By Patricia Gonzalez
“You look like such a mom now,” I’ve been told…more times than I can count since the birth of my first born 2 years go. This comment is usually triggered by a particular type of outfit or a new haircut…and no matter how good I am feeling about myself that day, I think twice about whether or not I should take this as an insult or a compliment. I feel flashes of irritation as I smile in response to a remark I can’t really even fathom.
“You look like such a mom now.” What does that even mean, anyway?
Does it mean that I have put on weight? That I look tired? That my clothes look like they belong in the gym or at home? That I am letting myself go? That I have aged?
Yes, all those things may be true…at one point or another on this day, week, or month.
Maybe I haven’t had the time (or my doctor’s permission) to go back to the gym. Maybe I haven’t slept all night…because I am struggling with sleep training and my baby is a night owl. Maybe my clothes do belong in the gym or at home, but I neither have had the time or the energy to pull on a nice dress and fix my hair today.
Maybe I am letting myself go…because isn’t that a part of what it means to be a mom anyway?
To give myself up–my skinny muscular body, my fresh and perfectly made up face, my stylish figure hugging dresses–to clothe, feed, and nurture my child?
This isn’t a self-pitying martyr’s plea for attention and understanding. This is a mom just getting real.
If I had the time (and the courage) to say exactly what was on my mind for each opportunity I was given to respond this comment, this is probably what I would say, to someone who tells me “you look like such a mom now!”
Hey, thank you!
Thank you for acknowledging this amazing and beautiful and miraculous privilege that I have been given to use my body as a vessel for life.
Thank you for noticing that what I have achieved in the last few months….during my difficult pregnancy and during my highly dramatic delivery…is more than I ever thought was humanly possible.
Thank you for noticing that I have grown. That my limits as a woman have been tested, and now broken.
Thank you for noticing that I am now more confident, more serene, and more secure, now that my priorities have shifted and that I no longer sweat the small stuff.
Thank you for seeing the new me. The real me.
The me that I’ve been waiting to meet all my life.
Thank you for your words of encouragement and empowerment.
I “look like a mom” because I am, and I will never look, feel, or be the same because of it.
Cheers to that!
Patricia Gonzalez is MOMCENTER’s Editor. She has two adorable daughters–ages 1 and 2, and is married to a man who inspires her to be a better woman everyday.
She is a woman on a mission, and believes that motherhood is not limiting, but empowering. Join her on her journey by following her on instagram at @patriciaogonzalez.