I Want *MY* Sexy Back.


Everyday I am bombarded with images of beautiful women. Photoshopped, inhuman, airbrushed, makeup-ed and unnaturally beautiful women. It’s a problem, we all know it. Yet like a drug we can’t quit it. But those are not the things that drive me insane. Just like Freddy Kruger I know they aren’t real. So I ignore it.

Yet, in the same overbearing, in-your-face way I get just as much imagery and blog posts to “love who you are,” “accept your mom body,” “all humans are beautiful.” Truth be told…they annoy the crap out of me.

Don’t get me wrong, the message is great. We talk too negatively to ourselves daily, and CPS would be called on us if we uttered HALF of the same things to our children. People would call us abusive if we commented on our spouses bodies the way we do our own, and we sure as hell wouldn’t have any friends left if we told them the same things we tell ourselves. We surely need to change the way we talk to ourselves, without doubt.

But the truth is…I don’t know how.

I don’t want to be a super model, I never did. I like food too much. I don’t want to be an actress, or famous, or Miss America…I just want MY sexy back.

When you’re 20 something, you daily dress in super revealing and adorable clothing, flirt with everything, take hours primping, check out your butt, push up your boobs, on and on. We all try so hard when we’re 20 something. But at one point or another throughout the day, I always felt sexy. Even when I didn’t. I knew all my clothes fit, my skin was nice, and I still had the high school body. So even when I did what all girls do (Hellooooooo Mean Girls) there was still some part of me that felt sexy.

At 26 I got sick. I gained 65 pounds. I got acne for the first time in my life. I was exhausted ALL. THE. TIME. But…I still felt sexy most days. I felt like my husband was still attracted to me, we still had sex often, I still wore sexy little outfits for him, sex wasn’t confined to the bedroom (sorry mom).

But then I had a baby.


Something shifted. Something changed…something disappeared inside me.

I can tell you the exact day I last felt sexy. April 18, 2013. I sent my husband a video. Yes. THAT kind of video. I was pregnant, but not massive. I could still see my toes, I’d gotten a pedicure that day, I’d just gotten my hair cut, and because I was pregnant my skin had cleared up. It was nothing special. No anniversary or special date, no rhyme or reason. I just simply felt sexy.

Now. That was 2 years and 4 months ago. Approximately 850 days. That’s a stupid long time to not even kind of feel sexy. I’ve thought, “Maybe it’s because I’m bigger now.” That’s some of it, but not most of it. “Maybe because my skin is still bad, and regardless of what I do I can’t change it.” Well. That’s a pretty large part too…as well as my extreme stretch marks, my unshaven legs for lack of time, my deformed belly because little man was unbelievably massive, my chipped toenail polish, my ripped cuticles, my lack of clothing that truly fits, my newfound loathing of jeans, my new inability to wear heels, my perma-messy bun…the list just grows.

I hear the feminists screaming: You don’t need all that crap! That is society brainwashing you and you should do what makes YOU happy! My husband tells me regularly I’m beautiful and we still regularly have sex, and even my lesbian roommate has said she can appreciate “my womanly-ness”.


But I don’t. That’s the problem. How you flip back the trigger after having one body for 30 years, then one day waking up from a haze of months of sleepless nights, a healing vagina and ab muscles, a diet of chicken nuggets and fish sticks, and literally foregoing every feminine thing you used to do daily because a toddler makes them impossible? How do you accept this alien body you are suddenly stuck in? How do you remove decades of society’s unattainable standards and go back 200 years to days when a mom body was sexier than the post teen body because you gave life? How do you learn to love ALL of you, when the mirror view of you is just disheartening and depressing? How do you learn to believe the loving words your spouse tells you over and over when your internal voice just maliciously laughs and says “Yea right.”

How do I bring MY sexy back?

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I’m Not Sure I Was Meant To Be A Mom…

  
It’s 9:10am, my son is eating breakfast, finally. Not “finally” because he won’t eat…but because I couldn’t pull myself out of bed. he’s been up since 7:15. Because of technology, he’s able to watch a show while snuggling with mom (something he loves), while I can sleep longer and know he won’t move. I finally got out of bed solely because he was having a tantrum because my phone suddenly wouldn’t work. At all. Siri, the dumb robot, worked. Not well, obviously, but that was it. A touch phone is useless if you can’t actually TOUCH anything. I have a screaming headache, my husband is gone for another 6 days on his business trip, I have no time for my work, I’ve only left the house in three weeks to feed my son and get groceries…I haven’t even talked to my mom in weeks. I’m in a bad mood and angry. Again.

No. I lied. I leave to go to meetings. What used to annoy me and feel like I wasted gas half the time (this is why we have Zoom!) now feels like a welcome vacation. I put on makeup, I fix my hair, I wear real clothes…I talk to an adult!! Sometimes the meetings go “longer than I intended”, but truth be told it’s because I don’t want to go home. But that means I have to pay a sitter. By not having much time to work right now, I kinda feel like I’m robbing Peter to pay Paul.

  
I’m rambling a bit, but I feel like I have to paint the picture…this is normal for me. I’m too tired to go anywhere, I’m too tired to DO anything, I yell a lot, and we watch way more TV than I’m comfortable with. I work until 2 and 3am because after 9 is the only time the house is quiet and I can focus, but that means I average no more than 5 hours of sleep a night. My house is a disaster because I just don’t have the energy to care, and we eat out way more than we should because when my son is actually taking a good nap, I don’t dare get up from the computer lest my eating causes my son to instinctively know I’m taking a break.

I was an amazing teacher, and a fantastic nanny. Two years after I stopped nannying, the kids not only remembered me but requested I come over while they were back in the states. Innumerable parents have come up to me, 15 years after the fact, and say “My kid still remembers when you babysat! They loved you! You were always their favorite!” Parents at my preschool were constantly asking if I could sit, or be a part time nanny during summer. I played with them, we made epic messes, we had awesome crafts, they were always fed good food, they went to bed and nap on time, we went on adventures, and the house was always clean when the parents came back.

  

My son has never had any of that from me.

I feel like I’m failing him because even though I use techniques to teach him to drink from a cup, eat with a fork, recognize letters and numbers, even sign until he can verbally communicate…I’m not fun. I’m kind of a bitch, to be honest. I always wondered why my mom would yell so much, now all I do is yell. There are days I just don’t even want to be around him.

It’s not his fault, he’s brilliant and beautiful and inquisitive and everything a toddler SHOULD be. But instead of reveling in the fact that I now have a constant playmate to build forts with and teach the cool science of cornstarch and water…I get irritated he won’t leave the kitchen while I cook. Because he wants to be held.

I love my son beyond words, but I can’t help but feel like maybe I wasn’t supposed to be a mom. Maybe I was just supposed to be the awesome aunt, because my child isn’t getting a quarter of what I gave to other people’s kids for years…and he deserves so much more than that.

Random Mom Thought #49

There’s this moment when your child is genuinely sick for the first time that your heartbreaks for how badly they are obviously suffering.

But the point where you completely break down sobbing because you’ve also become sick from serious sleep deprivation from being up every few hours to care for said sick baby, and there’s nothing you can do to get better because you still have a baby to care for, is probably in the top 3 of “Worst Mom Moments EVER.”

Random Mom Thought #48

One of the absolute worst moments I’ve ever had as a mother was when my son not only refused to nurse in the middle of the night, but screamed, kicked, shoved and hit me each time I tried nursing him for an hour.

I can only assume his tummy was upset because he still held onto me like a baby koala, fists clenched to my shirt and everything…but that doesn’t mean the severe and devastating feelings of rejection and sudden worthlessness as a mom aren’t very real. And very raw.

Traveling Horrors. Oh…I mean: Traveling With A Baby.

This last weekend I learned three very vital things: 

1) When you pack for a baby, you WILL mimic moving your house with all the crap you need. 

2) Yes. You really DO need all that crap.

3) Always, ALWAYS bring enough breast milk to feed the child three to four times a day for each day you are gone.

This last one caused such an immense amount of stress that both my child and I are still recovering a full week later.

Here’s the long, painful story of why I discovered #3:

I needed to travel to my husband’s home town for a photo shoot for a client. It’s normally a 6 hour drive, with gas and snack stops. However, stopping to breast feed, diaper changes, extra time to calm the baby because they didn’t wake up to eat until AFTER the rest stop was 5 miles back, needing more than just chips to last you because you’re breast feeding…to get TO Idaho took 8.5 hours. Oh. This was AFTER we left two hours later than planned because, again, feeding, diapering, packing the car like we were moving. 

I always pack an extra outfit or two because you never know what is going to happen – a spill, Aunt Flow, food poisoning. I’ve always regretted it when I didn’t pack extra. So I knew that with a two month old I also had to worry about the daily occurrences of spit up, poop, diaper leaks, the Fountain of Damian (because not only do baby boys pee EVERY TIME their little penises get cold…but they have amazing range), and everything in between. We were also going to be outside for a few hours, and this year’s cold snap was providing 30˚ – 35˚ weather. [Product plug! The RoSK is warm, adjustable, waterproof, and fits around carriers, strollers AND carseats! It’s awwwwwesome!] 

So, needless to say, Little Man had his own suitcase. Pretty impressive considering he is basically in doll clothes. No less than:

  • 4 short sleeve onesies
  • 6 long sleeve onesies
  • 6 pants
  • 8 tops
  • 3 jackets
  • 3 sleeper sacks
  • 6 pj sets
  • a laundry bag
  • small wet bag
  • large wet bag
  • 22 diaper inserts for cloth diapers
  • 8 diaper covers
  • 10 disposables
  • 2 packs of wipes
  • 6 pairs of socks
  • 3 pairs of mittens
  • 4 hats
  • 2 fluffy blankets
  • 10 receiving blankets
  • Every bib we own (GREAT for spit up. You change the bib…not everything!)
  • Pacifiers
  • Sanitizing bag
  • Baby soap
  • Baby lotion
  • Coconut oil with lavender and melaleuca (tea tree) essential oils
  • Breast pump and pump bottles
  • Frozen/refrigerated Breast milk
  • Breast milk thermos bag and ice pack
  • Bottle
  • Boppy
  • Ergo
  • RoSK cover
  • PlayYard
  • Bassinet Insert
  • and a single pair of shoes for family pictures

Seriously. Ridiculous. I know this because I made a list. I knew I would forget something either here, or there, if I didn’t mark things off. I still forgot things…like warm clothes for me and my husband. Thank goodness for fleece and cars. 

But here was my big mistake number 1. I thought it would be easier to breast feed my son in the car, than give him a bottle of milk I had pumped. DON’T EVER TRY THIS! 

First, if your baby is anything like mine, they can empty your boobs in less than 20 minutes when you are snot, spit up, and poop covered and probably haven’t showered in three days. But when you need to be somewhere, or you look nice (as in brushed hair and actual clothing not pajamas), he will take 45 minutes on one side. Add in stress of a car seat for a few hours, the sun in his eyes, and the tension you’re giving off to get there…and frankly i was lucky he ate at all. He kept unlatching, bowing back and crying, or kicking and hitting me. Then of course “family” gas stations and rest stops are not permitted to put changing tables in the bathroom. (This is my theory because not a single damn one had a changing table!) So while I peed, my husband dealt with a screaming child who was freezing and half naked on a car seat changing his diaper. Plus, he wouldn’t sleep…for all the same reasons.

The day I had to work, the day after we traveled mind you, I kept waking my son (mistake number 2). Here’s the thing…he’s like his mom. He sleeps like a champ. Always has. He takes four and five hour naps in the day, sleeps seven to ten hours at night. However, like his mom, if he can’t sleep…well, he’s kind of an asshole. So, 8am rolls around and I wake him to feed him and dress him. He’s drowsy because he usually gets up around 9, but he’s ok. 9:30 and he starts screaming because he’s hungry again, and stuck in a car. He’s NEVER screamed when hungry. My best friend proceeds to feed him with one of the two bags of milk I had brought for the weekend, so he calmed a bit. But then he didn’t get his morning nap because my dearest friends were playing “Pass the Baby” while I conducted the photo shoot. Finally around 1, he was able to sleep…for 30 minutes. This time he’s a little pissy when I woke him. Around 3 he falls asleep on daddy in the hotel room while I get ready for our family photos. 

Mistake number 3 – I decide to wake him to bring him to get my hair done instead of leaving him to sleep peacefully on his father…the one that could have soothed him until I came back to feed him if he woke up. He was fine in the car up, at the appointment and getting in the car after…but the 20 minutes from the shop to the hotel, he was ballistic. I was here that I realized he gained another of mommy’s traits: hypoglycemia. I knew this because his inconsolable, frantic, nearly-in-pain, irrational freakout is what I feel every time my blood sugar drops too far. Now I’m beginning to feel like an awful mother. 

I get to the hotel, my husband feeds him with the second bag of milk, I pump for future milk, and miraculously…our family photos go off without a hitch. But we decide to visit friends instead of going to the hotel to crash. Mistake number 4. 

The next 18 hours were a blur. All three of us sleep deprived, missing home, over stressed, and emotionally drained. Because of this, we decide to drive home Sunday night instead of Monday morning. Mistake number 5. Remember breast feeding in the car fiasco? Multiply that by 8. To make it worse, we got pulled over because our dumb rental car has taillights that turn on separate from the headlights…why?! Why would Ford DO that?! So we not only loose thirty minutes, but the cop’s amazing spotlight and disco lights shined right in the back window – into my (previously) sleeping baby’s eyes. He doesn’t sleep again for two hours. 

3/4 of the way home…he’s sleeping, and I need food. Do I think about getting hot water for milk just in case? What? Why would I? So of course 1 mile away from the gas station…with no turn around…he wakes up, and flips out again. 30 miles later, my husband gets hot water from a station in the middle of no where and I give my son a bottle. He falls asleep…and I sobbed for the next 30 miles. 

As a brand new mom I now i should forgive myself for not knowing. But as a former child care provider I am so annoyed with myself because I DID know better. Breast milk not only feeds them, but calms them. It helps them deal with stress, so to make them wait like you would at home only tortures them. So I’m writing this simply to help other new mom’s.

You can always pump, a bottle is easier than your breast in the frantic stress of traveling, go ahead and change your baby on the random tables in the gas station to prevent them from freezing, travel at night when they can sleep for a long time because of the dark and the motion, until the baby is a few months old let everyone be slave to THEIR schedule, not the other way around…and always, AL-WAYS, bring three times as many bags of previously expressed milk than you think you’ll need.