I have been told that I am a very "crunchy" momma. While, yes, I do subscribe to some of the crunchy momma choices, I never considered myself crunchy. I'm not trying to be eco-friendly. I'm not overly concerned or aware of the chemicals in processed baby food or disposable diapers. I'm not concerned that formula feeding isn't as good for my babies, or that "breast is best" as they say. I'm cheap.
I have always been very weight conscious. I was never really overweight, but like most teenage girls, I never felt like I was skinny enough, had a flat enough stomach, a nice enough ass, etc. I was always self conscious when I'd have to wear a swimsuit, so I mostly avoided going swimming. It was just easier to back out of swimming than be paranoid that people would look at me and think I was unattractive.
When I started dating my husband, I was around 125-130. A very good weight for my height. I thought I was pudgy.
I have this amazingly support group of moms on Facebook. The group started at a TTC (trying to conceive) spin off from a discussion board on What to Expects website. These are the same wonderful women that helped me cope with our miscarriage, accept the loss without blaming myself. We went through pregnancies together, share complaints and concerns throughout those long 9 months. They were with me through my labor, and helped me be ok with my unexpected "emergency" c-section. They even offered advice and suggestions when it came to breastfeeding, cloth diapers, sleep training. I have become very close with these women over the course of the last few years. So, when I didn't know what to do about my level of discomfort with my own body, I turned to them. I got a LOT of suggestions on what worked for them and I tried a few of them, ultimately finding and falling in love with Briana Christine of Bikini Body Mommy.
She has 5 different 90 day challenges, meal plans, recipes, coaching series, maintenance series, and now even a pregnancy series to help you get fit and healthy in the comfort of your own home. The best part? All of the 90 day challenges are 100% free. If you opt for a membership (for the other workout programs) it's $2 a month. When I started, I thought "can't hurt anything. It's free." I lost 30 pounds.
In January, when I found I was pregnant again, I was still up 20 from my pre-pregnancy weight with Connor, and ultimately 30 pounds heavier than my goal. I started her pregnancy series, but I had to stop because literally every move made me want to throw up. Instead, I just watched what I ate (more fruit, less treats) and I made a point to drink at least 64 (ideally 96) ounces of water everyday.
I am 29 weeks pregnant today. 11 to go. I've gained a grand total of 12.3 pounds. At the rate I'm currently going, I will only gain another 7 pounds by the end of this. In case you were wondering, that will put me at 10 pounds lighter on Kylar's birthday than I was on Connor's. My plan is to get back in the 130s by my 30th birthday, next year July.
Why am I telling you all of this? Why did I just spend the last 30 minutes typing out all of my weight concerns and sharing all of this overly personal information that women tend to hide and get offended about? Because I'm sick of being upset about how big I am. I'm sick of thinking there is some ideal size or that I "should" look a certain way. Here's the thing: I make people. I have, with the help of my wonderful husband, created life within my body. My body is fucking magical. I should treat it with more respect. Instead of looking at my stomach and seeing flab, I now see the starting point of our boys. I see stretch marks and think "hell yeah!"
I'm sharing all of this with all of you in the hopes that you will see my journey and know that everyone has something about themselves that they don't like. The question is this: are you going to let that thing hold you back or are you going to take it, claim it, and make yourself better for it?
I will start a mini side-blog on here covering my fitness journey once I get cleared by my doctor to start working out. I will be using Briana Christine's Bikini Body Mommy workouts and meal plans and I will get back to the 130s. Not because society says that's what size I should be (according to society, I should be 120), but because that's a healthy weight for me, as determined by doctors. I will work hard and I will get fit for my boys. The goal is to be healthy, not skinny. That should always be your goal. I need to be able to keep up with my boys and I know working out and getting fit will enable that to be my reality.
I honestly think that we need to relax a little. There have been quite a few news stories lately about a kid getting injured, or tragically killed by forces beyond our control and then the extreme backlash that the parents of that child face because (apparently) every other parent in the world knew better and it would never happen to them. Clearly it is the fault of the injured or dead child's parents because they weren't paying close enough attention or they were distracted by their other children or they were just plan neglectful (so say the other "perfect parents").
Here's the thing: You don't know them. You don't know their situation. You don't know what you would do if put into that situation. You might think "oh, I'd do [this] and solve the problem." but in the heat of the moment, when shit hits the fan, you never really know what you're going to do until you do it. If Connor somehow managed to get himself into the GORILLA enclosure with a motherfucking GORILLA, I have no freaking clue what I'd do; other than flip shit and cry. If a croc took off with my son, again I'd flip shit, but I wouldn't know what to do. Fight, if I can, but from what I've read, there wasn't anything they could do. If my son climbed into the car while I was visiting in the house with our friends, and couldn't get back out (upsides and downsides to child locks), I probably wouldn't notice that he was gone right away, especially if it's normal for him to go play in the front yard with the neighbors without me.
Stop judging other parents for being in shit situations that you would never imagine being in yourself, and you can't know, I mean beyond a shadow of a doubt, what you would do. Let's just all take a step back and thank whoever that our kids are alright, that the injured will live, and pray or (at the very least) be considerate to the parents who have lost a child to some unforeseeable tragedy. Because that's exactly what these situations are: unforeseeable.
As parents, we like to think we'd do the right thing, make the perfect decision, in any situation. We like to believe that we can protect our kids from everything and solve every problem they ever encounter. That just isn't true. We need to be grateful for our babies and trust that we will take care of them to the best of our abilities. We really need to stop assuming that it's the parents' fault when some bad happens to a child. Yes, sometimes it is a cause of neglect, and in those cases the parents are dealt with accordingly, but sometimes bad shit just happens.
Sometimes babies get left in hot cars. 100% by accident because mom or dad got off in their routine, and skipped a step. "Perfect parents" think "that will never happen to me" and that's what scares me the most. I guarantee you that the parents who have forgotten their babies in the car and lost them also thought it wouldn't happen to them. No one sits there and thinks "yeah, I'm gonna forget my baby and ultimately be the cause of his/her death." Just be cautious and double check. There is absolutely no harm in leaving your phone/shoe/purse in the backseat with the baby. It won't hurt you one bit and it will keep your baby safe. Isn't that what we all want anyway?
Stop judging those you don't know. Stop blaming people for things beyond their control. And for the love of whoever you believe in, stop picking on those who are already suffering!!
Father's day is coming up, and it's gotten me thinking about the father of my children. Arguably the most important man in my life; without whom, my life would completely different.
My husband is amazing. Not only is he a great father, and life partner, he works his ass off to provide for us. His job isn't easy; he works in obscenely low temperatures (33 to -15 Fahrenheit), 10-12 hour days, 5 days a week. They only get Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day off. In case you missed it, that means he pretty much works all the time. He has to be exhausted 90% of the time, but he rarely complains.
His birthday was a couple weeks ago. I tried to convince him to call in, take a personal day and enjoy a 3-day weekend (because he's worked there long enough to have seniority and gets Friday and Saturday off). (BTW, that's a big deal for us). He refused, because he hates calling in unless he has to. He ended up working 12 full hours and not getting home until about 10:30 that night.
Most nights, he gets home between 9 and 10:30, plays with Connor for a couple hours, maybe helps with bath time, then puts Connor to bed and passes out on the couch. If it weren't for him, I wouldn't be able to stay home with our boy (soon to be boys). I would have to work 8-10 hour days and Connor would be back to spending most of his waking hours with his grandmas instead of his parents. I wouldn't get to teach him things and help shape him into a strong, independent, intelligent and innovative little man.
I do wish Hubby was able to spend more time with Connor, because I know he probably feels like he's missing out on somethings, but I also know that he is very proud of who our son is becoming, and who Kylar will be. He steps up and fills the role of the "primary-parent" when he is home, and they can't get enough of each other on his days off. It's freaking adorable, actually. I love my husband for putting us first and making it possible for me to stay home with our children. Our life wouldn't be possible without him.
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Writer and Contributor for the Motherhood Community