Monday, June 30, 2014

Just a mom.

My twenties were spent in sweatpants and my husband's old band tees, trying to disappear into the background. I was in a weird head space because anytime I did get dressed up, I felt ridiculous.

This was me at my wedding rehearsal. In my sweats and ponytail.

I'm just a MOM, I don't have time to care how I look.

So I didn't "care" how I looked. I wore those sweatpants until I ripped holes in them. Wore them down to the flesh and then restitched them with $.01 worth of thread. Because that's how much I thought I should be spending on myself until I was able to run and do yoga and be one of those moms. When my kids are all in school, it will be easy.

There are a lot of, "First thing, Monday morning"s in eight years.

Meanwhile, the other half of my brain's favorite hobby was checking Facebook and furiously untagging photos of myself. I loathed how I looked. It was a vicious cycle of wanting to "be pretty", then wishing I didn't care, and then feeling bad for not caring, and then wanting to "be pretty".

And, as it turns out, violently hating your physically appearance doesn't exactly do wonders for your interpersonal skills. Anytime we went somewhere, I would hang out with the kids, using my three as the ultimate convo-blocks and getting myself out of engaging in any real way with any other human beings. And if someone "took pity on me" and forced the conversation, I didn't feel like I had much to add to it.

I gave myself this easy out and told myself that it wasn't MY life anymore, because I was giving mine to three other people. I didn't need to nourish my spirit, because that would take time and energy away from nourishing theirs.

Like that was reasonable.

And then I ended up in bed for two straight weeks, sobbing because, of course I did. And I didn't know why. I mean, deep down, I always knew why, but I didn't know how to make the self-loathing stop. I had defined myself in terms that created a no-win situation. I denied my impulses to be human, but in raising little humans, I was reminded in bits and pieces of all the things that I wanted. All of the beautiful things outside of my kids that I was forcing myself to miss out on. And realizing that I wanted these things made me feel like I was NOT a GOOD mom.

I laid in bed, in my covery cocoon and thought a thousand shades of irrational.

You know who doesn't have this problem? June Cleaver. June Cleaver's a GOOD mom and you're a BAD mom. June Cleaver wouldn't ignore her kids so she could read a magazine. You know who else is a GOOD mom? That mom who you run into at the grocery store whose kids are all sitting nicely in the cart and they sing kumbaya together at the checkout, while yours are going batshit and hitting each other. And that mom who leads Girl Scout troops and volunteers to read at the kids' school every week, while you sit at home and hide in your holey sweatpants, wishing you didn't loathe adult interaction. You know who's a BAD mom? YOU.
"Good mom."

But I just couldn't cut it as June. What I wanted was to be sultry and sexy. I wanted to say "Fuck it" and be Jayne Mansfield. I wanted to put on a tight dress like I would have when I was 21. And some hooker red lipstick and pumps. I wanted to strut right into that school to pick up my kids, all eyes on me and watch the moms have a stroke and the dads piss their chinos.

"But... But... She's a MOM!", they would all gasp, covering their children's innocent eyes.

I convinced myself that the days when I would feel sexy and confident in my skin were in my rearview. I was just being selfish and life shouldn't be about ME anymore.

So I dragged myself out of bed, forced a smile on my face, put on my sweatpants and went about my business.

And I was DEEPLY unhappy.

And then, one day, I stumbled upon a blog that made me laugh harder than I had in a long time. I should have been doing "kid" things, but I sat there on my laptop, in my sweatpants, and clicked on the next article. Then the next one. Then the next. I don't even know how many hours I spent reading, but every one was spent with tears streaming down my face-- Laughter, female intimacy, kinship. I was in wonderlust with the Divine Miss Brittany Gibbons and I couldn't stop reading.

And then I started reading her posts about body confidence. I found the Curvy Girl's Guide, which is the World's most incredibly supportive Facebook group. Seriously, the Earth is a better place because of this group and the love and kindness we are all inspired to share each day. I instantly gained 3,000 of the most beautiful, funny, smart and wonderful sisters.

These Curvy Girls look like ME, but they're so BEAUTIFUL!

I bought coconut oil, so that I too could try to have mermaid hair. I read about vibrators and chindicks and sexual positions and things that make my world go 'round, but would make your mama blush. And I've gone outside BARE ARMED because my army of 3,000 strong told me that I was gorgeous and didn't need a jacket. I started believing the hype and forgetting all the crap that society had brainwashed me with. I finally had a place where I could just talk to people without having to suck it in. I no longer desire to be a size 2, or a 12 even. I finally feel good in my own skin.

So, I started buying things for myself again. First was some $3 lipsticks and nail polish bottles that tickled the part of me that still wished it was 1996. It was like a switched flipped on and one day, my size 18 ass marched into Target and about bought out half the "Plus" section with a new spring wardrobe. I felt like a GIRL again. And I didn't know if it was what I was "supposed" to be doing, or if it was how a mom should act, but a tiny spark turned into a roaring flame.

And at some point, it hit me. Moms are sexy. Because moms are just real, flawed, fabulous women, trying the best they can. It's not "dressing provocatively" if a mom wants to wear lipstick to the playground, and it's not selfish if she wants to lock the bathroom door while she pees. Or it might be. But WHO CARES?!?

Moms can wear makeup and flowy skirts that let their thighs kiss and still feel gorgeous.

Moms can be sassy.

Moms can be sultry and Jayne-like.

Moms can be a mom.

But, moms can never JUST be a mom, because people don't work that way.

I'm Amy. I'm a writer, an artist, guitar playing wannabe, joke teller, horrible finger nail painter, funky hair colored, feminist, friend, lover, daughter, sister, niece, loud neighbor, animal lover, vegetarian, talenti-virgin, tattoo havin', funky barefoot, crunchy hippie girl, and so, so much more.

Thank you, Brittany, for speaking out about body positivity and for shaping the world into a fabulous place for us "Curvy" girls. And thank you for giving me, and all the other "Curvy" moms out there, the courage and the encouragement to stop thinking of ourselves as "Just a mom."


  1. LOVE THIS! I'm Olivia. I'm a friend, a mother, a beer drinker, a hilarious (in my own mind) joke teller, (also) a loud neighbor, I kind-hearted giver, and (again,also) a talenti-virgin. Nice to meet you!

  2. I can so totally relate! When my kids were little I kind of lost myself as well. I look back at pictures of me and barely recognize myself! I'm glad you have figured it out way earlier than I did! You go girl!

  3. Hi Olivia and Natalie! Thanks for stopping bye to comment! Nice to meet you! :)

  4. I loved every single line of this! You are just everything!!! I am so glad to be able to call you my sister Amy and that's how I think of you all it's just the way it is for me...I will do all that I can for each and every one of you. I am an all in girl and you all have made me comfortable in that. I am learning when to back off yes but I am owning who I am and have you all to lean on. As I read your words tears just stream down my face because I just get it. I miss you all like crazy right now but I am glad that I am getting to know you more this way <3

    1. I'm so glad you loved my post, Theresa! And we're sisters for life! Camp is ON as soon as I can get the chance to go and I'm gonna hug the crap out of you! All of you! <3

  5. I love that yellow skirt! And I love how much happier you look at the end of the post compared to the beginning. Hooray for the CGG! 8}

    1. I hadn't even noticed that I looked so much more miserable in the first picture. Living was such an outer body experience. I'm so glad I found that spark I needed with CGG.

    2. Not miserable...just tired. Which might have something to do with planning a wedding and also taking care of children!! :)

    3. Miserable was my own characterization. Honestly I was. I'm so much happier now. And I say I'm tired now, but my kids are well out of the getting up all night stage. I was a zombie and I honestly don't know how I survived on so little sleep. I guess love really can make you do miraculous things.