Qualifications of a Real Mother

A girlfriend of mine recently shared with me that someone told her she wasn’t a “real mom” because she didn’t have any stretch marks. Let that sink in. I saw this image a few days ago and it reminded me of what she told me. I read the image over and over, realizing that it actually kind of annoyed me. Does this image mean that those not bearing stretch marks didn’t earn being a mother? They still carried their baby for 40 weeks (give or take), gave birth (vaginally or by cesarean section) and are now taking care of their baby (or babies). It’s unfair and downright insulting to say that something as trivial as stretch marks is what would disqualify a woman from being considered a “real mom”. 

Apparently another thing that puts you in the “unfit mother” category is, ironically, being a fit mom. Now, I just want to say right now, this is coming from someone who does have stretch marks and is still far off from their pre-pregnancy weight, so don’t think I’m being biased. If you read my last blog post “The Right Way to Be a Mom”, you’ll know that I covered a little bit of mom shaming. I guess you could call this part two. I’ve been reading through blogs, articles and social media comments and I’ve come to realize that “fit moms” are a real hot button issue. 

I’m discovering that many mothers find “fit moms” to be annoying, conceited and boastful. At the bottom of this blog, I will attach a link to a blog that I read entitled “Skinny Moms, I Have A Problem With You”. In my opinion, it basically sounds like a hate speech towards mothers with slender figures. In other articles and blogs it seems that a lot of women share the opinion that if you don’t put on weight during your pregnancy, you’re not getting the whole “real mom” experience. 

I find a lot of problems with this. In the blog I specifically mentioned, the author seems to be angered by the fact that some women are given good genes that allow them to quickly bounce back to their pre-pregnancy figures. To me, that’s equivalent to being mad at someone for having blue eyes. You’re going to get heated at someone for their genes? How absolutely absurd! That’s something that is not within their control. It appeared that she was saying she was more annoyed at women lying about how they got their bodies back. I have to wonder though, if someone answered, “I’m just really lucky and have good genes”, would that have offended her any less? I find that hard to believe. 

There are also a great deal of women who work very hard to maintain a healthy lifestyle; consistently eating healthy and working out before, during and after pregnancy. I don’t believe it’s very fair to shame these women just because they choose to work hard at maintaining their figure. One of my favorite Instagram pages belongs to Australian mommy of two, Tammy Hembrow. She is an inspirational fitness mogul that has bounced back in an almost unbelievable way, but she worked out and ate healthy before and through her pregnancy, so it’s not too much of a surprise. As jealous as I am, it’s hard not to admire her too! 

I think her caption said she was close to 37 weeks here. 

This post is three weeks postpartum. Can you believe it?! Three weeks! It just goes to show what an impact living a healthy lifestyle can have on your body. Now I’ve read in some of the blogs and on social media that women who don’t immediately bounce back are tired of being shamed. But I have to say, I am not seeing this on social media in nearly the same numbers that I see it on “fit moms” posts. Let’s remember “do unto others as you would have them do unto you”. So if you don’t want to be ridiculed for your body, don’t do it to someone else. It’s unnecessary and just mean. And to say that women aren’t “real moms” or aren’t experiencing “real motherhood” because of their bodies is egregious. No matter what your postpartum body may be, you are undeniably beautiful. You have grown another life inside you and are now caring for another human being. Take it easy on yourself! Remind yourself of how beautiful you are everyday and do whatever you need to do to feel better about yourself… and I don’t mean shaming other women either; that shouldn’t make you feel better.

My personal journey hasn’t been easy. I was very fit before I got pregnant. I put on about 60 pounds through my pregnancy, even though I usually ate healthy. I pretty much gave up on exercising at around seven months, besides walking. I honestly kind of assumed that the weight would melt off. In the first month, I lost about 35 pounds. But mind you that includes the weight of my baby (nine and a half pounds), the amniotic sac, water retention, etc., so I was still left with quite a bit of flab. After my six week follow up appointment, I was given the okay to work out again. About a week into getting back into fitness, I had an emergency laparoscopic appendectomy. It’s a minimally invasive surgery to get your appendix removed, but I was put on strict resting orders for a month. I wasn’t even allowed to pick up my daughter for two weeks because she was considered too heavy (13 pounds at the time). So, I basically held off from working out until after Christmas. Since then I’ve been working hard to get back in shape. I have about 15-20 pounds to go to be at my normal/ideal size. One thing I remind myself of is that my body isn’t going to be exactly the same as it was before, and that’s okay. The goal is to feel healthy and fit, not skinny. As for seeing moms that bounce back, fit moms, or fit women in general, I look at them as my inspiration. Yes, of course I’m jealous. But I use that jealousy as motivation. I don’t use it as ammunition to spew hatred; that’s honestly kind of pathetic. 

Ready to pop! I think I was about 39 weeks here. I got huge! 

The photo on the left was me before I was pregnant. The photo on the right was taken on January 2nd, three months postpartum. I have a lot of work ahead of me but I’m excited. I’m sharing this hesitantly, as I’m honestly quite a vain person. But I wanted to show those of you reading this that I’m really not being biased. I really do envy moms that quickly  look like they weren’t just pregnant. That being said, I would never discredit a woman from being a mom just because I was jealous.

The next topic I’m going to go over is feeding. I’ve witnessed it in person, on social media and in articles/blogs: degrading mothers that feed their babies formula. If you’re a mother, I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase “breast is best”. I feel like the second I shared my pregnancy, this phrase was drilled into my brain. I got it from my doctor(s), employees from WIC, even random strangers! It made me feel like I better be able to produce milk or I’m a bad mother. Honestly, what kind of shit is that? With all the stresses pregnant women face, why also make them feel like they have to live up to some standard that isn’t necessarily within their control? I know so many mothers that really want to breastfeed their children, and for whatever reason, they physically can’t. That being said, women that end up feeding their children formula are no less a mother than women who breastfeed. I have to say, to those of you who believe feeding babies formula excludes a woman from being a “real mom”, you’ve got a really warped sense of judgment. 

Mothers that feed their babies formula are just that- mothers.

Another partial opinion that rules out a woman from being a “real mom” is the way they deliver a baby. Now to me, this is just beyond screwed up. Some women actually believe that getting a cesarean section is “taking the easy way out” and doesn’t allow them to feel the real experience of becoming a mother. Bitch how?! Pardon my French, but I just find it hard to fathom that a large quantity of women feel this way. If anything, I give more credit to women that do have C-sections! I mean, after all, it is major surgery. The healing process is lengthier and more difficult than vaginal birth and I don’t think there’s anything “easy” about that. I have to wonder what these people think about adoptive mothers? I mean, they don’t carry the adopted child at all, nor give birth to them. Does that make them any less of a mother? No. 

This was a post on the Facebook page called “Disciples of the New Dawn”. This page is known to share the outlandish and masochistic beliefs of Father Patrick Embry. I find this post to be absolutely vile. What I find even worse, though, is the amount of people, including women, that agreed. Get it through your head, mothers are mothers, and neither side is “superior”, and they all earned respect.

The last issue I’m going to weigh on is one that I can’t help but laugh at. The ridiculousness of it actually had me in disbelief that this was even a real controversy. But apparently, mothers are being claimed to be abnormal and have unrealistic standards if they maintain a clean home. Yes, this is a real beef. I mean honestly, how fucking petty are we going to get? In a blog that I read (which I will leave a link to at the end) a woman claims she can’t decide whether to “deck or laugh at” a woman that claims to have a dirty house, but apparently is not dirty enough for her. Really? Why would you want to hit someone for such an unimportant reason? She was stating that it bothered her when women exaggerated and claimed their house to be a mess, but it wasn’t; rather, it was fairly clean. But why does she think gets to judge how “dirty” someplace is? I mean, isn’t that really a matter of opinion? She seems to think that having crumbs, laundry and toys scattered about is what qualifies as “normal” and “dirty”. I know some people that only have a few dishes in the sink and think their house is a mess. I don’t think that’s dirty but that’s just my opinion. To that person, that’s what they view as a mess or as dirty, and I’m not going to tell them they’re abnormal for having different clean standards than me. Mothers that make the time, or make it a priority to clean their house shouldn’t be exempt from being considered a “real mom” just because your standards are different. All in all, whether you have a spotless home or a craft, laundry and toy covered home, you’re still a mom. You are all normal. Stop shaming each other for being either way. 

To me, this is what defines a real mother: A woman (or man; sometimes Dad is both) that loves their children unconditionally. That will do everything in their power to protect their babies from harm. That will always put their children above and before anything or anyone, including themselves. A person that will support and be there for theirs no matter what. That’s what makes a real mother. Being a birth mother doesn’t even make you a real mom. It’s the selflessness, care and love you give to your children that makes you a real mother. So enough of this petty shaming bullshit. Get back to the basics and understand what makes a “real mom”. 

The Love of My Life 💕

The links of the other blogs I promised to share if you care to look! 




The Right Way to Be a Mother

Okay, yes, I tried to pull you in with a catchy title. Frankly, though, there are way too many women that think their manner of parenting is the only way to go. When I became a mother, I assumed my social circle would open up to a new audience of fellow moms. While that has happened, it has also come with not-so-supportive, but rather, quick-to-judge mothers. 

“Hatin”… a tale as old as time.

It’s an unfortunate fact that women are constantly in competition with one another, which is really a bummer. I wish we lived in a world where supporting your fellow female was more common. And I have to say, social media has only made me realize just how bad the lack of support for each other is. To be fair, I’ve observed people coming together as well, but on the day to day I certainly see more malevolence. Anyway, I can’t help but notice some really horrible,nasty comments that women leave on other women’s photos. And for what? I often see that one user will call another out, basically asking what I’m always thinking, which is, “if you hate this/this person so much, why are you on their page? Why are you taking time out of your (clearly superior) life to judge this person’s post?” The answer (if they provide one) is almost always, “Because I can give my opinion”. Okay, granted, social media is/can be a public outlet, so you are putting yourself out there and have to take the bad with the good. But I really have to wonder, what satisfaction do these “internet trolls” get out of leaving comments like “Hoe”, “Fat” or “Fake”? Is it the age old reason of making fun of someone else makes them feel better about themselves? I honestly find it baffling. Anyone who knows me knows that there are plenty of celebrities or social media pages that I can’t stand. You know what I do about it? Nothing. I don’t waste my time trolling those pages. That’s exactly what it is; a waste of time. 

To get back to the point, what I’ve noticed in particular on social media is celebrity moms fighting back, which I love. Moms like Chrissy Teigen and Hilary Duff are standing up for their actions as a mother. Truthfully, I can’t believe they even have to though. I’m not one that follows a lot of celebrity gossip, but I know that Chrissy received grief from “fans” from the way she was holding her baby all the way to her makeup/fragrance giving her baby daughter eczema on her cheeks. 

This is why I love Chrissy Teigen.

Chrissy is not shy about retorting to anyone who judges her and her abilities as a mother, which I adore. And the most recent story I heard about was in regards to a photo Hilary Duff had posted on her Instagram of her and her son at Disneyland. A friend shared the story

Hilary Duff’s Instagram post that “disgusted” so many people.

on Facebook, and it revealed that Hilary had received an immense amount of negative comments over the photo. Apparently people felt the need to tell her that it was perverse to give her son a kiss on the mouth. Some comments went so far as to call her a “pedophile”, which is probably one of the absolute worst things you could call a mom, or parent for that matter (that is innocent, obviously). Hilary later posted, “For anyone commenting that a kiss on the lips with my four year old is ‘inappropriate’ go ahead and click a quick unfollow with your warped minds and judgement” in response to all the hate. I say good for Hilary. There’s nothing wrong with her showing love to her son. What I do find wrong is people, primarily women (including fellow mothers), spewing hate at her. Yes, it’s the public internet, and yes, she’s a public figure, but does that really mean she deserved to be attacked? I don’t think so.  

Something else that has recently gained popularity on social media is bashing breastfeeding mothers. I’ve seen comments like “Disgusting”, “Put that away”, “Sick”, “Why don’t you just cover yourself?”, “You just want attention” and yes, even “Slut”. 

Now I’ll admit, even I was a little skeptical of the whole “let’s post a picture of me breastfeeding”. I was definitely more of a skeptic while I was still pregnant. I remember I had heard about a photo Gisele Bundchen posted of her breastfeeding and I thought it was weird, but not a big deal. Since then multiple celebrities and women alike have been posting photos of themselves breastfeeding. The hashtags #normalizebreastfeeding and #treeoflife have gone viral. I definitely enjoy seeing this because it shows that there are still millions of women out there that stand together against the hate. 

Instagram celebrity and fitness mogul Tammy Hembrow (a fellow mother who’s page I adore) joining in taking a stand against people who bash breastfeeding mothers. 

Now I mentioned earlier that I was a skeptic of the whole “let’s post a breastfeeding photo”. I found it a little… unnecessary. But after reading through multiple comments of hate and articles of women being verbally assaulted in public,  I started changing my tune. Let’s just say before I was pregnant or ever planned on having children, I was always a little surprised when I saw someone breastfeeding in public. But never in a million years did I judge the mom, or stare, or make a rude statement. It was just something I simply wasn’t used to seeing so when I did, it just surprised me. Now, when I became pregnant I knew I would breastfeed. I always figured if I was out I would just use a cover. It didn’t (and obviously still doesn’t) bother me that other moms openly breastfed (with no cover), I just figured maybe I was a little more shy. It didn’t take me long to discover that many moms feed openly for reasons that have nothing to do with modesty. Allow me to share my personal experience of the first time I publicly breastfed my daughter. 

When my daughter was about a month and a half, she, my boyfriend Chad, and I went to the Emergency Room for some severe pain I was having in my back and side. We later found out I had appendicitis, but that’s a story for another time. Anyway, I hesitated on going because Athena was so young and I was terrified of taking her to the chamber of plagues (the ER). Being that she was exclusively breastfed, though, we brought her and entered what looked like a zombie apocalypse broke out. Not kidding. It was packed! What I thought was going to be a few hours turned into us waiting for nine hours until I was finally seen. Anyway, about two hours in of us being there, Athena had a crazy blowout. I was so paranoid and disgusted by the amount of germs in the ER there was no way I was changing Athena in the bathroom, so Chad took her out to the car (which was parked a few blocks away because it was so crowded) to change her. Now normally I am ultra prepared and bring extra blankets, outfits, socks; you name it, I pack five of it. Given that we rushed to the ER, though, I wasn’t really thinking clearly and Chad was left to work with what was already packed in the diaper bag. Now I mentioned she had a blowout, and it was really messy. For those of you that don’t know what a “blowout” is, it’s when your baby decides to take a humongous poop that is so massive, it leaks out of the diaper, getting onto her clothes, and basically anything around. Anyway, there was poop everywhere; on her clothes, the blankets we brought, everywhere! That included the blanket I planned to use to cover myself to feed her. 

When Chad and Athena came back from the car, my poor little pumpkin was ready to eat. The first time she ate I actually found a secluded, shady little area for her and I outside. Now, remember I said we waited for about nine hours? Well, she obviously ate a few times in that duration. The next time she wanted to eat, a couple hours later, it was dark outside and it was cold. I knew at that moment I was going to have to just feed her in front of everyone. It was also in that moment I realized that maybe it wasn’t my “modesty” that made me not want to ever feed my daughter in front of people. It was judgement I was afraid of. I didn’t want to be attacked the way I’d seen countless other moms get bombarded. But you know what? My daughter was hungry and I didn’t have any blankets. And my daughter isn’t going to starve because I’m worried about what some self-righteous asshole thinks of me. My daughter absolutely comes first. 

The #treeoflife hashtag has recently been featuring art created by mothers to demonstrate the importance and beauty of breastfeeding your baby.
So, I whipped it out and I fed my daughter. I pretty much got three reactions. People who didn’t notice because they were into their own problems, people who were not-so-inconspicuously glancing over with darting eyes and people who gave me dirty looks. There was one woman in particular that I came very close to saying something to. She was older, probably around 60. She just glared at me in absolute abhorrence. Anyone who knows me well would be proud of me for not losing my shit on her. The only thing that stopped her from staring was when I loudly said to Chad, “Stand in front of me since this old lady has a problem with me feeding my daughter”. After that she looked away, hopefully feeling sheepish. The whole point of me saying that wasn’t even for Chad to stand in front of me. I didn’t feel the need to do her any favors, I just wanted to call her out. 

After this happened, it clicked. Women should post photos of themselves breastfeeding. You know why? To say a big “Fuck You” and “We won’t conform to your ideologies of what you think good parenting is”. Sure, it might be an immature concept. But who the hell do people think they are to shame a mother’s ability to parent. Unless the child is being harmed in any kind of way, mind your own business! You don’t get to decide what the right way to parent is. And you sure as hell don’t hold the authority to tell someone else what you think is correct. 

There are plenty of parenting styles I don’t agree with. There’s an abundance of things I see parents doing or allowing their children to do that is just appalling to me. But I don’t stare or say anything. There’s things I see on social media regarding parenting I don’t agree with, but I don’t leave comments, and here’s why:

1) Because I don’t really care about strangers’ children (unless I can see they’re in any type of harm).

2) Just because it’s not my way doesn’t mean it’s wrong.

3) I don’t know everything, nor the reason(s) behind actions.

4) It’s a waste of my time to judge what someone else does with their life.

5) The best reason of all, it’s none of my damn business! 

The solution is very simple folks. If you see something or someone, in public or online, that you don’t like, you can simply look away. That’s all there is to it. You don’t have to waste any of your precious time or breath on them. You can just ignore it! Isn’t that awesome? 

The “right” way to be a mother is to worry about your own children, not crucify others for how they raise theirs. 

Common Courtesy Tips When Approaching The Pregnant Female

Every woman’s journey through pregnancy is different. I think the one thing we can all agree on, though, is that there are certain things you just don’t say to an expecting mother. Before I list them, though, I’ll add that I’m not speaking on behalf of all pregnant women. I’m merely speaking on my own personal experience, and the experiences of other expecting moms I know. 

I believe I was about four months along here. So, needless to say, I was showing a bump very early on. I also may have just eaten. 
So for those of you who know (or even who don’t know) someone pregnant, here’s some guidelines. Maybe these comments or questions wouldn’t offend the expecting mother, but it might be in your best interest to learn some basic common courtesy 😉.

1) “You’re so big!” and on the opposite end of the spectrum, “You’re not even showing!”. I think “You’re so big” is offensive for obvious reasons. No woman, anywhere, ever wants to be told they look big. Now you’d think most people are smart enough not to say the “F” word to a pregnant woman, but sadly, this is not true. That’s right. Believe it or not, some people think calling their pregnant friend or relative “fat” or “fatty” is a term of endearment. Well, it’s not. It’s always offensive. Always. So don’t. Don’t call a pregnant woman big, fat, large, obtuse, none of it. Also, don’t ask a pregnant woman if they’re sure they’re just having one. I can’t tell you how many times people thought it was funny to ask if I was having twins. A couple girls I know got asked if they were having triplets. I can’t believe people have the balls to say this to a hormonal pregnant woman!     

My response to constantly being asked if I was having twins 😂                                      

Now I also said don’t say “You’re not even showing”. Believe it or not, this can be offensive too. Pregnancy is such a celebratory, sometimes even miraculous time for women. Some women have been through some trying times just to have a baby. Regardless of the background, most women want to bask in the positive attention and the feeling of pregnancy. Some women want their belly admired. And saying things like “You’re not even showing” or “are you really pregnant?” can not only offend an expecting mom, it can put her down.

It’s my recommendation that you just stay away from comments regarding size, and just give compliments like “You’re stunning” and “You’re beautiful”. Every woman enjoys hearing that.

2) This is sort of a continuation of number one. “You look ready to drop!” or “Are you going to give birth right now?” Believe it or not, we are very aware of our size. As long as our belly makes us incapable of seeing our feet, we are aware that we are little planets walking around. I actually started hearing this question when I was around seven months. Being that I still had a ways to grow, this question/comment really got under my skin. I’d get it from strangers constantly. I never found it funny, but always insulting. 

3) This is another one that somewhat discusses size. The size of certain body parts during pregnancy. Personally, I found it kind of funny how much I’d swell up sometimes. My nose and face swelled up the last couple months. My ankles swelled up when I didn’t drink enough water, if it was really hot or if I had been on my feet for a good period of the day. My feet swelled up pretty much from five months on, maybe even earlier. And although I found it comical, not every woman is going to find it so laughable. So comments like “Your face is so swollen!” or “Oh my gosh, look at your kankles!” are better left unsaid. 

4) This is another question/comment that I personally dealt with a lot and it irritated me to no end: “When are you going to have another one?”. Other variations of this question varied as (but not limited to): “You should have your next one right away, so they’re close in age”, “When are you going to give Chad a boy?”, “You should just get pregnant again, right after, to get it out of the way”. There’s a lot of ways to ask that question/make that comment, and all of them are annoying. Especially to first time mothers. It was particularly bothersome coming from someone who’d never been pregnant/had children. Let’s just say that even for women who have easy pregnancies, being pregnant isn’t easy. After you’ve been pregnant for nine months, delivered a baby and healed for what takes about two months, then come talk to me. Until then please keep your bright ideas to yourself.

I’m sure I’m not the only one with a daughter that has dealt with a bit of pressure to give their spouse a boy; in fact, I know I’m not. I wasn’t aware my boyfriend was King Henry VIII and I had to bear him a son for the throne. No. I love my daughter and so does he. It’s very rude to insinuate that a girl isn’t good enough. A mother I know told me someone apologized to her husband after finding out they were having a daughter instead of a son. Really? Really? Things like this is one of the reasons I’m writing this blog. If for some reason you’re stuck in The Middle Ages and don’t think a girl measures up, please try your best to keep your mouth shut. 

Overall, in this situation, if you must comment, why not try,”Do you plan on having more kids someday?” and whatever they reply, smile and nod. Please refrain from offering your opinion of when you think they should have kids. 

Now, on the other side of the coin, there are mothers who have a couple kids and are expecting another. Some people like having bigger families and there’s nothing wrong with that. What there is something wrong with is people having the nerve to say something like “You’re having another one?”. Instead, try something like “Congratulations, you have a beautiful family”.

I know most people don’t say stupid things to pregnant women with bad intent, but what I do know for sure is it’s really nobody’s business how many kids someone has or wants to have. Please do not offer your unsolicited opinions to others on how to live their personal lives. I guarantee that’s much more appreciated than pressuring questions or comments. 

5) “Do you have any names picked out?” Actually, this question isn’t so much the bothersome part as the follow up questions/replies can be. Personally, my boyfriend and I had our names picked before we knew the gender. We always knew it would be Athena (after the Greek goddess of wisdom and reason) for a girl or Ares (after the Greek god of war) for a boy. So when people asked, we were happy to share our name decisions; we really love those names! Anyway, there were times people would respond with really snide remarks. We got “Wow really into the Greek mythology huh?”… well yes, considering my boyfriend is Greek and we wanted names with meaning. When we found out we would be having Athena and I’d share her name, we got a lot of eye rolls and scoffs, which really pissed me off. Apparently her name is too “fancy”. Well so what if it is! You asked so don’t be an asshole when I decide to share with you. Now, when people see her out and ask her name 8/10 times we still get that reaction and it really makes my blood boil. I’m sorry her name isn’t basic enough for you 🙄. Now that’s just my story, but unfortunately I know a lot of other women who have dealt with this. Here’s the thing, if you ask, please try not to have such an unfavorable reaction. Furthermore, please don’t offer your opinions on what you think someone else’s child’s name should be.

In relation to this topic, some people may not have names picked yet or don’t want to share them until the baby arrives. This also needs to be respected. It’s unlikely that mothers want to hear your suggestions of baby names if they do not yet have ideas. But if they do, they’ll ask! Now, for those that don’t want to share the name until later, it’s important to respect the mother’s wishes. If they want to talk about it they will. In the meantime, quit asking and pestering. And if they do decide to share, remember to mind your reaction.      

This is just a random picture I found on Google, but I feel it demonstrates the point. 

6) This is more of an action than a comment or question. But please, please, don’t touch a pregnant woman’s belly without asking! I can’t believe I have to say that but this is actually a very common occurrence. It never happened to me, but I’m pretty sure my “resting bitch face” gave off the “don’t you dare” vibe. I braced for the day though. I know a lot of women this has happened to so I was just waiting for the day someone was brave enough to try it. The only time it got close was when one of my boyfriend’s female coworkers started to go for it, quickly retracted, then asked if it was okay. And because she was so respectful about it, I didn’t mind at all. This one is really simple; just ask. Especially if you don’t know the expecting mother! 

I’ll leave it at that for now. Just some common courtesy to remember for those that know (or don’t know) a pregnant woman. Again, I’m not speaking for all pregnant women, but I know enough mothers to know these are some of the more aggravating events that they (and I) dealt with. Expecting mothers are beautiful, extremely hormonal creatures. Don’t cross them.