Archive for the ‘Bodies’ Category

The Mom-Heart Connection

Caryn: So a couple weeks back, I became That Mom. You know, the one who gets screamed at by another mom because she did something horrible and irresponsible and caused a huge commotion? That one. That was me. I’m still reeling from what transpired. Here’s the story:

Our dog hates other dogs—or most other dogs. And our dog escaped the back yard by slipping past my son who was closing the gate and she ran down the driveway. My son caught her, but she ended up seeing another dog across the street and slipped out of her collar and went after the other dog. A dog that was being walked by a nice couple and their two preschoolers tucked into a jogging stroller.

We discovered this all happening when the entire neighborhood erupted into screams. So, my husband and I busted out of the house (yes, we were inside while the kids played outside) and dashed across the street. Rafi tried to grab our bitch by her scruff and I somehow remembered learning once that to break up a dog fight, you grab a dog by its two back legs and pull. I did that and it worked.

My husband took our dog back to the house while the other mom screamed at me: “Why would you have your dog out without a leash?” “Why would you let it be out there with the kids?” All these sorts of things flying my way.

I stood there and kept saying “I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry.” And tried explaining that the dog escaped, etc. But she didn’t care. It was terrifying. Her kids were scared. Her dog was potentially hurt (she wasn’t thank God. My dog apparently just likes really rough play). And I got why she was screaming at me. I would’ve been screaming at her had the tables been turned.

After she finished screaming, I did something weird: I hugged her. It was either that or ask her if we could pray and I thought hugging was the least weird. She hugged back and I could feel her heart racing against my chest. I’m sure she could feel mine too.

It turned into an actual sweet moment shared between two moms. It was like—at least from my perspective–our hearts beat together, almost understood each other.

Maybe that’s too dramatic, but after the hug and after my husband went out to help find their dog (who had run away, of course), and after we paid for them to take their dog to the vet to make sure he was okay (totally fine, just shaken) and after I wrote a big apology note and sent flowers, we’ve now had a couple of nice email exchanges.

We’re not friends now or anything, but I like what’s transpired—we both related to each other as mothers—understanding each others’ mom hearts and we’ve come to a place of peace out of chaos.

Anyway, it sort of gave me hope for the future of the world—if we put moms in charge and all try to solve problems from our mom hearts. Maybe some day we’ll find it, the Mom-Heart Connection? The lovers, the dreamers, and me…. So to speak. Whatcha think? Ever had this weird connection?

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.