More than physical

In honor of Mother’s Day my mom posted a picture of her & my grandmother as her profile picture on Facebook.  I thought “that’s cute!” & then I immediately saw that my grandmother had commented ‘why did you post this ugly picture of me for everyone to see?’

and it hit me

For my entire life I have listened to the women in my family put themselves & others down, speak negatively about their looks, image & shape.  They have always told me how pretty I am & to be confident in myself but I have never heard them speak about themselves in this way.

Make no mistake about it – your children/grandchildren hear everything you say.

Until I became a mother & had confidence that my body is FUNCTIONAL I never had a positive body image.  Ever.  I was too skinny, too plain, too pale, my boobs were too small, my skin was too oily/dry, my hair was too stringy, my teeth are too yellow, my eyebrows are too bushy, my arms too hairy.  Never enough.

These things were never said TO me but I decided they must all be true because I grew up in a family that blurted out judgments on everyone’s body & looks all. the. time.
People on tv, people on the street, friends, family, co-workers, neighbors, aunts, uncles, cousins, brothers, sisters, ex’s, teenagers, kids – nobody was safe.
“she sure got big didn’t she?!” “her hair looks awful” “doesn’t look like he’s missed many meals” “what is she wearing?!” “I look so ugly” “I can’t wear that” “don’t take a picture of me” “I hate my smile” “I’m fat”
You name it – I’ve heard it being said about someone and yet somehow I was supposed to believe that I was beautiful??  I couldn’t even understand what the standard of beauty WAS so how could I have ever expected that I could live up to it??  I spent the first 3 decades of my life doubting that I could be something beautiful but always chasing it like a shadow.

I have to change this pattern.

When I was pregnant I was actually terrified of having a little girl because I was so worried that I will somehow make her feel that she can’t ever live up to some made up standard of beauty in the same way that I had felt for so long.  Then I realized – I have that responsibility no matter if I have a boy OR a girl!  I want my son to know that he IS a beautiful person & that he should be proud of his body AND his mind!  Not only that, but he should celebrate the bodies & minds of those around him & remind them that they are to be celebrated.  He should not look at a woman & wonder how much she weighs or how many people she has slept with but rather what kind of impact is she having on the world around her or what she’s passionate about.

That begins with me.  What do I say about those around me?  What is he hearing me say about others?  Old habits die hard BUT this is a responsibility I take VERY seriously & I know that patterns to not change on their own.

I am heartbroken that my mother & grandmother might never know the kind of inner confidence that would drive them to lift others up rather than try to bring others down.  I hope that maybe if they see a change in me that it might inspire them to feel better about themselves.

I can’t change the world – but I can have an impact – I just have to choose if it will be one of positive change or to continue on the path that’s been set out before me.

Owning it

You know what I haven’t done since becoming a parent?  Given myself the high-five I actually deserve!
I down-play things I consider to be BIG wins in my life because I’m worried I might offend someone who had different experiences than I did!  In this world of ‘everything offends us’ I have actually bitten my tongue on subjects that actually excite me very much because I’m worried a friend (or even a STRANGER) would be upset by me sharing my happiness!
And guess what?!  I’ll never actually even ‘share’ this blog post on any of my social media accounts because I will never have the courage to!  BUT I’m going to throw myself a little celebration right here & now – you’re totally invited!

Things I am super proud of:

I FOUND THE LOVE OF MY LIFE!
I dated SO many ‘duds’ over the years – always looking & hoping that someday I would find ‘the one’ & guess what?!  I DID!  I am married to the most beautiful, kind, caring, loving, funny, annoyingly-neat-freak woman on the planet!  I hit the all-inclusive jackpot when she agreed to spend the rest of her years with ME!  I’m just hoping I don’t take any years off of her life by leaving messes all over the house while she follows behind me cleaning them up HAHA!

I HAVE A CAREER I WORKED HARD FOR!
I started off in retail when I was 15 years old & I worked my way up to being a manager & stayed in that position for about 10 years.  Once I decided I couldn’t continue in that career anymore I made a HUGE change (& decrease in pay) to get into banking.  I have been successful & although my dream would be to not have to work – I am lucky to have a steady job that I don’t TOTALLY hate 🙂

I BOUGHT A HOUSE!
Do you know how rare it is THESE DAYS for a young person (27 at the time) to be able to BUY a house on their own?!  Now, truth be told – I could NEVER afford the mortgage PLUS all the expenses that go along with owning a home on my own – so my wife’s income sure does help out to keep the heat on & the water running lol!  BUT as far as the lenders were concerned I did it on my own!  I didn’t have to have anyone else help me or have my dad’s name included!  I DID IT!  I feel pretty proud!  And it gives me a lot of security in my future knowing that I will have it all paid off well before I’m ready to retire!

I GOT PREGNANT!
That’s right!  When we decided we were ready to start our family we assumed all we had to do was pick our donor & make a quick visit to the dr & we’d be well on our way in no time!  WRONG!  2 years, 12 incems, 1 surgery (to clear out endometriosis), countless prescriptions, needles, appointments, tests, ultrasounds, tears, prayers, sleepless nights later we FINALLY GOT OUR BFP (big fat positive) HPT (home pregnancy test)!!!

I HAD A WONDERFUL PREGNANCY!
When you get pregnant you never know what kind of surprises you’ll get!  Morning sickness, heartburn, swelling, hot flashes, mood swings, headaches, rashes, constipation, UTI – the list goes on & on.  Know what I got?  A little heartburn, a little morning sickness, ok – quite a bit of constipation lol & the best pregnancy EVERRRRR!  Seriously – I LOVED every second of it!  It was even more magical that I ever imagined it would be!  The appointments, ultrasounds, little (& BIG) kicks, it was all so amazing & I was so glad to have such a beautiful miracle happening inside me – it left me speechless.

I ROCKED LABOR & DELIVERY!
Not all by myself or anything – I had an awesome support team of family & our hospital & OB were the VERY best & my wife rocked out being my foundation thru it all – but let’s face it – I was doing the heavy lifting!  haha!  and I had the birth I’d been dreaming of all along!  It was fast, textbook, successful, empowering & life-altering in every way!  I followed the lessons we learned in our birthing class & I DID IT!  I’d say that is one of my proudest moments of my entire life, if I’m being totally honest!

I WAS SUCCESSFUL AT BREASTFEEDING!
But it was NO easy road!  Both my wife & I were totally shocked at how HARD IT IS!  She was such a wonderful support to me in helping me get the baby positioned correctly, going to all the lactation consults, paying close attention to be able to remind me later how to do it, staying up late to help me move his tiny hands OUT OF THE WAY – haha!  Latch problems, mastitis, nipple shield, milk bleb, vasospasm, clogged ducts, abscess – we faced SO many challenges!!  In the end (somewhere around the 6 month mark) I think we FINALLY hit our stride & we’ve been rocking it ever since!  Besides delivery – I’d have to say I feel the most pride about this subject!  Breastfeeding has also led me to find my calling in life – to help other women conquer their breastfeeding challenges.  I am going to work my way towards becoming an IBCLC (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant).  It’s going to be a LOOOOONG time before I actually achieve that goal BUT little by little I will get there!  Breastfeeding has changed my life in almost every way that a life can be changed & I am grateful for the struggle because it showed me that I really can do anything I put my mind to – I just have to believe in myself & surround myself with others who can believe in me when I lose faith ❤

I AM GREAT AT GIVING ADVICE WHEN FRIENDS ASK!
If I could have a nickle for every time someone told me I missed my calling for being a therapist I’d have a pretty decent savings account.  I think that I am good at keeping my friends best interest in mind while also telling them things that might be hard to hear.  But my best quality is being able to say those things in a way that someone will actually be open to hearing instead of just being offended & turning away.  People that ask me for advice once usually ask me for advice again & again & I am more than glad to help out in any way that I am able.  It makes me feel good that something I may have said to somebody can have helped to have a positive effect on their life in some small way.

I think we, as women, are taught to down-play or completely ignore our successes because we might be told that we are bragging or somehow putting down others but that’s just not true!  We SHOULD be proud of ourselves!  WE have come such a long way & we haven’t gotten here by women being quiet or keeping to themselves!

I’ll never have the guts to share this blog post on my own pages, but at least I have it here to remind myself that I am strong, smart, beautiful & worth recognition & hopefully I can carry that feeling thru my interactions with others in my life.

Celebrate yourself!

What have you done that you deserve to brag about??

Over-carenting…

Yep.  I just made up that word!
I was recently made aware that my wife & I are known for being “helicopter moms” or “over-parenting” – caring too much??  Is that even a problem?!
This is something I take a pretty decent amount of offense to.  The quote that really gets my panties in a twist was “you need to let that boy go”.  He’s 1… where should he go?!
I will NEVER be caught apologizing for ‘over-parenting’ or as I like to call it “being involved”.  Our son is not even old enough to communicate verbally!  It is literally my JOB to speak FOR him, ensure that his needs are met & if I cannot be there to meet those needs you better be damn sure I’m going to make sure his needs are met with the consistency that my wife & I feel are most appropriate for him.  I will never settle for “he was fine (aka: not broken, bruised or crying) when I picked him up – so everything must have gone well”.  #sorrynotsorry
If our son were 16 & I did his homework for him, told his teachers to never discipline him & never let him go hang out with any of his friends – fine – accuse me of ‘over-parenting’ but I seriously doubt that in the last 12 months I could have done anything to stunt his development in any possible way.
Consider this:  could it be that in the last few decades we have figured out that things we allowed children to do years ago have been found to be quite unsafe & that we have decided not to let these things continue being “normal” for our son??
“I rode in the back of a pickup truck (or insert any other 80’s antic-dote here) & I turned out fine!” guess what?? The kids that didn’t turn out fine… they’re not here to say that – so your argument is totally invalid.

ugh – I’m just ranting – I hate it when I do that – I was attempting to come to a super valid conclusion by writing this out but #icanteven right now lol

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