Posted in Postpartum body

Postpartum Body Image: Guest Post

I read this post this morning from Ashley of Taylor-made Mama and I knew I had to share it with you guys!

I am all about embracing and loving your postpartum body. This is a trend I hope continues to grow. Thank you for allowing me to share, Ashley! We think you are beautiful as well!

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Have you lost all the weight you gained during pregnancy, or maybe none at all? Maybe you’ve even gained a few extra pounds? Is your skin looser, your belly softer? What about stretch marks? Are your muscles less defined? How about finding cellulite in places you don’t remember having it? Do you wake with heavy, dark-rimmed eyes from lack of sleep?

Well, I have something to tell you and I want you to really hear it – you are BEAUTIFUL.

Society puts so much expectation and value on “getting your body back” or keeping up with a certain standard of postpartum put-togetherness. But the truth is that your post baby body and self really is beautiful, in the very truest sense of the word.

When you get down onto the floor to play and interact with your little one even though your knees and back ache, you are beautiful.

When you wake in the middle of the night – eyes half closed in delirium – to nurse or warm a bottle for your sweet baby, you are beautiful.

When you hold your little one after they’ve fallen asleep until your arms ache and burn, just so you can savor the closeness for even a few minutes longer, you are beautiful.

When leggings are all that fits comfortably over your new, softer shape  as you ready yourself in the morning for your 24/7 shift of mommyhood, you are beautiful.

When the muscle you worked so hard to build has dwindled away, but the extra hours you once spent lifting in the gym are now spent lifting and nurturing your babe, you are beautiful.

When you sacrifice your sleep, your time, your figure, your career, and even your sanity sometimes, all for the benefit of that precious gift you’ve been given, you are so very beautiful.

You held and sustained a life within you for 9+ months, and you give your all to nurture that same life now. Eventually the weight will come off, the bags under your eyes will lighten up as you’re able to get more sleep, the stretch marks will fade, and some day {when your little one isn’t so demanding} you’ll have the time to “get your body back” if you choose to. You may also decide that goal is not as important as you thought it would be, if at all.

You are a different woman now; you’ve changed from the inside out, just as your body has. You are more compassionate toward yourself and able to see more clearly what really matters. You appreciate what your body was able to accomplish and are in love with the product of your labor {literally}. Your priorities and perspectives have shifted and you know in your bones that you are beautiful just as you are, physical reminders and all. If you can’t feel this right now, allow yourself to start to. It’s the truth and a foundation for confidence worth cultivating.

You are beautiful, Mama. Believe it.

XO,

Ashley

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Can You Stop Wishing for your Pre-Baby Body After Having a Baby?

Every time I hear the term pre-baby body, I shudder a bit. Mostly because it’s usually a mom saying something to the effect of “wow, I really wish I could get my pre-baby body back.”

Honey, I feel you. I loved my pre-baby body. My boobs were perky, I had zero stretch marks and my hips weren’t as big as the landing zone for a commercial airliner.

Here’s the thing though, I have had two kids. My pre-baby body is never going to return. I can exercise and get back to that pre-baby weight, but that body is gone. Just like my virginity is long lost and I am officially a married woman. Sure, I can un-marry, but I will still have been married at one point, just as I have had a baby. There are just some things you cannot change. Also, I would rather be married.

It seems that as women when we are comparing ourselves we assume there are other moms who have been unscathed by the birth of their children, but that just is not true. We are all affected. Yes, there are some that are less minor, maybe your friend doesn’t have stretch marks, but we have all been changed.

Embracing those changes are what makes motherhood very difficult. Along with our new bodies we also have a new person to care for. A person who depends on us entirely for their life. Without us, they cannot survive. That knowledge, in and of itself, is absolutely terrifying. When my mother left after a week of helping me with my first newborn, I bawled. I was so unsure of what to do. How in the world was I going to keep this precious baby alive and thriving and not mess him up? I had no idea. Honestly, I still do not know. I am certain I am making mistakes, but I am trying my best.

Now, add the weight-no pun intended-of your own body. Most of us are frustrated by all the changes motherhood has caused and facing our own bodies is one of these dreaded changes. My plea to you is to embrace these changes and give yourself a break.

I am going to estimate that at one point in their lives most women have tried a diet. I know I have. Most mothers jump on this diet train after having a baby, they are entirely certain that if they hit that pre-baby number all will be well in the world. I can tell you right now, none of that is true. You can weigh a certain number and still be unhappy, happiness stems from you, your mind and your surroundings. If you are being told you need to lose weight to feel better, you will probably believe it. This is what society tries to tell you, this is what your weight loss group (that you are paying) is trying to tell you. DO NOT LISTEN TO THEM.

I am the happiest I have ever been; I am also the fattest I have ever been. I am happy because I have let go of society’s judgement. I am doing what makes me happy and I have a wonderful support system who does not measure me by my weight or looks.

My challenge to you is to join me in loving your post-baby body. I have literally created a 30 Day Challenge to help you love yourself. You can find the link to the beginning here.

I hope you know you are loved, you are worthy of love, no matter what your size and I hope you can begin to love yourself as well! And, let’s stop wishing for our pre-baby bodies, because our bodies now, rock!!

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LYPBB Challenge Day 19: Write Down Your Goals

Did everyone have fun with their kids yesterday? I definitely did! The littlest one decided to have an attitude all afternoon, but we were still able to have a good time. My older son loves to play on the computer at the library and chose all of his favorite books.

Today’s LYPBB challenge is to write down your goals. After having kids, I found myself a little lost. There was still so many things I wanted to do, but I just wasn’t sure how to do this. When my eldest was about two, and I finally felt like I had a handle on motherhood, I started to write my bucket list. As I wrote items down, I also crossed a few off. One of the things I really wanted to do was become a model. I am fairly tall and always used to hear, “Omg, you’re so tall–you should be a model!” I had many other goals, but this was a big one. I used to watch America’s Next Top Model obsessively.

So, I set out to become a model. I did a few photo shoots, for free, just to practice, and guess what? Modeling is so not for me! The only reason the idea was thrown into my head was because so many people had put it there. I was not a natural in front of the camera, I hated the stupid poses and was so focused on my looks all the time, it was unnatural. However, I am glad I gave it a shot! If I had never tried, I would have never known and probably always wondered. Also, walking on a catwalk sounds like an absolute nightmare. Some people love modeling, and I hope those who do can pursue this; it is just not my thing.

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Here is one of my modeling pics. Why am I so angry, and what the crap is happening with my arm?

After I realized modeling was not my thing, I started to redefine my goals. In doing so, I realized I wanted more children. I also knew I wanted to start a helpful website for Moms. I actually had this idea before children but did not know how to do it. As a nanny, while the kids would sleep I would write down all these website ideas. Unfortunately, I lost that book, and it took me EIGHT YEARS to start, but I am finally here!

I have not made this site exactly as I would like, but it is a work in progress and every day I find new things I would like to try. I am going to write my current list of goals, and I challenge you to do the same. When we write down our goals, it makes them more realistic, and I know sharing my goals with all of you will help keep me on track as well. I have divided my goals into immediate and those that are more long term (see below). I will keep you all updated as I go.

Happy goal writing!

My Goals

Immediate:

  • Continue to post and promote my blog, eventually monetize.
  • Try freelance writing.
  • Write an e-book.
  • Pay off all credit cards.
  • Teach “E” to read even more.
  • Make blankets for foster children.
  • Try creating t-shirts and bumper stickers to sell.

Over the next five years:

  • Pay off student loans.
  • Buy house.
  • Finish my novel.
  • Maintain blog and provide a place for others to write in and respond to questions.

{Wondering what the LYPBB Challenge is all about? Start here!}

 

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LYPBB Challenge Day 10: Try a New Exercise

Today’s LYPBB Challenge is to try a new exercise. That is, if you’re ready!

After I had my first son I was thrilled to be able to run again and would wake up early just to get to the gym. He was also a champion sleeper, so I wasn’t completely exhausted. My second still doesn’t always sleep through the night, so it’s been a very different experience. I had absolutely no desire to work out until about a year after his birth.

At that time, I decided to try Yoga. I chose yoga because we had recently lost our grandmother and I wanted more of the mental peace than the physical improvements.

What I gained was new friends, newly found peace and new strength (both mentally and physically) in my same body. I also learned invaluable tools of meditation.

So today, if you are ready for a new exercise I would like you to try one. I’m trying Zumba today, which should be absolutely hilarious. If you aren’t ready to exercise, then don’t! This is all about you and doing whatever makes you happy.

If you’ve been keeping up with me on Instagram, you have heard about my recent gym exploits. I’m sharing them below if you want another laugh.

If you do go to the gym, I hope you enjoy the experience and remember to love yourself!

{Wondering what the LYPBB Challenge is all about? Start here!}

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LYPBB Challenge Days 8 & 9: Take a Break and Connect with Your Emotions. 

When I wrote this idea down for yesterday and today, I was planning on bringing positivity and super rays of sunshine, but today I just can’t do it.

As yesterday was Mother’s Day I took a much-needed break and didn’t write anything. I’m sure all you moms can understand. I hope you relaxed as well!

Last year on Mother’s Day I was completely different. I wanted to be left the eff alone. In fact, I told my husband to take the kids and go somewhere so I could just be alone for a while. He didn’t, and I’m glad for that. This year was entirely different. I wanted to spend as much time with my kids as possible.

You see, so much has changed since last Mother’s Day. We have lost our grandmother, grandfather and watched our friends lose children. All of this reminded me of just how much I wanted to spend the day with my kids. So, that’s what I did! We had an awesome day of fun; we went bowling and had dinner at Grandma’s house. I hope you got a break from your kids if needed, and some much-needed alone time.

The day after Mother’s Day is always a bummer for me because it’s back to the same old grind. (I need a mother’s week; maybe that would make me feel better.) However, it lets me connect with my emotions. I’m often sad on the day after Mother’s Day because it reminds me of children we have lost, as well. I always feel like we’re missing these children and that feeling is so much more present on Mother’s Day and the subsequent days are difficult.

When we are learning to love ourselves, I believe it is absolutely vital to view our emotions also. Is there a reason you’re upset, happy, sad? Why? Find out what is going on in your mind; take the time to connect with your emotions. If you need a good cry, or to scream into a pillow, just do it.

Society says that women should be these exuberant, outgoing beings and if we aren’t then something is wrong. Once you have a family, you are also responsible for their feelings. As the famous saying goes, “If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.” So now, not only are we responsible for ourselves but our entire family. That’s a lot for one person to handle. This is why we need to recognize our feelings and express them, not sweep them away and feel ashamed for feeling a certain way. Today I want you to honor yourself and your feelings.

It’s okay to feel something other than happy. And, once you realize this, you may find happiness is easier to come by.

{Wondering what the LYPBB Challenge is all about? Start here!}

connect with your emotions

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LYPBB Challenge Day 7: Buy Clothes That Fit

How are you all feeling after cleaning out your closets? Don’t feel bad if this takes you more than one day. I did this again, just as I asked you all to do, and emptied even more from my closet!

I had done this after my second child, but didn’t realize all the crap I was still holding onto. I’m a little bit ashamed to admit that I still had some clothes from college. Here’s my pile of clothes I donated, pictured below.

Buy Clothes that Fit
As you can see the dog and toddler were super helpers. 😉

If you’re unsure of what to do with your clothes after you have decided what to purge, I highly recommend checking out thredup.com (they give you cash for clothes) and donate the rest. I’ve done this more than once and made $80.00; not too shabby!

Okay, today’s task is a lot more fun. Well, at least for me — I definitely love shopping and buying new clothes! It’s a bit harder with a baby, but well worth it.

Today’s challenge is to buy clothes that fit you. Some people lose their weight and are the same size, but maybe your style has changed. Some may be an entirely different size, like me. I went from size 4 to 10. Or, maybe you’ve even lost weight. It used to make me sad I had gained weight, but I’ve learned to love my curves. Also, my husband really does, so that helps as well.

I decided to go shopping at Target today. I grabbed my Starbucks, of course, and went straight to the clothing section. After yesterday’s purge, I approached my shopping with a new attitude. I used to buy things that were on sale, even if I didn’t really love them. This usually resulted in me not wearing those items often. In fact, I think I got rid of most of those yesterday. So today I only purchased items I truly loved. I grabbed my size-10 bottoms, large shirts and tried everything on in the dressing room. Again while trying the clothing on I only kept what I absolutely loved. I only found five things and returned the rest.

Now I know I have a closet with clothes I will actually wear and love and they also fit. That’s just one less thing for me to worry about in the mornings. Whoo-hoo!

On a not so happy note, while trying on clothes, my toddler broke my brand new sunglasses. Hey, it can’t all go perfectly.

Happy shopping, friends!

{Wondering what the LYPBB Challenge is all about? Start here!}

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LYPBB Challenge Day 6: Clean Out Your Closet

I have a hilarious story to share with you guys. After I had my first child, I thought getting back into your pre-baby clothes was something you did immediately after you returned from the hospital. I excitedly went home, walked into my closet and tried to put on a pair of pants and shirt that I wore before I was even pregnant. I’m sure you can imagine the results. It was like trying to stuff a full-sized walrus into an infant’s onesie. Not a great idea.

I soon realized it was going to be quite some time before I was putting those clothes on again. The gravity of that really tugged at my heart strings. I was only 23 and had spent most of my life wishing I could be a supermodel and existing the last few years based on my looks. Not something I would recommend.

However, soon after this encounter, I did something that really empowered me. I got rid of my old clothes that no longer fit. I did keep some of the expensive jeans in the hope that I would be able to wear them again (because I hate wasting money), but everything else was given away. I did an ad for free clothing on Craigslist and let them go.

Once I did this, I was able to let go of the idea of my past self. I had changed so much after having my child; it wasn’t worth holding onto old memories and images of someone I no longer was.

My challenge for you today is to do the same. Go through your closet and get rid of clothes that don’t fit or clothes that you just aren’t going to wear anymore. Even if you just set them aside in the garage or attic, this will help.

Becoming a mother does change us, for the better! I’m not saying you can’t wear revealing clothes. I do that a lot, actually — probably much to my neighbors’ dismay — but they’re also clothes that fit. I’m not trying to squeeze my size ten ass into a six, though. Wear clothes that fit your personality, even if it’s a bit different than before you had your baby. Let go of clothes that don’t fit or just aren’t you anymore.

As you do this, you will begin to realize and accept yourself even more as a mother and person. Which will ultimately lead you to loving your post-baby bod.

Feel confident knowing you have a closet full of items that fit and you love!

{Wondering what the LYPBB Challenge is all about? Start here!}

Clean out Your Closet

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LYPBB Challenge Day 3: Compliment Another Mom

Everyone loves to hear a good compliment, right?! Today we are going to love ourselves by giving our love to others.

In the social media world, I find it is very easy for other mothers to yell at each other via the Internet. Fortunately, there are also some nice women in the world – you’ve just got to find your online village, so to say.

Writing a blog is very personal and not every person will understand or agree with you, but that’s okay. Like you may have been taught when you were younger our differences are what make us great. I wholeheartedly agree with this and often try to connect with those unlike me. It opens up my world to so much more.

Today I want you not only to take the time to compliment another mom but, if you have the chance, talk to and get to know her.

Taking the time to compliment someone else will take your mind off yourself, even if it’s just for a moment. You may even receive a compliment in return!

Kindness makes the world go ’round in a much happier way.

As with all of these challenges, please do things in a way that will assist you in loving your post-baby body. We all have different goals in life. Mine is currently to make all women realize how amazing their bodies are after having children! A person should never feel ashamed due to their weight. I also believe taking the time to love yourself will help you give more to others.

That being said, we will all love ourselves differently. Some women do want to reach their pre-baby weight, and others are happy to stay where they are. Whichever category you fall into, loving yourself along the way is essential to maintaining happiness and health.

May the Force be with you!

{Wondering what the LYPBB Challenge is all about? Start here!}

 

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Love Your Post-Baby Body, Without Changing A Thing!

I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about this Love Your Post-Baby Body challenge and bringing it to fruition. It’s something I hold very near and dear to my heart.

As women we are judged daily on our looks and after we become mothers many of us seem to feel that we need to look a certain way. For some reason, the term MILF (Mom I’d Like to Fuck) is aligned with becoming a mom. As if motherhood wasn’t hard enough, now we’re being sent notifications and invites for wraps, weight loss groups and many other ideas on how to reach our “pre-baby bodies.”

Changes in Your Body

First and foremost let me start by saying, if you’ve had a baby, you no longer have a pre-baby body. You’ve had the baby and you, my friend, are a fricken Saint! You gained weight; your organs moved inside you (let me just repeat that: YOUR ORGANS MOVED, PEOPLE); and eventually that child was removed from your body, either through an incision or vaginally (some women have experienced both). Your body has changed. Sure, you might reach your pre-baby weight, but you will never again have a pre-baby body and that my friends is something to be proud of!

I’m not going to guilt you into feeling good about yourself by telling you that there are people who are jealous of the fact that you’ve been able to have a baby. We all have our own shit we have to carry around. Everyone’s is just a little different.

However, I do want to help you embrace and love this new body of yours.

Love Your Post-Baby Body Challenge

The post-baby body can be startling. I totally understand. I had my first child at 23, all my friends still have perky boobs and bikini bodies with no stretch marks. You know what, though? I still rock my bikini with confidence and I want to get you to that same place! And no, I haven’t lost my excess baby weight. But I just don’t care. Right here, right now we are going to have a place free of wraps, shakes, and weight loss groups, just to learn to love our absolutely rocking post-baby bodies!

During this time I’m going to post a daily challenge, but I want you to do what works for you.

If you want to exercise, then do so, if you don’t want to, then don’t. We’re just going to spend the next thirty days loving the guilt out of ourselves.

You Can Do This

Don’t get me wrong there are still days I feel ugly and fat and don’t want to get out of my bed. But more than not, I am happy and love my post-baby body. I think all women deserve this feeling. Whether you have or have not lost the excess weight, whether you’ve had your baby two days, two years, or twenty years ago, there is always a time and place to learn to love and embrace this beautiful body you have.

I am looking forward to the next 30 days, and I hope you all join me on this journey of self-love.

Xoxoxoxo

Begin your journey with Day One here.

 

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Real Strawberry Shortcake

When I grew up and moved out of my parents house to be a big girl there was a huge learning curve.

I quickly learned my small town skills were not going to cut it in the big city.

I also realized that when people mentioned Strawberry Shortcake they were NOT talking about the recipe my mom had made growing up.

There was no cream cheese, small amounts of whipped cream and biscuit like “cake” or angel food cake.

It was atrocious to say the least. So, today I will do the world a favor and teach you how REAL Strawberry Shortcake is made. Next time you tell me you’ve made some this is what I expect. OK? Mmkay.

I’m glad we understand each other.

Real Strawberry Shortcake Recipe:

1 boxed vanilla cake

1 cube of cream cheese, softened

1 8 oz jug of real whipping cream (you can use whipped cream, this is just better)

1 pkg strawberry sauce (you can usually find this next to the strawberries) or you can make your own, recipe below.

1-2 pkgs of fresh strawberries, sliced. If you like lots of strawberries get two, just a few get one.

Directions:

Bake your cake according to the directions on the box in a 9×13 pan.

Let cake cool.

While cake is cooling you can slice your strawberries and make whipped cream.

Whipped Cream/Cream Cheese Layer:

With your whisk mixer beat whipping cream and 1/2 c. powdered sugar together, until the whipping cream is stiff. Next add your block of softened cream cheese to the mixture.

*If you are using Whipped Cream, simply mix the two together.

*Make sure the cream cheese is softened at room temperature or it will leave clumps in the mixture.

Place the whipped cream/cream cheese mixture on your cooled cake.

Strawberry Layer:

Make the strawberry mixture by adding the Strawberry Sauce and sliced strawberries together and stirring until mixed well.

Place this mixture on top of the whipped cream layer and enjoy one of the best cakes ever created! Be sure to keep this cake in your fridge before and after eating.

Homemade Strawberry Sauce Recipe:

1 cup strawberries

1 cup water

3 Tbsp. corn starch

3/4 cup sugar

In a small sauce pan mix together strawberries and water. Heat to boiling and let the mixture boil for two minutes.

Remove from heat and sieve the strawberries.

Place  strawberry sauce back into the pan. Add the sugar and cornstarch and heat on medium, continuously stir until sauce has thickened to a gravy consistency.

Place in fridge to cool before mixing with the strawberries.

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So simple a kid can make this cake!
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Time to devour this cake!

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The best part of this recipe is licking the spoon!

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