Appreciating our assets
More than what we do, though, it's what we think that makes the biggest difference when it comes to enjoying our mom bods. My friend Kate Miller, who lives in Providence, RI, loved every second of being pregnant and enjoys a Dalai Lama -- like serenity with her body now. "I'm about ten pounds heavier than I was, but my shape fits me and reflects my maturity as a forty-year-old mother of two," she says. "Having kids gives you a pass. I've been through the war twice and nobody can tell me that I need to do this or that with my body. I don't care what your societal expectations are!"
While rare, she's not the only woman to find that motherhood can destroy a negative body image. "Some women are so ready for this life stage that they feel the battle with their bodies is over," says Maine. "They love being moms so much that it over-shadows the angst about not looking exactly how they'd like."
"I'm sexier and more curvaceous now," says Stacey Koutroubinis of Fort Lee, NJ. "Yes, there are stretch marks that weren't there before, but I have confidence now that I never had before, and I enjoy sex much more."
As for me, I'm thinking of asking Kate to make me an inspirational tape that I can play whenever I catch myself berating my body, which most often happens when I'm getting dressed for work: My underwear doesn't fit and my girls are flinging oatmeal at each other, using my butt as a shield to hide behind. But when things are calmer (and I'm fully dressed!), I think I look pretty good. I guess I'm like many moms -- too busy and too tired to devote too much time to inch-pinching and calorie counting.
And it's difficult not to laugh just as hard as my daughters do when they watch their little fingers disappear into my belly fat. My girls keep me honest. If I so much as think, "Ugh, your butt didn't used to droop down the back of your thighs like that!" I issue a reminder to treat myself as I do Vivian and Sasha -- with kindness, love, and acceptance. If I wouldn't make such a comment to them, I try not to think it about myself.
You may not be getting to the gym and your hand weights may be collecting dust, but lugging kids around is no small feat, Mama! In fact, carrying an infant for half an hour burns 126 calories.