Staking a claim on yourself after kids

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When I had babies I stopped doing a lot of things that I didn’t even realize made me feel good.

For example, I stopped wearing necklaces.  I have literally bags of beads that were yanked off my neck by a zealous baby we hurriedly had to retrieve off the floor lest one of them finds their way into a little mouth.  And once, shortly after the girls were born, I wore a necklace to the office a colleague helpfully pointed out that it “makes my neck look fat”.

I stopped wearing my wedding rings because I refused to have them altered after having the girls and they haven’t fit since.  I mean, who was going to wonder if I’m married or not anyway?  I’m very sure I gave off this “I’m a harried Mom” look that made most people run screaming.

I haven’t worn a watch since I was pregnant with Daniel.  Not that I think I will again either.

I have a set of silver bangles I used to wear for many years that was like a basic (after earrings and lipstick) that lay desolate in my jewelry box.

I hardly ever wore make-up when I didn’t absolutely have to. Ok, I still don’t, but there’s something therapeutic about waking up and putting on your face.

My hair was, well, uhm, interesting.  It actually still is, now it’s just longer and I can tie it up instead of walking around with naff, haphazardly blow-dried hair.  I have really stubborn hair and I don’t have time or money to deal with it, so I’ve just accepted it.

I didn’t make an effort to dress nicely.  Who wants to look at a fat chick anyway? It was all black and long and wide.  The bigger the better.  And most mornings I was covered in puke/toothpaste/milk/porridge/mud anyway.

But things have changed over the last few months.  I have come to realize that something as small as a pretty bracelet could really put a little spring in your step in the mornings.  It’s the little things that make you feel good.  Finding a nice lipstick, pretty toes, glitter varnish on your fingers because the girls demanded it so.

It didn’t happen overnight and I’m still stubbornly hiding those big black clothes in the back of the cupboard, but every day I promise myself I’m going to try and look good FOR MYSELF.  I’m going to stop comparing myself to other, skinnier women.  (There’s always going to be someone skinnier than me and even then I would probably find something I didn’t like about myself.)

I now actually look at myself in the mirror.  The first few months it was HARD.  The self-loathing was too much and, to be honest, some days it still is.  But every day I put on something that makes me feel good, no matter how small, and then I actually feel good for the day.  It has been such a gradual process and I only now realize how life changing it has been.

I feel like I’m reclaiming my own “girlyness” and I’m loving every minute of it!  Next up: purple nails and glitter tops.

ps: don’t google “dress up”.  I found an “original Jesus dress up” with various outfits you can put him whilst he is on the cross.  Don’t even ask, the internet is a very strange place.

pps: I suspect soon I will be seeing “Jesus dress up” in my google search stats. Oops.

10 thoughts on “Staking a claim on yourself after kids”

  1. I was going to write ‘you go, girlfriend!’ but that sounded like me (tired old mom) trying to sound like a hip 20-something or woo girl. I’m thrilled that you’ve got that mascara wand out and are reintroducing baubles to your outfits; I too have lost many a necklace to chubby fists, ha ha.

  2. Yay for you! When I had a pedicure for the first time since K was a baby (he’ll be 4 this year) I had my toenails painted purple. He asked me what happened to make my toes sore. He thought the purple polish was bruises. I also had to explain what lipstick and earrings were when I put them on for the first time in years a few weeks ago. I hadn’t worn earrings for about 7 years because I didn’t like having my earlobes threatened with being ripped off my exploring baby fingers. Yay for reclaiming our girlyness!

  3. Just want to say… ala Trinny & Suzanna from What Not To Wear, you’ve earned your curves so embrace them.
    And yay for making yourself feel good, I believe it’s an important part of being a woman, not just a mother.

  4. You are so right….it is the small things that make us feel good.

    I have stopped biting my names…only took 46 years(yes a 4 and a 6)and for the first time in my life I ‘like’ the look of my hands…..without realising it I have always semi hidden my hands/nails.

    Proud of you….just love yourself always and you will feel better about yourself a little more everyday!

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