“Don’t you know how many calories are in that?”
“Should you really be eating that?”
“But you have such a pretty face…”
“I’m just being honest for your own good. I’m concerned about your health!”
Despite what shows like The Biggest Loser and shrieking harpies like Meme Roth contend, shaming people – no matter how politely or well-intended you do it! – is not an effective weight loss tool. And yet books, talk shows, diet gurus and more magazine articles than I care to count advocate shaming your loved ones, friends, casual acquaintances and even perfect strangers into losing the extra poundage. These days it is even fashionable to shame yourself a la Oprah Winfrey’s I’m-200-pounds magazine cover confessional and Kristie Alley’s “coming out” about her unpardonable sin of backsliding on a diet and regaining the lost weight. It’s gotten so bad that one ethics professor, Daniel Callahan, published an editorial detailing his three-pronged approach to curing obesity – one of which was “increased social pressure on the overweight”, a tactic he likened to the campaign against smoking.
Yep. This would save me a lot of time in the mornings.
I had an embarrassing moment in the furniture store. This, surprisingly, was a new venue for me. While I’ve humiliated myself in every conceivable way in the gym (mooning, flashing, peeing, vomiting through my nose – you name it, I’ve done it) and my kids have pretty much guaranteed that I can never walk into another grocery store again without PTSD, the furniture store has so far in my life been a safe haven. And I can’t even blame my kids for this one!
My husband had sweetly decided to take me out for a belated birthday dinner so I got dolled up in one of my cute little dresses that used to fit like a glove before the move but now, thanks to some stress eating and the discovery that Target sells my favorite candy ever from when I was in Spain, fits me more like OJ’s glove. But I decided to just go with it and threw on a pair of bow heels along with some confidence and stepped out with my man. After our dinner (mmm… curry!) we decided to swing by the furniture store because we needed a bench and we had no kids to jump on every. single. bed. (Don’t worry, my embarrassing moment does not involve a bed. Thank heavens.)
Do you remember the day you got your first period? Of course you do! (Unless you’re a dude and then take a hall pass and excuse yourself for the day. You’re welcome.) Because it was like the biggest deal ever when we were kids! I blame that on not being able to drive, date or join Facebook without lying. As far as Big Adult Mysteries go, it was really the only one well within our grasp. So of course there was lots of drama around it.
It started with the day all us girls-on-the-brink were separated from the boys-who-snap-bras and taken into a classroom with no windows to be instructed on the proper care and handling of our plumbing. I even got an illustrated comic book with free coupons for Tampax and Kotex in the back – an item particularly cool because all the boys wanted to steal a copy. (And looking back, I think we should have let them. They needed the education as much as we did. And who doesn’t love a good comic illustration of tampon insertion? I know I do! They should have those Toxic Shock Syndrome warnings delivered by Wolverine – there would never be another forgotten feminine hygiene product issue again!)
There are lots of things no one tells you about childbirth. Like, for instance, that all that push-push-PUSH!-ing can give you hemorrhoids and break blood vessels in your eyes. (Because looking more tired and uncomfortable is exactly what every new mom needs, right?) Another fun tip? By the end of those 9 months not even maternity clothes fit well and you’ll be stuck wearing your husband’s basketball shorts and oversized Pac-Man tee for weeks, including to church. (And by “you” I mean “me”.) But one thing that really surprised me about birthing babies is how even after the wee one has exploded out of your nethers, you still look, well, pregnant.
After the birth of my first son, I remember sitting on the bed and poking my newly post-partum stomach. At first it was out of habit and I panicked briefly because I couldn’t get the baby to move… until he cried from the bassinet and reminded me he was an outsider now. But then it was because my stomach literally moved like a bowl full of jelly. I was Santa, you guys! But with a whole new meaning for “red suit”! And my stomach stayed that way – an oddly distended jiggly cavern with my organs still stuffed in inappropriate places as if decorated by a Feng Shui artist who hates people – for several weeks.
See? We’re so obsessed with thick, luscious locks that even adorably bald babies are supposed to put a mop on their top to prove they’re a girl!
Big accomplishment today: Remember the age-old gym debate of camel toe versus muffin top? You know, when you can’t decide whether to hike your ill-fitting workout pants up and give yourself wicked camel toe or tug them down and roll out your muffin top? Well, I have settled the debate once and for all by wearing an outfit today that managed to do both, thanks to yanking my capris up into dromedary territory and then topping them with a tennis skirt that rode low into bakersville! I win again!
That wasn’t my only dubious accomplishment for the day, however.
“Oh hey, just a sec. Let me get that for you…” My husband leaned in to brush something off the side of my jaw for me. Suddenly feeling a sharp pain, I yelped as he exclaimed, “What the?! It’s attached!”
The “it” was a chin (lower back jaw actually) hair long enough that I could allllmost get it into my ponytail. Yep.
Signed, a mom of four lego-loving cleaning-averse kids
People are so astonished when I tell them I have a 17-year-old sister that, I’ll admit it, I kind of like shocking them with that info. (Really I have so very few things I can use to shock people that if I have to rely on my mother’s atypical fecundity then so be it! It’s either that or haul out my extensive collection of creepy porcelain dolls. Don’t ask.) My mother was very young when she had me and I won’t say very old (just older?) when she had my sister K. She and I are 17.5 years apart. I watched her be born (which was seriously cool and not as weird as you’d think it would be) and was even the first to hold her as my dad was still hugging my mom. (That was the day I discovered newborns come out a very alien-esque purple with whiteish slime, not at all pink and cute like on the movies.)
Zumba: The official sponsor of ducklips. And you know that I say that with love. After all, just check out my FB photos for evidence that I too have suffered from the dreaded Ducklip Disease. But ducklips are now a regular part of my workout, thanks to my (obsessively) growing Zumba habit. I know, I know. I’ve been totally slacking on my strength training. I haven’t run a Tabata sprint in two weeks. But darn it, dancing is fun y’all and right now what I need most is fun. Because it turns out that’s all I have in my workouts these days. I still haven’t made any workout buddies and it’s not for lack of trying. Take this morning for instance.
I’d just finished Zumba, where I’d tried really hard to smile at people, make small talk during breaks, compliment people’s shoes and all those other things you do when you’re trying to make friends on the playground. Or as a grownup. And I thought it was going really well! I know some of the regulars’ names now and a couple of the teachers, I think, are getting used to seeing me there. At least I thought I was doing well. It turns out I’m kind of a creeper. A weird creeper.
My in-laws are coming today to visit for five days.
I have a cold. (Or wicked allergies. Still not sure.)
My toilet keeps overflowing.
The dishwasher literally fell out of its cabinet.
Our only “spare” room is super hospitable with 2x4s and concrete.
I dropped my cellphone in the toilet. After Jelly Bean peed in it. And now I need a new one.
We still have so many unopened boxes that I’m considering just renaming it Q*bert’s Dream House and calling it done.
Did I mention my in-laws are coming?
Stress: I am having all of it. As are my kids, since I spent all day taking it out on them by alternately getting massively upset about inconsequential things and then hiding in my room and crying. But my sweet friend Makenzie saw my imminent breakdown and brought me some essential oils to help with my mad anxiety and stress. Truth to be told, while I’ve seen these types of oils around the health and fitness communities, I’ve never thought much of them. I mean, my anxiety is so tough it’s basically resistant to everything. So how is scenting my air going to help where major psychotropic medications have failed? But, hey, I’m willing to try anything. Plus they smell yummy so it’s a win right there.
“You might be a bad mother if…” This weeks answer: Your kid always knows which items are yours at the bake sale due to the bright orange Sale! sticker on the package. Similar to redneck jokes, but a lot less funny (us moms, so sensitive!), people have been invoking the Bad Mama stereotype for all kinds of things, like when Jennifer Steinhauer in the New York Times calmly informed us that donating purchased foodstuffs to a school bake sale is not only “cheating” but might be the downfall of society. She is, of course, nuts. And I say that with all the affection of one crazy person to another.
First, a confession. I haven’t donated anything baked or homemade to a school bake sale in years. I also haven’t bought wrapping paper, let my kids sell chocolate door-to-door or hawked raffle tickets to my coworkers. I abhor a fundraiser so whenever one comes up, I write out a check to the PTO for each of my kids and, like the mommy mafia, buy their silence. They get their money and I don’t have to man the dunk-the-teacher booth. Win-win.