This post was contributed by Debbie Jarvis, educator, artist, mom of two, and curator of cavedandboughtaminivan.com. She started her blog because life after kids is crazy and hilarious and crazy hilarious, and we’re all in the same wobbly, sticky, crayon-graffitied boat.
I could work out 12 hours a day and eat nothing but kale and I will still look like I’ve had two children. I would never, ever do that to myself because, while I will lie to myself about my 7 ear piercings making me look cool and not at all like an aging hipster, I will never lie to myself about liking kale. It tastes like bunny farts.
But my body is a war zone. It has been through the trenches. It has its own trenches. I will forever be grateful to it for all it has done for me, and I will wear my stretch marks like silvery ribbons of honor that I grew two human babies. That shit was hard work. But it shows.
One of the biggest challenges I have is dressing all of my lady lumps. When I was pregnant, I struggled to look cute in maternity clothes because I, at only 5 feet tall, was also about 5 feet wide, and found dressing my “bump” about as challenging as trying to make a watermelon look cute in a burlap sack. I wore the universal symbols of pregnancy, side-ruching and above-the-belly drawstrings, to alert the world to the fact that I was pregnant and not just fat. But now I’m just fat, and I still look about 4 to 6 months pregnant, depending on the day and the pregnant lady.
I carry most of my weight in my tummy, and I also still have diastasis recti (ab separation). High-waisted jeans are a must: the higher, the better. Cover that up with denim. When I was in my twenties, it was all about the low-rise. Even when I was in really great shape, I never had a totally flat stomach. I would feel bad because all my fat went in my little pooch. Now I want to go back in time and slap the shit out of that size 4 college chick who thought she was fat. That entire girl could now live in my mommy pooch. And I think of those short little zippers now and think, “Awwww, that’s just adorable.” I need a full-grown zipper. I need a zipper that waited tables at a Denny’s after prom and has been to therapy. A zipper that has seen things, man. My zipper better be anywhere from 6 to 8 inches long and reinforced with stainless steel.
This new “Athleisure” trend has been a blessing and a curse, but mostly a blessing. I have always thought that leggings are not real pants. But then, I also used to shower daily and refuse to leave the house without mascara. Things change. So when leggings started almost counting as pants as long as they had a mesh panel or a cutout, moms everywhere rejoiced. I finally bought my first pair once Old Navy started selling them, on sale, for under two million dollars. They are “compression” leggings. Guys, I am so compressed. My maternal bulge is squished inward, once again rearranging my organs (though they’re used to it after two pregnancies), but there’s the problem of where the compression ends. I’d do better if the compression came up to, well, my eyeballs. Even they would be popping out, but I’d look less like giant hamster trying to squeeze into an empty toilet paper roll butt first.
And I am trying to lose the baby weight. (Yes, it’s still baby weight as long as you’ve got a kid wearing diapers!) With my first, getting back to the gym as soon as possible was so important to me, and it was so crucial that I attempt to get my pre-baby body back. Ha. I laugh at my former self. Now I’m giving me until the kids are both in school before I expect to get really serious. But even when I’m down to 1.5% body fat and planking for hours at a time, my stomach will still look like a very depressed raisin, hanging out, chillin’, deflated, saggy, melancholy. My toddler really loves playing with it, though, and it’s a cleaner alternative to play dough, so there’s that.
Then there are my sad, sad boobs. But that’s a post for another day.