Numbers That Matter: Mothers, Their Weight, And The “Mompetition”
Do you feel like now that you’ve given birth, you’re in a race to slim down and reach those magic “MILF” numbers? How much time to do you spending obsessing over your weight and how others see your mothering skills? Contributor, Alisha Enright, candidly shares her experiences in the “mompetition”.
What’s in a number? When it comes to being a mother, the first numbers that come to mind are milestones like our children’s ages and the numbers of full night’s sleep since the first child was born. However, I’m not referring to any of those things. Rather, the numbers we find between our toes on a scale: our weight. I can imagine you asking, “what does weight have to do with being a good mother?” Absolutely nothing. The real question is: does appearance affect our ability to mother our children?
Throughout numerous conversations with fellow moms, the dreaded weight topic always rears its ugly head. The questions are always the same with the standard, “How much weight did you gain while pregnant?”, “How long did it take you to lose it?”, and “Why don’t we all just starve ourselves until we satisfy everybody else’s views on how mothers should look?”. I admit, nobody ever asks the latter question out loud, but it’s the silence that drives the question home.
According to many magazines out there, new mothers are supposed to be bikini ready after their six week post partum check up. Really? According to who’s guidelines? In my daily life, women actually spend more of their energies trying to impress other women more than men, competing to see who wins the title of MILF (mom I’d like to f… well, you get the rest), the unequivocal “hot mom”. And thus, the “mompetition” is born.
What is this unspoken mompetition I speak of? Competitors are easy to find if one really pays attention. When a mother is sharing the current news and successes of her children and another mother chimes in with how much better, faster, cuter their child does the competition has now begun. And if the mother is also blessed with a rocking body, well then she “wins”. The competition to be the better, thinner mommy is a looming danger that threatens a community of mothers and friends.
The unhealthy obsession of looking the best and assuming appearances equal parenting skills kills the notion of simply being healthy, happy, and the best mother possible for your children. In my case, I have two small special needs sons. One frequently wakes up screaming at night. All my child wants to know is that I am there, standing in the doorway. Does he really care if his size 6 mom was really a size 12, 18, or 24? No. He needs and wants comforting. I comfort him with my love, not the amount of body fat I have on my body.
I’m sure I’m not the only mother exhausted by the endless complaints of body image and weight made by other mothers; how they don’t fit a certain, air-brushed standard. I’m proud to be a mother and to have all of the cellulite that comes along with it and quite frankly, I don’t care if anybody likes it or not.
I’ll be honest and confess that I have down days where I’m unhappy, disgusted, and the plethora of other negative feelings about my body. But the truth is, all of us mothers have these days and it’s perfectly normal. We don’t need to turn a normal concern into an all-consuming mompetition that uselessly and erroneously defines our mothering abilities.
My advice is to pay close attention to the numbers that really matter by enjoying the time left of your child(ren)’s infancy instead of obsessing about the length of time it takes to get back into those skinny jeans, because before we know it, we’ll be registering our kids for kindergarten and asking ourselves where all the time has gone. Our weight can wait; the length of time our babies become big kids won’t.
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