Embracing Your Mom Body

Blog pic 5.29.14

 

Before and after photos typically celebrate major weight loss, dramatic plastic surgery or some starlet who has returned to looking fabulous after having kids.

What if a before and after picture was designed to celebrate a return to a “mom” body? This picture of Australian mom of three Taryn Brumfitt below set off a social media firestorm a few months ago for breaking the mold and embracing body:

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After training for and competing in a bikini body contest, Brumfitt realized having a “perfect” body left her emotionally and spiritually unhealthy at the end of the competition. She decided to return back to her balanced lifestyle of moderate exercise, occasional treats and typical “mom” life. After many tears and making plans to have a tummy tuck and breast augmentation, she had a breakthrough.

Brumfitt felt a strong conviction that teaching her daughter to have a healthy body image could only be accomplished through learning to love her own body as a mom with all of its bumps, lumps and wrinkles. She is now on a mission to educate women everywhere by filming a documentary (which will be funded through a Kickstarter campaign) about the root of widespread body image issues and how freeing it can be to embrace your body just the way it is. This quote from a video clip on Huff Post Women captures the heart of her movement:

“I want women to stop striving for it [the perfect body]. I want women to start focusing more on their accomplishments [and] how they contribute to the world. If women can remove this chip, this body shaming and hating chip, get it out of their head…it allows them to contribute more, and that’s what it’s all about.”

As a mom of twins who hates swimsuit shopping and has researched and seriously considered a tummy tuck to repair my stretched out and saggy middle, this movement is a breath of fresh air to a weary soul.

I have cried too many tears over clothes which didn’t fit the way they used to, and I wish I had saved those tears for a conversation with a friend who was going through a hard time.

I have spent too many hours reading books about abdominal exercises and tummy tucks after someone once again told me I looked pregnant, and I wish I could have spent those hours laughing with my family in the backyard.

I have made too many nasty comments to my reflection in the mirror, and I wish I could have used those words to encourage a fellow mom.

I am done wasting my time in the quest for the perfect body. I’m going to learn to love this body not only for my sake but as an example for my daughters, and I am pouring my energy into things which are more important in life.

I challenge you to join me in sharing Taryn’s story and the Body Image Movement. We deserve it, and our daughters absolutely deserve it. #Ihaveembraced

This article was published on the Greeley Moms website here. Check out Greeley Moms today!

 

 

The Beauty We Can Teach

People most beautiful 2014 cover with title

Thank you to Lupita Nyong’o for reminding us of the importance of inner beauty. As parents, we have a huge responsibility to teach our children how to be beautiful where it matters the most. Here’s the link to this week’s Greeley Moms blog. Thanks for reading sharing if you choose!

http://www.greeleytribune.com/news/feature3/11240941-113/beauty-inner-daughters-lupita

 

 

 

Photoshopped Ads Blur More than Thighs

An interesting headline caught my eye this week because it pertains to the heart of our perceptions of beauty and to the minds of impressionable young girls.

Target ran a junior swimsuit ad with a model whose image was poorly photoshopped. Her rib cage and arm looked pieced together, and her thighs and swimsuit bottom had clearly been altered to make her appear thinner. (See the ad here.)

To make matters worse, when Target issued an apology for the poor photo editing, there was no mention of why they felt it necessary to alter the body of this beautiful teenage model initially or how they may be contributing to a culture-wide problem of teenagers and women who are chasing after unattainable perfection.

When is enough enough? When will we step up and demand for the marketing aimed at our daughters (and ourselves) to reflect reality? Are these models not thin enough? Are their thighs really not spaced far enough apart?

As a mother of two daughters who has struggled with body image issues in the past, I think it’s absolutely disgusting that retailers are altering beautiful young girls and in turn leaving normal girls feeling like something must be wrong with their bodies because they don’t match the glossy advertisements.

I’m aware it happens in women’s advertising and publications, but I feel like as an adult I finally am secure enough in who I am, imperfections and all, to be able to flip through a magazine without staring at the shape and size of the models featured and longing to change my body. As a teenager, though, I am certain I would have spent time comparing myself to swimsuit models like the one in the Target ad and feeling bad about myself at the end of it all.

Teenage girls are learning, growing, blossoming and delicate. No matter what shape or size their body takes, they need the confidence to love themselves and see their own value and worth.

Our society, retailers and publishers included, owe it to these young women to help them navigate through the challenges that come with defining beauty; however, I’m not content to stand by and wait for some huge movement which might never occur. I’m determined to do what I can to protect the hearts and minds of my girls.

I can empower my girls to believe in their own beauty and recognize false advertising for what it is.

I can laugh at crooked arms and creepy thigh gaps in botched photoshopped pictures so I can show my daughters what really happens to pictures before they are published for us to see.

I can support brave retailers who step up and refuse to alter the bodies of their models.

I can show my support to celebrities who share non-photoshopped images with the public so we can see what is really happening after the women leave the studio.

I can read and share articles like fellow Greeley Moms blogger Jaymi’s post on true beauty.

I can show my daughters how to love and accept an imperfect body by taking care of myself and saying no to unnecessary cosmetic procedures.

I can open up discussion about the moral obligation retailers and magazines have to help our young girls have a healthy body image, but I won’t rely on them to make that happen.

Our daughters are depending on us to fight for them, and I hope you’ll join me.

Here is this the original link for my post for the Greeley Moms:

http://www.greeleytribune.com/news/feature3/10691542-113/girls-body-daughters-beauty

A Mama’s Heart on Fire: Making Today the Best Day Ever

The cold seemed never ending.  Sub-zero temps for days on end, and too much snow on the ground to go to the park even when the temperatures started to creep back up toward freezing.

Then my sweet girls both caught some kind of little cold.  Nothing serious, but enough snot and germy-ness to warrant cancelling our play dates and keeping us inside the house for a week.

It was a recipe for major crankiness and tension, and it made me question very seriously why in the world I wanted to be a stay-at-home mama.  Everything, from dishes to laundry to diapers to vacuuming, seemed to make me angry.

In the midst of a bitter moment, I thought, “Who wants to live this way? No one wants to be grouchy for the next 50 (hopefully longer!) years, and no one wants to be around someone who is always in a terrible mood.”

I prayed with a heavy heart for some way to help with my attitude, for me to find a way to make peace with every day life.

God was listening. The first moment of clarity came only 12 hours after my prayer for a change of heart.

The next morning, we pulled up to the grocery store, and I was dreading the trip.  I was cranky (imagine that?!) and resenting the fact that I had to take both kids to shop again because I wasn’t organized enough to go alone this past weekend.

“Look, Mama, isn’t the grocery store beautiful?” one of my munchkins piped up from the backseat.  “The grocery store is SO beautiful!”

Silence.

Her words gripped my heart as I smiled and agreed with her and fought back tears.  Of course the grocery store was beautiful–why couldn’t I see it? Isn’t everything around us, no matter how bland and boring, truly beautiful simply because we are alive to see it?

I felt the sunshine immediately start to break through the angry clouds in my mind as her childlike joy rubbed off on me.  My bitterness started to melt as I realized how it’s all about perspective and choosing to see life’s chores and drudgeries with a joyful heart.  We are SURROUNDED by beauty, breath-taking, awe-inspiring beauty, every day, but we have to look for it with a genuine heart on fire to see what God has put in our lives.

“Thank you, Lord,” I thought as we walked into the store.

Then He did it AGAIN.

“This is the best day EVER!” my sweet munchkin yelled out in the grocery cart as we went down the first aisle.  She was beaming, smiling from ear to ear, and she yelled it out again.  This time her twin sister joined her.

“This is the best day EVER!” they squealed with giggles and smiles.

This time, I choked back the tears and watched with amazement at the sight of God answering my prayers through my two precious babies.

“You’re right, girls.  This is the best day ever!”  I said with a smile, and I’ll tell you, those words are impossible to say without wanting to skip, laugh and dance around.  A grocery store trip with my girls which started as a chore turned into a truly joyful moment with my kids.

It’s all about perspective and choice. If we choose to find beauty and true joy every day by looking at life with a pure, fire-filled heart, God is putting it out there for us.

Create in me a pure heart, O God,

and renew a steadfast spirit within me.

Do not cast me from your presence

or take your Holy Spirit from me.

Restore to me the joy of your salvation

and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

Psalms 51:10-19

This is going on a post-it in my kitchen where I can see it every evening when I do the last of the picking up and dishes for the day, the time when I am most vulnerable to bitterness and anger.

So here’s to being given another day, no matter what ups and downs it brings. Embrace it, look for the beauty God has placed before you, and make it the best day ever.