You don’t have to “let yourself go” to be a good mom.
There’s been so much emphasis on women who are accepting themselves when they gain weight, don’t look the same, etc. that there’s not a lot said for women who take care of themselves.
I’ve established something for myself as a mom of two kids under three. If I’m miserable, my kids will be miserable. Not looking good makes me miserable. Call me “shallow” or “obsessed with appearance.” After Ty was born, I weighed 190 lbs. I was used to being around 110-117 lbs my whole life until I got pregnant.
I did let myself go while I was pregnant with him. I never worked out. I ate a lot more than I should have. And my body retains water like I’m a friggin camel. As a result, I got huge and felt terrible. I was depressed too.
I was tired of not liking who I saw in the mirror. I decided to change it. I wasn’t as healthy as I could be. Now, before you go on a tirade of “YOU JUST HAD A BABY YOU DESERVE TO LET YOURSELF GO!!!!” I had a baby. I deserved to feel better than how I felt. Problem? I was the only one who could make that happen. I didn’t like myself. I wasn’t going to justify how crappy I felt because other people told me that I had a good enough excuse. I didn’t like myself. I didn’t like how I looked. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to be better than you are.
We shouldn’t be guilting moms who want to look and feel better than they do. Even if that means making a few other people feel insecure because they’re supposedly super happy with looking….comfortable.
Here are some things that I’ve done while pregnant, throughout my postpartum time, and currently. Do these make me “superior” to other women who don’t? No. I don’t care what other women do. I spend plenty of posts going on about my deficiencies. So, here is my list of stuff that I manage to do while being a mom to 2 kids under the age of 3:
- Straighten my hair every day. The only time that I haven’t in the last 8 years was while camping, the days after my kids were born, and maybe a handful of other days. Actually, the morning after Ty was born, I braided my hair because I had a baby in the NICU and needed something to be okay. If I was going to have a crap day, I was going to have cute hair.
- Shave every single day (legs, mhmms, and all). A few other moms looked at me, bewildered when this came up. Apparently, that’s not common? Look, I hate feeling itchy and fury. I feel gross when I don’t. It takes like 3 minutes of my day. And Damon likes it better when I shave. Win-win. I don’t give a single crap what you do with your body. I like feeling like a dolphin.
- Wear makeup most days. Some days I don’t because my bare face is pretty dang cute. But most days, I put on eyeliner, lipstick, and mascara. It takes about thirty seconds. Again, if I’m going to have a crap day, Imma face it looking pretty.
- Eat well. I started the ketogenic diet back in October. It’s high-fat, low-carb. Before people start shrieking about whatever it is people shriek about when other people decide to do something with their bodies….I went from weighing 147 to 119. I lost a bunch of body fat. I no longer have a muffin top. I don’t have jiggly bits anymore. Well, aside from the lovely loose patch of skin around my tummy, but maybe that’ll go away one day. I eat butter, bacon, oils, meat, cheese, olives, and pretty much everything else delicious. Not eating carbs can be hard because most people eat a ton. Social gatherings can be challenging because carb-loaded food is a staple in the American diet. Thankfully, my dad is on the diet too, so my parent’s house is usually a green zone. I feel much less tired. I think more clearly. I’m skinnier. Seriously, it’s fabulous. I barely have to work out to lose weight anymore. Most people drink fruit smoothies and eat low-fat stuff, then wonder why they spend so much time at the gym with minimal results…It sounds exhausting. Please stop doing this to yourself in the name of health if it’s not working.
- Take time for me. This part wouldn’t be possible without Damon. I go to class every weekday and do homework. I take a long shower every day. I take the time to read and write. I go running sometimes. I’m not going to sacrifice every part of myself for my children. I hauled their baby butts around in my womb for 18 months of my life. I literally let them suck me dry. I deserve a dang shower. I deserve to feel like a person. I’m not going to martyr myself for them. I deserve better. So I treat myself better.
So, riddle me this…does any of that make me less of a mom? Does any of that take away from my children? Do they really need me 24/7? No. I would rather have my kids have a happy mom than a bitter one. Does the fact that I take care of myself make me less of a mom? I can have pretty hair, a did-up face, shaved legs, skinny waist, write, and be a good mom. My house is a disaster…so there is that. But feeling good about myself is a higher priority. Dishes can come further down the list. *Glances in kitchen*…Waaayyyyy down that list.
Everybody has different priorities. If running after your children and hovering 24/7 matters THAT much to you…power to you. If you hate it, then stop doing it in the name of “Saintly motherhood”. Quit comparing yourself to other women and saying “I would rather be a good mom than have nice hair!” People can have both. I do both. I’m not saying that you can do everything or have everything. But you can have yourself.
You can take care of yourself and be a good mom. But the Internet doesn’t like to cheerlead those moms. Nobody wants to hear about the moms who are making it work. Nobody wants to hear about the people who actually love themselves and take care of themselves. They’d rather throw a bit Mother Thereasa pity-party about how everyone has to accept them because they don’t like themselves…….WHAT?!?!?!?!
If you genuinely love yourself and don’t give a crap about how you look, then own it. Do you. If you feel good about you, then who gives a rip about what other people think? But don’t martyr yourself, then insist that other people accept you when you’re actually bitter that you lost yourself. It’s nobody’s job to accept you but yours. You are in charge of what you do with what happens to you.
And the kid excuse only works for so long.
One day, my kids are going to get big, meet special people, and leave me. I refuse to face my menopausal self in the mirror, greeted by a fatty, saggy, worn-down looking face staring back whispering “Well, you had a baby….so it’s okay….”