Body Image and the New Mom

Whether or not you’ve noticed, I’ve been having some body image issues. I think this is largely because I’m…oh dear, I almost just lied to you there. I almost just said it was because I’m getting more rest and can focus on my body more. Which I’m sure affects things but that’s no reason to lie to you. The real reason is twofold: 1) I’m in a new city and want to make a good impression on the new friends I’m trying to woo into our home. 2) David and I haven’t spent much time together since he moved hours away for a new job in October and I’m mildly desperate to appear like I’m not a hot mess. I need my husband to still think I’m pretty, not just pretty funny.

Now, I’ve been kicking that weight loss goal in the ass. And I got a new haircut to look smoking….but unfortunately, both David and I hate the haircut. I hated it before David said anything, for the record. Many of you have complimented the haircut and for that I thank you. But it just does not lay correctly. I’ll style it, it’ll look great, I’ll take a picture and by the time I’m done taking the picture, some piece is sticking out at a wild angle making me look like a crazy cat lady. Hate.

It’s actually pretty amazing how many jokes there are out there, how many jokes we make ourselves, about how gross moms are. Jokes about mom jeans are certainly most prevalent. But we all make jokes about dirty yoga pants, unwashed hair, and other things to discuss how “gross” moms are. And they’re kinda getting to me in a way they didn’t when I had Alex.

Also, for the record, that joke at the top? That really happened. And the Maxim cover model I met was so unbelievably nice it was painful. I, for my part, looked lovely at lunch and got through it without so much as getting spit up on my shoulder. Boom.

Anyway, the jokes. I don’ t like them. I’m tired of us putting ourselves down. Unless you’re really funny like The Empress or Ann Imig (or like I used to be), they get to be kind of you beating yourself. They get to be not jokes anymore.

Here are some things I really think would be funny:

1) We start making jokes about farmers’ tans and how dads are “gross” for having them.

2) More jokes about man boobs

3) Me getting a full week without having a rumble with poop. It would be hilarious.

I’m coming from a super hormonal place here. I realize that. But I’m getting kind of edgy and stabby about the jokes. I’m not gross just because I’m a mom. I brush my teeth, I shower, I put on make up even. Sometimes my clothes don’t match. But that’s not untrue for my husband. So why isn’t he feeling all insecure?

If you say hormones, I will cut you. Because I’m solidly blaming the jokes.

Or maybe it’s the hormones, what the hell do I know?

PS. I’m thinking in another few months or so I’ll find my funny groove. I actually think funny things all the time but by the time I try to write them down here, I find myself getting off topic. Remember, this blog wasn’t started until Alex was five months old. And then no one read it until he was six months old. Until then, tell me the funniest thing that’s happened to you lately.

I swear I’m funnier on Facebook. Less tired too because I don’t have to do the “coherent sentence making”. Like me on Facebook to get some funny in your day.

31 Responses to Body Image and the New Mom
  1. Making It Work Mom
    April 9, 2012 | 6:29 am

    I voluntarily put on a bathing suit while the weather was still 45 degrees and paraded around all weekend in an indoor water park. Now most of the other people there looked just like me (see moms) with the exception of all the cute young lifeguards who I am sure were mildly amused or horrified about how unattractively I plopped into my inner tube and how gracefully I tumbled out. It really did a lot for my self-esteem.

    You made it through lunch looking lovely. I can appreciate that.

  2. Galit Breen
    April 9, 2012 | 7:13 am

    You’re right.

    Onece upon a time a studied sociology and I think it was a big fat NO to putting your own group down via jokes or anything else.

    But we forget these things, yes? When we’re sleep deprived and in something so new and life changing as motherhood?

    Anyway, you’re right.

    Noted.

    (And hang in there! it’s hard being in a new place – city and as a new mama. I love this brave post. I’m going to stop typing now. I swear.)

  3. Alison@Mama Wants This
    April 9, 2012 | 7:33 am

    I think some moms joke about how gross they are because it’s the only way they can get through the day without breaking down. Having said that, it doesn’t mean it’s okay to be a hot mess.

    I prided myself on taking daily showers, wearing clean clothes and kicking the baby weight in the ass after #1.

    With #2 on the way and a toddler who goes with me everywhere, I’m not sure I can accomplish the first two very well. But, I’m gonna damn well try. I have a blog now and a Facebook page and a Twitter account and even a Tumblr account, so I better not look like a hot mess, I have peoples to impress!!

    And I still think you’re pretty funny.

  4. Caitlin MidAtlantic
    April 9, 2012 | 7:35 am

    Heehee… man boobs…
    My in-laws were just making fun of each other for man boobs yesterday! It’s not an Easter celebration without some man boob teasing.

  5. Allyson
    April 9, 2012 | 8:01 am

    So, another blogger once told me, upon me meeting her for the very first time at a Cheesecake Factory in ritzy suburban D.C., that bloggers (and mom bloggers especially) are the WORST about self-deprecation. And once she said it, I saw it EVERYWHERE. It’s true, I have a lot of mom friends on FB who are the very opposite of self-deprecating, but I also follow a lot of bloggers who put themselves down at every turn just to get a laugh. And really? I don’t find it all that funny. I find the things that kids say and the situations that we find ourselves in to be hilarious. But talking about how we managed to squeeze in a shower for the first time all week and put on a shirt that is clean of any baby stain? Well, that’s just life. It’s not just mom life..it’s life in general. And I get a little bored of it. But videotape your child screaming “BOSS!” and I will laugh until my chest hurts and I’m crying.

    Funniest thing to happen to me lately is not all that hysterical, unless you know my husband. Basically, we were sitting on the patio having breakfast yesterday morning and watching the cardinals flock to the birdfeeder that we’ve recently squirrel-proofed. And Neal starts spouting all these facts about cardinals…about how only the males are red, the females are redd-ISH…about how only adult males have the plumes on their heads, teenage males are plume-less…about how the northern cardinals make a chippy chippy chirp call…and on, and on. What 44 year old Army captain do you know that knows random bird facts? Really, I’m half amazed and half creeped out.

    • Amanda Austin
      April 9, 2012 | 9:04 am

      And I’m sorry — just going to put it out there — but if you want to take a shower every day and you’re a Mom — ESPECIALLY a mom of a two parent household — tell your husband you’re taking a shower and do it. I have never understood the whole “don’t have time to shower” thing. There is time to shower, you just have to make it.

    • klz
      April 9, 2012 | 2:31 pm

      Oh, yeah. I shower. I just pop Evan in a bouncy seat if I have to. Not showering makes me feel awful.

      Makeup? 50/50. But I never liked it that much and David gives me a hard time when I wear it too much because he likes me without

  6. liz
    April 9, 2012 | 8:26 am

    I’m smiling from ear to ear.

    I still haven’t heard how the lunch went.

    And I’m taking creative credit for the image. ;-)

  7. Amanda Austin
    April 9, 2012 | 9:01 am

    I hate Mom jokes too.

    Mainly because I still do my hair and makeup like I did before I had Luke.

    Tell me this: Why is it either “Mom jeans and yoga pants and no shower for days LOLZ!” or “Wow, what are you trying to be? a ‘yummy mummy’ LOLLOLOLOLOLOL!!!!!!!!111″ (and yes, I did get that second one at my old office, A LOT.)

    Why can’t we just take care of ourselves and be women and feel beautiful without comments about trying too hard or whatever? I have a feeling a lot of moms wear Yoga pants and no makeup because they feel like if they do, someone will think they are paying more attention to themselves than their kids. And that’s bullshit.

    I didn’t want to write a post today but you’re inspiring me to.

    So funniest thing lately: Kelsey bought a stud finder for a DIY project and it is defective and beeps no matter what….so he was teling mea bout it and then randomly put it on his jeans over his crotchal area and it beeped and he made a surprised face. it was hilarious.

  8. Bossy Betty
    April 9, 2012 | 9:23 am

    Hey, you have a healthy happy body. It’s a wonder if you really think about it. Look what it does and continues to do!

  9. Lisa
    April 9, 2012 | 10:51 am

    A recent funny that makes me laugh even days later:

    R (my 7 y/o son): Mom, let’s go. I want to get to school

    Me: Give me a quick sec, sweetie

    R: I don’t have TIME for quick secs.

    LOL

  10. Nikki
    April 9, 2012 | 10:57 am

    I think, as women, we naturally make up jokes (or lies in my case) to compensate for our own insecurities. I carried on the lie that I broke my nose for an entire 7 years just because I was embarrassed of my high angled bridge. But, you wanted to hear something funny: I put the ice cream in the pantry for the third time this week and I almost left the house wearing my slippers on Easter Sunday… I too blame the hormones.

    • klz
      April 9, 2012 | 2:38 pm

      I haven’t worn shorts since I wad 11 because I hate my thighs. Why do we do this? Ive been thinking about buying shorts this year and it literally frightens me. Wtf? I cannot live afraid if my body (especially since its awesome and make people and food to feed those people). Crape. This comment means I have to buy shorts.

      PS lets have ice cream

  11. Hutch
    April 9, 2012 | 11:23 am

    Well normal people cut themselves (accidentally at least) with a knife. In the kitchen. Last night I decided to stab my finger with the edge of the medicine cabinet, which would also serve as a great knife if it wasn’t attached to the hinges. The corner of the mirror is chipped. Blood wouldn’t stop gushing. I started crying before it even hurt, more because I was alone without anyone to save me from passing out or to help stop the bleeding, or to laugh at my blondeness. It’s moments like this, and when there’s spiders, that I hate being single. This is what hormones do to me and mine are just mildly out of whack right now.

    Wow, that wasn’t even funny at all.

    • klz
      April 9, 2012 | 2:33 pm

      See how easily hormones derail a joke?

      Come live with me. You can tell me I look nice and I can kill spiders for you.

  12. Not a Perfect Mom
    April 9, 2012 | 1:06 pm

    If you take a shower every day and put on makeup then you’re my new hero…

  13. MiMi
    April 9, 2012 | 1:13 pm

    Are you freaking kidding me? Maxim model. Oy.

    • klz
      April 9, 2012 | 2:31 pm

      For serious

  14. Kristin
    April 9, 2012 | 6:07 pm

    Take a deep breath and have a few chocolate eggs. Then take another few deep breaths. If you aren’t feeling funnier after all that- then just write about poop.

  15. angela
    April 9, 2012 | 10:17 pm

    There are a lot of things I’ve given up since becoming a mom, but most of them are related to sleep. Or being on time to things, which is annoying. I don’t get jokes about giving up showers or teethbrushing. It’s always been hard for me to accept my body, but at least it’s always clean and dressed in an acceptable manner.

    Funny stuff lately…I got out of the shower the other day to find Abbey wearing my husband’s jeans and cracking herself up. Her glee with herself was enough to make me laugh.

  16. Julie
    April 10, 2012 | 8:36 am

    Our bodies are just the vessels that carry us around. Like my truck – I love it, it’s great. There are some changes I would make to it, but it gets the job done. I’m not embarrassed to be seen in it in public. I probably don’t keep it shiny enough, or change the oil in it on the exact required date.

    But it’s mine.

  17. Mrs. Jen B
    April 10, 2012 | 9:33 am

    How exactly does one end up having lunch with a Maxim model?

    I feel as though this is the only thing I can comment on since the rest is outside my experience. But I think you’re pretty. And funny.

  18. erin margolin
    April 10, 2012 | 10:14 am

    1. i love your new ‘do. i don’t understand what you think looks bad about it? you are DARLING! and HAWT!

    2. yes please to more man boobs jokes.

    3. i do not shower every day. especially when my skin is dry, in winter/fall/early spring. and when i HAVE to shower, i either give kids to hubs or wait til they’re all asleep or put Piper in bouncy seat and she can cry for a few and deal if she has to….

    4. I agree with EVERYTHING you said in this post.

  19. Alexandra
    April 10, 2012 | 10:21 am

    Humor is one thing.

    Putting down is another.

    For me, humor saves my life.

    I am blessed to have it.

    I do look in the mirror and crack up, because if you can laugh at it, you can live with it.

    The lumps the bumps the hilarity of it all.

    It’s better than taking it seriously. We are far from perfect.

    There is perfection out there, and the pursuit of it, but not in my world.

    I do what I do because I need to keep from having a heart attack too early. I want to be around for my kids. I climb up and down the stairs in my house for 30 mins so I can be around for high school graduations. I lift arm weights so I don’t fracture my spine opening a window.

    It’s about longevity, not lookalogy.

    I’m a thin build b/c of the food allergies of my children: no dairy, no beef, no egg, no nuts: nothing to see here, people, only poached chicken and steamed green beans.

    And, as usual, you’ve got me leaving a novel here. Because you are that voice of truth that breaks through all the other noise out there.

    I love you, KLZ.

    And I saw you: and you are disarmingly adorable.

    And mummyyummy.
    xo

    And

  20. Kristin
    April 10, 2012 | 10:40 am

    I agree that the nasty, putting-down of others (and there’s a touch of it in comments here) is upsetting. But humor has always been an emphasized reflection of life. It’s like air-brushing for the funny bone – clear away the mundane and highlight the hysterical.

    If we have body images before being moms, we’ll have them afterwards, too. Plus some. If I don’t laugh about the huge veins on my upper thighs, I’ll cry. If I don’t joke about how I can stick my finger between the six-pack I have (it’s there, under the chocolate cake layer) thanks to the separation of the abdominal wall, I’ll cry. And I’ve had enough of mourning the physicality I used to have.

    I think it goes hand-in-hand with the “jokes” about “I’m such a horrible mother, but isn’t it cool?” which rub me the wrong way. Why does it have to be cool? But to many people, it is. For a while it was oh-so-funny to talk about not being able to get through a playdate without being drunk, and apparently that was a-okay. Or what about hating every single type of mom out there on the playground, except for the type that publicly ridicules every other type of mother?

    Moms (and I do think it’s more moms because women are more critical of each other in public anyway) are critical – and we’ll notice the things most that we’re currently dealing with or struggling against.

    I agree the jokes are unnecessary. And I am usually quite presentable, if far from fashionable. But I have always been that way. Motherhood hasn’t changed me that much.

  21. Kristen
    April 10, 2012 | 11:13 am

    I love how you just dumped that all out there. I don’t think we should put ourselves down either. I have so much self doubt and when I read it on other blogs it only makes me more insecure. I want/need to feel like I look good…at least 2 out of 7 days. I shave my legs and underarms not only because I don’t like the feel of it but because it is one easy thing I can do to make myself look and feel better about my own body. I may not look like a Maxim model but I would much rather hear my husband and my girls tell me I look pretty than any other people in the world. They normally tell me I look pretty when I am feeling happy. Without all of the self doubt and worries about comparing myself to other people, I smile a lot more.
    Thanks for getting it, Kristin! You may think you are hormonal but I think you are dead on!! xo!

  22. John
    April 10, 2012 | 11:57 am

    Oh, I have so many “I’m embarrassed and I’m a disgusting father” statements, but, for fear of saying the wrong thing at the wrong time & ending up with a shrimp fork in my throat, I’ll refrain from the details.

    Unfortunately, there isn’t a whole lot of funny that’s happened recently — I mean, CJ picking up a camera & trying to talk into it is always funny. As is having a soiled diaper thrown at my head because, right at that moment, Leila decided to try to step in it the diaper just before I fully-enclosed all of the fecal material, and while I managed to avoid having her foot in there, somehow, in the transaction, she ended up with the diaper — and I commonly play “throw the (clean) diaper on the baby,” only, well, babies like to kick things up a notch, so a nuclear load was chucked at my head.

  23. Ann
    April 10, 2012 | 12:24 pm

    I’ve been in a more self-conscious place too recently, as things are shifting around on my body and I’m not finding them were they once were.

    I like how you’re being good to you with this declaration. Self-deprecation is the easiest and surest way for a laugh–and agreeably a cheap shot to the self. I like to think I do it with love, and I think that’s the difference you honed in on.

  24. Missy @ Wonder, Friend
    April 10, 2012 | 10:23 pm

    First, you are funny. Even if you’re not writing down the funny, we know it’s there.

    I want to write a blog-length comment here, but I won’t. I will just say that I understand where you’re coming from. Why do we make fun of ourselves and belittle what we’re doing as women, as mothers? And yet, I also think it’s okay to poke a little fun at ourselves on the days we don’t pull it all together. The truth is, we all have those days. I’m also all for making fun of dads now and then. Dude, I hate farmer’s tans.

    I’m sorry your haircut hasn’t worked out – it does always look great in pictures! I’ve had cuts like that before, though, and I feel your pain.

    I promise I’m shutting up… in one minute. My advice, even though I hate it when people give ME unsolicited advice, is to give yourself some grace. That’s not to say you shouldn’t do the work required to feel confident. Just allow yourself the time to get there.

  25. Leigh Ann
    April 10, 2012 | 11:56 pm

    I often find that when I’m self depricating in the name of humor, my MIL or others think I’m looking for validation or reassurance. Clearly i need a new funny avenue. But I’m NOT a self confident person, so why not make fun of myself?

    Funny story : We were on a walk tonight and Rachel (4) turned to Zoe (2), and in all seriousness asked, “Baby! What do you think about coins? Say ‘cash money’ Baby!” I stopped walking and doubled over with laughter.

  26. Charlotte
    April 11, 2012 | 10:45 am

    I don’t like the idea of anyone putting down mothers either. Not only because 1) we all come from them, but 2) they are the hardest working people I know. I’m sorry you feel this way, bunny. I’m sending great big *HUGS* your way. You’ll find your groove. In the meantime, don’t pay any mind to the negative energy out there. XOXO

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