Six or seven months into pregnancy, I began to feel unsexy, no matter how many people told me I was glowing on the outside. Between the increasing pounds on the scale, the onset of acid reflex, the limp I developed in my left leg because of the stretching muscles, inside I just didn’t feel sexy.
My daughter is now two years old. My body has changed: everything elongated, hanging lower, looser. I am not one of the moms who bounced back right away, firmer and tighter; no, I am limp and squishy, like the stuffed bear my daughter likes to snuggle with. I get a pain in my groin when I try to walk more than a mile. My stomach feels elastic, like a balloon that never deflates. These physical attributes are the remnants of the miracle of creating another living being inside my body, but as miraculous as it is, it just doesn’t feel sexy no matter how many times my kind husband tells me it is.
The other morning, I came downstairs, fresh faced, scrubbed clean out of the shower in new clothes, and my daughter looked up and said, “Mama, are you wearing your pajamas?” I guess that’s the curse of being a stay-at-home mom—no need for heels, skirts, or makeup. I thought there was no one to impress, but it turns out, that’s not true—I have an incredibly fashion conscious two-year-old, which is funny since I have been wearing yoga pants ever since she was born.
Most days I don’t care if I am sexy or not. I may not wear fancy clothes, go to an office, have a high paying career, but I am kicking butt as a mother. As a parent, I work a 13-hour day every day of the week, there is no break at 5 p.m., and there are no weekends or holidays off.
Recently, I heard some moms talking about “killing time” with their children. I thought to myself, I don’t want to “kill time” with my daughter. Not now, not in 10 years, not ever. I want all the time in the world, every moment, every second—the watermelon dripping off her chin on a hot summer day, the constant arguments that revolve around getting into her car seat, those afternoons when she wakes from her nap and folds herself into me wanting to snuggle.
I understand fully how the days can be so long, how the minutes sometimes feel like eternity, how it would be nice to get accolades for dong such a good job, or a raise or a bonus, but I also realize I am not alone. I am not isolated in this experience of constant giving and selflessness. There are so many of us out there going through the same experience, mothers and fathers, putting themselves on the back burner and going unnoticed, to make sure they can give everything of themselves to their families.
I may not feel sexy or have the energy to get dressed up in much more than yoga pants, but I am there—totally present.
I am cooking meals, doing laundry, blowing bubbles, reading bedtime stories, singing in the bathtub. To my daughter, and my husband, I am the most lovable person in the world—and maybe in the end that’s all that really counts.