Two months after giving birth, I went bathing suit shopping at Target to accommodate the two watermelons that had sprung between my chin and belly button.
Just to recap: two months post-birth. Bathing suit. Dressing-room lights.
An employee found me in a hysterical, splotchy, snotty mess on the floor.
It was a rookie mistake. And no amount of, “It took nine months to get on, it will take nine months to get off” or “Just breastfeed more. It burns calories!” could erase that neon-lit image of my lumpy Mom Body.
Having kids changes our bodies. We know this. But we now have to change what that feels like. Stop being mean to yourself about it. You did something amazing. Most likely your thigh-gap, like sleep, is non-existent. Can we move on?
Not to say we shouldn’t take care of ourselves (we should, and kindly), but we should also add these five time-and-soul-saving gems into our lives:
Take Care of Your Skin
Remember tanning with baby oil? Me, too. Know why I remember? Because of the charming muddy-colored sun spots that are spreading on my face 20 years later. I am turning into camo-pants. Wear sunscreen and hats, ladies, because people spend a lot more time looking at your face than your thighs.
Take a Damn Compliment
If someone says something nice, say “Thank you.” Don’t start smoothing your hair and saying what a mess it is and how you need to get in for a color and you overslept and haven’t had coffee and you haven’t been to yoga in a month (year) and you forgot to put on makeup and you don’t think you brushed your teeth and and and … Just. Say. Thank. You.
Be Naked and Smiling
Walk around your house naked. Not when the UPS guy is ringing the bell, but please. Get naked. Let your kids see you naked. AND SMILING. Do not, not, make fun of yourself, point out things you hate, act weird. Just be in your glorious, natural, glowing, fabulous beauty. What a gorgeous lesson for your kids—let them see you happy and comfortable in your Mom Body.
Shake Your Baby Maker
Belly dancing is the best way to fall in love with every inch of your womanhood. This ancient art form is a sensual way to communicate the feminine mystique, and the moves are enhanced by the curves and softness of a woman’s form.
Even the most toned body and sun-spot-free face will quickly become blah if the attached mind isn’t fascinating. This doesn’t mean talking about your kids more. Do adulting brain-squats by listening to a compelling podcast (S-Town), reading a relevant book (“The Sixth Extinction”), learning a new talent (circus arts) or just become the best listener in the room and soak up all the good stuff other people have to share.
And the magic of these is that you can pretty much do all of them at once. What a time saver! Slather on some sunscreen, do some naked belly dancing and be thankful for every minute of life inside of your perfect Mom Bod. You’re welcome.
Maggie Knowles writes about all things kid. She and her family live in Yarmouth, where she gardens, keeps bees and refuses to get rid of her stilettos.