One of the things I try to accomplish on a day to day basis is to make other moms feel better. One way I accomplish this without much effort is through our general daily chaos. My kids are the ones at school who have unbrushed
hair and mismatched clothes for picture day and the other parents look and think wow they are doing a good job. I have friends that come over for a coffee play date and see marker on every surface of my house that is three feet and under, a few holes in the wall and red nail polish on my living room carpet. I personally painted the 12 rooms of our house when we moved in three years ago and the house is desperately in need of a complete repainting. I have decided to paint half of the house now and half when Ellie turns four and stops writing on the walls. So for now I am going to paint the half of my house from the ceiling to midway down the wall where Ellie can't reach. Logical plan if I do say so myself. My house serves the purpose of making other moms feel better they think to themselves my house isn't this bad. I make them feel better about their own lives!
On days when I am endlessly cleaning my home and missing out on sunshine and ladybugs in the backyard with the kids I am reminded of a poem we studied in high school. I remember a lady talking about trying to keep the dirt out of her home and the dirt was like a wave in the ocean. No matter how many times she pushed it out it came right back. And the poem ended with her dead and being buried by the dirt. In the end she fought dirt her whole life and the dirt won! So don't fight it. Cleaning your house is a losing battle. Get outside and push your kids on a swing and enjoy life. Who cares about a dirty house!
Another way I try to make other moms feel better is to let them know they are not alone in their struggles. I am right here along with you struggling. With the lippy teenager that knows everything, has attitude even when he is agreeing with me and who I am constantly asking to pull up his pants. He has a phone but wants an Iphone, he has a Playstation and wants an X-box 360, he wants a later bedtime, later curfew, and more allowance. He is exactly like we were when we were 13 and drove our parents crazy and now we are the ones saying, you don't know how good you've got it. I have an 18 month old who has entered the scream phase, even though she is able to communicate through words and actions she finds it necessary to scream at the top of her lungs when she wants something. I am close to getting a spray bottle and filling it with water to squirt her with to try and curb her high pitched screeching.
I also find myself at a weight very near what I weighed when I was 9 months pregnant with my oldest. I used to look forward to shopping, now I dread it. I haven't bought a pair of jeans in two years. I was finally forced to go shopping recently and now I know why my Mom used to tell me she hated shopping. As a tanned, blond, fit 16 year old with money burning a hole in my pocket from my summer job I thought she was crazy and I would never tire of shopping. How times have changed. If ever there is a need for me to be punished the judge should just skip jail and sentence me to time served in a ladies dressing room. Imagine spending 6 months in front of a full length mirror surrounded by four white walls under fluorescent lights and instead of a trendy orange jumper or striped pjamas as your uniform you are placed in your dressing room cell in a pair of worn out mom panties and a saggy nursing bra finished off with a pair of men's black dress socks. Every minute of that six months to stare at yourself with your hair in a knot at the back of your head with five inches of roots, pasty white skin, a mommy tummy that looks like a bagel if you squish it together, yes that would be worse than any prison.
I did in fact go shopping with enthusiasm recently to find an outfit for our trip to Toronto where our family would be taping the CBC show Dragons Den. If ever there was a good reason to buy an outfit this was it. Patrick and I got a sitter and headed out for a date. Shopping, supper and a concert with the kids at home with Miss K. It doesn't get much better than that. I first shopped for the kids and realized I had some time left to look for something for myself. The first store I tried looked hopeful. Frilly blouses, long sweaters, cute girly jackets and skirts. Pat said this looks like your store. I agreed until I looked through rack after rack and couldn't find a size 12. "Excuse me" I approached a skinny young clerk. "What size does your store go up to?" To which she replied, "Size 10." Ok, I guess I won't be shopping here. That was the first time I have been in a store where they don't have anything big enough for me. In the past that would have been enough to send me over the edge. Patrick and I calmly left the store and I think he was surprised that I wasn't in tears. Even more surprising was when we walked past a "plus size" store and I suggested we go in. The sign on the front said 14 and up. Most of the clothes I was trying on in the other stores were 12 or 14, so why not go have a look. I found a beautiful jacket but wasn't sure if I should buy it or not. Pat suggested I wait until I was in Toronto and buy something. I know I would be panicked if we had left town and I had nothing to wear. We took a break and had a coffee and I had time to think about my decision.
I ended up with an XL Carmel Machiato trying to get the courage to buy and Xl jacket to wear on national TV! I returned to the store to make me first ever "plus size" purchase. While waiting in line I experienced another first. I have had other moms tell me of issues that arise from having children and then jumping on a trampoline or lauging or even sneezing, the inevitable mommy bladder issue. And sure enough I sneezed and after that 16 oz coffee only moments before....dribble dribble. My only option at that point was to pick up a new pair of gotch from the store I was already in and head to the food court washrooms to make the change! I emerged a new person. I was going to a country music concert, I had just shopped at a plus size store and since I am a frugal mom and deal with diapers and peed beds on a daily basis I just stuck the pee panties in my purse. When did my life take this turn. Not long ago I was an in shape hottie going to Bon Jovi concerts with my faded jeans and back combed hair. I told a friend of mine this story and she thought I should have thrown the panties on stage! Ewwww.
All I can tell you is that I accept the body I have whether it is for right now or forever. This may be just a stage in my life followed by the hard bodied 40 year old triathalete. I am OK with who I am right now. I am a busy mom and I give myself permission to not beat myself up over how I look. Your friends and family want to see you and don't care about any extra weight you have so don't let that hold you back from going to your 20th school reunion, a family function or even on National TV! Right now your wedding rings may be so tight on your hands that you can't even get them off (like mine) but I think about a day many years from now when I am a little old lady with hands that are skin and bone and the rings either twirl around my paperthin skin or I have to keep them in a drawer so they don't fall off and I will fondly remember the day the most handsome man took me on a date to the Brooks and Dunn concert!