3 Mom Milestones Worth Celebrating
The moment I got pregnant, I became obsessed with my child’s milestones. I LOVED the updates that told me when my unborn baby had fingernails, or was able to suck her thumb, or recognize my voice. And at the same time they would give me my own milestones complete with descriptions of what would hurt when, how big certain body parts would get, and how difficult standard daily tasks would become.
But since the moment that umbilical cord was cut, the baby’s milestones have been front and center, and mom’s milestones? Well, they aren’t as celebrated. But that doesn’t mean that they aren’t happening, and that they aren’t as profound.
I can finally spot evidence of what was formally known as my abs.
The first time I touched my stomach after giving birth, I was absolutely appalled at how my body had betrayed me. The having the baby part was nothing short of a miracle – but the residual effects were depressing. I recall sending my sister a text, with tears in my eyes, telling her my stomach felt like raw pizza dough. She told me that with a lot of work, the muscle tone would come back. It would never be the same, but it could get to a point that no one would know the difference other than yours truly.
Well fast-forward to last weekend. I had just come back from a run, and was doing typical mom multi-tasking…where I was trying to take my clothes OFF while trying to put clothes ON Ellie - which left both parties in a partial state of undress. While I was trying wrestle her into submission, I caught a glimpse of myself, in just a sports bra and running pants. And for the first time in 2 years, I didn’t shutter at what I saw. Right there, staring back at me in the mirror, in my stomach region, was something that sort of resembled stomach muscles.
The raw pizza dough had transformed into a less pronounced, somewhat subtler version of its tougher, harder ancestor the six-pack…but it was there. Covered in a layer of stretched out skin. But it was definitely there.
I'm wearing makeup again!
But before I get too full of myself, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention another mom milestone. The other day, I walked into a colleague’s office to ask him a question, and as I began talking, he looked up from his computer, removed his reading glasses and said, “Oh my god, are you okay?”
I paused, and said, “Um…yes…why? Is there something that would lead you to believe that I am not okay?”
And he replied, “Well…you just look…absolutely exhausted. Are you sure you are okay? Sure you aren’t getting sick?”
And I laughed and said, “Yes, I am fine. I just left the house without makeup today.”
My takeaway was that I cannot leave the house sporting the “natural look”. It was acceptable when Ellie was younger, because people equate “newborn” to “exhaustion”. But she’s older now. It’s okay. I earned these bags under my eyes but they can easily be hidden with some foundation, blush and mascara – which I haven’t left the house without since that comment.
I can attend a dinner party with my child and adults, without breaking into a panic induced sweat.
Being a single mom of a toddler means that for the most part, either I bring my child to most social engagements, or I don’t go. Thankfully, I have amazingly tolerant and understanding friends and family, who always extend an invitation to my daughter. But just because we are BOTH invited, doesn’t mean that my daughter acts any less…”toddler-ish”. So many times over the past 2 years, I have tried to bring her somewhere that wasn’t exactly an ideal setting for a toddler-toting mom, and I would end up absolutely panicked, pleading with her to stop screaming, while my friends help me into a cab.
But this past weekend, something changed. As Ellie and I were heading to my friend’s apartment for dinner, I threw her pajamas into my purse along with a couple diapers (another milestone, no more diaper bag). We all enjoyed a nice meal as the night wore on, instead of doing that mom method of keeping one eye on the clock and the other on your child while watching for signs of a tired meltdown, I brought a pillow and blanket out from my friend’s room, turned on “Dora the Explorer”, and told Ellie to close her eyes when she got sleepy.
And as she dozed, my friends and I enjoyed more wine and more reminiscing than I have been able to enjoy in a very long time. When the very late night came to an end, I scooped her up and hopped into a cab, feeling for the first time, that things were back to normal…a new normal…but normal nonetheless – and it felt amazing.