Friday, May 1, 2009

What is Mom's Perfect Body?

I have been struggling with an issue for months now. Something I can not seem to come to terms with. It is one of those things that I go round and round with in my own head for hours on end with no final resolution or conclusion. It came to a head this past weekend as I decided to purge my enormous collection of clothing. I have clothes dating back 10 years. I have clothes pre-any babies (a taunting size 2!) I have clothes in between babies 1 & 2 (size 6-8ish) Clothes between babies 2 and 3 (size 4, not bad) I have my maternity clothes (I never gave in to actual maternity clothes, so I instead have a collection of size 10 clothing) and a random mix of all sizes/seasons in between.

I decided it was time to get rid of things I no longer needed/wanted/could pull off. I broke it to Colby as we drove in the car one day, "I am a mother of three."
"I need to come to terms with the fact I can no longer wear mini-skirts or other teeny-weeny clothes."
"What??? But... you're still hot."
"Well, I'll have to be hot in clothes that don't embarrass my three daughters."
"Grumble, grumble."

I proceeded to pull the stashed clothes out of every nook and cranny of my bedroom and made a big (BIG) pile on my bed. And then (horror) tried them all on. The size 10's were an easy donate as they literally fall off me. The size 2's just don't fit... but should I keep them... 'just in case'??? Nope, time to move on and recognize that my baby bearing hips will never again be (nor need to be) a size 2. Ok, some really cute shirts, but show just a touch of belly with low cut pants. Hmmm... not bad, BUT, seriously, Michele, you are a mother of three... donate. Cute skirts... just too short... donate.
Ok, wardrobe, more manageable and age appropriate. Now, on to the body image ordeal. I have always been small... small framed, small chested, small bum... But I now have an extra 10 pounds which still puts me below average but above MY ideal weight. So what do I do? I vacillate throughout the day (depending on what naughty snack I am craving) Do I settle with my new shape? Can I settle? Could I ever look in the mirror and think 'Hey, not bad." Or would I always be making that gagging face when I see my nakedness. Can you truly ever be content with your body if it's not exactly what it used to be? I really don't know. And what really complicates the issue is my 3 daughters. I really don't want them obsessing over their figures. They pick up on every little thing I do or say. I want them to think I am happy in my skin, but I feel as though they'll know I am not being honest with them or myself.
Ironically I happened across my never-politically correct, always-hilarious friend Lora's blog. She lamented:
"After a few tears and long hours of denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and finally acceptance I have given all of my post-partum pants away. I'm 32 1/2 years old. Normal, healthy 32 1/2 year olds aren't supposed to weigh under 120 pounds when they stand at 5'7". I'm not meant to be a size 4 ever again."

Whew, it's not just me, other moms struggle with this. Maybe it is an age/stage that happens to every woman. Lora seems to be satisfied with not being under 120 pounds. She has come to terms, why can't I???
And then, I saw Valerie Bertinelli on the cover of People. What the hell? She's a mother and she's 48! She is as gorgeous (& small) as she's ever been.
So, do I try to acquiesce and follow the age-old societal mantra of loving my self just the way I am (am I even able to?) Or do I do what will truly make me the most comfortable and work my butt off and starve myself to get back to my 'topless in Mexico" physique???

Any women out there care to weigh in and give me an honest opinion? Does any one else struggle with this or am I just a complete nutcase with body dysmorphia?

With a husband like mine, I need to be the sane one, so help me out here!


  1. whoa whoa whoa!

    I'm not happy, but I'm learning to accept it.

    I'm turning off E! and MTV and tossing out the Cosmo magazines that show me all the Valeries and Brooke Burkes and Kelly Ripas and I'm looking around at my friends and coworkers and other moms at the park and the grocers and realizing that I'm not doing so bad for myself.

    I like being skinny. I hate feeling uncomfortable. I don't think I'll ever be super skinny again, so I have to learn to be comfortable and HEALTHY. That's the important message to send to our kids.

    I just wish it wasn't so damned hard to accept myself, my size, my aging, and all that crap.

  2. I share every ounce os your struggle!
    I have never been happier with my life and yet completely miserable with my appearance. I am a mother of 3 and am 35 years old. Do I try to look like I'm 25 again, I wish! I am not happy with my weight although to many I am still concidered small/petite. They don't see why I complain.
    My man loves me exactly how I am no matter what I weigh so should it matter that I gained 10lbs? It does to me. What do we do?

  3. I weigh the same as I did when I first got pregnant and yet looking at me you would never guess it. The weight has spread to all different parts of my body that I never used to gain weight in. It's depressing! I am on a mission of losing around 12 lbs to try to feel comfortable with myself also. I'm guessing that no matter what, this body will just never look the same again no matter what size I am.

  4. First of all I have you that you look great, and I am not just being a friend, you really do.
    Second I have always had the same problem. I look in the mirror and think I still need to do this or that. When in reality I have 3 kids (2 I had) and I will probably never have flat 6 pack stomach. But I will probably keep trying.
    And finally, although I do the same thing, do not look at the rich and famous. Yes Valerie Bertinelli is 48 and a mother she also has a personal trainer, and time to work out three hours a day. I do not know about you but I have a hard enough time trying to work out 40 minutes 5 days a week.
    My point is yes you should do what will make you happy. The key there is what makes YOU happy.

  5. I have always struggled with this! I don't know many women who don't. I like being thin and maintaining some sort of control over my body. But now that I'm a mom everything has changed. My body has changed and sometimes I feel as though I don't even know it. Deep down I know I won't be a size 4 again, but that doesn't stop me from storing mini-skirts and short shorts, because you never know... I try the self love thing but it's really hard. I know that it's running and weights that will get me to love my body.

    P.S. - I'm here by way of Lora and Wednesday Spaghetti.

  6. this is a hard one to not write a mini book. i know that ever since i figured out self-image, i have never been happy with my body - i am like oprah - fat, thin, fat, thin ... in my mind. but never thin enough & i know i never will be. the minute puberty hit, i got hips ... & they will always be there ... i'm curvy in the world of stick. but it's starting to be ok.
    i am a believer that you have to do what makes you happy, whatever that is - so if you need to be your ideal skinny to be truely happy, then that's what you should do. but in all honesty, once that weight is reached, will it be something else? ... and our daughters ... the focus needs to be on health - whether that be a size 4,8, or 12. everyone is different ... i like what lora said, looking around you rather than all the famous beauties that have their trainers ... it gives a great reality check.

  7. You're hot. Get used to it.

    Where are your Hot Mama pics for The Gonzo Mama's Hot Mama of the Month contest?

  8. 120 and 5'7"? Oh, how I wish I could even get back down to that size!!

    I am 5'7" and way over 40 and since I started going through menopause, I can't lose a pound. Well---you can read it all in my blog---I am OBSESSED WITH IT!!

    Everyone tells me that I look so thin, and I should get "used to it", but I REFUSE to give up!!

    I try lowering my calories, doing Nutrisystem (the food was inedible---ugh!), exercising more, or doing different exercises, and just did the MUFA diet----which made me lose inches, but NOT weight!

    Oh, dear,----you opened a can of worms---sorry...

    As for you, you should feel glad that you have a hubby that thinks you are hot, no matter what---my hubby feels that way about me, too---so I am blessed to have that.

    I guess----sigh.

  9. Oh my sweet funny insecure Michele. You are beautiful whether you are a size 2 or a size 10. Your family and friends will love you no-matter what gravitational pull you create. You should love yourself as much as we do.

    I am 5'1" and a size 10 and in the best health of my life. There is no such thing as "ideal weight", because everyBODY is different. I exercise everyday...I eat very healthy....I sleep great...and I get more comments on how beautiful I am than I ever did when I was Quote "SKINNY". To answer your question...YES! I am content with my body.

    Let's be a role model for your girls and don't give a shit if we have an extra 10 lbs. We wouldn't want those beautiful young girls to ever have to deal with low self-esteem and gag when they see themselves in the mirror.

  10. ok...I am not a woman...but here are my two more than ever body image is dictated by the media...if you are happy and healthy that is all that ought to matter

  11. Hi there,
    You sound a lot like I was. I too have had 3 children (all by c-section) and yes, you CAN have a flat stomach and 6 pack...if that's what you want!
    I get so fed with people saying "I have had kids, I just won't ever be (Blank) again"
    Yes, you CAN if you want to be! And it does not mean starving or weighing under 120. I am 5'6" and 138 pounds... ultra lean & muscular. No, I am not teaching my children how to obsess, I am teaching them how to fuel their bodies the RIGHT way and to take the utmost care of it!
    I find it so sad that as mothers, not only are we settling, but we are teaching our kids it's ok to settle too.
    The fact that you say you hate it and are negatively affected by it means that you are NOT ok with it. Instead of forcing yourself to be ok with it, do something about it!
    It is the most empowering feeling ever!!
    If you need help, visit me at

  12. I'm 36 years old, 5'7" and 120lbs. However, I'm pregnant with my 1st child right now. At only 13 weeks I haven't put on any weight, but I know that will change. Will I go back to my pre-pregnancy size after the birth? I have no idea. What I do know is that I was just as happy at 135lbs as I was at 120lbs. My weight has gone up and down over the years and it's never bothered me. I was actually shocked to find out I was only 120 because I rarely weigh myself. I thought I was 130. Toss the scale and be happy.

  13. I'm probably one of the few moms out there who appreciates my body more now than when I was younger and hotter. I may have some saggy skin and stretch marks, but I can firmly hold a toddler on each hip.

    As some background, I suffered from an eating disorder for most of my adult life, and motherhood helped snap me out of my self-destructive thinking. Incidentally, once I stopped obsessing, I found myself at close to my lowest lifetime weight without suffering for it.

    I'm not completely issue free (who is?), but feel so good to be finally unburdened by all the body image demons.

    You're gorgeous and strong. Just remember that and keep setting a great example for your girls.