I am sure that many of you have seen the above picture. It made it's round on Facebook, and I was one of, I'm sure, thousands of people to repost it. It was over a month ago when I added it to my timeline, but I think about it everyday. We need to be nicer to, more understanding and accepting of one another. I find myself judging people so quickly, and I am only doing myself a disservice...there is still PLENTY I could be learning.
And it's not just about parenting. We put so many pressures on ourselves and others to live up to arbitrary standards of how we should live, work, eat, look, be. As much as I try to enjoy life, to appreciate what I have, and to relish in the moment...I do this to myself all the time! Today a friend of mine posted a link to a blog about the reality of parenting young children on my Facebook page. I read it smiling, nodding, tearing up a bit, and thinking "man, this guy nailed it." And then at the bottom of the blog entry, there was a P.S...
"P.S. If you liked this post, you have to read my wife's earlier post, about her own journey with body image after having twins. You can read it here."
So, I clicked and read this woman's words, while sobbing so hard I almost couldn't see the screen. To quote Lauren Hill's Killing Me Softly, this woman was,
Strumming my pain with his fingers
Singing my life with his words
Killing me softly with his song
Killing me softly... with his song
Telling my whole life with his words
Killing me softly... with his song
WHaaaoooooo aoooooo whoaoaoao
lalalalalalaLALALALALALA ohohoh laaaaaa
Since high school, I have not had the "perfect" body; so it will probably come as no surprise that taking a not so little stomach and using it to grow two humans in the span of two years will not result in six pack abs. In fact, I would go as far to say that it did not help my physique in the slightest. :)
I am now the heaviest weight I have ever been, with curves in places where you don't necessarily want curves. And I can write this jokingly, but it is a struggle everyday for me. I look in the mirror and think, "that can't be how I look." I try to wear clothes that help me feel cute, hip, put together, but without fail if a photo is taken I end up wondering, "what was I thinking...I look gross."
Now this is where the judging begins...some would say, "Do something about it. Workout...diet. Nothing is going to change unless you change." And to those people I would like to say, "I KNOW! But I struggle with motivation. If my children are napping, I want to nap. It's too hard. I can't. I want it to be easier."
And some people would say, "You are beautiful the way you are. Women shouldn't feel like they have to be a size two. Embrace that squishy stomach as a memento of carrying your babies." And to those people I would like to say, "I KNOW! But I can't help feeling like a blob, wanting to be cropped out of every picture of my family, wanting to wear things that I cannot wear. It's too hard. I can't. I want it to be easier."
I wish that I could feel that the changes to my body are a small sacrifice in comparison to the amazing gifts my kiddos are, and/or that I could say with confidence that I will workout daily and not want a milkshake from Steak n' Shake every night. But I'm not there yet.
So, I guess what I am trying to say is...maybe it's okay to be sad sometimes, to doubt, to wallow in self pity. I hope I won't be here forever. I hope that I can still teach my kids to love themselves as they are, while also encouraging them to be the best that they can be, but for now I will make due with knowing that my husband thinks I am just as cute as the day we met, and my kids don't mind snuggling up with a soft, squishy mama. Today, I will try and be nicer to myself.