Investing in Yourself After Baby

by Roo on January 29, 2014

in parenting, sponsored

invisalign-disclosure

I was invited to a brand brainstorming sesh to weigh in on things women start to do for themselves as they get older. (FWIW, I don’t think I’m old.) Turns out, we all seem to agree that when couples are done having kids, as those kids get a teeny bit older, they seem to become a little bit more proactive about doing things for themselves.

Are you done having kids and you’re nodding your head or are you nursing a baby and reading this and you’re like “things… for myself? Like showering? I can dreeeeaaam.” I gave birth three times in the span of three and a half years, so I can relate to both. After what feels like a marathon session of trying to balance momming and working, I’ve found that I’ve been craving some space to do things that aren’t limited to work projects and pairing pink socks and teaching my kids how to do the Roger Rabbit (I’m all about the life lessons, you guys).

And then you start daydreaming. It’d be amazing to work with a personal trainer. It’d be cool to never have to shave my legs again and then nick myself and the only band-aids left in the house have a cartoon pirate on them. I want to learn how to speak… German. Is running long distances fun? Maybe? I don’t know. I guess I’ll try yoga. This is a lizard pose? How does this look like a lizard? I need ice.

Investing In Yourself After BabyI polled some bloggers who no longer have teeny, tiny babies at home, and here’s what some of them said:

“I trained for and ran two half marathons last year. Becoming a runner means taking the time for myself, and setting and accomplishing goals for myself that are purely my own and have nothing to do with my kids.” – Catherine

“Once my kids were old enough to spend the night without me at home I started investing in traveling alone. I often tack on time for myself after a business trip or conference to cut costs. It was weird and scary at first, but now I relish that time.” – Kelly

“After I was done nursing my last baby, I decided to invest in breast augmentation. It was a great investment and I don’t regret it at all. Now that I’m 35 and my kids are all in school full time, I am making the time to work out again and eat clean. I am a happier woman, wife and mom for doing this. It isn’t selfish. It isn’t vain. It is taking care of the person who eight other people depend on. I only wish I had done it sooner rather than putting myself last for so long.” – Kadi (mom of 7)

“I went back to school at 35 and got my GED.” –  Tonya

“I pay for a haircut and color every 8-10 weeks. I go to a really nice salon and I pay more than I probably should, but I really don’t care bc I love it, love the quiet, and feel like I deserve it. :)” – Amy

“I had one crooked tooth that never bothered me for a moment, until I was pregnant with my second child. My fuller face, at least in my opinion, accentuated that tooth and it became all I saw when I looked in the mirror. When it was still bothering me after I had lost the weight I invested in Invisalign. Loved it!” – Jessica

“Now that Harper is 9 months old and sleep trained, I’ve started to go to the gym. I’ve also taken iOS programming classes.” – Adam

“I’ve recently become obsessed with beauty gurus on YouTube and have been buying a lot of their makeup must haves. I’m learning to do my makeup again as a 35 year old mom…I never had time for this before!” – Kathy

“Having two kids wrecked my body. I was able to lose most of the weight, but I had a lot of leftover loose skin. I had a tummy tuck, and I’m so glad I did. It has done wonders for my confidence and quality of life.” – Name withheld, as requested.

“I fully intend to take some acting workshops and get new head shots.” – Erin

“Having a kid as the motivation I needed to make better choices when it came to eating and to make more of an effort to get and remain healthy.” – Brad

“After I was done with the last kid, my self confidence took a beating, so I decided it was high time to go from a barely A to a respectable C in which the doc and I dubbed the ‘soccer mom boobs’ –  they make me feel good about myself, but dads at soccer/school/wherever aren’t constantly staring at my chest. ;)” – Emily

“Invisalign. Hired a personal trainer. Ran a half marathon. I clearly have no trouble investing in myself. Snort.” – Jo-lynne

“Lasik Eye Surgery and Laser Hair Removal – worth EVERY PENNY. As long as the kids don’t go without in order for us to do these things, I think it’s incredibly important to do things that make us feel good. Getting Laser Hair Removal literally changed my life!” – Jenn

Can you relate with any of the above? Do you have a must-do list for when eating dinner doesn’t require dodging spoonfuls of rice? :) I’m getting there. At this point I’m just entirely grateful for a daily shower. ;)

Thinking about investing in your smile? Invisalign is a neat, less teenage-angst inducing alternative to metal braces. Check out Invisalign’s Pinterest board for before + afters, neat blog posts, and answers to FAQs. Disclosure: As a member of the Invisalign Mom Advisory Board, I’m receiving treatment to facilitate my review. All content and opinions are my own. For the real deal buttoned-up disclosure, holla at this link right here.

{ 62 comments… read them below or add one }

Cathy January 29, 2014 at 12:22 pm

Yes, yes, yes! This has been on my mind a lot lately. My last 3 (of 5) children were also born in 3.5 years followed by thyroid cancer and removal when the youngest was 10 months old and I feel like I’m coming out of the perpetually exhausted state I lived in for many years (prior to that was laced with deployments and I also dealt with a chronic disease which I feel I’ve almost totally improved by diet).

So, just recently, I’ve started working with a life coach, doing more in-depth workouts again (at 5 AM, no less, so that I can help encourage my hubby to do the same), and actually have an overnight completely-alone trip booked to go do some hiking and a little introspection. I also go most Sunday afternoons to a local cafe for a couple of hours and sip good coffee while working on goals and plans. It feels good just to breathe and “be me” again, not just “Mommy” though I love my kiddos dearly. :)

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Roo January 29, 2014 at 12:57 pm

A life coach, so cool. Love the idea of a completely-alone trip, too. That’s awesome, Cathy! Happy for you! :)

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Steph Reiner January 29, 2014 at 12:27 pm

I guess I’m the first to comment and what I have to say is probably not gonna go well but here goes… Is it just me or are half of these women just incredibly unhappy with their bodies after babies? I totally agree with exercising or running marathons to get yourself healthier, but what happened to being happy with what God gave you? I’m halfway through pregnancy #2 and I don’t consider myself old, but I certainly plan on embracing every saggy part, every wrinkle, every gray hair that comes because let’s face it… you’re not kidding anyone. Age happens and no one can get away from that unless you’re like Helen Mirren.

Maybe I’m alone on this but I was nodding along with the ones who set goals and reached them and sorta cringed at the ones who “fixed” their bodies. Okay interneters feel free to take me down… (puts on helmet and football pads and waits for comments)

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Steph Reiner January 29, 2014 at 12:27 pm

Ooh… not the first to comment. Burn.

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Meghan January 29, 2014 at 12:35 pm

Nah. I agree. I haven’t had kids yet and the longer I wait (i’m 31) the more scared I get, hearing moms constantly complain about their post-baby bodies.

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Roo January 29, 2014 at 12:42 pm

Interesting thoughts, Steph. Would love to hear what others have to say before I submit the essay response I’ve drafted out, hahaha! :)

No need to put on your helmet; everyone’s nice here. Okay, mostly everyone. ;)

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Deirdre January 29, 2014 at 3:16 pm

I think if you are happy with your body the way it is great. I also think that if you are unhappy with a small aspect of your body then you should change it by whatever means works for you (exercise, eating or surgery I don’t care). We all have enough problems, issues to deal with, and outside influences that can make us question ourselves; the least we can do is love our bodies, even if we have to pay someone to tweak a small part to make it what we want. Personally if I could exercise and eat my way to a healthy body with a C cup I would have done it years ago, but you can’t so when I’m done having kids I will probably also get boobs too

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Steph Reiner January 30, 2014 at 10:34 am

Okay Roo I think I’ve submitted more comments on this post than I ever have on your whole website… Doesn’t it kind of seem pointless though? I won’t change my mind and I don’t think anyone else will but maybe it’s just nice to raise some questions.

Also, you should know that this is the most serious I’ve ever been on the internet but something about women and physical appearance just gets me going and next thing you know, I have a whole dissertation typed out. (rolls eyes at self)

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michelleLG January 29, 2014 at 1:13 pm

Steph, I’m due with baby #2 in a couple weeks and part of what you’re saying does resonate strongly with me. At the same time, I have noticed that even after 1 baby I’m less critical of women who get post-baby augmentation than I used to be. For one, I feel like I have experienced what it is to not feel like myself in my own skin- its weird and disorienting and unsettling to not recognize oneself in the mirror, to feel awkward and gawky in a 3rd trimester or post-partum or nursing body (lets not even talk about the horror/comedy of sex with leaky boobs. Ugh). And second, I’m coming to realize there’s something about caring for my appearance that honors me as an individual and that honors my husband and my marriage. I’m not talking unhealthy vanity. I’m just saying that i think its important to acknowledge that before God gave me the gift of children and called me to be a mother, He called me to be a wife and blessed me with a marriage that will outlast the years of kids-at-home. I want to invest in my health and my physical appearance as well as my emotional and spiritual well-being for the sake of myself and my spouse (which will in turn bless my kids). I dont think appearance is a “main thing” but I am saying that I have more understanding and grace with others when I hear about that stuff now than before I had kiddos. (Sidenote: i hope I didn’t make it seem like my husb is a pig obsessed with looks! He doesnt care or rake special notice when i wear lipstick or dress up for a date. But i can tell you that I feel different, more like a wife and less like a roommate, when I do those things. Make sense?) :)

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Meghan January 29, 2014 at 1:21 pm

It’s a good argument, but one could argue that you should be happy with what your body is now. Not that you have to NOT lose weight or be healthy, but not subject yourself to surgery either. I’m sure God wants us to be happy, but your argument could be argued the other way as well.

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Roo January 29, 2014 at 1:23 pm

Is it that surgery seems extreme?

Isn’t wearing makeup or coloring your hair or even wearing jewelry altering your appearance? Sure, slapping tinted moisturizer on my face is way less of a commitment than getting a breast lift, but essentially both equal altering appearance, even if it’s temporary. Thinking out loud here. Love your thoughts, Meghan. :)

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Meghan January 29, 2014 at 1:27 pm

Very true, Roo. I resisted everything for a long time (like I said, I’m 31). I’ve gone gray early, and I don’t dye. I held off on any makeup for as long as I could (finally started wearing makeup at age 30). Yes, I do think surgery seems extreme. I mean, if God wanted us to have perky boobs after 2 babies, wouldn’t he have done it? Every woman I know has lasted w/o surgery post-babies.

And TRUST, I know what I’m in for. I’ve seen my mom’s nekkid body :)

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Meghan January 29, 2014 at 1:28 pm

ALSO ALL of these ponderings are just that – I don’t have kids yet, and I have NO IDEA what I’ll feel like after pregnancy, birth, and breastfeeding wreak havoc on my body.

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Roo January 29, 2014 at 1:31 pm

Hahaha. I’m the same weight as I was before I had Remmy, but my body’s not quiiiiite the same. Text me, I’ll send you nudes.

(Joke.)

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Niki January 29, 2014 at 2:16 pm

And I think this is part of the reason why some women have some kind of body work done. Babies change your body is some unexpected ways. So even if you weight the same, you might not look the same. And knowing that I look definitely makes me feel better about myself. When I actually take the time to get my hair colored and wear something other than jeans and a t-shirt I actually feel better about myself. So kudos to those women that take the initiative to feel better about themselves every day. I would love to have laser hair removal and just may do it sometime in the future.

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Meghan January 29, 2014 at 1:32 pm

ALSO (i promise I’ll stop after this). I’m not sure I’ve read much in the Bible about Jesus talking about self-preservation. If anything, it’s more of “lose yourself” sort of thing. So while I know God wants the best for us, I’m not convinced that means we get to do whatever we want to make ourselves feel better. Perhaps he uses all of this for lessons about internal character. I’ve only been married for a year and a half and I’ve already learned a bazillion things I need to work on on myself. I’ve become convinced God uses marriage for that reason, so maybe all this too?

OKAY I’M DONE NOW.

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michelleLG January 29, 2014 at 1:38 pm

Meghan, I feel you. Though just to be clear, I did not intend to say that “God wants me to be happy” (thats a complex topic for another discussion)- sorry if I gave that impression! Also, “happiness” or contentment with one’s body is one of those slippery-slope conversations too. I can be grateful for clothing that keeps me warm in the winter while at the same time be pumped about a new, super-flattering coat I picked up on clearance at target last week. Being excited about something that improves my appearance or gives me extra confidence doesnt mean I’m unsatisfied with myself in the absence of that thing, right?

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Meghan January 29, 2014 at 1:42 pm

That’s a very good question. And my answer right now is: “I don’t know”.

By the way – I think a LOT of this is socio-cultural and expectations on us not just from society as a whole, but from our circle of influence as well as what we FEEL others expect from us.

So complicated.

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Steph Reiner January 30, 2014 at 10:04 am

So many replies, I didn’t know where to hit reply so everyone would see it! I can see how some responses can get rabbit trailed into a lot of other things so I’m going to try to go back to what I originally thought reading this.

THIS IS SO LONG BUT PLEASE STAY WITH ME ROOOO!!! :D

Maybe it’s because surgery for the sake of physical appearance seems extreme. Someone mentioned that surgery might be necessary for health reasons and I agree with that, but with these women it seemed like it was purely motivated by outward appearance (especially because someone specifically mentioned that her self-esteem took a beating).

I don’t think you can make general statements like “Don’t do anything to change your body!” or “Do everything you can/want to look the way you want to!” I think the point here is how far is too far? I wear make-up and do my hair and make the effort to get dressed and showered everyday because it helps me be more productive and I think it’s nice that my husband can come home to a wife who looks and smells nice (although trust me, it is not always the case).

The whole thing that rubbed me wrong with this is that these women are motivated to conform to a physical image that is pushed on us by whoever, society, family, spouses, fill-in-the-blank. What happened to finding wrinkles beautiful? What happened to looking at a woman who is lumpy, dumpy and frumpy and seeing her for who she REALLY is on the inside instead of judging her for her flat, saggy chest?

And as far as husbands go… I know we have a responsibility to take care of ourselves and of course we want our husbands to find us attractive. But think about what you’re investing in… Physical appearance can maybe last til you’re in your 40′s or maybe 50′s if you’re blessed with good genes. But at some point you will have to rely on the investments that you made in the emotional relationship with your husband. Case in point…. Not to gross you guys out (although it’s grossing me out to think about it) but my parents are in their 60′s and unfortunately for me, they still have a great sex life. Eww. I can’t believe I’m typing this but let me make my point. My mom is healthy, probably the healthiest she’s ever been. Gravity hasn’t overlooked her boobs or skin and she has extra folds around her waist from having 3 daughters and gray streams through her hair from raising those three daughters but the way my dad looks at her and treats her, you’d think they were still 20 years old.

SOOOOOOO all that to say, when I think of what I’m going to do after my kids are a little older, I think of pampering myself, setting time aside to relax, setting time aside for the goals and hobbies I’ve had to put off to care for little ones (even if that includes exercise!) I don’t think about changing my physical appearance to try to have what I had before the kids because I’ve accepted that having babies changes your body and I’m okay with that.

One more thought… why is it that women aren’t okay with how your body changes after having babies? This is a genuine wondering… I’m not sure if they just compare their bodies to celebrities who’ve had children or maybe their spouses/children/mothers/whatever have mentioned something about the way they look or what… genuinely wondering. :D

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Kelly {the Centsible Life} January 30, 2014 at 12:17 pm

All great points. I don’t know that a sentence or two can capture their reasoning but I can assume that based on how serious it is to have surgery this isn’t something anyone would take lightly. How we feel about ourselves is so much trickier than just saying it’s because of cultural standards/family/friends/whatever. I’m sure that’s a part of how we feel about ourselves, because how could it not be? But I also think that doesn’t mean I get to draw a line in the sand for everyone and call this side ok, and that side going too far. I draw that line for myself and I know what’s too far for me. That line has moved, too. For instance I never once colored my hair until last month.

Taking care of yourself isn’t just about looking good, though. As you mentioned it’s a way we often feel more productive and it can improve your relationships.

Couldn’t agree more about investing in your relationship. Though I imagine your parents both are aging in their own ways they invested time in their relationship and their sex life (sorry!) and that’s a great way to invest in your marriage for the long-term.

I think so often we see women ‘pop’ back, and I have even done that before 3 times (with some stretch marks mind you, but no really issues) and to not be able to do so is less about celebs or others and more about my own confidence in my body to be dependable and perform the way I expect and want it to.

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KiTX January 29, 2014 at 1:18 pm

Steph (and Katy below), I can definitely understand what you’re saying, but I think it’s all a matter of our own personal perspective. My first little one is 5 months tomorrow (where has the time gone?? seriously, I need Zack Morris timeout powers to just slow things down a bit) and I was really lucky that my body bounced back in a way that I feel comfortable with. I can’t say for certain that I’d feel the same comfort level if I’d experienced a major body shift, like my ladies dropping way low or having a lot of loose tummy skin or 20 lbs I just couldn’t shake after a significant amount of time. I like to think I’d embrace it and rock it out, but I just don’t know how I’d feel at that point since I haven’t been there- I might want some help to make me feel good about my outside and make it look more like I feel on the inside (aka still young, and more like the body I’ve inhabited for the better part of my life.) I don’t think our exteriors are all we care about as women, but I do think it’s important to feel good about yourself- that takes different forms for different people, so as long as you aren’t hurting anyone else in the process, go on with your bad self.

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Stephanie January 29, 2014 at 1:21 pm

I can understand both viewpoints. I have three kids (8, 5 1/2 and 3) and when my youngest was almost two I realized that I had really let myself go – yoga pants foreva, had stopped coloring my hair because I felt guilty about the expense because I wasn’t working, never put on makeup, etc. and honestly, I didn’t feel that good about myself. I finally decided to invest in myself and got some new clothes, started getting my hair done, make more of an effort to put myself together and I have so much more confidence now. I think it’s a good thing to have your kids invest in yourself, but understand that what matters most is what’s inside. I think spending time away from your kids – either with friends or your spouse – is the same thing. The kids need to realize you have a life outside of them. And I needed to realize that too, that my identity wasn’t 100% wrapped up in my kids. I made small changes but they’ve done wonders.

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Miranda January 29, 2014 at 2:50 pm

Hey Steph,
I just wanted to point out that maybe for some of these women (like those who’ve had a tummy tuck), going under the knife is the only way they were able to ‘get healthier’, as you put it. I’ve never had a kid or been pregnant, but I’ve gone under the knife and I can tell you that it was impossible to workout freely before my surgery. Since then I’ve lost a little over 40 lbs. BECAUSE that loose saggy skin and 5 lbs. of extra weight don’t hold me back from doing yoga or going for a jog. I can’t speak for everyone else, but I can assure you that I really tried to love what God gave me, and I put a lot of thought and work into researching my procedure. It wasn’t something I went into lightly (and I would guess that most people don’t rush it either). I lived with a body that didn’t just look differently than what I wanted, but caused me discomfort and pain for nearly a decade, before I chose to take control of the situation and empower myself to finally alter something that was making me so unhappy. “Health” isn’t just comprised of being in good physical shape, it also encompasses one’s mental health and I can assure you there isn’t anything unhealthier than living inside a body that makes you miserable. Food and exercise can only do so much. And I would also like to say that I wasn’t setting out to ‘fix’ my body. I didn’t think there was anything ‘wrong’ with it, it just existed in a state that was unmanageable for me. What I did (and what all women are doing when they go under the knife) is making an improvement to something that already exists. To me being unhappy with your body, or any other part of your life for that matter, and not doing something about it, will always be unhealthy. Think about it like this, you would never tell a woman to stay in a relationship that made her unhappy because it’s what “God” wanted (at least I hope no one would do that), you would probably advise that person to either improve the relationship or move on, and for some women, surgery or other ‘cosmetic’ procedures are how they improve their relationship with their bodies and with themselves. Pads and helmet off now.

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Katy January 29, 2014 at 12:58 pm

It would be nice to hear more about women doing things like, I dunno–reading books, taking a class, volunteering in their communities, trying a new hobby–rather than getting boob jobs, learning how to do makeup, getting a hair cut, tummy tucks, etc. Is that all women care about?? And if it’s not, why are we putting the message out there that superficial things are all we care about?!?

I’m sorry, perhaps I am overreacting, but I feel like this post just epitomizes and perpetuates the stereotypes society has about women. Ugh.

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Roo January 29, 2014 at 1:04 pm

Hmm, there’s a definite variety of responses up above that you might have missed. They range from hair cuts to acting workshops to training for marathons to getting a GED, but you’re focusing just on the ones you find offensive. I’m not relaying any messages except for the honest ones I received. If it comes off as superficial, maybe it needs to be re-read. Gentle suggestion. :)

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Katy January 29, 2014 at 1:10 pm

I read all of the responses, I just felt like they were overshadowed by the superficial ones. My hope is that ALL women can be valued more for their minds than their bodies. No offense to you, Roo, I understand you are just relaying their responses!

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Roo January 29, 2014 at 1:21 pm

I get that, for sure. Here’s a theory: The majority of the people who weighed in above run their own businesses or freelance or something similar. So maybe between the rigorous work and the rigorous parenting, they’re looking for a mental break? Maybe one of them will weigh in. :)

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Roo January 29, 2014 at 4:23 pm

Katy, just letting you know you have a couple of responses in the comments below. :)

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Rebecca January 29, 2014 at 1:04 pm

Steph, interesting comment. I guess I took the stories of “fixing” bodies not as a “I’m pulling a fast one on you” but as a “if I am able to fix this part of myself and improve various aspects of my life via positive body image, then I will”. I identify with what you say because I have my own body scars and I’ve learned to live with them. They don’t affect me. But that’s not the same for others. Another possibility– they did set goals and tried to reach them, but still had a part of themselves they weren’t able to change without surgery. Case in point–the person that had a tummy tuck. Sure, part of the modification may be due to vanity, but a lot (not all) body modification can be attributed (even a little) to vanity. I personally, don’t see a problem with these women changing their bodies–it’s on their terms, it improves their self-image, and it doesn’t seem particularly radical (no one fessed up to getting a head to toe body transformation).

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Joanna January 29, 2014 at 1:34 pm

I got a haircut and highlight this weekend… spent way too much money and felt super bad about it but I hadn’t had a proper hair-job in two years and it made me feel 1000% times better.
Side note- is it me or do you literally lose two years of yourself when you have a baby?
I also plan on starting to regularly “run” (I’m not a runner but by December 31st I’d really like to be) because I don’t love that my stomach isn’t as flat as it once was, I cannot stand my love handles, and my butt jiggles… but I still love myself. Even with my messy hair and flab… I just want to be a better version of myself and if I had the money fake boobs would be involved, believe me. We, as moms, have to feel good about ourselves so we’re good to the people who depend on us, and it’s up to the individual on how they find that “good” in their lives. Some may seem vain but to them it is not.
I also intend to figure out how to sew curtains by December 31st and actually accomplish some crafty stuff I’ve been dreaming about… so see my goals are not all about appearance.

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Roo January 29, 2014 at 4:21 pm

I love all of your goals, Joanna! :)

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Katy January 30, 2014 at 10:20 am

(Sorry I posted this in the wrong place before).
My issue is not with women doing things to change their appearance–we all do that to some degree (although I don’t think anyone should feel like they “need” to be “fixed”).

My issue is with putting the idea out there that the best thing a woman can do to invest in herself is change her appearance (other than exercising and eating well to be healthy). Like it or not, women have to be more careful about the messages they put out there about themselves. We owe it to ourselves–and our daughters!!–to help dispel some of the stereotypes society portrays about women. We have SO much more to offer than the way we look–why wouldn’t we take every opportunity to let the world know that?

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Katy January 30, 2014 at 10:22 am

And I posted it in the wrong place again–Roo, fix it please!:)

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Jessica January 29, 2014 at 1:36 pm

The original question was about something we did for ourselves. To assume that I have not read a book or volunteered my time or started a business or contributed to society in many other ways simply because I got my tooth fixed is a little unfair.

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Meghan January 29, 2014 at 1:43 pm

All y’all must have had slammin’ bodies before pregnancy. My butt already jiggles, my stomach is flabby, and my boobs are droopy, and no babies yet. So nobody look at me EVER after I have kids.

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Roo January 29, 2014 at 4:32 pm

Hahaha, well I started having kids kind of young, so I was on the slimmer side, but I’m sure you look fantastic, Meghan! ;)

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Meghan January 29, 2014 at 4:53 pm

I’ll text you nude selfies after I give birth ;)

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Niki January 29, 2014 at 2:10 pm

Now that my kid is 4, I try to take time each month to hang with my friends (kids-free).

What have you done / are going to do, Roo?

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Desiree January 29, 2014 at 2:25 pm

I don’t think that doing things to/for your body automatically means that you’re unhappy *with* your body. I don’t see the two as mutually exclusive. You could also say that showering is altering your natural state of being and by doing so, you’re thumbing your nose at your natural scent. I know that’s extreme, but it’s the same train of thought. Daily showers aren’t necessary to be healthy, yet there is nothing like stepping out of nice hot shower, hair freshly shampooed, smelling all good and just feeling so fresh and so clean clean (see what I did there?)

Additionally, just because you get a haircut or a boob job or get your teeth fixed, it doesn’t mean that any of those things define you. You can be satisfied and grateful for the body you have and just want to spruce it up and there’s nothing wrong with that, surgery included. Plus, these women did it for themselves; it’s not like someone came to them saying they were unworthy of breathing air unless they got a boob job, and they booked the next appointment they could get.

Our bodies are our temples and some might even say that all adornment is a way of honoring that sacred space. We’ve been decorating ourselves since the dawn of time, not because we’re dissatisfied with what we’ve been given. On the contrary, we’re so awesome that we want to douse ourselves in glitter and rainbows (read: get highlights, buy a new pair of earrings, wear red lipstick and yes, even get boob jobs) to show off what amazing creations we are, and by extension how amazing our Creator is.

Personally, I’m nine months pregnant with my second baby and I’m feeling rather whale-ish and there is magic in pedicures.

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Cheri @ Overactive Blogger January 29, 2014 at 3:28 pm

This post is really neat! I’m still a youngin, the only babies we have are fur babies for now, but I think it’s really interesting to hear about all these things these women do to invest in themselves after the babies grow up a little bit.

Personally, so many things about having kids scares me, and one of these things is the fact that I’m so afraid of losing myself. I love my mani pedis, I love my pets, and I LOVE to work out. Will I have time for the things I love after babies? What do you think?

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Ingrid January 29, 2014 at 5:11 pm

Yes, you will. Just remember to make time for it! I didn’t remember to do it for myself until after I had my 2nd. But it is completely possible!

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Lauren @ Faith and Macaroni January 30, 2014 at 12:32 am

You will not have the same time, but you will have some time, if that makes sense. I’ve got two giant dogs that I’ve been loving on since the 5 month old went down at 8:30. I started sewing when she was a month! I can only really work in 15 minute spurts during the day, but I love that it’s something that is totally me and all mine. I love my little girl more than I could have ever imagined. And things may have taken a major shift post-bebe. But I still have my own hobbies and my own identity too. I just make the time count! :) You will too.

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Ingrid January 29, 2014 at 5:12 pm

Last year, once my littlest was not so teeny anymore I trained for and ran a half marathon, started to get my hair did at the salon again (instead of doing it myself from a box), took a trip to Germany ALONE to visit my sister for a whole WEEK!, improved my photography enough to invest in a much better camera and start my own photography business, and was planning on getting my boobs fixed too. But then found out I was pregnant again. If we can swing it financially after baby #3, I am still planning on getting my girls perked back up and possibly my tummy tightened, depending on how I feel. I don’t think that getting anything “fixed” is anything to be ashamed of or judged. Every woman needs to do what makes her feel her best! If you want to go gray and natural more power to ya! Buuuuuut I feel MY most confident with my hair highlighted and some makeup on (though I don’t always do it because I value sleep over prep time in the morning!) and will feel more confident in my bathing suit and naked if I can do the surgery (and we live in FL so we are in swimsuits a lot) Taking pride in your appearance doesn’t make you vain, it is just doing something that makes you feel your best.

Desiree, I am right there with ya, 7 months pregnant and jonesin’ for a mani/pedi, haircut and highlight right now!

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Stacy January 29, 2014 at 6:14 pm

So important!! For me I begin my Invisalign treatment on Tuesday. At the end of the month I’m on my way to visit a friend somewhere warm! So excited for both!

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Amanda January 29, 2014 at 10:22 pm

Do you have to wait for your kids to be more grown for this? I have a little one and my plans for me don’t require me to travel (I wish though!) I am doing stuff for me in the little moments I have to myself… pedicures, crafting, photography :)

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Betty January 29, 2014 at 10:41 pm

I understand the people who are shocked at the number of surgeries listed – that was my initial reaction. That being said? There ARE other things on the list. And while I personally don’t feel like I’ll be getting surgery, never say never. This post made me sad, though. NOT because of what people have done for themselves but because of what I do NOT do for myself. I have a teenager, a pre-teen, and and early elementary kiddo. It’s been half a decade since I was pregnant, and my smallest has grown up enough.

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Betty January 29, 2014 at 10:48 pm

Grrr! Sorry – dog decided to walk on the laptop and hit submit before I was done! Anyway, my smallest has grown up enough that, in theory, I should have some ability to do for myself. But between work and the kids, I am going pretty much non-stop from 530 am to 9ish at night. And things don’t always even get done (two days of dishes piled in the sink, you KNOW I’m talkin’ to you!) I need to make time for myself. I know I do. But when I finally have a little time? I don’t WANT to spend my only hour or hour and a half exercising. I want my old body back, but after three kids it ain’t happening (interesting note: i didn’t appreciate just how well my body had bounced back from 2 kids until I had the third… in my mid-30s… and it just did NOT). And as much as I’d like to exercise, again I don’t do it. And at 9pm I am too damned tired to head out to a starbucks for some me time. I don’t get my hair done or my nails done or any of those things. i almost never buy clothes.

Hmmm… books? I read all the time. I don’t think that counts, though.

I don’t mean to be a downer. I’m sorry :-(
This is making me realize that i definitely need to do something just for me.

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K January 29, 2014 at 11:04 pm

I have to say, when I first started reading this, I was a little put off by the surgeries too. Only because it’s such a risk. If something goes wrong….your babies are left without a mommy because you did something that’s IMO drastic. I’d feel the same if a mother (or father!) said they were going sky diving. Something dangerous, just for a thrill. I don’t have any issue with wanting to look better, and if surgery is the only way to do it then that’s what you have to do. I just feel iffy about someone taking voluntary risks when it might leave their babies without a parent. That’s my two cents anyways :)

As for taking time for myself? Lol!!! I’m playing on Facebook! I have four children ages 1,2,3, and 6 (the 2 and 3yo have birthdays by mid march) and another due in august. So it’ll be a while before I get to do more than sneak myself a cookie once in a while. Although I have a goal for a garden this spring.

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Lauren @ Faith and Macaroni January 30, 2014 at 12:38 am

I still have a teeny babe. I hope that I get more teeny babes in the future. I don’t know what I’ll do when they’re in school or not completely reliant upon me for nourishment. But I’m happy to steal 15 minutes for myself when I can. I don’t know how I’ll feel about surgery for myself. After 1, I’m already certain that my body will never truly be the same. And I’m okay with that. But after a few more, God willing, I’ll see how I feel. As always Roo, thanks for the food for thought.

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Kelly {the Centsible Life} January 30, 2014 at 1:01 am

It’s interesting to me to see the reaction in the comments. In my teens and 20s I was very much against focusing on the external. I thought the idea of doing makeup, fashion, etc. was very superficial and based on our culture’s focus on how women should look instead of the content of their characters.

It wasn’t until I had my first daughter who has always been naturally obsessed with clothing and dressing up (seriously from the time she was 1 she would change her clothes multiple times a day) that I started to embrace and explore that side of myself. She took such joy in it-it had nothing to do with my presentation of the world to her-she just loved the way it made her feel.

I learned that what I wrote off was actually ME being superficial-by judging others for doing so without digging into why. I learned that dressing in a way that made me feel good and looked and fit well wasn’t about a standard of beauty (because I had washed myself of that as much as one can) but a way to take care of myself-a way to present myself to the world as ME. And in some ways I hid behind the guise of ‘not caring’ because it was easier than putting myself out there in the world.

I understand there is cultural pressure and acceptance based on looks that we can never truly erase-but I don’t focus on that around anyone.

In any case I went from being someone who would have never thought about doing makeup for fun or thought about surgery as an option until I had really examined my thoughts on those things and my own reasoning behind my gut reaction. I’ve not had surgery, but I know plenty of people who have for a variety of reasons and I would never judge them based on what they choose for themselves. If it makes them feel better-more power to them!

Judgment of others’ choices hold us back as women-the idea that we’re always supposed to be focused on others doesn’t allow us to be who we truly are. It’s funny because if you asked men the same question you’d get just as many ‘superficial’ sounding answers but we wouldn’t attach the same stigma to responses that have to do with taking care of themselves physically or managing their appearance.

When you’re talking about something that’s specifically for yourself I don’t think of reading books, volunteering, my career, parenting, my spouse, or even my friends and extended family–I think about the things I do that are only about me. The rest are things I care about/worry about/manage on a day to day basis. In the case of my family we balance what’s best for EVERYONE. So sometimes I take care of me and everyone else has to manage or maintain themselves so I can nurture myself.

That’s why I chose to mention travel when you asked-while a lot of other thoughts floated into my head I realized that was one thing that was just for me (usually-sometimes my husband can join me too).

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Steph Reiner January 30, 2014 at 10:27 am

Is judging the same as questioning? I think you had a good point about examining reasons behind reactions… I guess I’m curious to see what the reasons were behind wanting surgery because my gut reaction is to accept your body and the changes that happen – it’s part of being a mom. Let’s say when your daughter is 18, she wants to get surgery to change her nose or her breasts or whatever she thinks is “wrong” with her body. Because she’s your daughter, you think she’s beautiful and those things don’t need to be changed. So why does she have this other image in her mind of “the best her” that she wants to look like? I would hope that you’ve encouraged creativity with clothing and make-up but not to the point of making her feel like she NEEDS those things to be beautiful. I think, especially with our daughters, we have to encourage and remind and reinforce that they ARE beautiful, just the way they are and even if they’ve had 4 kids and things don’t look the way they used to, they are still beautiful!

Also, I think you could get superficial answers from men, but I highly doubt there’d be anyone who would answer “I needed/wanted surgery”. In fact, I think men in general are more apt to be content with their bodies (as long as they’re healthy) but that’s another rabbit trail and I can’t really speak for men so maybe Roo should poll more men?

For the record, I thought your idea of travel was one of the best ones! :) It seems like a little break to rest and recoup is just what a mom needs sometimes.

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Kelly {the Centsible Life} January 30, 2014 at 11:46 am

When I wrote about judgment I wasn’t thinking about what anyone said in the comments, honestly. I was more generally speaking. I think questioning it is a good thing-both in conversation with the person who made the decision to do so as well as your own feelings about the matter. I hope that makes sense.

As a mom of 4 I can firmly say things don’t look the way they used to ;) but I’ve learned to accept parts of that. Stretch marks I will never accept, but they’re there and in some ways I like that they tell a story-almost like a tattoo that signifies the birth of 4 kids.

I think it’s my job to talk to my daughters about what being the best them means and sharing how unrealistic some images we see are. In some ways it’s easier now because we know more about how photos and images are manipulated. I would hope that in everything we do they would think that kind of decision through throughly before they made it and talk it over with my husband and I. In the end though it would be her decision and I would support her choices because that’s what parents do. (even when it is hard)

It’s not as common for men to have surgery so the comparison isn’t exactly equal, but in general terms I think you’d have the same number of men say they started caring for their appearance. I don’t know if men are more content or if they aren’t as willing/encouraged to voice it as women. The comparison for me is when you compliment a man he’d likely say ‘thank you,’ (even if he had a negative response/reaction) while a woman would likely say something self depreciating instead of accepting the compliment for what it is. Most men I know are really tough on themselves-maybe because most are trying to be better than the examples they had growing up. The just don’t voice it as openly.

Thanks! It’s just nice to wake up when I want to and have no questions of eternal significance before 9am. ;)

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Katy January 30, 2014 at 9:30 am

My issue is not with women doing things to change their appearance–we all do that to some degree (although I don’t think anyone should feel like they “need” to be “fixed”).

My issue is with putting the idea out there that the best thing a woman can do to invest in herself is change her appearance (other than exercising and eating well to be healthy). Like it or not, women have to be more careful about the messages they put out there about themselves. We owe it to ourselves–and our daughters!!–to help dispel some of the stereotypes society portrays about women. We have SO much more to offer than the way we look–why wouldn’t we take every opportunity to let the world know that?

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Steph Reiner January 30, 2014 at 10:14 am

I don’t know if this is the same Katy that commented above, but I agree with your comment about offering more than the way we look. I think women as a whole should be embracing age as it comes but in our society, we feel like we need to do as much as possible to roll the clock back.

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Valerie January 30, 2014 at 10:37 am

I am not a mom, so please take my less than ½ of cent for what it’s worth. Pertaining specifically to the folks all up in the outward appearance convo…the way you view your body projects onto your children. From experience, my mom would constantly complain about her body and in turn I grew up staring at myself in the mirror picking out my flaws. I was a smart kid, and my parents let me know, often, that the content of my heart was more important than my outward appearance. I didn’t realize the impact of my mom’s degrading behavior toward herself until much later in life. If running a marathon makes you feel like a million bucks, AWESOME. Your kids will see that and love you for it. If reading the LOTR series makes you feel accomplished, AWESOME. Your kids will see that and love you for it. If you decide that going under the knife is right for you, and you in turn feel good about yourself, AWESOME. Your kids will see that and love you for it. The whole taking time FOR YOU is important, at all times in life, not just after kids. And for a little follow up…years ago, my mom got breast cancer, had a double mastectomy and reconstruction. The circumstances were less than desirable, but my mom looks incredible, and you know what else…she feels incredible and she doesn’t talk down to herself much anymore and she also ran a ½ marathon because she wanted to accomplish something FOR her. And she did. My point is that you do what you can with what you have and there is nothing wrong with that.

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Jamie M January 30, 2014 at 12:10 pm

I read this post as I was eating lunch by myself after having gone and got my hair done and face waxed in places I never dreamed of prior to having a baby. (Anyone else get way hairier??) I did some browsing around the mall then I hit up Target with a vanilla latte in hand. It was amazing and sooo deserved after all those snow days. I am in an intense program in grad school, have a six year old, a new husband and step-son and NEVER feel guilty about carving time out for myself. Besides those little things like shopping alone and going to the salon, giving myself permission to date and go back to school were huge things I did for myself when she was in school and life was more stable.

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Kelly {the Centsible Life} January 30, 2014 at 12:35 pm

What is it about getting older and hairier? I have to do above my lip now and never had that issue when I younger. NOT A FAN.

That sounds like an ideal break. I am trying to be patient this winter but between snow days and sick days I’m not getting much of a break.

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SRB January 30, 2014 at 3:32 pm

Someday, sooner than I think but O! so far away, I will have a whole hour to myself while one naps and the other is a pre-school. I will such things as dry my hair and eat sandwich!

In all seriousness, I would like to go back to work, but not what I was doing before. Or even before that. When I was first seriously considering becoming a SAHM, I met a woman on the streetcar with (her) #3 strapped to her back. She asked me if I was staying home, which I found interesting because everyone else asked when I was going back to work. I word-vomited all my concerns all over her, but I will never forget her response: “You had your first career, and now your babies are your second career. And then, you can have your thirst career and it can be anything you want.” So I am going to invest in *myself* by going for that third career. This will involve a great deal of learning, perhaps even going back to school, but if we can manage it financially (somehow) why not? I want to keep doing what I love, but working not live, not living to work.

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Catherine January 30, 2014 at 5:55 pm

A daily shower – I haven’t quite gotten there yet! Although when my mom was in town this week, I let her stay with my daughter after she fell asleep. I went to the gym and watched a full hour of uninterrupted TV while I was on the elliptical. It felt bizarre but oh. so. good!

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Chrissy January 30, 2014 at 6:50 pm

Three big babies….yeah, my tummy skin is wrecked. It is very pitiful looking, I have skin integrity issues…which means I have raw spots that come and go and put me at a real risk of nasty infections and I have nerve damage resulting in spasms. Not fun. I have medical reasons for a surgery….but I haven’t quite gotten myself up to doing it for two reasons. A) even though we could pay for it…it is very expensive and I am not comfortable spending that much for something so…vague. My tummy doesn’t bother me that much, it is just uncomfortable sometimes. Mostly I forget about it. B) there is a risk of death and other drama with any major surgery, which it is, and I cannot reconcile myself to that risk yet. I have so much to cherish and so many that need me…it terrifies me to risk myself. I will sing a different tune if I develop MRSA, of course…..

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Roo January 30, 2014 at 10:27 pm

Totally battled MRSA something fierce for a solid year. I feel you.

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Elizabeth January 31, 2014 at 12:27 pm

Fiourteen months after our preemie girl was born (so June 2013), I began training for my first full marathon. I struggled with feeling terribly guilty about this because my husband and I were both still working full-time at that time (It took me forever to find something in my field that offered fewer hours!) and my husband is an elite cyclist. But ultimately, I was motivated by the desire for my daughter to view me as a strong, healthy woman who cares for her body. My mom is a wonderful, wonderful person, but she doesn’t particularly like physical activity. That’s not the end-all, be-all, but it’s something that I missed growing up and want to provide that example for my daughter, as well as give me an outlet.

This year, I’m taking care of myself by having a better work-life balance, have recently obtained my wellness coaching certification and am about to embark on post-partum doula training, both of which will help make my community healthier (I hope).

On a lighter level, I love being creative enough in my style to make me distinctive, finding fantastic clothes and accessories at ridiculously low prices, and reading as many books as my sleepy eyes will allow for these days.

What did I do with the free time before my daughter?!

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