When I was a teenager, like most other teenage girls, I had a somewhat altered view of my body. I thought my thighs were fat, my belly too flabby, and my ass too wide. I wore long shirts to cover my lower half, felt uncomfortable in anything fitted or low-cut and often wore baggy pants. Of course, I look back now at my 120 lb body with sheer envy. What was I thinking back then? 17-year-old me had no clue what flab, cellulite, and stretch marks were in store for her.
These days, I have a different kind of altered perception. I like to call it mom-ception and it goes something like this…
You’ve been feeling pretty good about yourself lately…you’ve been exercising, dieting and you can fit into most of your pre-pregnancy clothes (and not just the shirts either…but the pants!). One evening, you hop on the scale to see how much you weigh so you can give yourself a congratulatory pat on the back and bowl of Ben & Jerry’s when you realize that you weigh as much as you did when you were four months pregnant. How is that possible? You get your husband to weigh himself in the hopes that the scale is wrong. You go to the drugstore and test every one of their scales. You make excuses to use friends’ bathrooms frequently to check if they have a better scale, since all of the ones you have tried are obviously broken. Then you start thinking…am I fatter than I think I am? Has my perception of how I look changed so much after having a kid that I am not only OK with being 20lbs overweight, but I actually think I look good?
Here’s another example…you’re walking down a busy street in the middle of the afternoon and are surrounded by attractive, young, trendy business people going about their days. You feel good…you’ve worn your cute new skinny jeans and your favourite flirty and functional ballet flats. You totally fit right in…or so you think. Suddenly, you walk past a store window and catch a glimpse of yourself: staring back at you is a cardigan-clad, makeup-free, overdue-for-a-haircut, plain old MOM.
Both of these situations happened to me recently and it really gave me pause for thought. When did it happen that I not only stopped caring about how I looked so much, but I actually started believing that I still looked thin, trendy, and young when in reality I am not any of those things? Perhaps it comes with age…and maybe it happens to everyone, and not just moms.
So this mom needs some help from all of you in the blogosphere: dear fellow women (and especially moms)…am I alone in this altered reality of mine? Or, do you sometimes experience a bit of mom-ception too?