Motherhood makes you strong AF no matter your size.
On the left, you have me pregnant with my first child at 246 lbs.
On the right, you have me at a healthy 140 lbs.
Guess what, though?
I flippin' rocked as a mother then, and I'm still doing pretty damn good at mothering now.
But, hear this --
When I was no longer pregnant, had birthed my first child and was still overweight, I thought that it wasn't only my weight that was unhealthy, but that an unenviable number of the scale also made me unhealthy for my children.
'I'm a mother who is unhealthy for her child."
That's what I believed.
That I must be a bad mom if I can't even exemplify for my daughter what healthy eating habits and a regular exercise routine look like.
That I must be a bad mom if I don't feel grateful for this body I inhabit.
That I must be a bad mom because instead of reciting positive affirmations to myself in the mirror each morning, I negatively remark both internally and externally on all of my flaws which are almost ridiculously and embarrassingly numerous.
That I must be a bad mom because I'm not "beautiful" by society's standards.
That I must be a bad mom because all of the "good" moms I see are killin' it -- in the looks department, at work climbing that corporate ladder, socializing like carefree butterflies and seemingly finding time to do it all while looking like Jennifer Lopez.
I would think to myself,
"I must suck at this whole motherhood thing because for the life of me I can not figure out how to tend to the needs of my children, my husband, my home, my career, my friends and myself and this body."
Since then, thankfully, I've had a mind shift.
That picture of the larger me was seven years ago when I was pregnant with my first child.
The image on the right, I took today before my morning gym class.
I am 32 years old, with three kids (ages, 7, 5 and 3) and on the daily I weigh somewhere between (136 and 142lbs).
While I am no longer overweight, I also no longer hold the idiotic notion that my weight -- no matter the number -- has (or will ever have) anything to do with whether or not I am good (or good ENOUGH) for my children.
I was never a bad mom, even when I more consistently ate like crap and never exercised.
I was a woman who was an athlete all my life, stopped sports when I got to college, drank, ate and studied (in that order) my way through it, and then, after getting married at the age of twenty-two, got pregnant for the first time and enjoyed eating for two.
Still, I took all of my vitamins, gave up alcohol and caffeine, followed all of my OB/GYN's eating restrictions and was anything but a bad, soon-to-be mom.
Then, about two years later, never having lost the weight from my first pregnancy, I fell pregnant with my second child.
I was a woman who had just barely begun to feel as though she adjusted from being childless to new motherhood, and now, not only was I dealing with a toddler and tantrums, I was also caring for a newborn of a different gender than my first, who had colic and his own unique needs seeking to be met.
Still, I was anything but a bad mom.
I was strong as hell for waking up my tired, overweight butt each day and loving those tykes like it was my only job because, guess what?
It sure as hell was.
And, that, well, that made me a good mom.
I also used to think that I must be a bad mom because I didn't feel grateful for the body that God gave and entrusted me to inhabit.
Lacking appreciation for the temple that was bestowed upon, it didn't make me "bad," it made me normal.
It was (and is) unrealistic to expect someone to feel grateful all of the time, especially when thet are roaming around in a community filled with members of the general public who sadly aim to judge and criticize them at every turn.
But, I repeat, I was anything but a bad mom.
I was strong as hell for somewhere inside of me trusting that my worth -- to my family and the world -- didn't depend upon me loving my body; it depended upon me loving and caring for my children, from and with the body I had, and I sure as hell did that.
I used to think I must be a bad mom because instead of reciting positive affirmations to myself in the mirror each morning, I would negatively remark both internally and externally on all of my flaws which were almost ridiculously and embarrassingly numerous.
They still are.
And, they still are because I'm still imperfect.
AS I SHOULD BE.
Calling yourself out on both your internal and external being, it's not always a bad thing.
If you do it correctly -- and not in a self-deprecating, bashing way -- with respect for yourself and your whole person, owning that there is room for self-improvement, that's extremely impressive.
Sometimes I would even think that I must be a bad mom because I wasn't "beautiful" by magazine, media and fashion standards.
But, do you know who standards I did meet on the regular?
Their only standard was that I was comfortable enough in my clothing to get down on the floor, roll around and be silly, and to them, and thankfully my husband too, they found nothing more beautiful than that.
I used to think that I must be a bad mom because all of the "good" moms I would see, were killin' it -- in the looks department, at work climbing that corporate later, socializing like queen butterfly and seemingly finding time to do it all while looking like Jennifer Lopez.
Alternatively, sometimes that celebrity-looking momma, well she had a matching selfish attitude to go with it, and the look on her child's face told me she wasn't getting "everything" right.
And, that momma that kept getting promoted at work, she's the one who felt like a bad mom; feeling so much guilt over the time she spent time tending to those responsibilities outside of her offspring and neglecting them in the process.
Miss. Social Butterfly -- Did you know that she struggles with anxiety? Yep, but pushes herself to be more outgoing and gregarious each day to challenge herself and that is while she is always "so smiley."
Still, I used to convince myself that I was the sole woman that stunk at being a mom because I simply (omg, nothing about motherhood is simple) could not figure out how to do it all and tend to the needs of my children, my husband, my home, my career, my friends and lastly, myself or body.
Then I must still stink because I still can't figure it out, right?
I couldn't figure it out at 206lbs, and I'm no closer to figuring it out at 140lbs.
But, I was never a bad mom, nor am I now.
Moms, you are strong AF no matter your size.
You are also "good" enough no matter your:
The size of your friends circle/tribe
The length of your marriage
Whether or not you are still married
Whether your child is gifted or has special needs
Whether you have one child or many
Whether you breastfed or bottle-fed
Whether you co-sleep or don't
Whether you make your kids' meals from scratch or you microwave them from frozen
Whether you have a life outside of your children or if they are your sole purpose at this moment
Whether you are reading this in your fancy suit in your office cubicle, in the car as you wait for your gym class, as you sit on the potty hiding from your children and spouse, or as you readjust your messy-topknot as not to scare the other moms in school pick-up line, please hear this:
Motherhood makes you strong AF and your mama heart, that's one muscle, whether you work it out or not, that will never decrease in its size or capacity for love.
Someone one once said mothers are weak.
He must have never met one of us.