My body is far from perfect.
I have cellulite.
The abs I had in my twenties are gone and I haven’t seen them since.
I gain weight in my thighs if I eat one M&M.
I don’t get to workout as much as I would like to and when I do it’s usually just a few modest laps around my neighborhood while pushing a jogging stroller with a screaming 18-month-old (unless laundry counts as cardio because in that case I am KILLING it).
I LOATHE bathing suits, but this past weekend, I shimmied into one for the first time since that 18-month-old was born.
When my nine-year-old daughter saw me she said, “Mommy! You look gorgeous…look at you showing off your boobs!”
My little one looked in the mirror and giggled at me and that’s when I snapped this picture. I didn’t edit it or use any magic filters. It’s just me.
My girls looked at me and saw beauty. They didn’t see cellulite, or back fat, or love handles, or missing abs.
They saw me in a bathing suit and were over the moon because they knew it meant I was going in the pool WITH them instead of sitting on the sidelines.
I could lie and tell you that I felt great flaunting my post-baby body that I have worked REALLY hard to get back into shape. I could lie and tell you that I wasn’t looking at every inch of myself, scrutinizing in my head along the way. I could lie and say that my insecurities completely vanished when my girls both looked at me like I was a real-life goddess.
But I’m not a liar.
It’s so hard, you guys. To REALLY accept what childbirth and age does to your body. It doesn’t matter how many people look at you and give you compliments, because they don’t see what YOU see when you look at yourself in the mirror.
Putting on that bathing suit was a BIG deal for me and my girls’ reactions made an impact. I say it doesn’t matter what others say/think…but to me what they think matters more than anything. And they think I look beautiful. So, at the age of 41, I will work on my own inner Negative Nancies swirling around my head and try to channel what they see, not what I see. Because the truth is that they are so much smarter and stronger than me and I have a lot to learn from them.
This post originally appeared on Whine and Cheez-its. It has been reprinted with permission.
Rachel Sobel is the heart and mind behind WHINE AND CHEEZ-ITS — is a Florida native (via Long Island like the rest of em). Living the NEW normal: Marriage, Baby, Divorce, Remarriage, another baby. In between navigating massive loads of laundry, cooking 32 different meals for picky eaters, doing ponytails over until they are perfect with “NO BUMPS, MOM!” and double fisting iced coffee, she finds time to write all of it down. She’s pretty Type A but admits that you are more likely to find baby wipes and a half-eaten bag of Cheez-its in her purse than cash. You can find her on Facebook and Twitter.