16 May 2013

Confessions of That Skinny Mommy at Kindergarten Pickup

The Bean's kindergarten class threw us one of the Mother's Day parties that were all over facebook and Instagram. You know, the ones where we all snapped the "selfie" of us with our adorable children?

The one with the gifts we'll one day wonder whether we should toss or not? Mine's a marigold that hasn't yet sprouted and a clay bird.

There were bagels (cut in quarters) with cream cheese. There were pretzels. There was fruit salad. There was lemonade and water.

Then there was cake.

The Beans were instructed to serve us our beverage of choice and to get a plate of food for us to share. The Bean did.

There was cake.

As I sat at a table with 2 other mamas, trying desperately not to eat The Cake (I failed), lamenting the cake, one of them said to me,

"But you're so skinny you can afford to eat cake."

I would've stopped dead in my tracks if I'd been walking.

As I told her "It's hard-fought. Very hard fought," and then we went on to talk a little about my Weight Watchers journey, my left-hand column was going a mile a minute: I'm that mommy. I'm the skinny mommy in skinny jeans at pickup the other mommies "hate" because she's effortlessly skinny.

I felt embarrassed. Or was it guilty?

I "hated" me not that long ago.

The other mommy relaxed a bit after I told her about Weight Watchers. She'd thought, she said, that I was one of those people who worked out 2 hours a day. She'd thought I was That Mommy. But once I told her that I struggled - am still struggling (see earlier statement about The Cake) - she felt better. Visibly.

What is it about weight and body image that makes us feel better when we know we're all in the same boat? Why would it not have been ok - or at least less ok - if I were That Mommy Who Plays Tennis and Lunches and Is Skinny?

Why is it more ok that I'm struggling with this #healthyme journey of mine?

I suppose the answer is, at least partially, that we all like to feel alike. We like, as a society, and especially as  American women, to feel like we're all "in it together." No matter how much we say we want to be different, we don't like it when "one of these things is not like the other." Especially when that one thing is us.

One of the reasons I chose to write about my journey here on my fashion blog is for exactly that reason. I, like so many others, struggle with my weight and my health. At a seemingly superficial level, I struggle to fit into the beautiful, fun, and interesting fashions I admire daily on the interwebs. At a less superficial level, I wanted - want - to like how I look and to be That Mommy.

My initial steps in the journey have been faster than many. In my Weight Watchers Online community (and my unfailing support through this whole venture), I've "met" people who have struggled with their health for much longer than I have, and are still fighting to lose even a few pounds, when I've hit my goal weight in less than a year.

But part of what this journey and this community have taught me is that it is all relative. We all have our struggles and battles and have to fight them as we are able. We have to be ready to fight them. Just over a year ago, I was. I was ready. So I started My Fight. The person next to me may not be ready for years - or ever. What is a battle for me may not be a battle my neighbor is even interested in fighting.

We judge so much in our world (yup, going high-falutin' for a few). We judge others. We judge ourselves. We judge ourselves in comparison to others. What we really need, though, is more patience. It's one of the hardest things to find, I think, yet one of the most useful and rewarding practices. "Be patient with yourself" and "be kind to yourself" are two comments that fly readily in the Weight Watchers Online community that has become yet another online home for me. Often, we're not. Often, I'm not. When we're not patient with ourselves, we get frustrated and become unproductively negative. When we are patient with ourselves, we begin to make choices, one-by-one, towards whatever goal we've set.

I'm not good at it. No one is, I think. But I will keep telling myself to be patient with myself - and with others. Then maybe being That Skinny Mommy won't be so scary. To me or to others.


RosaLovesDC said...

Your journey has been really inspiring and you're really brave for sharing with us. XO

Vyque said...

you are that skinny fashion blogger I love!

Miss Scarlet said...

Its only annoying when someone makes a huge deal about it. "CAKE!? I can't have cake!!!!!!!"

Carrie Sanidad said...

I am "that skinny mom who works out", who people probably secretly hate.

Tennis is the example in the blog but it is not my sport (although it is my dad's). I always considered myself an athlete. In elementary school, PE was my favorite subject and Field Day was the best school day of the year! I dabbled in gymnastics, swimming, diving, soccer, and basketball. Finally, in 8th grade I settled on volleyball as my primary sport, playing it through college and beyond. It has only been recently, due to injuries, that I have transitioned to swimming.

I think people find it easier to "hate" the women who are in shape due to athletics over those who diet because of the misconception that they LOVE what they are doing.

Let me tell you, like most things in life, exercise is a LOVE/HATE relationship.

First of all, right out of college I got a job teaching and abruptly stopped all form of exercise because I didn't think that I had the time. Not only that, I wasn't eating or sleeping well. After a year I ended up in a serious state of depression. I won't go into all of the details, but when I returned home from work I would sit down in front of the TV and I couldn't get up. I couldn't grade my student's work, I couldn't make dinner, I couldn't do anything. Let me make it clear, it's not that I wouldn't do it, I COULDN'T do it. Any of you who have suffered from depression know what I am talking about. My family has a history of depression and apparently, I too, carry that gene.

This went on for about a year, and it is the only year that I wish could be taken away from my life. I honestly don't know how my husband dealt with it all. To see your new wife sad ALL THE TIME...I pray that he knows that it had nothing to do with him.

My husband suggested that I start playing volleyball again. I thank God that he did. I started to come out of my "funk" and was finally able to clearly evaluate my situation and make changes in my life. Those exercise induced endorphins were the jump start that I needed. I would exercise over medication any day. I'm blessed that I now know what I NEED to keep the positive outlook on life that I adore. I need to exercise regularly.

Now that you have that background information, let me get back to the love/hate relationship that I was talking about. Being disciplined is tough. I'm sure I could come up with many activities to fill my time other than working out, but at what cost? We now have 4 children, and 6 weeks after giving birth to each I got back on that volleyball court. I did not look good, I did not feel good, I didn't even play well. But my team mates were there to support me and each day I got a little better. I do enjoy playing sports, supporting my team mates, and bettering myself, physically and mentally, but I think I speak for all athletes when I say that I do NOT enjoy the feeling that I am going to throw up when I have pushed myself to the limits. I do NOT enjoy sore muscles, blisters, injuries, or any of the other number of consequences that often come from exercising. I DO, however, feel an amazing amount of satisfaction and pride when my workout is complete. I did it, and I am better for it.

You dieters probably feel the same satisfaction and pride after making it through your day under your calorie limit. It wasn't easy, but you were strong and did it anyway...and you are better for it. We both struggle, we both have weaknesses, we both have days where we, "take a break" from our self inflicted regimen so that we can enjoy life as a "normal" person would. See, we aren't so different after all.

Carrie Sanidad said...
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