This time of year always makes me excited. I know that it doesn’t have to be January 1st to mean that it’s a clean slate, but there is something about it that triggers a sense of reset for me. However, with my excitement there is often a sense of complete overwhelm at all I wish to accomplish and be.
Topping the charts of my anxiety around this is, of course, my mom bod.
I had my first daughter two months after I turned 21. I was never super model material, but compared to what my squishy belly looks like now, I might as well have been. Now, I have definitely not been as kind to my body as I could have been, but I don’t hate my body. My body serves me well. I am able to play with my children, be intimate with my husband, clean my home, and serve others easily. I appreciate that my body was able to grow, deliver, and now nurture my two sweet babies. I love my blue eyes that I inherited from my parents and share with my siblings. There are many positives.
But. If you are a woman you know the crushing weight of expectations around what your body should or could look like. I used to promise myself that once I got married and had children I would not be one of those women who, “let themselves go.” I can now look back at my younger self and laugh at how naive that thinking was. I wish I could have somehow explained to her how such a thing (mom bods) occurs to a mother.
A squishy mom doesn’t mean that she doesn’t care what her husband thinks of her. A squishy mom isn’t lazy. A squishy mom isn’t ugly. A squishy mom is simply doing her best. Cooking when she can, with what she can. A squishy mom is prioritizing others before herself, even if that isn’t best, because she doesn’t have any other option. A squishy mom isn’t any less valuable to God then a perfect ab-intact mom (does that unicorn exist?)
Our human bodies serve as a constant reminder of our dependency on God. We wrinkle, stretch out, scar, our bones break, and we need sleep.
“We do not hate our bodies for what they are; we hate them for what they are not. We hate them for not being God-like.”-Hannah Anderson Humble Roots
Could we begin to look at our stretch marks and be reminded of our need for God? Could we pray for God to remind us that we are not here to please ourselves, or man, but to serve God? And that He has given us what we need to accomplish that?
How? How can we begin to change our thinking about our weak, imperfect bodies? And I mean this for everyone, mother or not.
Romans 12:2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.
- Spend time reading the Bible. I have truly found that one of the best tools for me to get my mind off of my problems and limitations is to fix my eyes on the One who has no limitations. Spending time in the Word every day has been, honestly, life changing for me. What does God care about? I should care about those things. How do we find out what God cares about? Read the Bible. I can’t recommend enough this book by Jen Wilkin about learning to study the Bible.
- Remember no one cares about your body as much as you think they do. We are all too busy worrying about our own bodies.
- Stop weighing yourself. I always think about people comparing how much body fat weighs compared to muscle. Weight is a terrible indication of worth.
- Be realistic. I do not own a single piece of my pre-baby clothing anymore. I had to come to terms with the fact that my body is different now. Different isn’t bad, but I will never have my 20 year old body back, and that is OK!
Remember that your children are watching and listening. Don’t talk badly about yourself. You don’t want your sons or daughters to have an unrealistic expectation either. God made you, made you dependent on Him, and He loves you endlessly-stretch marks and all. <3