To Tess as You Turn One

Oy vey, Tessie.

This is a hard one. In less than four hours, you will turn one. Technically you won’t be an infant any more. Those days will probably be behind us forever. And we will be entering into a new stage as a family.

Magoo has the hard job of entering us into each new stage. That’s a lot of pressure. You have the hard job of closing us out of stages. I presume that is a hard job as well.

I remember when I found out I was pregnant with you. I didn’t know what life would be like with four kids. Our house felt so full. What would another little person be like.

I couldn’t dream you up. I couldn’t envision who you would be.

And I think that’s a good thing. Because never ever could I have dreamt up you.

You are my sweetheart. The itty bitty little mascot trailing along at the end of a long line of sisters.

You are sweet. Oh so very sweet. And you are patient. And you are calm. And you smile nearly any time anyone looks at you.

In a way I’m a little bit proud of that. The last year has been a bit tumultuous. But from where I stand, it seems as if you are oblivious to that. As you should be.

I want to sit here and gush. I want to tell you how nearly every day you take my breath away. I want to tell you how very often your gentle little soul brings tears to my eyes. I want to tell you how you were and are my little rosebud after the long winter.

But my heart is so fragile right now.

So instead I will just say this.

I love you, Tessie. I’m so proud of you. And my life is better because I know you.

(That was the last picture I took of you as a 12 month old. It’s a perfect depiction of you.)

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To My Girls

To my girls,

I have a quick note for you.  My hope is that it some day finds you when you most need to hear it.  When you are looking for yourselves.  When you are feeling lost.  When you don’t know where to turn.

What I want to say is that you are loved.  You have dignity.  You have worth more immeasurable than the stars.

Our world will not tell you this.  Our world will tell you that you need to jump through hoops and pass tests and dance on a tightrope just to prove yourself.  And when you have passed these tests and climbed those mountains and you feel like you have finally won your worth, you will find that still you do not measure up in the eyes of the world.

But please do not despair.  Because what the world doesn’t tell you is that the world doesn’t matter.  The world cannot judge you.  It cannot determine your value or your worth because that has already been determined well before you were even created.

Even the most wicked and vile and ugly and dull and imperfect among us is worth more than the stars and the moon.  And you most surely are not wicked or vile or ugly or dull or any of the millions of other labels flying around looking to land somewhere vulnerable.

I would love to be the one to teach you the dignity of a soul.  I would be eternally honored to be the woman to model for you the assurance that can reside in a soul secure in its worth.  But to be honest and as usual, what I want most for you is what I lack the most and where I am most deficient.

So while a model is the best way to learn, I hope that maybe my words will be sufficient while I wait for the rest of myself catch up.

Today you ran and you leapt into piles of leaves, your giggles filling the entire yard.  You were not self-conscious.  You were not restrained.  Your laughter was not tamed.

Surely growing all the way up won’t always be easy, but my hope is that you remember these years and you hold them in your pocket and one day when you are feeling low, you will take them out, dust them off, and remember that you are still that same little girl who was worth the world.  You always will be.

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Err on the Side of Mercy

It was a rough morning today. We had a bug incident in the car. For any of you who don’t happen to travel with four little girls, bug incidents can be big incidents.

There’s drama. Lots of drama.

I would go into the whole story, but it didn’t end well. Magoo got out of the car in tears. I’ve never had a child get out of the car in tears. I have a rule that I never break. I make sure that even if we have an awful time getting out of the house, our car ride to school is peaceful. We say “I love you”. We say “I’m sorry” if necessary. And we always, always end on a good note. I call it my Sandy Hook rule.

We did said the “I love you” today, but it wasn’t enough. It didn’t outweigh the drama.

And I felt awful.

I have a guiding principle for myself – always keep the respect. I can have my rules. I can enforce them. I can expect things of them that they may not want to do. But I treat them with respect.

Yes I break this rule at times, but I always come back. About the only thing I know about raising tweens or teens is that some way or another, I need to keep the relationship with them strong. Even through the boundary pushing and the hormonal flares and the inevitable disagreements, I need to keep that relationship strong. They need a shelter from the storms. They will find that shelter somewhere. I need to make sure it is with me.

So I had all of this and the guilt weighing on my mind as I left the drop off lane today. I decided to drown my sorrows in a latte before I had to drop Mae off at preschool.

So I sat in the ridiculously long line berating myself ceaselessly. And then I got up to pay, and I found out that the person in front of me had paid for my order.

I was shocked. How could this possibly happen to me today? In what world do I possibly deserve this?

And it seemed so out of order that it felt like it had to be a message from God. I shot up a quick prayer. “God, what do you want me to learn from this?”

And the only answer I could come up with was mercy. Reckless, free flowing, abundant mercy.

I had already forgiven Magoo. I had forgiven her before she got out of the car. I already had plans to catch her on her way out of Mass and apologize and try to make amends. My feelings towards her were of love.

It was to myself that I needed to extend the mercy.

And it’s hard. It’s an hour later, and I’m still feeling upset and guilty. But when my children express remorse to me (and even when they don’t) my forgiveness is immediate. I’m quick to ask their forgiveness if I do something wrong. They freely give it.

Mercy and forgiveness are flowing so freely in our home. Until it gets to me – that’s when it gets stuck inside and won’t budge.

I don’t really know how to grant myself the mercy. All I know is that Magoo did and God did, and I’m the only one left stalling the train.

But I also know it’s important that I do – if for no other reason than because I want my girls to learn to show mercy towards themselves.

Again I’m reminded that maybe the hardest relationship in this parenting gig is that from ourselves toward ourselves. And yet it’s so important because it is the model our kids use to determine how they should treat ourselves.

I wish it were something easier.

But as I walked up to give Magoo a hug, she got a huge smile on her face. She gave me a hug and I think she felt at peace. That’s what I needed to know.

Today I will pray for mercy. That we are all able to show it more frequently to others and to ourselves. That we learn to wrap ourselves in the mercy of God and feel the weight of it and the presence of it so strongly that we can’t help but show it to others and to ourselves as well.

Will you pray with me?

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Mom Stress

I had quite a few jobs before I had kids.  I was a college writing teacher.  I tutored.  I worked in media buying and marketing research.  Prior to that, I waited tables and worked at a retail store.  I was a day camp counselor, and I spent a truly awful few months as an advisor at a far less than reputable company.

Some of those jobs were stressful.  Some were fun.  Most were a combination of the two.

But none of them compare to the pressure I sometimes feel as a mom.

When I was teaching, I would put a lot of pressure on myself.  I really cared about my students, and as their instructor I felt a legitimate pressure to help them improve their writing.  They would come to me at all different skill levels and all different levels (or lack thereof) of motivation.  My job was to help them get from where they were to where they wanted to be.

With their writing.

With my kids, however, my job is to help them get from where they are to where they want to be… in only everything.

I have four little girls.  I desperately want for them all to feel loved.  I want them all to feel special.  I want them to all feel like they have a piece of me all to themselves.  I want them to feel my presence.  I want them to know that I am interested in their activities and their goals and their friends and their school.

I want to give them a lot.  They deserve no less.

And so this year I started volunteering a bit more with their activities.  I’m helping coach Magoo’s softball team, and I’m leading her scout troop.  I led Goosie’s scout troop last year, and next year I’ll lead Mae’s first year.  I’m helping out with some prep work at home for Goose’s teacher.  I want to volunteer at Mae’s preschool at times when I can bring Tessie with me.

On top of that, I try to give them all one on one time with reading nearly every day.  I try to do special dinner dates or book dates with them one on one.  I try to work with each of the older two on badges by themselves.  I try to foster inside jokes and make sure that they all know that they have a part of my heart that is all their own.

I try to help them with homework and with completing chores.  I try to get them each what they need for activities and to practice with them or watch them practice.  I try to attend all the choir practices and violin practices and morning Masses.  Not because I’m required to be there but because they like it when I am there, and I think they like knowing that I want to be there with them.

And man does this stress me out.

It’s not the time commitment.  I have a lifetime of experience being overbooked, and in some ways I thrive on it — it definitely holds me accountable for time management.

No, what stresses me out is the kids and not disappointing them.  Not embarrassing them.

I’m planning a doll activity for scouts on Friday.  It’s a badge requirement, and I have spent hours researching different dolls and how to make them and their histories.  I have spent time shopping and cutting and gathering supplies.  And tomorrow I have to finish up my samples.

But then the overanalyzing comes in.  The worrying if the kids will like it.  If it will seem too childish.  If the craft will be too easy or too hard.

What if we run out of time?  What if we finish in 15 minutes?  What if no one will listen to me?

What if they roll their eyes?

And I’m reminded that college students are a lot easier to teach than 4th-6th graders.  At least they are better at hiding their disappointment.

I just want to make my kids proud, you know?  I want them to know that I am doing this because I love them.  I want them to feel my presence in their lives.  I want them to look back on their childhood and say their mom was always there and involved and excited.

Even when I was terrified.

And so now I’m having panic attacks like I’ve never really had before – the kind where my heart starts to pound and my breath gets short and I start to get dizzy.

And I guess I just have to remember what I always tell my girls – you can only do the best you can.  People might love it or hate it, but you can’t control that.

And maybe I have to remember that whether they love it or hate it, they will at least be able to say I showed up.  And I tried my best.  And I loved them so very big.

And maybe I should remember that they are kind girls.  And they appreciate effort.  And that they don’t expect perfection from me.

Oh well.  I hope you are all having a calmer start to your school year.  I hope you are looking at all you do for your kids and your families.  I hope you are enjoying the things you excel at and are wise enough to recognize the areas you need work in.

I hope you are teaching your children that mistakes happen and that we don’t have to be amazing at everything.  I hope you are taking some of the pressure off of yourselves and remembering that the most important thing isn’t to do everything right for your kids – the most important thing is to let them know that you love them and support them and will never ever leave them.

I hope you remember that hugs are more important than the perfect words and that a kind look or a pat on the back can be more reassuring than setting them up for every single success.

I hope you remember that they won’t remember what you do for them.  Rather, they will remember how you make them feel.

And I hope you remember that you are awesome.  Because despite all your failures and weaknesses and deficits, no one can love those kids as much as you do, and because of that, you are the best and brightest person they could ever have in their corner.

We put a lot of stress on ourselves because we want to do right by our kiddos.  But perhaps the best thing we can teach them is that showing up is more important than being a star.  And it’s a whole lot more doable.

God bless.

Wish me luck.

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Always Love You

I think my children generally act pretty appropriately. Yes they have their misbehavior, but I like to think, at least, that their behavior is age appropriate.

We’ve had a rough week this week, particularly with my middle two. The first weeks of school are just utterly exhausting for little bodies. And that exhaustion is coming out in their behavior.

Mae came home from preschool today and was not very happy with her lunch options, and she let me know it in a way that we just don’t accept around here.

So I sent her to time out.

She sobbed.

Finally it was time to get out, and she went back into the kitchen and finished her lunch.

Then I saw her peeking around the corner. I heard, “Mommy? You still love me even when you are mad at me, right?”

It’s a conversation we have had dozens of times. And every time I answer, “yes my baby girl. I love you. There is nothing you could ever do to lose my love. Even if I am very, very angry, I love you very, very much.”

Today’s question seemed a bit different. She already knew the answer. She just wanted to hear it. And I am always more than happy to tell her.

We mess up, and they mess up. We dance this messy tango of life, and try to navigate our own weaknesses and how they mingle with those of our children.

Maybe those mistakes don’t matter as much as we think they do as long as our children always know the answer to that most important of questions.

“Will you always love me?”

“Yes baby, Mommy will always, always love you. You can’t lose it. You can’t break it. You can’t tarnish it. It’s a given.”

To the moon and back.

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Refrigerator Fraud

It has been a long day in the middle of a long week. 9:15 came, and I was exhausted. Normally I try not to do anything after about 9pm or else I have trouble falling asleep, but today I just wanted to get something done, and so I got my lazy bum off the couch and I went and I cleaned my refrigerator.

Yes, I cleaned my entire (gross) refrigerator after my kids went to bed.

It’s pretty now. It actually sparkles. And the gross thing in that bag in the back of the bottom drawer has been disposed of.

I should feel proud of myself. I accomplished my least favorite task, and now I don’t have to worry about it for awhile.

But I wasn’t. Proud of myself that is.

The only thoughts running through my mind were, “It never should have gotten like that in the first place. You failed before you even started because normal people don’t have gross fridges. You are a fraud.”

Yes folks, I have deemed myself a refrigerator fraud. Before tonight I didn’t even know that existed.

But in all seriousness, do you do that to yourself? Do you shrug off your accomplishments (both big and small) and insist, absolutely insist, on seeing the worst in yourself?

I’m guessing you do. I don’t think I’m all that original here.

But think about what you would say to your child. When they do an awesome job on a test at school, do you just tell them “well you should have known that in the first place”? Or when they practice really hard to learn that gymnastics move, do you say, “well better kids would have already known how to do it”?

Of course you don’t.

Because we are great at being cheerleaders for others. We just aren’t very good at doing the same for ourselves.

So tell me, what did you accomplish today? It doesn’t matter if it was big or small, important or trivial. It doesn’t matter if you put a load of laundry into the machine or you figured out the cure for whining.

You had a victory today. You probably had many. How about let’s focus on those tonight.

God bless!

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Never Could I Have Dreamt You Up

You know when you were a kid and you ran so fast down a hill that you felt like you could fly? When the giddiness overtook you and you were transported to a happiness that is slightly more than this world could usually provide? A joy that got stuck in your throats and caused you to laugh without abandon or self-consciousness?

That’s how I feel when I sit back and watch my girls. I get caught up in all that is them and I feel a joy that normally eludes me. A joy that feels beyond this world.

All those years we were trying to have a baby I would try to imagine what it would be like to watch my children.

But never could I have dreamt them up.

Never would I have understood just how much they would be. How much glitter and twirls and tulle and stickers and music and words and love and tears and deep laughter coming from somewhere deep inside.

I tried. I would close my eyes and daydream. I would pray.

But these four… they are so much more than I ever, ever could have imagined. More than I ever could have dreamt up. More than I ever would have dared to pray for.

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God Please Fill in the Gaps

My girls started school this week.  There have been a lot of adjustments.  And honestly I’ve just had a rough couple of weeks.  I’ve had a hard time staying on top of things.  And then last night I just lost it a bit.  I was irritable and angry and just very, very unpleasant.

All of a sudden I went into our dining room and saw Magoo cleaning up.  She does this when I’m angry or sad or upset.  She does it because she knows it will make me happy.

Making me happy is not her job.  She’s nine.

And then I went onto Instagram this morning, and I saw one of my favorite bloggers quote her daughter as saying that home is her safe place.

And I started to crumble.

Mothers have a lot of responsibilities.   There is a lot that we have to provide for our kids.  But for me, there are two things that I believe are more important than anything else.  I have to show them that God loves them and I have to show them that I love them.  And for me, a lot of that is wrapped up in my idea of home.  For me, part of making them feel loved is making their home their safe and happy place.  I hadn’t been doing this in my selfish irritability and anger.

But as I was feeling about two inches tall today, I thought back to something a (very wise) friend said when she spoke at our church last year.  She said that when she feels like she is coming up short, she prays this prayer, “Jesus, please fill in the gaps.”

And I remembered that and even as I type it, I feel the tears stinging at my eyes.

Because we aren’t perfect.

We can say that and know it and we can recognize our imperfections miles before anyone else can, but how much of us truly give ourselves the grace to be imperfect as mothers?

I have always struggled with perfectionism.  But then about ten years ago or so it hit me that perfectionism requires us to think awfully high of ourselves.  Because perfectionism tells us that we can do it all perfectly and we can do it all on our own.  It says that we are better than all the mere mortal people we surround ourselves with.  We can stand above.  We need to stand above.

But honestly, that’s absurd.  We can’t be perfect mothers because we aren’t perfect people. And that fact is our birth right as human beings.  We are allowed to be what our nature dictates: imperfect.  Sure we have to strive to be better, but if we don’t allow ourselves grace in our weaknesses, then how can we expect our children to understand how to give themselves grace and to accept the grace that God so freely gives them?

So next time I see myself fail at this mothering thing (I assume within the next five minutes,) I’m going to try to heed the intention of that prayer.  I’m going to accept that I can’t be everything.

Then I’m going to go and try to be very, very good.  Because that is always worth striving for.

Lord, please fill in the gaps – in my mothering and my friendships and my marriage and my very self.  Fill in the gaps.

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Are We Really Lazy and Selfish??

Lazy and selfish.

Those words have been blaring through my mind all day.  I haven’t been able to get away from them.  They are tethered to me like the chains old Marley had to carry around for eternity.

They feel about as heavy too.

I don’t know about all of you, but those words are my worst fears.  As a mom, I can’t think of too many things that are worse than lazy and selfish.

In an effort to rid myself of them, I decided to look at what I did today.  Here’s my tally.

I hosted a play date for a few kids, and while they were all entertained, I was playing with Tessie.

I tidied up my downstairs.

I worked out for 45 minutes.

I made three healthy meals for my kids.

I walked 3 miles with Magoo and helped coach her softball practice tonight.

I *almost* finished reading Story of a Soul by St Therese.

No, I didn’t write the great American novel, but I also wasn’t sitting on my behind all day watching television and eating popcorn.

It was a productive day.

It should have been a day I was proud of.

And yet I wasn’t.  And truth be told, I’m still not.

Today felt selfish and self-indulgent.  I felt like I was neglecting my children in the pursuit of my own goals.

And most of all, most telling of all I think, I felt drained.  I felt like I had absolutely nothing to give.  The well felt dry.  Words of reproof spoken all day in our minds can do that to a person.

I’ve been thinking a lot today about what it means to take care of ourselves in this season when we have so many who need us to take care of them.  Is it a good thing to take time for ourselves?  And how much time is enough?

I joined this book club this spring.  It’s based on the curriculum and mission of Well Read Mom.  The mission of this group is to encourage women to read quality books and join together to discuss them.  The goal is to use this literature as a way to enhance your life of the mind as these books and these ideas follow you throughout your day.  The literature and the fellowship we engage in around it is meant to help us live more fully and in a more engaged manner.

The problem, however, is that there is a lot of reading.  And it’s not short reading, and a lot of it isn’t light reading.  It challenges you, and it expects something of you.

And I love this.  I mean I really, really love this.

And yet I have a lot of guilt around it.  After all, I’m spending all of this time focusing on me and my mind when I could be spending that time reading to my girls or cleaning the house or grocery shopping.  It’s indulgent, isn’t it?

These were some of the thoughts that were going through my head today as I was reading St Therese.  And then I came upon these words.

“DRAW ME, WE SHALL RUN after you in the odor of your ointments.  Oh Jesus, it is not even necessary to say: ‘When drawing me, draw the souls whom I love!’  This simple statement: ‘Draw me’ suffices; I understand, Lord, that when a soul allows herself to be captivated by the odor of your ointments, she cannot run alone, all the souls whole she loves follow in her train.”  (Italics are Therese’s and is where she is quoting Canticles of Canticles 1:3.)

Here she is obviously talking about spirituality, but that’s a beautiful sentiment, isn’t it?  And it’s so applicable to so many areas of motherhood.

Where we go, we bring our people with us.  Where we are drawn, they will be drawn.  What we are attracted to will be brought in front of their gaze.

And it reminds me yet again that parenting isn’t a job.  It’s not something we clock in and out of.  It’s not a task list.  And it’s not something that we can easily succeed at or fail at.

It’s a vocation.  It’s a calling to lead those behind you and carry them forward with you where you go.  It’s a lifestyle.

And it expects so very much of us.

Sure, it expects us to wake in the middle of the night for sometimes years on end, and it requires meal preparation and homework help.  It requires laundry and vacuuming.  It requires hugs and kisses and words spoken on confidence.

But maybe more so than that, it expects us to be our best selves so we can draw our people forward into the places we want them to go.

When I sit down and read, I’m not just selfishly filling my mind.  I’m enriching it, and I’m taking those thoughts and those ideas, and I’m allowing them to fill up my life and make it more whole.  And it’s from that perspective that I approach my children.  As a more whole person and more complete person.  As a closer approximation of the person I would like them to follow.

And the same goes for any area we try to improve ourselves in.  It goes for exercise and friendship and marriage building and spirituality.  Any way we enrich our own lives, just enriches the lives of our people.  Where we are drawn, so too they will be drawn.

So go out into the world and fill your buckets, Mama.  Make yourselves full and fulfilled.  And take all of that and shower it upon your people.  Take every ounce that was given to you and that you have built up in yourself and empty it all out into the lives and the hearts of your family.  The more you build up in yourself, the more you can then bestow upon others around you.

As a mom, you are a gift.  You are one of the most amazing gifts God has given to your people.  Don’t let that gift get dusty from disuse.  Don’t let it get lost in some dark corner somewhere.

Be you.  Be beautiful.

And then draw your people forward.

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Post Baby Body Blues

Tonight I am bummed.

I went to a physical therapist this evening.  I wanted to see her for two reasons.  First, I messed up my back about two months ago, and it’s not getting any better.  And second, I was confused about diastasis recti, and I wanted to find out where I stood.

For those of you who haven’t heard that term before, basically your abs are supposed to be in the middle of your abdomen.  Imagine someone who has a six pack – you can see them all stacked up nicely right along the center.  Well for a lot of people who have had babies (especially multiple babies) those muscles stretch out and don’t quite come back to the center after birth.

The good news is that for most people it goes back to normal and there are exercises that can help with that.  The bad news is that as usual, I am not one of those typical people.

See I had always heard that you can test for diastasis by positioning yourself in a certain way and seeing how many fingers you can fit in between the gap in your abs.  Anything less than 2 cm isn’t much of a problem.  Really bad cases, however, could present with maybe a five finger gap.

That’s where I always got confused.  By the way I was testing it, you could fit a lot more than five fingers.  You could practically fit a yard stick between those suckers.

But surely this wasn’t the case.  That didn’t even make any sense.

So I went in and talked to the nice physical therapist, and she tested me, and she let me know that yes, that five yard gap I felt was actually my diastasis.  Basically my ab muscles are in separate zip codes from each other.  She said it was bad.  Really, really bad.  And from all I’ve read, it’s pretty much luck of the draw.  Large babies can cause it, but I never had large babies.  Basically they think it’s genetics.

And so after telling me that I have this abdominal void in my midsection, she went on to tell me that exercise isn’t really going to do all that much.  Basically surgery is the only thing that will repair it.  But insurance won’t cover it.  And it’s maybe $10,000.  And I can’t really do any normal ab exercises while having the separation because that will make it worse.  And it will cause back pain and pain in other areas.  And even though I somehow got lucky enough to survive four pregnancies without any pelvic floor issues that that doesn’t really matter and that because of this, I could develop those problems and my uterus could one day fall out.

You know.  Fun stuff.

She did say a girdle of sorts could help at least stabilize them and give them a little better of a chance of coming more together.  And it will help avoid more problems during exercise.  So that’s awesome.  I get to wear a girdle forever.

And so I’m bummed.  She told me that it doesn’t really matter what I do.  I could weigh 75 pounds and I would still look like I’m in my third trimester because my insides are bulging out of my stomach.

And I’m trying to take this in stride.  I have four beautiful daughters.  They are worth every single organ that is trying to exit my abdomen.  They are worth chronic back pain and potential stomach issues and hernias.  I’m a grown woman.  I don’t need to be so vain.  I can take it in stride.  And after all, even if I had $10k laying around, I still couldn’t do anything about it now because you most definitely do not have surgery to repair your abdominal muscles when you have any possibility of having more babies grow behind said abdominal muscles.  (Although I guess my uterus falling out would give me a guarantee of no more kids ha!)

But the honest truth is that I’ve spent much of the past five years trying to stop panicking about how I look to other people.  I’ve tried to stop listening to the voices in my head, all of the criticisms, all of the panic, all of the hatred.  I’ve tried to learn that my body belongs to me and that it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks about it.

And honestly, I’m so much healthier physically and mentally because of it.

Because when I shut up all of the screaming voices telling me what I should look like and what I should do and what I should weigh, I can just do what’s good for me.  I don’t have to panic about not living up to other people’s expectations or making people happy or comfortable.  I don’t owe any part of myself to other people.  My body belongs to me, and as long as I am doing my best to be a good steward of the body given to me so I can use it to serve those I love, then that’s good enough.

In other words, I can be good enough regardless of what other people think.

And maybe that includes if everyone thinks I’m 45 months pregnant.

I always thought that comfort with my body would come when it looked a certain way.  Now I’m realizing that this is a lie.  Comfort comes with when we learn to accept ourselves for who we are.  When we just stop listening to all of the other voices.  When we start treating ourselves with respect – both in how we view ourselves and how we treat our bodies.

I can lose thirty pounds and still panic about how I look.  I can still be obsessed.  I can still feel like I’m not good enough and like my body has to prove my worth.

Or I could take a walk around the block and eat a salad.  I might not lose any weight, but I will be treating my body with respect, and that will make me healthy and strong.

And while I am finally learning that our bodies belong to ourselves, that doesn’t stop me from recognizing that the most important thing my body has ever done was grow four of my favorite people in the universe.  It did that well.  Very well.

And now that they are grown enough to live on the outside, my body still does more than just feed my littlest one.  My relationship with my body teaching my girls how to view themselves.  And so when I want to look in the mirror and lament my diastasis belly, I try to stop myself and say something positive to my girls.  I’ll talk about how strong my arms are getting or how far my legs can run.  And I’ll tell them that this body helped create them, and for that, it is more precious to me than any amount of gold or any now dead dreams of flat abs.

And so I’m not giving up.  I’m going to do the exercises to try to improve the problem.  I’ll find some kind of belly binding contraption and wear it faithfully.  And if this pt can’t help, I’ll try to find one who specializes in these types of problems.

But tonight, despite all of the forced healthy thoughts (they still don’t come easily to me!) I’m still bummed.  And I guess that’s okay too.

Oh well.  I guess I’ll go search Amazon for some girdles.  I hear women of 200 years ago loved them.

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