I have three children ages 5 and under, I’m fast-approaching my mid-30’s, and I am unable to fit into anything in my lingerie drawer. I know, I know — first world problems. But hear me out. We just met, and you still have to be polite.
When I married my husband 8 years ago, I had a stockpile of pretty things that would snap his head up from whatever he was looking at. After my first child, I managed to stuff myself back into them, like literally stuff my flesh in, much like you would stuff a turkey. After the second kid, no chance. And now, after my third … well … now I have my dignity. But no pretty bras.
I love being a mom, but I also love being a woman. With each child I’ve had to adjust my expectations, lower my standards and (grudgingly) speed up my morning routine. Over time, slowly but surely, I’ve started losing touch with the “woman” side of myself. This is how women who become mothers start to feel like they disappear. Depressing, right?
After my third child was born this summer, I noticed that when I was out schlepping three kids around town that I didn’t make eye contact with anyone. I was harried and focused solely on survival: keeping the children out of danger, accomplishing my tasks, and making sure we were all wearing shoes. I didn’t want to be noticed, and I certainly didn’t want to see anyone I knew. Most people focus on the kids anyway, so usually I never had to look anyone directly in the face. Which I was fine with … until I became aware of what I was doing.
That unsettled me. I’ve never been a ground-looker. And then I thought, “This is it. The third one’s done me in. I can’t even LOOK AT PEOPLE. Who have I become?! A person who wants to be invisible, that’s who. I’m wearing faded, mismatched yoga clothes, I have not done actual yoga in like a year, and I don’t want anyone to look at me because then they might notice how tired I am. Also, I had a milkshake for breakfast and I’m ashamed.”
My children can’t have a mom who looks at the ground, because then they will look at the ground, and they are amazing little people who have no business feeling invisible. When I got home and forced myself to look in the mirror to face myself – this new self, the one with three kids – I decided that I have no business feeling invisible either.
I might not fit into my regular clothes yet, and the contents of my lingerie drawer may never fit me again, but that is no reason for me to fade and shrink from view. I’ve birthed three kids and I manage to keep them all alive every day! Having a muffintop does not negate the fact that I do amazing things on a regular basis. I’ll just have to buy myself some new, larger, lingerie.
I am here to virtually look you in the eye and remind you that while motherhood may suck all of us dry at times, what our children need are mothers who know without a doubt that they absolutely rock, in all their faded yoga pant, milkshake for breakfast, boring underwear glory.
So here goes: I may be a mess … but I ROCK. And so do you.