The Top 10 Gross Realities About Newborns

45 Comments

Babies are so sweet and precious and we just want to eat them up! (Sometimes.) They’re also straight out of horror movies, if we’re being honest. Disagree? No offense, but how?

Newborn baby

1. Soft spots. It’s no secret that it takes a while for a baby’s skull to fuse together, leaving a soft spot on top of the head in the meantime. What does make it horrifying is that you can actually see and FEEL the baby’s heartbeat pulsating via this soft spot. It’s like you have your own tiny little alien on your hands!

Cradle cap baby 2. Cradle cap. So the cone head and soft spot wasn’t bad enough, now you’ve got to figure out how to gently scrape the scales off of your baby’s head without inflicting brain damage. Grosser still? How satisfying you’ll find it. baby sleeping eyes open

3. Sleeping with their eyes open. These creepy little freaks can be out cold, in full REM sleep, and still be staring at you with empty doll-like eyes. Sweet dreams, Mommy Krueger!

baby fingernails

4. Razor blade fingernails that grow at the speed of light. Whatever it is that makes babies fingernails grow so fast, if you could bottle it, you’d put nail salons out of business all over the world. Scarier than how fast they grow, and how sharp they are? Trying to cut the damn things.

baby tush

5. Swollen genitals, baby boners, baby periods and baby boobs that leak. Hormones, schmormones. That shit is just plain WEIRD.

baby umbilical cord

6. The dried-up, still attached, stinky ass umbilical cord. ‘Nuff said.

changing baby diaper

7. The poop. It’s black as tar, then it’s yellow, sometimes it’s green, then it might be brown eventually… And you can’t NOT look, because, well, you HAVE to look. Eeewwwwww.

75322029_newborn

8. The peeling skin. Again, hello, alien creature baby!

baby-acne-face

9. Acne. No, you didn’t give birth to a teenager… it’s just a nasty preview of things to come in a decade and a half.

baby vomit

10. Baby vomit. Even grosser than the actual vomit is the fact that new moms are inevitably covered in it… and they don’t even care. Now go hug your adorable baby!

Related: Scary Mommy’s Guide to Surviving Baby’s First Year

Why Did Daddy Leave Us?

23 Comments

sad-girl-with-mother

“Mommy, why did Daddy leave us?”

I feel my heart breaking as I look into her big brown eyes, looking up at me, tears brimming to the edges but not yet spilling over; eyes wide with the hope that maybe, just maybe this time, my answer will be different.

“I love you. I am so sorry that daddy made a choice that hurt us when he left, but this was not your fault. He is not a bad person, he just made a bad choice that hurt a lot of people and I am really sorry that it hurt you. I love you. I love you more than any daddy ever will because I will always love you the most!”

That’s what I said, but what I wanted to say, what was rolling around in my brain and filling up my heart in ways that hurt so much I was sure my heart might actually explode, sounded more like this;

“Daddy left us because he is selfish. He left because he never should have had kids in the first place. I wish every day that he could see the damage that he has done to you, the damage that he has done to our family. He is a horrible excuse for a human being, he is a waste of working organs, I hope we never see him again, and quite frankly we are all better off now that he is gone.”

But really, what do you say to the wide eyes brimming with tears that are looking up to you? What do you say to a child who carries half the DNA of a person that causes your heart the daily battle of learning to forgive?

You assure her that she is loved. No matter how much you want to, no matter how deep the anger runs, you do not talk poorly about him. You assure her that the person that gave her half of her DNA is not a bad person; that she does not have evil in her. You acknowledge that she is hurting, you acknowledge that what happened is causing her pain, she just wants to be heard.

You be honest, that you don’t have all the answers; that you wish you could make things better, but that you can’t. You let her know that it is ok to be upset and that you will always be there when she wants to talk. You remind her, on a near constant basis of how wonderful she is, reinforcing that her father did not walk away from her because of anything that she did.

You tell her the most honest and powerful truth that you have; that to the ends of the earth, to the sky and beyond, that you love her, and that you will spend the rest of your life loving her enough for the one that is missing. You assure her that you will never leave her because every minute you get to spend with her is a blessing.

The daddy may have left, but thankfully when he did, he left the best part of him behind.

Related post: An Open Apology To My Kids On The Subject Of My Divorce

The Alien In My House 

51 Comments
father-and-son Image via Shutterstock

There used to be an alien in my house. He didn’t have super large, glowing eyes or six legs. He didn’t peel off his skin at night to expose a translucent body. And he didn’t feed himself through a hole in his nose.

But he did change moods quite frequently. In fact, from one second to the next he had been known to go from laughing uncontrollably to screaming at the top of his lungs and slamming doors. He communicated in a non-verbal language that consisted of rolling eyes, shoulder shrugs and an occasional grunt seasoned with words like “whatever” and “yeah.” And he inhaled food as if it were going to evaporate before it reached his mouth.

If you have one of these creatures living in your home, you know I’m referring to the teenage boy. More specifically, the teenage boy not old enough to drive but too old to be seen with Mom in the car while being chauffeured around town.

“Drop me off here, Mom. Stop. That’s close enough.” God forbid he should be seen in the car with a real live mother.

His hormones raged through his body like a roller coaster, turning him into a virtual alien unable to relate to the rest of his perfectly normal family.

He could devour a package of cookies, two pot pies and a burrito, and drink a quart of milk before dinner and then complain there was nothing left to eat in the house.

He left bowls of Jell-O under his bed to develop into fungal specimens that no living creature should be forced to breathe.

He was the center of his foreign world and completely misunderstood by everyone else in it.

As the years passed, I accepted his membership in this alien existence. I watched him grow to my height and beyond, as he grew out of his footie pajamas and into jeans. I listened as he went from the Muppets singing “Sesame Street” to watching rappers dancing in the street.

I went from bathing his imaginary friends to reminding him to shower before going to school.

And it was all okay, really. Expect at the time I was having trouble remaining myself as he went through his transformation into manhood.

The sight of his strewn about clothes, at an empty package of my favorite crackers, at one of his innocent shrugs and that roll of the eyes, and I would go totally berserk.

I would look at myself in the mirror and see an alien face. What was happening to me? I would scream uncontrollably. Rant and rave, making no sense at all.

Logically, I could understand it.

He had reached that point in his life whey my memories began. I could remember those heartaches. The sight of that pimple the day of a big date. The phone calls into the night. The rapid heartbeat as the boy I had a crush on walked by without giving me a glance. The indecision, insecurity and that ever-present drive.

I was once there myself. But that alone was not enough to help.

A “Thank you, Mom,” a kiss on the cheek and an “I love you” would have been nice.

And you know what?

It did happen. When I would least expect it, he would plant a soft kiss on my cheek. Of course, the next minute he was once again communicating with that spaceship.

Sometimes, I would pray for them to take him away. Let him grow up, I would plead, and then bring him back. Taller, wiser, with  kids of his own.

Eventually, it happened. He grew up.

I walked into his empty room and listened to the sounds he left behind. That beep, beep of the video game. The whisperings late at night. The heavy bass pulsating against the doorway.

Standing there, in the center of what once his world, I  realized it all happened way too quickly.

He passed through those memories of mine and has moved on to new ones. Some that I have lived through, others that I have not.

He is also getting what he deserves. An alien now lives in his house, eating all his food and slumping around as if nobody gets what’s going on in his life.

But you know what?

My alien loves that child as much as I love him.

Related post: About a Boy

8 Reasons Every Family Should Have a Dog

134 Comments

Reasons To Get A Dog

At the height of our baby-denial, my husband and I had four cats and two dogs. For the record, that’s a shit-ton of animals, and I wouldn’t recommend that strategy as a birth control method for anyone. That many animals is a lot of work. And money. And work. (It’s still not as much work or money as one kid, though.)

All that being said, I would recommend getting a dog as a parental sanity saver. Seriously, if you have kids and don’t already have a dog, go get one. Now. Right now. Just one will do. Don’t go too crazy.

What?! You’re worried about the extra work? You’ve never had a dog? You’re a cat person? I promise you, a dog will make your life much easier. A dog will save your sanity. Trust me; I have first-hand experience. Here are 8 reasons every family should have a dog…

1. When you’re feeding the baby, a dog is a great companion. A dog will lay by your feet while you nurse/bottle feed, even in the middle of the night. Or she will keep your spot on the bed warm. Brandy used to nudge me gently when the baby was crying to let me know it was time to feed the baby.

2. A dog needs exercise, so she will force you to take a walk everyday. Exercise and fresh air are so therapeutic for both you and the baby. They can help you get your body back in shape and fight the baby blues.

3. The dog won’t judge you when you pour another glass of wine and cry inconsolably wondering why in the world you ruined your perfect kid-free existence. The dog will simply lick up the crumbs from the cookies you shoved down your gullet trying to make yourself feel better.

4. When the dog starts sniffing wildly around the baby’s butt, you know it’s time to change the diaper. There is absolutely no need to put your own nose there or risk your fingers getting dirty by taking a peek. The dog knows. (And may eat the diaper if you’re not careful.)

5. Dogs genuinely appreciate every ounce of affection you give them, unlike those screaming, inconsolable, milk-sucking poop sacks.

6. Dogs clean up spilt milk (breast or formula—they don’t discriminate) and spit-up. Before you think, “ewwww, gross,” remember that you now don’t have to clean it up yourself. (As a bonus, if you have a cat, the dog will clean up cat puke— or “hot lunch” as we call it.)

7. Can’t figure out what that weird smell is? Don’t want to crawl around on the ground sniffing the carpet? If you have a dog, you don’t need to. Just set Fido free in your car or the kid’s room or your kitchen. This is not cruel—dogs actually like foul smells and will find the source of them in record time.

8. But—by far—the best reason to get a dog comes when your kids start to eat solids. Feeding babies solid foods is a fucking disaster—food gets everywhere. EVERYWHERE. Your child is a mini-Jackson Pollock, and the medium is food.

Honestly, I don’t actually know how parents survive the high-chair phase without a dog. Dogs will do all of the clean up for you. No sponges, brooms, or special floor mats are necessary. My dog was so efficient at cleaning the high-chair and the floor and the cabinets and the walls and the mini-blinds…

Heck, she even cleaned the baby. Now, you can skip bath time and go straight to the wine.

Trust me, just get a dog.

Related post: 10 Reasons I Think Dogs Are Better Than Kids

We Don’t Play With Our Vulvas At The Table

137 Comments
girl-pouting-at-table Image via Shutterstock

It happened yet again. As I was sitting at the table for dinner with my children, I noticed my daughter’s hand fishing around under her skirt.

“We don’t play with our vulvas at the table. Go wash your hands and finish your food,” I scolded. She nodded, ran off, washed her hands, and resumed picking at her dinner.

Small children, they touch themselves. A lot. It’s fascinating to them. Small children have no sense of shame or disgust or fear of their bodies. A body is what it is. It does what it does. And everything that it does is kind of amazing, because they’re not old enough for lower back pain. It’s not sexual, it’s just… fact.

The first time I caught one of my kids playing with their genitals, I said nothing. I was momentarily paralyzed with indecision. One thing I knew for a fact I did not want to do was to shout, “No!” or “Stop!” What good could that possibly do? Sure, I would be spared the awkwardness of catching my child playing with her genitals on the living room floor, but what kind of lesson is that? To fear or ignore your own vagina?

I thought about it for two days, and of course she gave me a second chance to react.

“Sweetie, we don’t play with our vulvas in the living room,” I said. Which sounded ridiculous and strange, but nonetheless true. Why is everything with little kids “we” statements? “It’s okay to touch your vulva, but people are private, and it’s a private thing. The only places where you should touch your vulva are in the bathroom or in your bedroom. If you want to play with your vulva, please go to the bedroom.”

She smiled and did, without question, because compartmentalizing where you do perform activities makes sense to little kids.

“We don’t eat in the bathroom, and we don’t play with our vulvas in the living room,” became the new mantra. And yes, eventually it became, “We don’t touch our vulvas at the table.”

I’m what some people call “sex positive.” That doesn’t mean I talk with my four year olds about how great sex is and how good it feels. It means I don’t pretend it’s something other than it is.

As parents, we lie all the time. About the Easter Bunny or Santa or the Tooth Fairy, about how long ten minutes is, about whether or not we remembered they wanted to have grilled cheese for dinner again, we lie a lot. But one thing I never lie about is sex.

I don’t want them to grow up ashamed of their bodies or confused about what they do. I don’t tell them about cabbage patches or storks, I make an effort, always, to be honest about human reproduction. Every aspect of it.

I’ve had conversations with other moms about having “the talk.” I don’t think my kids and I will have that particular talk, because they already know. And we talk about it often- kids are obsessive creatures. We read Where Did I Come From? and What Makes A Baby which together cover every aspect of the subject. We can talk about IVF and c-sections, because both of those are part of the story of their births, and we can talk about the fact that yes, mommy and daddy still have sex regardless of our plans for conception. And when they’re older, we’ll start talking about contraception.

Because lying to your kids about sex helps nobody. Telling them that sex is “only between mommies and daddies” is a lie that leads to confused, hormone charged teenagers. Telling them that sex is “only something that happens when two people love each other very much” is a lie that causes hormone charged teenagers to confuse “love” with “lust,” or “obsession.” It leads to leaps of logic like, “If I have sex with them, we must be in love.” Or worse- “If I love them, I have to have sex with them.” And how many teenage tragedies are based on that misconception?

The truth is human beings, almost universally, like sex. It feels good. I’s supposed to feel good. If it didn’t, the human race would die out. The truth is sex isn’t special and magical just because it’s sex. The truth is you can have spectacular sex with strangers who’s names you don’t even know. The truth is that just because you can, it doesn’t necessarily mean you should.

And that’s what sex positive parenting really is. Not telling kids lies about sex to keep them from behaviors we don’t think are healthy. It’s telling them the truth, the whole truth, and letting it sink in so they can make their own good choices.

It’s telling them that sex is good, but it’s dangerous if you’re not careful. It’s teaching them to require their partners to use condoms, to buy their own condoms if they’re planning on having sex. It’s teaching them that while sex feels good, they can feel good on their own too. (Just not at the table.) That while sex combined with love is often the best sex- transcendent sex- that grows the bond of love and builds a closeness that is almost impossible to find otherwise, sex isn’t always like that- even with people you love. That sex can lead to pregnancy and disease, even with protection, so engaging in it is a commitment to deal with any consequences.

It’s telling them they’re not wrong, or sinful, or bad, if they have sexual feelings. Or even if they have sex. It’s teaching them that sex happens, whether people always make good choices or not. And it’s giving them the tools to ensure that when they’re ready, they’re smart and cautious and conscientious.

There’s a lot of black and white comparisons when it comes to sex ed. Some people think once kids hit puberty, if they don’t have a strong fear of sex they’ll have as much as they can, as often as they can. There’s a lot of abstinence-only sex ed, based on teaching kids, “SEX IS SCARY! DON’T DO IT!” and it’s about the least successful program anyone has ever invented. In states with abstinence-only sex ed, teen pregnancy rates go up and up and up.

Telling children the truth about sex isn’t giving permission for them to have it- and this is the most important part- because nobody has the right to deny them permission for sex but themselves.

And that’s the thing I try to keep in mind when I say things like, “We don’t touch our vulvas at the table.” Sex is something that ONLY happens when both people WANT it to happen. And that means that the only people in the entire world with any kind of say over whether or not my children have sex is them.

I don’t get to tell my kids they have to have sex, but I also don’t get to tell them they can’t. They’re in charge. Your body, your decision.

I never want to be responsible for setting the precedent that another person gets to tell them what to do with their bodies, and especially with their sexuality. I don’t want to be the gateway for a manipulative, potentially abusive boyfriend or girlfriend.

So I teach boundaries. Appropriate places. Hygiene. I teach my children that nobody is allowed to touch their bodies without permission. When we get in tickle fights and they say, “Stop!” I stop.

And when we talk about my pregnant friends, we talk about uteruses and sperm and eggs.

Most of the time, it’s not uncomfortable. Most of the time, the conversation lasts fifteen seconds.

Someday the conversation is going to be a lot uglier. Someday, we’ll have to talk about rape, and explicit and enthusiastic consent. Someday we’ll have to talk about healthy masturbation and pornography and realistic expectations of sex and sex partners and body image and a lack of shame for their bodies. And those conversations are not going to be as brief or straightforward.

But I’m ready. Whenever that day comes, I’m prepared. Because the groundwork is there.

“We don’t touch our vulvas at the table.” It’s absurd, but it’s got all the important pieces. It’s a micro-lesson in safety and consent and social propriety. I don’t think I’ll be able to say, “We don’t lose our virginity in the back seat of a car after a Prom party,” with a straight face, but I will be able to say, “We don’t have sex without thinking long and hard about it first, and we certainly don’t do it without being careful, and being safe, and being totally confident in the maturity of our partner and our ability to handle the repercussions if we get a disease or get pregnant.”

Because that’s true. We don’t.

But I like that when that time comes, I’m part of the “we.” If I can tell my kids “we” have to be careful, they’ll know that no matter what happens, I’m in their corner. I’ve got their backs. Even if “we” make bad choices, I’ll still be there to help make things right again.

Related post: My Daughter Masturbates – Is That Normal?

Dear Parents: You Aren’t That Special

306 Comments
baby-at-wedding Image via Shutterstock

Sitting at the pond, observing my four year old’s attempts at mastering the art of flotation, I watched a scene play out that I have seen time and time again: During swim class, there is no swimming in the area marked out for the lesson (which includes the dock), and every single day there seem to be parents who feel their children should be exempt from this rule.

Today, it was a mother who, upon being told by a lifeguard that they needed to be outside the buoys, responded “Well, we need to leave town in 30 minutes, and they want to play on the dock- they aren’t bothering anyone.” Except, of course, that they were, as they were about eight years old and running through the swim class full of toddlers. Plus, you know, rules.

Unfortunately, it seems as though more and more people feel entitled to break rules, be they unspoken or otherwise, when it comes to their children. The thing is, popping out a child doesn’t make them, or you, any more special than anyone else, and acting as though the sun shines out of that squishy little tushie? That just makes you a jerk. Here are some other places I’ve encountered parents who seem to think the world revolves around them and their children:

1. The Movies. Don’t bring your beautiful three month old miracle to a 10PM showing of a horror flick. Your child WILL wake up and disturb others around you. No, you are NOT entitled to go see the film just because you want to. Hire a babysitter. Watching a movie in a theater is not a right, and disturbing others is just obnoxious. This also goes for bringing young children into late night shows where they will either be terrified or disruptive- just don’t.

2. Bars. I am shocked I even have to write this, but having witnessed quite a few people (especially in NYC) feel completely comfortable bringing their young ones into what should clearly be adult only establishments, and it makes me wonder what these parents are thinking? Why would you: 1. Want your child in that environment, and 2. Feel as though it is appropriate to bring them to a venue where other adults congregate to imbibe spirits and likely be away from children? You aren’t that special. Leave your precious snowflakes at home. (Obviously some bars are totally family friendly, especially in the early evening. I’m not talking about those).

3. Inappropriate restaurants. There are family restaurants. Lots of them. Go to those.

4. When there is an age/height requirement at a venue or attraction. There is a reason for it, and arguing (often loudly and at someone who likely had no hand in the decision making) about why your darling child who is a clear six inches too short to ride that ride should be allowed on it, just makes you an entitled brat. It’s called safety — no one is trying to personally inconvenience you by enforcing the rules. If you’re the person willing to argue and harangue people over the rules, you’re probably also the type of person who would sue if something then happened to little Johnny after you forced the issue.

5. Weddings or other events that are specified at “adult only.” Nothing is more irritating than hosting a gathering which is clearly labeled “adults only” and having a friend or relative decide that this rule does not apply to them. No matter what your rationale is- couldn’t find a babysitter? Wanted your kids to see out of town relatives? It doesn’t matter. The host is the person who calls the shots, and imposing your little uninvited darlings on the event is both unfair and flat out rude. If you can’t bear to leave behind your kids, don’t go to the event- accept that your kids aren’t welcome everywhere at all times.

6. Planes/trains/public transportation. No one would ever say you can’t bring your child on planes or public conveyances; that’s asinine and impossible. However HOW you bring your child is very important. Don’t be that parent that brings a high maintenance toddler onto a plane for six hours without being prepared for it. From my experience, no one gets upset with the parents (and are far more patient with the kids) who are actively trying to keep their baby/toddler/small person entertained and calm throughout the flight. People get pretty darn ticked off with the parents that seem to have no concern for their precious little bundle’s decision to repeatedly kick the back of the seat in front of them, or play their movie at full volume without headphones. Don’t be a jerk: Just because you are on an airplane doesn’t mean you aren’t supposed to be a parent.

The moral of the story is that you and your offspring aren’t that special. Be a decent parent — nay — a decent person- and do the right thing.

Your kids will be better for it, and you won’t be “that mom” or “that dad” that everyone can’t stand.

Doesn’t that sound nice?

Related post: 10 People Who Make Parenting Harder

The Second Line

87 Comments
father-and-daughterImage via Shutterstock

When I was in college, I was assaulted, and subconsciously turned to food. I quickly developed a full-fledged eating disorder.

My mother discovered my secret when I was home for the summer, and what followed when I got back to school that fall was a series of hour-long sessions with a counselor specializing in eating disorders. Dr. Lee was a tough, ex-military man with a soft heart who coached me through my challenges. I was starting to feel as though I was getting control of my life again when he said the words that sent fear into my heart: “It’s time to bring your family in.”

I don’t remember how we got to Dr. Lee’s office, or walking into the room, but I remember the rest clearly. Their faces at that moment will forever be etched in my memory: Mom, looking worried and pale; Dad, stoic and quiet; and my sister, bewildered and scared. As the conversation progressed, Dr. Lee asked me to diagram my relationships with each member of my family. One line equaled weak. Two lines equaled strong.

The first lines I drew were from my name to my mom’s. There was no question in my mind about that one, and I confidently drew two lines.

Next up: my sister. That was easy, too. We fought like alley cats when we were younger, but once we were both in high school at the same time, we became the best of friends. I again drew two lines.

When it came to drawing the lines from me to my dad, I hesitated. Tears sprang to my eyes. I drew one shaky line and put the pencil down, looking at my feet

My dad looked up at me, waiting. “Why did you draw just one line?”  Dr. Lee asked. The silence in the room stretched and pulled, filling all of our ears with a roar. “Because I never feel like I am good enough for him,” I blurted. Instantly, it felt wrong, and I wanted to stuff the words back in my mouth.

I blamed him for my confused, conflicted, messed-up teenage head. I could not see what was right in front of me: a father who was always present, who quietly took care of my family, and loved my sister and I more than he loved himself. At that moment, I was incapable of seeing the truth.

After the session, my dad’s assignment was to write me a letter to tell me how he felt about me. Days later, I received in the mail a small stack of notepad paper from the hotel where my parents had stayed when they came down for the therapy session.

Looking back, I can only imagine the effort it took for my father, a man of very few words, to write this note to me. It said everything I had wanted to hear, including that he realized the importance of telling me how he feels. He vowed to work harder to show me how much he loved me.

Someday, he wrote, we can draw the second line.

I still have that note, tucked away in a special place in my closet.

Even though it was not his fault, not even a little bit, my dad took the blame for our relationship on his shoulders without protest. He did what he has always done: Supported me quietly, lovingly, and completely.

Years later, when my marriage fell apart, it was my dad who sat down with me and helped me figure out how to set a budget so that I didn’t have to file bankruptcy. It was my dad who offered to come to Atlanta and pick me up and bring me home. It was through my experiences with my dad that I learned how to recognize love, and when I met my second husband, I was ready to see with my head and my heart and not just my eyes and ears.

See, the problem wasn’t that my dad didn’t tell me how he felt. The problem was that I expected the words to make me feel loved when in fact it was all the ways he showed me he loved me that I had to learn to see.

And this is what I will teach my son:

Love is someone who replaces your soap when it’s getting too small to use.

Love is someone who fills the gas tank in your car so you don’t have to do it.

Love is someone who doesn’t tear you down, but celebrates your successes.

Love is someone who takes your side and fights for you.

Love is someone who says, “I believe in you.  We can do this together.”

Love means that the words “I love you” are just the beginning.

Apparently, I was a slow learner, but I finally understood: My dad’s brand of true, sincere, solid, quiet love means more than all of the “I love yous” in the world.

Dad, I hope you know that I drew the second line a long time ago.

Through My Children’s Eyes

325 Comments

Flipping through the pictures on my phone, I see it.

My first reaction is shock.

bridgette-tales

Who took this hideous picture of me?!

Self-loathing and disgust swell up and threaten to bring me to tears.

Just as I am about to hit delete, my boy walks in the room.

“Do you know anything about this picture?” I ask him.

I turn the screen so he can see it. He smiles huge.

“I took that of you in Tahoe,” he says. “You looked so beautiful laying there. I couldn’t help it, mom.”

“You need to ask me before using my phone to take pictures,” I say.

“I know,” he says. “But mom, seriously, look how pretty you look?”

I look at the picture again and try to see what he sees.

My daughter walks over and takes a look.

“That could be a postcard mom,” she says smiling. “You’re so beautiful. I love it.”

I take a deep breath.

This is exactly what I needed.

My default mode is to see and focus on the flaws and imperfections. I’m starting to see a bit more.

I still see my dimply, fat thighs.

I also see a mom collapsed on the shore that just explored the lake for hours with her children.

I still see chubby arms.

I also see the arms of a mom that just helped her kids across the rocks and hot sand so their feet wouldn’t hurt.

I still see a fat woman wearing a black dress bathing suit to try to hide her weight issue.

I also see an adventurous mom that loves her children something fierce.

Like many women, I have struggled with my weight most of my life. It’s not something that will ever go away for me. I don’t have a naturally slim body. Never have.

Right now I’m the heaviest I’ve been in 10 years. Yet…

I have not let my weight stop me this time. I am wearing tank tops, sundresses and bathing suits in public. I’m running around playing with my kids this summer and I sometimes even feel attractive.

Yes. You heard me.

“I feel pretty. Oh so pretty. I feel pretty, and witty and bright.”

Well… not exactly. But something like that.

Is it because I’m getting older? Is it that I have more to worry about than just how I look? Or maybe it’s because my kids look at me with such adoring eyes.

Really, it doesn’t matter.

I don’t hate my body anymore.

That’s huge for me to admit and hard to even wrap my mind around.

I’m not giving up on exercising and getting healthy. Those are things I will continue to strive for because I want to be around awhile.

Right now though, I just want to love my body where it is. I want it to be OK to see myself the way my kids do.

Thank you, kids.

Related post: Finally, I Don’t Hate My Body

5 Things I’ve Learned About Breastfeeding

240 Comments

breastfeeding-baby

My boobs used to be really cute. No, really, they were. They were small, but nicely shaped and perky to no end. But then I had kids, chose to breastfeed, and that was the end of that.

My second son loves nursing, and needless to say, after a year of being the milk bar I don’t even recognize my boobs anymore. I have, however, learned a few new things:

1. The Boob Is Now A Binky.  The left one specifically. He can’t seem to fall asleep until he has smooshed his little face against it like a pillow. Since that pillow is pretty fluffed up by bedtime, he has to nurse it dry to deflate it enough for sleep. If that isn’t proof enough, during the day he jams his hands down my shirt to pull out his Booby Binky. His big brother stole his Lego? Binky time. He bonked his head? Binky time. Grocery store is loud and scary? Binky time. Needs to hide his graham cracker? Shove it down the shirt with his Binky.

2. Hands Off The Goods, Dad. Anytime – and I mean any time – my husband makes a move toward my chest my son seems to sense it. He is like a quarter pint sized Yoda using the force to protect the milk supply. Sex is already difficult after kids because there is no time – or place – to do it, but it becomes even more awkward because touching these baby-seeking missiles triggers the milk switch. Nature made boobs to be a smart delivery system… just not smart enough to tell the difference between baby time and husband time.

3. Public Exposure. Honestly, this one scared the crap out of me. While I was pregnant I read story after story about women who were shamed in public for nursing. While I do not intimidate very easily, pregnancy and newborns turn even the most seasoned moms into vulnerable creatures. I wasn’t excited about my nipples causing a stir. Then one day in the middle of the grocery store my infant son started screaming. Without even thinking about it, I whipped out my boob and started nursing him in his baby sling while searching for non-chlorine baby wipes.

4. More Whine Than Wine. Probably the worst truth of all about breastfeeding is that unless you want to pump and dump until you are blue in the face, you really can’t drink countless glasses of wine. As much as I kid about loving my wine, I have to measure what I drink and time it enough so that I can be sure the sweet libation is not getting into my milk supply. I like wine, but my baby probably wouldn’t. So, I whine a lot. But you know, the kid has got to wean at some point in the next 500 years, right?!

5. Free Range Boobs. I used to have lots of bras that were every color of the rainbow. Some were padded, some were silky, and some looked kind of like Ace Bandages but were unbelievably comfortable. I don’t wear any of them anymore and am now sporting free-range boobs under my shirt. And why is that, you ask? Since my cup size moves up and down a few sizes throughout the day, and because the kid is always attempting to pull a boob out of my shirt, a bra is now about as functional as a turtleneck on prom night.

Nursing is a difficult job. It taxes a mother’s patience, lady physique, libido, and ability to get anything done. I want to say that no matter what it is worth the work involved and that I wouldn’t trade this experience for the world, but that is only half true for me. I adore my little Linus, but I do miss my boobs.

What did you learn from breastfeeding?

Related post: 10 (Mildly Shallow) Reasons To Breastfeed