I feel strongly about skinny

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I have strong feelings about this issue of body image and self worth, because I’ve always had strong feelings about this issue.

I was four the first time I asked my mom when I could start losing weight.

Twiggy

I grew up with a mother who grew up in the Twiggy era and has spent much of her life unsure if she was good enough or pretty enough because she was never sure that she was thin enough.

And I think a lot of us where raised with those similar experiences.

As a high schooler,  I was a bitter combination of beginning anorexia and bulimia. I would dance, go to school, run at track practice then head to play rehearsal until 10 at night and attempt to do this on a daily basis on one piece of peanut butter toast, an apple, and a hollowed out bagel with cream cheese on half. Then on weekends, or evenings I was home early enough, I would attempt to run on our treadmill until I could throw up.

By the grace of God I was never successful at this. Turns out, I was a terrible bulimic because I hardly had any gag reflex and could never successfully make myself throw up.

But that didn’t stop me from trying.

Nor did it stop me from running to the farthest Safeway I could find, in my freshman year of college, to buy laxatives. Then turn and run the same distance home to take half a box. The result was so awfully uncomfortable and dramatic that I swore off of laxatives. Still, I fought the feelings of hating the food within me and desperately wanting to be thin enough to achieve my dreams.

How my weight and dreams came to correlate with one another is complicated. As it is for each one of us. I think it’s part the family you live in, part society and culture and part how you respond to those things internally.

Even still, after all of these years of health and working so hard to be more than my body, more than my weight, it still smarts when I hear my friend with a 5 week old say she only has nine pounds left to lose when I, with a 13 week old,  still have double that.

That old rush of embarrassment of my big appetite and a deep need to lose weight flashed across my mind and through my body as I felt my heart sink. Then I felt my heart hold my mind accountable for all of the work I’ve done over the years to be healthy and accountable for all of the words I say here. So instead of crying in the shower, I ate half of the bar I was emotionally eating and put in a little time on the elliptical.

If my goal is to be the healthiest, most engaging, kind, laughing woman I can be then I made the right choices today. Though, in truth, the feelings of not losing this baby weight fast enough are still smoldering a little.

Jessica Alba 3 months postpartum with second child

The battle for emotional security in a world steeping with images of taut post pregnancy tummies is a battle fought daily by most of us. Some days I lose the battle and walk around in silent shame because my clothes still don’t fit, but today I won one for us.

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Go out, be more than your weight, more than your body and win your battles today too!

Or at least put up a hell of a fight trying.

 

 

 

 

For more information on eating disorders please go to the National Eating Disorders Association and  if you have an eating disorder yourself, tell someone. Telling someone saved me from falling into patterns  that I would have never recovered from. Tell someone and get help.

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Screw Skinny

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Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels.
That’s a damn lie.

Thin equals pretty.
Also a damn lie

Your weight is who you are.

One of the biggest damn lies I cant think of.

Little girls on a scale

Did anyone see this today?

Lada Gaga’s Stomach

Lady Gaga looking emaciated with her concave stomach and xylophone of ribs. Why is this beauty? And don’t tell me art because that’s crap and its dangerous.

The images being put out for us to see and gawk at and try to emulate are false. It is hard work to be a woman, what with all of the plucking and waxing and make up applying and hair to be done. It’s fun work to be a woman and I think it’s innate in us to want to look and feel beautiful. My daughters are 2 1/2 and 3 1/2 and the moment their nails are dry they are shoving them into their baby brothers face asking him ” Do you like my nails?” and ” aren’t they pretty?”

So I’m not bashing beautiful nor the desire to be and feel beautiful. I’m bashing the skinny is everything crap that we and our daughters are fed day in and day out from the likes of Lady Gaga to Brooke Burke ( yes she is stunning. But lets not pretend that after 5 kids that body put itself back together like that without a good team of doctors and lasers) to Kim Kardashian who won’t even be seen outside of her house until she has attained the unattainable postpartum body through in home personal training, night nurses and meal deliveries.

Weight matters when it is unhealthy. Your looks matter if you are unhappy with them. What doesn’t matter, or rather what shouldn’t matter, is perfection. Tracy Anderson, trainer to the stars and who’s DVDs I own and use from time to time and find to be a good hard workout, claims that she has found the method ” that makes perfection possible”. According to her method, that means two hours of working out a day on a 700 calorie a day limited foods diet. Now you can bet your bottom dollar you’re going to lose weight and few dress sizes on something like that.

But what are you really gaining with this type of “perfection”? Are all of your deep seeded insecurities gone? Is your marriage fixed? Are you all of the sudden happy with who you really are?

Because if the number on your scale or on the tag in your pants is what you base those things on your screwed. If your entire happiness or self worth is wrapped up in how much you weigh and how you look, best of luck to you, because you won’t ever be truly content, happy, or satisfied.

But, if you can come to grips with the shape of your hips and the freckles on your face you just might still come out on top. If you put your efforts into being a well read woman, a kind woman, an interesting woman, a strong,steady and wise woman you will be the winner, year after year after year. You will triumph over those doubts and insecurities, find success in the broken relationships and truly get to become exactly who you want to be regardless of your dress size or weight.

Go out and be beautiful! Try the new skin care line, play with makeup and hair colors. Enjoy fashion. Do your workouts for fun and health and because you like how it makes you look and feed. Always opt for the uncomfortable but fancy shoe and screw skinny, for the sole sake of being skinny, to its sticking post. Be healthy, if that means losing weight I love weight watchers and Paleo. If it means gaining a few pounds I prefer lemon drop martinis and chocolate.

And by all means, be careful what you say to yourself and about yourself in front of you daughters.

Girls on Stairs in summer

Because she might grow up to look just like you.

The Hero Daddy

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The Hero Daddy used to make me very angry. He would come home after a full days work at the office, and I a full days worth of in home war with two tiny toddlers.  I would be covered in peanut butter and jelly, a plethora of bodily fluids, and living in a sweat pants purgatory because nothing cute fit or because it  just wasn’t worth getting my one pair of jeans sticky.

And here he would come, Hero Daddy, swooping into the house in his clean clothes greeted by the sweet sound of tiny feet running and  little voices shouting “Daddy’s Home!”  When not two minutes ago those same tiny feet were trying to kick me in the face as I changed a diaper and the little voices were screeching things like “I don’t want to” and  “No Mommy” and just plain screaming.

Hero Daddy could all of the sudden make everything funny. All of the sudden when Hero Daddy tells you to eat your dinner its hysterical and a really fun game. When Mean Mommy asks you to its battle lines drawn. When Hero Daddy tells you its time to put on your pajamas its a laughable time filled with dancing while you jump into your jammies. When Mean Mommy tells you to put on your pajamas it really means its time to run away and throw your pjs into the dog kennel.

Hero Daddy

Mostly Hero Daddy made me angry because I wanted to be him. I wanted to be the one with whom the children laughed all evening long. I wanted to be the one to be able to solve tears with a joke and a playful threat of having to sleep in the chicken coop ( one of the children’s favorite). I didn’t want to feel like Mean Mommy all the time. The one who tells them to do everything and the one who seems to make them cry.

But then both girls finally started sleeping through the night, and it hit me, I’m not Mean Mommy I’m just Mommy. I am the one in the trenches every day with these little loves of mine and I am the one to enforce boundaries and do the disciplinary actions all day long. I am the one who tells them to eat every three minutes of every meal. I am the one who takes on the battle of what you can wear today and  how much TV you can watch and how far away you can run down the sidewalk and if you can eat those marshmallows you’ve just stolen out of the pantry.  But I’m also the one they call to in the middle of the night when they are sick or scared. I am the one they want to show their artwork to and the one whom they can ask to hang it on the fridge. I’m not Mean Mommy, I’m just Mommy and the more I realized that the more I loved Hero Daddy.

In truth, I have a Hero Daddy. My Mom was the everyday parent, the one I yelled at, fought with, laughed with, confided in and cried to. But my Hero Daddy was there every time I needed him to calm me down or make me laugh, teach me how to race a 400M or to sing harmony in a duet, take me out to ice cream before dinner and to make me feel like the most special little girl God ever created. And he still makes me feel like that.

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Every little girl deserves that. My little girls deserve that.

And Hero Daddy, with his clean clothes and loud dinosaur stomp as he chases them around throwing them into fits of hysterical laughter right before bedtime, does just that.  When he sneaks them cookies while I’m in the other room, makes jokes about stinky things and teases them out of a tear fest he really does make these two tiny girls feel like they hung the moon.

And as every child does, they deserve that feeling and will remember it for the rest of their lives.

Turns out, Mean Mommy and Hero Daddy make a pretty good team after all.

And it seems to be a pretty universal theme…

To quote Phil Dunphy from Modern Family “Let’s not play Good Cop/ Mom”

Mom Time vs Dad Time

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We have been parents for just over three years now. Parents of two for two years in two weeks. And in that time I’ve noticed a distinct difference in the amount of time it takes the Mom and the Dad to do things. Here are two of our most recent examples.

 Going on a Walk.

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Mom Time: One Hour

Pack snacks in individual snack things with no spill lids. Fill individual water bottles and put in wagon. Put shoes on both girls. Put socially acceptable clothes on me. Put shoes back on both girls. Put coats on girls. Put hair in ponytail and sunglasses on. Put shoes back on the little one. Shove extra pacifier into my pocket. Open door and encourage movement toward the wagon in the garage. Wait 7 minutes while they slowly amble to the door and make their way outside. Do not touch the little one to help in anyway or she will yell “no mommy help” and take an additional 3 minutes just to prove to you that she can do it.

Head out for the walk. Get as far as the mailboxes before tantrums, fighting and pleading to hold me mommy begins. Kick some rocks, find a slug, hit your sister and we head back home.

Dad Time: One Hour

Put coats on kids and big boots. Go outside for a walk.  Have a great time with our delightful children. Return one hour later and hand kids over to mom because they are hungry.

Going to a Christmas Party

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Mom Time: 3 hours

The party starts at 6 so take a shower at 3. Dry your hair while alternating blowing hot air at your children with the dryer to keep them entertained and out of your good makeup. Run after your 3 year old, while still in your towel, who has run off with your dress to partly be funny, partly be naughty and partly to dress like mommy, and hope the neighbors can’t see you. Feed the children big late snacks so that they aren’t too grumpy before we can eat at the party. Put the little ones dress on. Put your own dress on. Do your make up while singing “If You’re Happy and You Know It” and swatting little hands to keep said big snack off of your party dress. Put the older ones dress on. Make first attempt to do daughters hair. Do half of your own hair. Make second attempt to do daughters hair, be successful with one out of two. Finish your hair. Third and final attempt to do other daughters hair, be mostly successful. Put shoes on everyone. Get everyone into the car. Run back inside to grab a bottle, lipstick and take a final look the mirror only to discover you don’t like your party dress after all. Make a quick change and run to join your family in the car. Enjoy the party.

Dad Time: 28 Minutes

Party starts at 6 so work in the yard then fiddle in the garage. Tell the little one she looks pretty in her party dress. Shower at 5:18. Tell the other daughter she also looks pretty and that you like her hair.  Catch the end of the game. Get dressed and into the car. Wait for wife who is doing who knows what. Tell her she looks pretty too. Enjoy the party.

Disclaimer: I think mothers and fathers play distinct and different roles in the lives of our children. In no way do I expect my husband to be as sensitive and pack as many snacks as I do. And in return, he does not expect me to never pack diapers or to have the whole family actually ready for an event in 15 minutes.  We fulfill our unique rolls differently…and on different time tables.

Repeat After Me

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Repeat after me:
I shall not judge my house, my kid’s summer activities or my crafting skills by Pinterest’s standards.
I shall not measure what I’ve accomplished today by the loads of unfolded laundry but by the assurance of deep love I’ve tickled into my kids
I shall say “yes” to blanket forts and see past the chaos to the memories we’re building.
I shall surprise my kids with trips to get ice cream when they’re already in their pajamas.
I shall not compare myself to other mothers, but find my identity in the God who trusted me with these kids in the first place.
I shall remember that a messy house at peace is better than an immaculate house tied up in knots.
I shall play music loudly and teach my kids the joy of wildly uncoordinated dance.
I shall say “sorry” when sorry is necessary.
I pray to that God I shall never be too proud, angry or stubborn to ask for my children’s forgiveness.
I shall love their father and make sure they know I love him.
I shall not be intimidated by the inside of my minivan – this season of chip bags, goldfish crackers and discarded socks too shall pass.
I shall not resent that last call for kisses and cups of water but remember instead that when I blink they’ll all be in college.
~ with love from one tired mother to another.

Hey Parents, don’t dress your girls as tramps

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This first trimester has rocked my world, and not in the awesome sort of way. I have been more exausted than I ever remember being before and the morning sickness has been any time all day all week and even in the middle of the night sickness. Mercifully, this trimester is coming to a close and the sickness has subsided and sometimes I can stay awake until 9 at night, and thats a long way past 7:30.  So in an attempt to get back on my blogging feet here is one of my favorite old posts by LZ Ganderson.

An article worth sharing in my parenting opinion. This one is written by a father, LZ Granderson writes a weekly column for CNN.com. A senior writer and columnist for ESPN The Magazine and ESPN.com, he has contributed to ESPN’s “Sports Center,” “Outside the Lines” and “First Take. Here are his words about they way some people dress our little girls.

I saw someone at the airport the other day who really caught my eye.
Her beautiful, long blond hair was braided back a la Bo Derek in the movie “10” (or for the younger set, Christina Aguilera during her “Xtina” phase). Her lips were pink and shiny from the gloss, and her earrings dangled playfully from her lobes.
You can tell she had been vacationing somewhere warm, because you could see her deep tan around her midriff thanks to the halter top and the tight sweatpants that rested just a little low on her waist. The icing on the cake? The word “Juicy” was written on her backside.

Yeah, that 8-year-old girl was something to see alright. … I hope her parents are proud. Their daughter was the sexiest girl in the terminal, and she’s not even in middle school yet.

Abercrombie & Fitch came under fire this spring for introducing the “Ashley,” a push-up bra for girls who normally are too young to have anything to push up. Originally it was marketed for girls as young as 7, but after public outcry, it raised its intended audience to the wise old age of 12. I wonder how do people initiate a conversation in the office about the undeveloped chest of elementary school girls without someone nearby thinking they’re pedophiles?

What kind of PowerPoint presentation was shown to the Abercrombie executives that persuaded them to green light such a product?
That there was a demand to make little girls hot?

I mean, that is the purpose of a push-up bra, right? To enhance sex appeal by lifting up, pushing together and basically showcasing the wearer’s breasts. Now, thanks to AF Kids, girls don’t have to wait until high school to feel self-conscious about their, uhm, girls. They can start almost as soon as they’re potty trained. Maybe this fall the retailer should consider keeping a plastic surgeon on site for free consultations.

We’ve been here with Abercrombie before — if you recall, about 10 years ago they sold thongs for 10-year-olds — but they’re hardly alone in pitching inappropriate clothing to young girls. Four years ago the popular “Bratz” franchise introduced padded bras called “bralettes” for girls as young as six. That was also around the time the good folks at Wal-Mart rolled out a pair of pink panties in its junior department with the phrase “Who Needs Credit Cards” printed on the front.

I guess I’ve been out-of-the-loop and didn’t realize there’s been an ongoing stampede of 10-year-old girls driving to the mall with their tiny fists full of cash demanding sexier apparel.

What’s that you say? Ten-year-olds can’t drive? They don’t have money, either? Well, how else are they getting ahold of these push-up bras and whore-friendly panties?

Their parents?

Noooo, couldn’t be.

What adult who wants a daughter to grow up with high self-esteem would even consider purchasing such items? What parent is looking at their sweet, little girl thinking, “She would be perfect if she just had a little bit more up top.”

And then I remember the little girl at the airport. And the girls we’ve all seen at the mall. And the kiddie beauty pageants.
And then I realize as creepy as it is to think a store like Abercrombie is offering something like the “Ashley”, the fact remains that sex only sells because people are buying it. No successful retailer would consider introducing an item like a padded bikini top for kindergarteners if they didn’t think people would buy it.

If they didn’t think parents would buy it, which begs the question: What in the hell is wrong with us?

It’s easy to blast companies for introducing the sexy wear, but our ire really should be directed at the parents who think low rise jeans for a second grader is cute. They are the ones who are spending the money to fuel this budding trend. They are the ones who are suppose to decide what’s appropriate for their young children to wear, not executives looking to brew up controversy or turn a profit.

I get it, Rihanna’s really popular. But that’s a pretty weak reason for someone to dress their little girl like her.

I don’t care how popular Lil’ Wayne is, my son knows I would break both of his legs long before I would allow him to walk out of the house with his pants falling off his butt. Such a stance doesn’t always makes me popular — and the house does get tense from time to time — but I’m his father, not his friend.

Friends bow to peer pressure. Parents say, “No, and that’s the end of it.”

The way I see it, my son can go to therapy later if my strict rules have scarred him. But I have peace knowing he’ll be able to afford therapy as an adult because I didn’t allow him to wear or do whatever he wanted as a kid.

Maybe I’m a Tiger Dad.

Maybe I should mind my own business.

Or maybe I’m just a concerned parent worried about little girls like the one I saw at the airport.

In 2007, the American Psychological Association’s Task Force on the Sexualization of Girls issued a report linking early sexualization with three of the most common mental-health problems of girls and women: eating disorders, low self-esteem and depression. There’s nothing inherently wrong with parents wanting to appease their daughters by buying them the latest fashions. But is getting cool points today worth the harm dressing little girls like prostitutes could cause tomorrow?

A line needs to be drawn, but not by Abercrombie. Not by Britney Spears. And not by these little girls who don’t know better and desperately need their parents to be parents and not 40-year-old BFFs.

I’m not even sure I want it all

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One week from today my first born baby turns three. That means that next year she is in preschool and then in two years she is in kindergarten and our entire schedule changes. Its going so fast that its gotten me thinking…maybe I don’t really want it all after all.

As a woman who once found much of my identity from my work I have often sampled the punch that says “You can have it all” and  tasted the stronger punch that says “You should have it all” and toasted with the top tier spiked punch that says “You should want to have it all!”

The trouble is that when I feel like I don’t actually want it all I feel guilty, like I need to keep it a secret, or that I’m not enough of a modern woman or enough of a mother if I don’t want more right now.

I’ve been hearing a lot lately from women who have already raised their children that yes, they believe that you can have it all, just not at the same time. I think I’m finally feeling comfortable with that. My first baby will be three years old in one week and I’m finally buying into this idea that I don’t need to have it all right now, and I might not even want it.

Growing up all I ever really wanted to be was a mother. I mean, I had other dreams that I pursued and was succesful at like singing in the state choirs in high school and going to college on a theater scholarship then moving two weeks after graduation to live by myself in LA and be a working actor. ( I’ll talk more about that some other time) But in my heart of hearts, the dream I dreamt with each passing daydream was that of being a wife and a mother.

Now that its here, now that I have those cherished moments of your toddler hugging your leg or running to greet you with tiny fast feet and a big toothy grin, having memorable conversations with my 2 year old about heaven and why puppies have four feet but we have two, and begin so blessed with the honor of being someone’s mother, I feel like I’m supoosed to want more.

And I just don’t think I do.

There will be time to run that marathon and train for that second Tri when my children are in school for 8 hours a day. There will be time to be an influencer in the blogging community. There will be time to publish my line of childrens books that is floating around in my mind, but its not all right now.

Right now is my time to have these tiny children all to myself and to have our schedule be as free as a Jay Birds, except of course for our nap schedule.

I love to write and have taken my first tiny steps towards my dream of a writing career with my MomopolySarah blog and my first writing contract with Today’s Mamas, and that is going to be enough for me and my heart and my young family right now.

If that makes me less of a modern women than so be it. I am fine with that today. I mean, wasn’t the entire Women’s Lib movement about we women having the freedom to make any choice we want to make? So today, I choose to be the mom I’ve always dreamt of being and choose to continue to dream of being a marathon runner and a big time blogger down the road.

Let it be known that my parents are business owners and my mother worked every hour of every day and many holidays my whole life. So I have no qualms about working mothers, nor do I believe that one way it better than the other. For many of those years I was dreaming of being a mom I dreamt of being a working mom, but then I married and had the opportunity to be a stay at home mom and I am very grateful for that, since its suits me and our family so well.

One of the best parts about being a Mother is that we each get to be exactly the type of mother we want to be. So make your own choice today to be the mother you’ve always wanted to be. Be it a high powered CEO, a nurse that works nights, a teacher, a pastry chef that works early mornings, a Mother Runner who pushes three kids in a BOB stroller made for two, be it whatever it may, be the mother of your own dreams starting today.