One of the crew (my mummy group) shouted out this week to ask if anyone wanted to meet up for a swim at the public pool. Instantly my 26 year old self jumped up like that was such a great idea... and then my post baby, 30 year old, mushier self hit the panic button.
I took our first daughter to the pool all the time. We did mommy and me lessons right through until she was 2. I wore a relatively non-kid friendly bathing suit to which i quickly learned wasn't the greatest for my very buoyant milk factories. (I wonder how the heck Pam Anderson did it in baywatch? She must have struggled). At the time I was in in "1st baby" bliss. I just had a baby.. yeah I was sad about the body those 9 months left me with... but I was high on life. Anyways... now with our second, not only did it become more difficult to take two very small children to a pool at the same time, but it became difficult for me to find AND fit into a child friendly bathing suit that I was somewhat ok with.
We went. We packed our stuff... and went. I didn't even model my bathing suit, shoved it in a bag, said a little prayer and went. A lady swam by me holding both girls in the pool with that "forced/i feel sorry for you" smile on her face and said "Boy, you're brave, aren't you?" I wanted to say... brave? Ha! The bravest/hardest part about what you see, I'm fighting on the inside. Brave was getting in this slightly too small bathing suit and worrying about everyone else but myself. My pasty sunless body is so white, I panicked that if I drown, they would never find me on the bottom of the white tiled pool. Brave was not looking in the mirror first to make sure I wasn't seriously offending anyone with this image. The easiest part was hiding behind my two beautiful girls who I pray won't struggle with body image as much as their mother does.
I am lucky. I gained 26lbs with my 1st baby and 8lbs with my second. After I had D, I walked out skinnier than I had been in a while. Now, my body image sucks... but my eating habits suck worse. I love hot chocolate, jelly beans and Kraft Dinner. Kids need carbs... and when you can see 'em, and smell 'em... well... it's pretty gosh darn hard to not eat 'em. We eat healthy, don't get me wrong. We love our smoothies, fresh fish, and a very balanced diet full of veggies and dairy. However... we too, love our snacks. Those evil little goldfish (double cheddar = extra evil) and all the candy that comes with special events. I know exactly where and how I pack on my pounds, and I know exactly what it's going to take to get rid of them. So really... it's my own fault. I don't know how many times I've had my thyroid levels checked praying there is an excuse. Awful.
My friend M.H. left me with some pretty powerful words one day. I stuggled with my image following the birth of both my girls. She said "Be careful how much you talk about it, you have 2 little listeners." It really rang true to me. How much I was effecting these beautiful little creatures who don't have a worry in the world (well.. little worries, like how many pontails to sport that day, or whether B wants to wear fashion boots or snowboots). They are listening and analyzing my every move. I am now very careful to not put myself down.... out loud. Now I just need to work on internalizing my love for myself.
For the first time in as long as I can remember, I made a kid cry today. I swam by this cute, relaxed little baby with his grandma in the pool and he took one look at me and started balling. I pretended like I hadn't engaged with him at all and kept moving (weird... wonder why that kid started crying?) Inside I thought to myself that's exactly how I feel about myself when I look in the mirror right now, little guy. The struggle to get ready to go anywhere public, leaves me holding back tears in a mirror and eventually saying... well... this is the best i can do, and leaving. Like an old cottage... after you have kids... everything starts to settle and shift. That strong, solid foundation becomes a little unlevel and not quite as supportive as it once was. To invest in a new foundation would cost 10s of thousands... so for now, all I can do is fix up this ole' cottage and just relax where it stands.
I'm a mum. I helped make and grow two stunningly beautiful little girls. I have the ability to show them what it is like to respect themselves and love their bodies. I just need a little personal refresher course from time to time. My body isn't and never will be what it was the day I got married (God, I worked hard for that body).... but my life isn't the same either. I have been gifted these two lovelies who I look forward to seeing every morning. Let this new year be about discovering myself... maybe my old... 20lb lighter self?! But being a lot less consumed with how fat I look in pictures or how dusty that bin of smaller jeans is getting downstairs.
I've got some work to do ;-) Now pass the celery... Hold the dip! hahahah