Body Positivity for the Mom Bod

As the days heat up and we all start stripping down for spring and summer, it’s high time to give it up to the Body Positivity Movement, which is all about appreciating yourself from head to toe, and accepting yourself exactly how you are.

Fat, thin, busty, flat, voluptuous, lean… stop labeling, start loving. Screw our crazy cultural norms, and get radical with the whole shebang.

And it’s not just about weight — over at Fuck Yeah Body Positivity, we’re reminded that it’s all about “reclaiming all aspects of our bodies which society has deemed unacceptable. Whether you are skinny or curvy, short or tall, light or dark skinned, clear skinned or pimpled, you are beautiful…”

This from a 22-year-old woman named Katie — I love her blog for all her enthusiasm and support. So when my 14-year-old daughter laments about her “gigantic hips,” I send her in Katie’s direction. Or in Jes Baker’s direction. (Just because I know telling the kid she’s “fat like me doesn’t necessarily help… nor does the ye olde “joys of child-bearing hips” lecture, either.)

And actually, a lot of body activism springs from the mouths of babes, and well it should: every waking second of every single day is documented in this selfie nation of ours.

When the world shines an eternal spotlight, you spend your life trying to adjust the angles to reveal your “best side.”

Which can only mean one thing: you think you have a less best side (or two, or three…).

And that’s where the selfie shaming comes in.

But the kids aren’t the only ones that need a big phat dose of body positivity and all that goes with it like self-love, self-care, self-kindness, self-forgiveness, and self-acceptance. (Now that’s some selfie-action I can get behind!)

Recently I was at a gathering, and as I looked around the room, it felt like pretty much everyone had done something to themselves to combat the ravages of time.

The adjustments ran the gamut from flowing outfits to cover body parts that may have softened, bulged, or otherwise succumbed to, well, life, to heavy makeup, hair extensions, and elaborate color, to either fabulous push-up bras or boob jobs (or both), teeth whitening, Botox and other fillers, nips, tucks, and maybe even more.

Don’t think for a minute I wasn’t counting myself in this view from a broad: I had just gotten my hair dyed and streaked, was wearing a fancy new support bra, a generous sweater, and elaborate jewelry to distract from my softening chin. And I’ve told y’all about getting my teeth whitened, too.

In fact, I almost didn’t go out that night because I’ve been having horrible allergies, and my eyes were red, runny, itchy, and small. Even a pound of cover-up couldn’t hide the dark circles either, and all of that was pretty distressing considering I think of my eyes as my best body part.

Which can only mean one thing: I consider other parts of my body as less attractive.

This is what got me thinking about body positivity, and how we could all use a good dose of it, Bitch’in Suburbia style.

So the next time you are naked, I ask you to go stand in the mirror and give yourself a good, long, loving look. Whether you’re a mom to a kid or a few young’uns, animals, or even a partner, at a certain age we all could use a little self-TLC.  And here are some body positive affirmations for each major area of your gorgeous self that you can recite:

Face: I am positive that my face kicks ass.

Literally, your face is what you put forward in the world. That is unless you are Kim Kardashian, who often leads with her ass. (I guess that’s putting her best face forward?!) We people of a certain age tend to focus on the lines, wrinkles, spots, and bags that come with the aging package. If you’re someone who owns your lines as evidence of your depth of wisdom and celebration of your growth and accomplishments, not to mention your love ‘n worry for your family, then you’re awesome. If you’d rather have some chemical help or surgery to reclaim what once was, then guess what? You’re awesome. Whatever makes you see yourself through those stunning peepers of yours for who you are and how you’re happiest is all good.

Neck: I am positive my neck rules.

While Nora Ephron classically (and most excellently) wrote about feeling bad about her neck, you don’t have to. Think about all the times you’ve stuck out that neck, gone neck and neck for something you’ve badly wanted, rushed around doing things at a breakneck speed, been up to your neck in something or other, or dealt with a pain in your neck. As a metaphor for support, no other body part can compete with your neck. So if it’s softening, wrinkling, or otherwise relaxing, maybe it’s just getting better at all it has to bear and doesn’t have to try so hard anymore.

Chest: I am positive my boobs are the bomb.

Whether they are the center of titillating, sexy sensation, or the perfect meal plan, boobs of all sizes and shapes address all human longing, from needs to wants. And sure, over time they droop and sag, but then they become the perfect lap cushion for pets and other loved ones. Maybe your breasts have been a war zone, and now your chest is a survivor’s badge of courage. Whatever your story, at the heart of the matter is this truth: inside that pretty chest of yours beats the world’s most perfect muscle and the icon for love, which is really all you need.

 Stomach: I am positive my belly is

My tummy as always been a soft, round, cushy landing spot — much like a typical “dad bod.”  But my mom bod, which has housed two humans, is glorious and victorious with its battle scars (stretch marks, surgical scars from having an ovarian cyst removed, and an oddly shaped belly button thanks to a hernia fix). Plus what mom (again, of kids or pets) doesn’t have a strong stomach? To clean up the excretions, bodily fluids, and other nasty we have to deal with, we are iron clad. And is there no greater waste of time than fretting about your waistline? So take a minute to navel gaze, and give it up to your beloved belly.

Legs: I am positive my limbs are lovely.

Those trunks of yours have gone miles on your behalf; getting you up and over whatever hurdles have come your way. If your joints like mine creak and ache, just think about how much is learned at those mother’s knees of yours. Those veins pump blood and propel you forward; that cellulite is nothing but a cute bunch o’ dimples, and your thighs are perfect exactly how they are — either mind the gap or celebrate the rub.

Buttocks: I am positive my tush rocks the house.

Baby, you got back. Sure, it might be flat, plump, dimpled, or droopy, but no matter how you shake it, it serves a very important purpose. So stop comparing your ass to J Lo’s — yours is just as fabulous as hers in its form… and its function. Don’t take my word for it — just ask Amy Schumer:

So if you see me singing the body electric, just know I’m giving my mom bod — and yours — the props it deserves. And if there’s anything I’m positive about, is your body is beautiful cuz it’s all YOU!

BODY POSITIVITYdad bodgetting my groove backmom bodwomen of a certain age