"Mama, what are those lines on your face?"
"Your butt sticks out of your underwear."
"Your belly shakes!"
"I can't even see the toilet when you sit down!!"
"Mama your underwear are SO big!"
My 3 year old daughter doesn't mean to make rude comments. She doesn't know that she's not making the most polite comments. She's not even viewing me in the negative light that she might portray. Yet quotes like the above are what I hear on a daily basis.
We need thick skin as mamas. We need to feel comfortable with our bodies in order to let those comments go. We need to feel beautiful in the body that came and stayed after our little ones used our bodies as their home. We need to find beauty in the body that gave us the greatest gift in the world- our children.
Two pregnancies later, I'm 20 pounds heavier than when I started having kids. But the more noticeable part, is that my muscle tone is gone.
My body didn't bounce back. No. Instead it deteriorated. I am all flab now. I'm a medium in clothes (at the moment 140 pounds)- so not what most would consider large. But the changes are front and center. The fat ripples that never once made a presence prior to having children, are there now. My stomach doesn't know what muscle tone is any longer, and it hangs over even my new mama jeans.
And the lines in my face... they stick around so much longer. What's funny is that I'm happier than ever. Yet the frown lines are visible. The stress and challenges of raising a toddler have apparently gotten to me, and the elasticity of my younger skin is just no longer.
And there's no hiding. My 3 year old daughter sees all of me. She accompanies me to the bathroom. She watches me get dressed in the mornings. She's there seeing it all, and pointing out everything she notices.
It's normal. In fact, I distinctly remember saying remarks similar to my mom when I was young. They were merely observations. But sometimes we don't want the obvious pointed out. Sometimes we want to just ignore and move on. That is utterly impossible when you have children around. Children point out the obvious. It's innocent. It's nothing. But we hear it. And sometimes we let it get to us.
I remember looking in the mirror after my first daughter was born. There was a body greeting me that I didn't know. I smiled as I put my hand on my belly, though. I smiled because that belly, this beautiful body gave me my daughter. I'd tried for SO long, and SO hard to get pregnant. I appreciated that body in the moment.
My body did something miraculous. And it still was at the time- that same body was helping me to feed and nourish my daughter. "Stunning", I thought. I smiled and promised myself that no matter what, I would celebrate my body. I would celebrate the differences as battle scars to be proud of. My body deserved that much after working so hard and doing something so incredible.
Mamas, we may be different now. We may have scars, fat ripples, and weigh more. All of those changes are because of something fabulous, though. So let's let the comments slide. Let's remember that our dear toddlers are just being scientists and observing. Let's teach our toddlers about real beauty. The beauty of a mother.