And for once I was SuperMom

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Body of Work

'Mother Teresa didn't walk around complaining about her thighs.
She had shit to do.'

I just shared this quote on Facebook.  I don't know how Mother Teresa would feel about this, maybe she would laugh.  (As an aside I read her book, 'NO Greater Love,' it was like one big literary hug.  I highly recommend it.)

I am plagued by the way we interact with women's bodies.  And actually I'd love to hear some men chime in about all this mess.  They probably feel like that quote, 'who cares if I have a beer gut, I've got shit to do.'
I saw this blog post; the heading picture was of the Ms. America finalists from 1945.  The entire article was encouragement that none of the contestants had thigh gap.  All I could think was,
'Have we gone and lost our minds?'
These women are finalists in a beauty contest.  I can guarantee you that I would not fit into one of those swimsuits.
And we are relieved because they don't have 'thigh gap?'

I did notice that they were not particularly toned.  Crossfit was probably not a thing in 1945.

We have placed such a standard onto women that you have to be not only thin, and completely toned and fit.
Thigh gap and buff arms.
Have you any idea how hard that is?
I, for one, have noticed that the stronger I got that some parts of me got a bit bigger.  Like my thighs, for example.

I've gotten a bit aggravated through my life.  I am short and muscular and prone to gaining weight.  My love of exercise has kept me from getting heavy.  But my love of bread has kept me from getting too thin.
There is no way I look like any model or actress.  Or beauty contestant for that matter.
(Not too mention I would rather be caught dead than prance around in a bathing suit so someone could literally judge my bum.  Not because I'm embarrassed of my bum, but because that's just completely demeaning.  Just for the record I have friends who've competed in beauty contests, I'm their friend because they're awesome, not because they have a nice bum.)
So somewhere in my life I decided to screw it all and just get as strong as possible.  Run as much as I could.  Hike as much I wanted.
And my body met those challenges.  Gladly and willingly, without much injury.

My Aunt put together an album of all the family photos that we have.  There is one particular picture of six of my female ancestors, one of them has my face, and they are all thick strong farm women. And I thought,
'Oh, that's my DNA, well then, I am doing great.'
I was still trying to force my body into what the idea of a good female body is.
Think about it,
"She has a great body."
You immediately thought about looks.  Didn't you?  I know I do.
Not health.  Not strength.  Not the ability to grow and make healthy babies.  Or the ability to feed those babies.

Is this the part where I post a picture of my stretch marks?  Because I am not going to do that.  Culturally we see stretch marks as ugly, most of us have them, if not from puberty we have them from making babies.  They're a reality, and I don't think mine are that pretty.  They just are.  As my husband said,
"You had two babies, it's unrealistic to think that your body wouldn't go through changes."
So I can't comfortably wear a bikini anymore?  So, I would like to point out that bikinis are completely impractical, how many of us have had them fall off or shift in embarrassing ways?  Having to wear a one piece is a bit of relief actually.
Can someone tell me a good solid reason why I need a tan stomach?
I don't wear bikinis, I have shit to do...actually children to run after.

Because I have a good body.  Healthy.  Strong.  Capable of large amounts of manual labor.  Makes healthy babies.  Feeds them just fine.
Actually it's a great body.

I would love to hear how all of you love your great body. Attach this hashtag at the bottom and we can spread the love!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Together and Apart

I kissed my husband goodbye this Monday morning.
I drove him to a trailhead, with twelve college students and an assistant, kissed him and walked away as he hiked into the woods.

My husband has a very awesome job.  As director of the WILD Semester, at Gordon College he gets to take twelve students on an eighteen day backpacking trip in his locale of choice.  For the past few years he has chosen Colorado, where his parents live.
While I believe fully in what he does, as his wife it leaves me at home, with the kids, holding the proverbial diaper bag.
I struggle often with feeling like an addendum to his life.  This add on, just waiting for him to finish his awesome adventures so that I can make dinner for him.
He would hate that.
I hate that.

I lost my iPhone.  In one of the weeks while he was gone, I was rushing around, keeping us busy so we wouldn't notice the absence of one of our family members, and I lost it.  I searched, oh, I searched.  It is long gone.  When my husband left today, he left me his phone.  For emergencies.  Today while my children napped I scrolled through the pictures on his phone.  What did I see?  Pictures and videos of his children.  Pictures of me.  Sometimes in the background, behind a sweet child.  Sometimes in the foreground; climbing a rock face, before and after running a half marathon.  Funny how that can be so telling.  We photograph what we find important.  What we want to remember.  What we want to see later on. What we are proud of.

He left me with his computer as well.  I didn't bother to bring mine out with us to Colorado, it's a bit of dinosaur.  Seemed excessive in all the packing.  I had trouble today connecting to the WiFi at his parent's home.  As I ticked through each password that I knew he had, the different versions of the same iteration of a theme, I realized that I know this about him.  I know all his passwords.  All the versions of them.

Apparently I play a big role in his life.

But someone has to take care of the children.
They need to be raised and loved.  Washed.  Diapered.  Hugged.
I don't want to pay someone to do that.  So I do it.

And someone has to earn the money.  And I married an unconventional man, and I like him for that.  All the business majors I met in college I ran away from, I wanted someone unique.  Someone who followed his passions.  Someone outdoorsy.  I found that.  Then I married him.

I suppose that I have to sit in that.  I need to accept that because I married a man that believes in the power of backpacking as personal transformation that occasionally he's going to go backpacking. Without me.
And the jealousy burns.
And the children cry.

Then when he comes home he looks at our children's faces,
'They look different,' he says.
'She's talking more,' he says.
And I know the changes sting.  I know he doesn't want to miss out on the girls.
He tries to fix the stress for me.  He can't.  It just is and will be.

I suppose there are silver edges to our time apart.  It pushes me to seek my own place in a career.  I can use my jealousy over his success and push it towards my own success.  In the evenings when the girls are in bed I can sit and gather my thoughts.  I can do all that introspection that has been building up.  I can whisper all those prayers that have needed to be said.  I can write and paint without feeling like I am abandoning him.

So strange this dance of marriage.  This bonding together of two people.  How we become a unit.  So much more than a partnership.
There are times when we need to be a apart.  How those times create tension and then shed light on things we never saw before.

Monday, September 1, 2014

I'm Not Sorry

My daughter got really car sick the other day.
There were a bunch of factors that added to her losing her breakfast on that tiny highway in the Adirondacks, but one of them may have been that I was driving a little faster than normal.  There was a little red Hyundai trying to climb up my tail pipe.  So I drove faster, because I didn't want to be that person.
I kept thinking he was back there cursing this little blue Honda with the 13.1 sticker on it,
"Well you probably didn't run that half marathon too fast, if you run like you drive."
Right?  I can assume that was what he was thinking, because I've thought it.
Then my daughter threw up, as I pulled over, that Hyundai was probably thankful that I stopped, as he whizzed by me, and I unclipped my sick kid while she continued to vomit, he was probably cursing at me.
I'll never know.
I drove too fast because I was worried that someone I will never meet was annoyed with me.
Then my daughter barfed.
Then I read this blog. I know she's talking about being stressed about and not being able to be there for people.  That stinks, we've all been there.
We're so trapped by other people's expectations of us that we apologize all the time or make poor choices or spread ourselves too thin.
Probably just our perception of what other expect from us, rather than the actual truth.
So I'm not sorry.
I'm not sorry that I pulled my kid off my back at the beach and told her to stop jumping on me.
I am not a human trampoline.
I'm not sorry that I yelled at my children when they deliberately ignored me several times in a row.
I am their mother, I deserve respect.
I'm not sorry that my husband and I fought when I felt he was placing his needs above my own.
I have needs too.
I'm not sorry that I said 'no' to a commitment because it was something I didn't want to do and knew I would be bad at.
Let someone who is better equipped do it.
I am not sorry that I protect my free time fiercely.
I have needs too.
I am not sorry that I lose my temper.
Sometimes tempers need to be lost.
I am not sorry that I get frustrated with my kids and they know it when I do.
Sometimes their behavior is frustrating.
They need to know when they are frustrating so they can stop it.  They need to function in society without frustrating people all the time.  It's part of being a successful person.
No one is perfect.
Not one of us.
We can all stop acting like we're perfect, that we need to be everything to all people, all the time, we can relax.
And stop apologizing all the time.