to teach our son what really matters.   Us.  Family.  Each other.

I want time to reconnect with my husband.  To laugh.  To enjoy each others company with out having to bend over a thousand times to pick up a fallen toy, or fill up more cheerios on a high chair table.  I want to be able to enjoy an entire meal without looking at the clock to make sure we're not overstepping into bath time.  I want to have a conversation without being tugged on, and cried at.  I want to not have my attention divided, just for a few hours to feel like a woman again.  More than just a Mom.  I want to enjoy the finer things, like a nice glass of wine and some baked brie while discussing something other than whether or not our son has pooped today.  

I want time to myself.  A day where no one needs anything from me.  A day filled with complete peace and quiet.  A day to just do nothing.  Nothing at all.      

But here's the thing, I won't get a day off.  I never will again.  The long of the short of it, I am my little boy's Mama.  It's a twenty-four-seven kind of gig that I signed up for.  Even when someone else is there to share the work, I am always the first choice.  I am always the one the gets crawled to, or reached for.  I am the first person to see him in the morning, and the last at bedtime.  I am the person who gets the first words, and slobbery open mouth kisses.  I am the one who teaches him patty-cake, and makes sure he eats his vegetables.  I am the one who can end all melt-downs.  I am the one he turns to when his world turns upside down.  I am the reason he has grown into a healthy and strong little boy.  When I walk out of a room, he cries because he just wants me there.  I am his number one.  I can make everything better, just by being me.  It doesn't matter what I look like, or how I feel, or if I got all the chores done, or if we had a seven course meal for dinner or just grilled cheese sandwiches, or if I have ten more pounds to lose...I am the best.  The number one Mom. Just by being me.  Talk about feeling important.   

So maybe Mothers Day is just a day that I sit and enjoy my family.  Enjoy the amazing gift of getting to be my little dude's Mom.  Reconnect with what really matters.  Just be thankful for the three of us and appreciate our time together. 

But then again... a thoughtful card, and a nice bottle of Oyster Bay Sauvignon Blanc never hurt anyone either. 

Kinda like what I wrote?  Pop over to naptimerambling's Facebook page to stay up to date on my new posts, and other funny stuff.  

Hey... See that Top Mommy Blog icon at the top left of your screen?  Take two seconds to click it if you like my blog.  Two seconds... that's it, that's all.  Click.  Done.  Criss Cross Applesauce Baby.  You awesome peeps have gotten me up to #15 out 80 for of funny mom blogs.... think we can get me into the top 10??? 

One more thing, looking for a great website all about Moms?  Great recipes, awesome bloggers (shameless self-plug here), lots of amazing support by cool Mamas.  Jenny has created an amazing space for Mama's to connect, a total judge-free zone.  I love it over there.  Make sure you take a peek.