One day, my friends and I were sitting and watching The Bachelor finale when a friend said one of the girls was “chunky.” I responded, “No, she’s not. She’s like my size.” The answer to that? “Yeah, but you’ve had two kids.”
Not that it wasn’t true. Throughout my life, I seemed to be the first person on many milestones. I graduated high school early, got my college degree early, got married young, and was halfway through grad school and giving birth to my firstborn one week after my 21st birthday.
What a way to ring in being of legal age, right?
And though all of that came with a whole bunch of happiness (and some major stress), I didn’t realize that I’d suddenly become the only person I knew with the “dreaded” mom-bod.
You know what I’m talking about–stretched out skin, the lingering smell of dried milk, sagging boobs (thanks, nursing babies), and the forever dark circles that lie beneath your eyes.
Plus, the comments. All the, “Wow, you look great for being a mom.” “Don’t be too hard on yourself, you just had a baby.” I was now held to a much lower standard, one I aptly appreciated but also despised. Just tell me I look good! Even if I look like crap! Don’t add the “for being a mom” at the end.
Thanks to the body positivity movement, people are a lot less likely to comment on a woman’s body. But it seems like that doesn’t carry over to moms. They’re constantly peddled weight loss apps, multi-level marketing shakes, and gym memberships. People assume all moms want to and have to get back to their pre-baby bodies.
Don’t get me wrong–most of our friends aren’t telling us to get weight loss shakes. If they are, they’re definitely not a real friend.
But seriously, no one told me how bonkers it would feel to be the first person in a friend group with a “mom-bod.” No one could relate to me, and I was stuck feeling ten years older than I was. It was isolating, and honestly, strange. Though I knew their comments of “looking good for being a mom” came from a good place in their hearts, it still became awkward.
Here’s the thing: Moms have to work their butts off. We work our butts off all day long with our kids, but if we want to lose the baby weight and “look good for being a mom,” we have to somehow carve out time from screaming kids and other responsibilities.
Despite all the movements, there are many women who still comment on other women’s bodies, and when your friends have kids before you, you might not know how to react. Maybe you’re up late working while this friend is up late at 2am because of a crying baby. So when you see them, you think it’s just best to tell them that they look good, even with a crying toddler strapped around the bulging love handles (guilty).
Moms lose a lot of friends when they have their first baby. Because it’s a whole different world! To the friends of moms, they might not know how to relate to you, either. They can’t imagine doing everything that you’re doing either–they’re simply trying to survive, especially in those first few years of raising kids.
So, if you’re a friend of a new mom, please, do not comment on her mom-bod. Especially if she’s the first of your friends to have a kid. It doesn’t matter if she looks amazing or crappy. Find something else to comment on. Try commenting on how amazing of a mom she is. Or, if you feel like you can’t relate to the mom stuff, try reminiscing about the days prior to her becoming a parent. When we become moms, we don’t lose our old selves. We still like the same shows, music, and people. We still have dreams of our own, and we still want to feel like we’re a person beyond being a mother. Talk about some of that stuff. Ask her about herself. Everyone focuses on the baby (and they’re amazing!), but in all aspects of life, it’s clear that mothers are being forgotten. Just look at how many doctor visits there are for a baby versus a mom after childbirth.
I don’t want to be the person who looks good even though she’s a mom. I just want to be a person. One who’s allowed to look like whatever she wants to look like, whenever she wants. And guess what? All moms do.
We don’t want you commenting on our mom-bods. Good or bad, leave our bodies out of the conversation. Remember, behind the sippy cups and crying toddlers, we’re still the same person. A whole lot more tired with a lot more life experience than a few years ago, but we’re still here.
One day, when you have kids, we’ll be the first ones there to help, and we won’t comment on your mom-bod either. And if you don’t ever have kids, that’s cool too. We still love you, and we still want to be friends (even if it takes us a day or two to respond to a text). Let’s just leave our stretch marks out of it. Deal?