My shorts don’t fit.
It’s the second summer in a row where I’ve gone to put my shorts on, and inexplicably (I use this term lightly), they are too small.
Last summer when this happened I went out and bought bigger shorts, chalking it up to being a few months postpartum. But now, a full 36 months since birthing my last child, and I kind of look like I’m 36 weeks pregnant. Oh hai, mom bod.
Part of me wants to say “FUCK IT!”, and go on a Target run to size up my summer wear.
I want to embrace my fullness, and use it as evidence that I am smashing the patriarchy and its ridiculous beauty standards. You know, practice what I’m preaching by celebrating the body I’m in, and all that.
But, in reality I know the only thing I’m smashing is my kid’s leftover mac, and the only thing I’m celebrating is the fact I still fit into my soft pants. Huzzah?
My ever-expanding hiney is hardly the real issue, though.
It’s been 5 years since I became a parent. In that time I’ve survived colic, sleep deprivation, depression and anxiety, a pre-term labor scare, and the usual assortment of illnesses, bumps, scrapes, and bruises that come with being a mom. Oh, and mother fucking lice. ::shudder::
And through all of this, I’ve learned one very important parenting lesson: in order to save my sanity, I’ve got to keep my priorities flexible.
How does this relate to my mom bod, you may be asking?
Because parenting is a constant shuffling of priorities, and we all too often find ourselves at the bottom of the list.
In an effort to keep the equilibrium, we find ourselves in a never ending battle with what we want to do, and what we need to do to survive.
From the moment we get that positive test, our days are filled with decisions about how to best care for another individual. Sometimes that means factoring in our own needs first, but more often than not, we shuffle and reshuffle our priorities so that our kids’ needs take priority.
In the beginning, there really isn’t another way.
Or at least I didn’t see one. The feeding schedules, and napping schedules, and crying schedules (hello, Witching Hour) were all based off baby. But then the kid gets a little older, and we still find ourselves acquiescing to their wants (hello, mac and cheese), because it keeps the peace. Because it helps us survive.
Our personal priorities almost always take a back seat to our parental priorities.
Yes, you’d love to get a haircut, go to the gym, and maybe catch up with a friend, but you also don’t have any groceries, every inch of the floor is dirty, the baby is cluster feeding, and the toddler just spiked a fever. Again.
So you reshuffle your priorities. Again.
Parenting is a juggling act, where the wants and needs of other individuals are constantly being weighed against your own wants and needs. And it’s exhausting.
But, big picture, it’s also temporary.
Not fitting into my shorts today is annoying. But 5 years into this parenting gig, and I can already see how this won’t last. Just like the colic and sleep deprivation and thankfully the depression – this need to (mostly) push my own priorities to the end of the list is temporary.
These years with young kids are all consuming. I have almost no time to myself, and so in the few minutes where I have the silence to ponder my posterior, today I choose to give myself grace.
Someday soon my kids will be just a little more independent. Someday soon I will have a little more independence, and the freedom to prioritize my wants and needs first. But for now, I’m going to rock the shit out of this mom bod… and maybe also lay off that mac and cheese. Unless I’m hangry, then all bets are off.