With summer quickly approaching, our household has been dreaming of hot days spent in cool lakes. Naturally, Brad and I thought it would be a good idea to sign Marshall and Vi up for swim lessons.
Marshall’s swim class is just the students and teacher in the water. They focus on learning proper swim strokes and holding their breath under the water. Violet’s class is a parent-child class; parents are in the pool helping their tiny tots learn how to safely enter and exit the water- with a strong focus on the toddlers learning how to float and climb up the side of the pool to safety by themselves in case they fall in while no adults are present.
I smiled week after week as I watched Marshall learn and build his technique. I beamed with pride as I watched Brad and Vi swim and play. Then it hit me, I noticed something.
Every week there were about six toddlers in Violet’s class. Every single one of them were accompanied by their dad in the water. The moms were all in attendance- with only one in the water (because her husband was swimming with their other toddler). Otherwise, all the moms were sitting around the pool in the chairs.
We were all dressed in loose-fitting clothes and layers despite the humid pool area, all cheering our children on and telling them how amazing they are while none of us dare to have to enter the pool ourselves. Ironically, all but one of the children are female.
This revelation stung me as I watched Brad and Violet giggle and float around the pool. I saw how much fun they were having; the bond and memories they were creating…and I was missing out on it all. All of us mothers were.
I can’t help but wonder, how many times do we as women miss out because of the expectations society puts on us? Because of that cruel little voice we have in the back of our minds telling us that we just aren’t good enough?
I was back to pre-Francesca-pregnancy weight by seven weeks postpartum. Sadly, I’m still another ten pounds to go before I’m pre-Violet weight and I don’t even want to think about how far I am from where I was after having Marshall (the pregnancy weight from our losses and fertility treatments added up). Even as I write this, I’m too embarrassed to say just how much weight I’ve lost since giving birth because of how far I still have to go.
For me, part of being successful with losing the weight from Franki was accountability. I weigh myself every morning and record it; it keeps me more mindful of my activity and eating during the day.
However, I have to be careful what message I am sending to my children- especially my girls. Already, at only one and a half years old, Vi imitates her mother. One day she ran into the bathroom and stepped on the scale, as she must have seen me do so many times before, then the digital scale beeped and showed her weight. Little Violet’s shoulders slumped and she let out a deep sigh and shook her head at the numbers flashing on the scale.
What am I setting her up for? What kind of example am I?
I have work to do. I need to shed pounds to get down to a weight that I feel comfortable with and happy at. But I need to do it mindfully. I need to set a positive example. So now I’m weighing myself privately, with the door shut and putting the scale to the side. I’m trying to model a healthy relationship with food and excercise- focusing on health instead of size.
In the meantime I’m trying to be happy with where I’m at on the scale and not let the fact that my body isn’t magazine-cover-worthy hold me back any longer. I want to jump in that pool as fearlessly and confidently as my tiny daughter. I wish the other moms would too.
More than anything, I hope that our daughters never lose their love of fun because of their perception of themselves. I hope they never get that little doubting voice that so many of us women pick up along the way.
Because really, if you think about it, the female body is pretty amazing. We can create life. Our bodies expand to make a human being and a whole new organ (placenta) to sustain that human. Isn’t that something to celebrate? Isn’t that so much more cover-worthy than losing the baby weight in weeks or how to hide the stretch marks that happened from growing a person within your body? I’m going to try my hardest to see that reality when I look in the mirror instead. To will myself to rejoice that I’ve been lucky enough to have the stretch marks, widened hips, and extra weight. Marshall, our three losses, Vi, and Franki were all worth it. All part of my body at one point and it’s now a story my body tells.
Celebrate the mom-bod. Celebrate whatever body you’re in.
As part of my goal and accountability, I’m going to do a post on Labor Day (fitting, I know) with pictures I took before leaving for the hospital to give birth to Franki on delivery day and updated pictures from Labor Day weekend. I’ll post exactly how much weight I lost between the two pictures and try my hardest to not be embarrassed of the number but instead be excited about how much healthier I am.