Motherhood, insanity and everyday life.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Mother Figures

As I was sitting in church this past Sunday, looking at the women around me, I started thinking about moms and what our bodies look like. I thought about mine - plump, sturdy, not scary big but a long way from skinny - and I did my own informal research study on what happens to us as we nurture and raise a family. It's as if our bodies were ever-changing hunks of clay meant to evolve at the whim of the great cosmic artist.

Around me there was every type of mom - young, old, pregnant, middle-aged, menopausal - and each had a unique shape. Of course this is expected as we are all individuals. But what got me thinking about this was watching one mom stand there placidly while her toddler climbed on her like a jungle gym. It was a demonstration of the sacrifices we make in order to have a family. We give up not only our looks, but also our personal space.

There were thin, fashionable-looking moms who looked like they stepped right out of a Prada dressing room. There were moms of teenagers who appear to finally have time to focus on their personal appearance. There were grandma-moms, whose bodies had long ago ceased having a true shape and are now more like a monolith of maternal love. There were moms who once were shapely and now have lost the battle of the bulge.

When I was a teen, I remember spending way too much time silently criticizing my mom's appearance, never really knowing what led her to that body type. Today I appreciate it more than ever.

I'm sure if I talked to each of these moms I'd find out that most are very critical of their appearance. Motherhood is both their excuse for the shape they're in and also the roadmap of their young adult life. Some of us could show off our c-section scars, true battle wounds from labors gone long or gone awry. Our bodies have been bruised, beaten, pushed to the limits and often hung on, like that one mom. We've been a cushion to rest on for a feverish child or a soft place to land for another who has been bullied. We've been clung to and pushed away, all in the name of love.

And even though many of us long ago gave up our dreams of modeling and magazine covers, we're all so incredibly proud of our children that we're willing to arrive at this dress size just to have a healthy family. Sure, we could eat less and exercise more or pick up the phone and call a personal trainer - and many of us do. But the important thing is that our kids will always look at us, in good or bad times and say: "That's my mom." I can't think of many other things I'd rather hear.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home