Category Archives: Motherhood/body image

Your ingenious marketing ploy makes me feel fat…

After having children clothes don’t fit my body the way they used to. I recognize part of this is due to the extra pounds I carry around as a result of a sedentary job and a love of all things bread. However, part of it is due to the fact that certain muscles stretched out beyond their normal capacity and may never return to their previously gorgeous ultra flat condition.

In other words, I have a pooch.

Jean shopping since the advent of the ultra-low-rise-guaranteed-to-give-you-plumber-butt-or-a-horrid-muffintop-no-matter-how-much-you-starve-yourself jean has been fairly impossible. None of the low rise jeans fit me in any flattering way and all of the “traditional fit” jeans are made of flimsy denim, cost 10 bucks and make me feel categorically uncool.

I have been touring the jean rack at Ross for months now. My only awesome pair of ultra luxurious designer french jeans came from Ross and I have stalked their jean aisle religiously ever since in the hope of finding another pair like them. (Especially now that I have worn that one luxurious pair for years now and must retire it due to huge rips, tears, and thin spots.)

While touring the jean aisle this time my fingers happened upon a thick and luxurious denim in my size. Soft deep blue fabric rested heavily in my arms as I carried them to the fitting room. The jeans fit beautifully. My ass looked great, I didn’t have a muffin top, and I could move around in all positions without feeling any restriction. Perfect! I removed the jeans feeling damn sexy and pleased to once again own a pair of jeans that made me feel really good wearing them.

Then I saw the tag. I am sure the marketing geniuses who came up with the brand name and web address thought they were appealing to my sense of outrage at the ridiculous rail thin models shoved in front of my face at every fashion turn. I am positive they were trying to create a sense of female solidarity and tell me they were taking the time to make jeans that really fit real women really well. What they did was drain the pleasure from my shopping experience.

“Not My Daughter’s Jeans” may as well read “Mom Pants” or “Uncool and dated jeans” or “Too busy parenting to bother with looking good denim”. Seriously. I don’t want to be buying jeans marketed to mothers even though I recognize I need jeans designed for women who have had babies. I want to wear jeans marketed to Catherine Zeta Jones or Angelina Jolie or to women who are traveling to exotic places and dancing in fancy nightclubs. I want to buy jeans that tell me I am still hot and desirable even if my kids will ultimately use them as a kleenex.

My previous sense of self satisfaction gone I reminded myself that they looked damn good on me and the tag, NMDJ, was both discreet and located on the inside of my waistband.

Then I found the tag with their web address on it.

Fuck you NMDJ’s. Fuck you.

The third person

I believe I have hit upon the reason mom’s refer to themselves in the third person. For example:
“Mommy is busy right now honey, please wait until I am done.”
“No honey, Mommy can’t turn the t.v. up right now, Mommy is in the shower.”
“Mommy is still in the shower honey, I can’t get to the remote right now! Please wait until I am out of the shower!!”

It is in part do to the interaction with the infant, but I think it is really because mommies have three personalities, therefore Mommy is personality number three, the third person.

My first person is a young woman who loves to go dancing, stay up until dawn, smoke cigarettes and toss back one too many tequila shots. Sadly, she was put into a coma about 6 years and 9 months ago, so the chances of anyone seeing her again are slim. However, she occasionally invades my consciousness with a sweet memory and the smell of freedom, often when I am driving in the rain and turn the music up a little louder than I should.

My second person is a serious lawyer ready and able to save the world. She is dedicated, tireless, and armed with the tools needed to wreak havoc on opposing council. She wears sexy yet serious business suits and sensible heels. She is witty at cocktail parties and political functions, and still amazes her husband with her intellectual prowess and social capabilities.

My third person is a mom. She is always there for tears, problem solving, lunch making, real and imagined insults, boo boo kisses, and upset tummies. She cleans the house, buys the groceries, prepares the food. She showers at night because she is usually showered in baby spit up several times during the day. She is a napkin, a washcloth, and more. She doesn’t sleep, hasn’t worn make-up in months, and lost her ability to put together a decent outfit ages ago. She is an expert in getting smiles and giggles, diffusing kiddo stress and consternation, and removing stains from laundry. She can change a really messy diaper in under three minutes with only three or four wipes.

However, she is the hardest personality to acknowledge and accept. She is much more disheveled than the other two parts of me, much more emotional, and seemingly less capable, though really, she is just dealing with more. After all, how often does a lawyer have to handle complex billing negotiations with a screaming baby vomiting on their suit? How many young and carefree women have to schlep children through the grocery store?

Anyway, the reason I think I refer to this third personality in third person is simple, it places distance between the sleepless, pale, disheveled mad woman in the mirror and myself. After all, carefree woman and slick lawyer are rarely interrupted in the shower by anyone for any reason, much less a six year old needing help with the television.

I really am still the young carefree woman and the slick lawyer. They are just currently hidden behind a river of baby spit up and burp cloths. Until I can see them again, or at least small parts of them, I will likely still continue to refer to the rest of me, that tired, spit up covered woman, in the third person.

Insomnia brings an epiphany.

I haven’t had insomnia since Marlena was born, I suppose because I haven’t slept much at all since she was born. It’s not all her fault, a big part of that is due to the various degree’s of higher education I have obtained since she entered the world.

Tonight’s insomnia came to me like an old friend. I used to suffer from this loathsome and annoying condition often in my youth. When afflicted with the inability to sleep as an adult, I would read or watch t.v. to while away the hours. As a child I would rearrange my furniture in the middle of the night.

Tonight I snuck into Marlena’s room and cleaned it. Then I lay in bed listening to my husband and baby snore and waited for sleep. It didn’t come. So here I am, writing to all of you, and eating some cream of wheat with soymilk. I miss real milk. A lot.

(Marlena’s bday party was successful today, but I will save that post for tomorrow, when I can post all the pictures with it.)

While lying in bed and listening to the rumbles of the men in my life I began to think about my body. Having just had a baby I am squishy and pudgy. I have dark marks down my stomach and I am pretty sure my breasts sag more each day. I look in the mirror while naked and I am a far cry from my supple teenage body of yore.

Tonight I realized something very important. I don’t care. I think I have a beautiful body. I love my body. My body has done the most amazing thing in my life, twice. I have grown two entire human beings. They came from me fully formed, with eyes, and ears, toes and fingers, and great personalities. They think things seperate from me and they have their own ideas. They will grow to have their own seperate lives. Their own children.

My body grew people. Real people. These real people:

I love these people. I love that they came from me, that I made them.

I love that my breasts look like they have nourished and are nourishing children. I love that my nipples are long and dark and my skin is marked with silver streaks. These breasts of mine have made the most amazing babies. They have fed them for hours of the most wonderful snuggly nursing.

I love that my stomach and thighs have stretch marks. My stomach grew two people. My babies came to life inside my stomach and grew to be strong and healthy. They would not be here if it weren’t for those stretch marks.

I don’t care that I don’t look like a young girl anymore, or that I am squishy and pudgy. My body is one that grew and sustained lives, and those lives love to hug and snuggle me as I am.

Thank you body, for everything you have given me. Thank you for being squishy and saggy and floppy. Thank you for being strong and able. Thank you for my life.