Archive for December, 2008

Radio Free Revolution

Carla: So I was on the Internets radio with my dear friend Doug Pagitt yesterday. Caryn and I are going to be regular Thursday morning guest hosts on Doug’s blogtalk radio program. So mark your calendars for 10:30 every Thursday between now and forever!

Yesterday I talked primarily about what we’re up to with all this Revolution business. You can listen to our conversation here. Doug blathers on about some other stuff for the first half of the show. So the real action starts at about the 24 minute mark. In the future, I’ll cut these files down so you only have to load and listen to the part featuring Caryn and me.

We are still trying to figure out how we’ll use our time but we’d love to talk to some of you on the air when you tune in–there’s a call-in portion at the end of the show. But you can also join in via live chat while we’re on the air or send us questions or topics you’d like us to cover. We’re up for anything!

On another note, who knows how much posting we’ll get done next week. Probably about as much as we get done every week. But just the same, I want to wish my dear friend Caryn a blessed Christmas and all of you as well. May you overcome expectations this season and have the kind of Christmas you want to have, not the one you think you’re supposed to have.

Caryn: And don’t forget, my radio-sensation friend, that the Mommy Revolution is going to be on Moody Radio’s Midday Connection on January 13 from noon to one! Really, can Oprah be far behind?

Thank you for that lovely Christmas wish, Carla. Of course, today has already been a day for the crazy record books so I won’t tell you right now the kind of Christmas I really want to have (clues: me, husband, fire, cabin, Northwoods, glogg…. Notice anyone missing?) But of course, if ever there were a time of year where I could support the expectations placed on moms (in this case, that they don’t ditch their children for Christmas just because the kids get a bit wild and take down her Christmas card display tree–again!–and keep running that darned Christmas train and pressing that stupid All Aboard! button…), it is now.

And really, that dream of me and my husband spending a peaceful, cozy winter-wonderland kind of Christmas is just that–a dream. And those fleeting, wistful things usually just signal a need for me to chill—take my life and my expectations down a notch.

What I really want–and I suspect most of you want the same—is some actual peace (both globally and locally–like in my basement and in my heart, soul, and mind) and some joy now and again. Of course, at Christmas we celebrate the birth of the One who can deliver those things.  Which rocks. So, Jesus, would you please deliver those things? Pronto? I can hear the kids fighting over that stupid huge Hershey bar I bought them—which I told them they couldn’t eat until AFTER lunch anyway—and I’m starting to dream of a lonely Northwoods Christmas again…. Amen.

Okay. So, yes, Merry Christmas to you too, Carla and all our fellow revolutionaries! Peace, joy, and hope to you all!

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The Mommy Body

Caryn: There’s really no way I’m going to be able to say this without sounding creepy or maybe even molestery (which I am, by the way, NOT!), but I’ll just tell this little story anyway:

The other day I was walking through the hallway where my kids go to school. One of the middle school girls walked about 20 feet ahead of me. She looked adorable. She had on this cute sweater with stylin’ jeans, and a pair of boots I wanted to yank right off her feet I loved them so much.

As I admired (and envied–oh, to have a mom to buy my clothes again!) her outfit, this zinger passed through my brain: And—oh!—to have that figure!

The girl couldn’t have been more than 13. Probably 12. And I’m jealous of her figure.

Creepy, right? But here’s the thing: While I’ve been a thin (even skinny and “chicken-legged” in the day) all my life, three kids in, I’ve got a bit of yuck around my middle that I cannot stand. Nearly every day I look at it and go, So NOW I get what lypo is all about! While in my brain, I think plastic surgery is an assault on one’s on body (though I understand there are some good reasons), all of a sudden, I find myself spacing out about lypo and tummy tucks. If I ever stop nursing (and my son is almost 2 and we’re going strong, people!), I’m sure the boob lift will enter my mind too.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not actually going to go through with this (even if I convinced myself it as a good idea, finances would keep it from happening)! And I realize getting back on that darned treadmill and maybe a few sit ups here and there would work wonders.

But beyond that, I wonder what we can do at the Mommy Revolution to glorify the mom bod. Do we commit to buying Dove products (especially if they want to send us freebies or advertise on our blog–hint, hint!) because they celebrate the  “imperfect” female bodies? Do we boycott companies who continue to make us feel that the fat and flab that comes with the miracle of bearing and nourishing children is something to be ashamed of?

Do we all go buy new bikinis and fly to Hawaii and discuss this poolside in our mom-bod glory?

Carla: You are kind of creepy. But I must admit some jealousy over the very flat abs on teenage girls. Honestly, we weren’t built like that in my day, not even the skinny girls. And I say yes to free Dove stuff!!

But I digress.

As someone who has always carried a few more pounds than I’d like to, I wrestled with my body image long before I became a mom–I mean, I’ve been on a diet since I was 12. And in some weird way, motherhood has actually made me more comfortable with my body even as it has done a number on it, inside and out.

I remember not long after my oldest child was born, I saw some skinny girl and felt that usual jealousy creep up. But then I thought about the excellent work my body had done in growing and delivering a healthy baby. My wide hips made for a quick delivery. My extra padding made nursing easy and kept me well-stocked with extra resources for my own health. I was actually proud of my body for doing it’s work so well.

Of course, there is quite a lot of fallout–literally. I once said that after keeping three babies alive for a total of four years, the girls deserve to relax. And my various bones are never going back where they started. There are stretch marks in places I’d rather not have them and various other after-effects that I don’t need to go into on a non-medical blog. And while I’d still like to drop at least 10 pounds, I don’t fret about my body like I used to. There is just no getting back what used to be.

But I think there’s more than just the physical toll of pregnancy and childbirth that changes our bodies. They almost become a resource–implements of comfort and help and feeding and carrying and hauling–instead of something to be cared for or celebrated in any way.

And of course there’s the time factor and the whole message of self-sacrifice that can get in the way of caring for ourselves and our bodies. The whole “mom as martyr” thing can, I think, push us to hide behind bodies we might not like all that much because it makes us seem like we’ve given up more for our children.

I would love to hear from moms who didn’t give birth–adoptive moms, stepmoms, etc.–to find out how motherhood has shaped your feelings about your body.

Caryn: As would I.  Do tell.