Recently, Jennifer Lopez was interviewed for US magazine. Not the most intriguing of magazines, I know, but they do have (what I am assuming is) hundreds of thousands of subscribers, and many, many more pick it up while waiting in line at the grocery store. The cover screams, “MY BEST BODY EVER” and provides us with an eyeful of the celebrity looking happy and sultry. A look all of us mothers are apparently dying to achieve. (Insert eye roll). The article quotes Lopez as saying,“You get to the point where you're like, Where am I? What happened to me? I got to get myself together for my kids, you know? They need to know what I really look like.”
Don't get me wrong; I love me some J Lo. Many times I've been running, listening to her music, shaking my butt, trying to tap into my inner Latina. But, Jesus H. Christ. “They need to know what I really look like” ?? What she really looks like? I can guarantee, that what she really looks like is not some perfectly lit, posed, professionally make-up'd, airbrushed and photoshopped celebrity. And what kind of message does this send to her children and to other mothers? Call me completely bananas-gone-crazy, but this is the message it sends to me as a mother:
Mamas: If you've got a little or a lot of belly fat, perhaps some pesky cellulite on your thighs,
some sag on your butt cheeks after having those babies, don't you think it's about time you show
your kids what you looked like BEFORE you had them? So what if it's been several years and you're
not 20 anymore. Do it for your KIDS! Get yourself together for your them.
Clearly, I jest, and who really takes J Lo seriously anymore. But, this is nothing new. We see it and hear it daily. The “How I got my body back after baby” article is a pretty constant bombardment to us mothers. So how do we ignore it? How in the world do we squash just deal with the body image pressures after having babies?
There are many things a woman can do about it, and it really depends on the severity of her issues. I will say a couple of things. First of all, remember this: When you decide to have a baby, your life will change permanently. Forever. For the rest of your natural life. So, count on the fact that it's pretty likely that your body will change too. For-ev-er. Am I happy about the fact that my body is different now after having 2 babies? No. By no means do I give myself a wink and a thumbs up in the mirror when my eyes fall on a part of my body that is different than it used to be. But, I'm learning to live with it. Sometimes I just sigh and have to say, “It is, what it is”, then go chase my toddler or nurse my daughter (which by the way I'll take my not-so-perky-anymore breasts as a trade off for breastfeeding both of my children). Just try to keep it in perspective. We chose to have the attitudes we have about certain things. Body image is no different. We can choose to be in a place of “Oh-my-god-I-need-to-get-my-body-back-or-else-(insert worst possible fate)” or we can choose to just accept it for what it is.
Your kids don't care if you have some belly fat. They don't care if you have some cellulite. But, they do care (and listen) about how you think and talk about your body. I vowed to do my best to heal my body image issues and to not pass them on to my children, especially my daughter. I do the best I can. Sometimes I feel like that clown at the circus who spins plates on both hands, one foot, his head and his nose. Some fall off, sometimes he looks silly, but, hey, at least he's trying, right? We have a lot to deal with as mothers. Let's not beat ourselves up by comparing our bodies now to what they looked like before we had babies.
Thanks anyway, J Lo. Please don't comment anymore about that. Just keep making great movies making music that we can shake our butts to.