We mamas are awfully hard on ourselves. But guess what? Most of us are doing O.K. (Well, you might be one of those monsters who feeds her preschooler uncut grapes, but the rest of us are doing O.K.) I usually offer mom-to-mom advice over mid-playdate cocktails (don’t judge), so consider this the print equivalent. Allow me to share with you, my sisters in the crusade against potty language and snot-rockets, some of our common concerns, and my take on why we should cut ourselves some slack.
Should I be worried that I haven’t been able to get my pre-baby body back as quickly as I had hoped?
Nonsense! You’re gorgeous and your many, many lady lumps are perfect. Now jiggle on over here and have a seat so we can chat about it over this pile of leftover Easter candy that I stole from my kids. Yes, you can bring that half-eaten grilled cheese that your toddler left behind; don’t want that to go to waste. Now, here are two things to remember: 1. You are the guts and glory behind this whole birthing and child rearing operation, and the lasting changes to your body should only remind you that it has served a higher, beautiful purpose by bringing new life into the world. 2. Muffin-top is the new black.
Should I be worried that I seem to have lost half of my brain cells since giving birth?
Oh, this is a good one. I am going to try to answer this in an informed and intellectual manner, so I’ll need to Velcro my elbow patches onto my bathrobe in order to get into the mindset. Oh damn, I think I may have used them as nursing pads in a sleep-deprived haze. Anyway, whatever your name is (I already forgot), don’t worry that even though you are an educated, accomplished woman, these days it seems to take every ounce of your mental capacity to remember not to stash your car keys in the fridge. If your children are fed, clothed (my strict in-house policy is “Underpants must be worn at the dinner table when we have company”) and loved, then congrats! You’ve remembered all the important stuff. Who cares if you routinely shave only one leg before going out?
At what point do we need to worry about being nude in front of our opposite gender children?
Take your cue from them. If it doesn’t seem like a big deal, don’t make it one. A local mom with whom I share several mutual friends but don’t actually know personally (nice to meet you, S!) demonstrated this tactic perfectly. A little while after giving birth to her third child, S. treated herself to a spa day complete with a long-overdue waxing and general maintenance in her Southern Hemisphere. The aesthetician/landscape architect got a little over ambitious due to the magnitude of the project, and basically took her from the “’Don King” to the “military recruit,” as far as her lady ’do was concerned. That evening, her eldest son (who is 6) entered the bathroom as she came out of the shower, and clearly noticed that something was abuzz. She wasn’t sure how to handle the awkward moment (I assume she was thinking “Please don’t salute me, please don’t salute me”) until her son nonchalantly remarked with a shrug, “Hey, Mom. Got your vagina hair cut? Looks nice. Can you help me find a Band-Aid?”
Mary is a local freelancer writer, a children’s yoga instructor, and the mother of three children. Read more of her work at mamasaidknockyouout.net.