Wednesday, June 27, 2012

WHO AM I???

Well, today is a bizarre day, my post from a few weeks ago titled 'We Can Do it' has gone slightly viral (ok, not viral like millions, but you know ... viral, for me).  I have no point in mentioning this other then it's on my mind.  BUT, what was on my mind before that, which I intended to write about was identity & motherhood.

I'd like to think my postpartum stage has pretty much ended ...not just because I've resumed my womanly cycle (yay?), but also because I stopped crying everyday (yay!).  However, when I do cry, I'll let john hold me as I sigh 'I just don't know (*hiccup) who I (sob) am annnnnymore'!  I think this puzzles him, because he just seemed to fall into his role as a father so gracefully, well, or that's the way it looks to me.

But, seriously y'all!  I know to you older moms out there, this is just old news.  BUT, to those of y'all who haven't had your first child yet, it's like this ... jr. high.  Really, though.  Remember, that feeling? Not being comfortable in your own skin? Not sure of what kind of girl you were going to be (a punk? a geek? a prep?) Not even sure how to talk. or walk. or what to wear. or how to dance.  And constantly wondering if everyone is judging your every move.

Then your twenties roll around and it takes almost the full decade to become not only comfortable with your flat chest and round hips, but to actually love them.  You realize it's ok to listen to The Ramones in the morning and Celine Dion at night (eeek!)  You become comfortable with the life choices you've made.  You are comfortable with how you dress, your blue hair and your choices in body mutilations.

And then you have a baby.

It's not that you even dislike your post-pregnant body... its just that every time you look in the mirror and your boobs are hanging 3 inches lower then they previously did, you don't recognize it as your own.
And, as much as I love my blue hair, sometimes i wonder... shouldn't i have a mom-do?
How does andrea dress as a mom?
How does andrea talk as a mom?
How does andrea dance as a mom?
and maybe (probably) none of these things have to be different than they were, but that doesn't change the fact that you contemplate them, feel insecure about them, wonder if others are judging you over them.  (Were those women in the baby store this morning thinking redding had an accident because i have tattoos? WERE THEY?!????? ... no, probably not. But the thought still pops up).


I'm hoping this stage won't be quite as long and awkward as my teenage years.
You know what though? maybe there is a catch.  Remember how exciting it was to be a 16? you had the possibility of being whoever you wanted.   Maybe this can just be another excuse to reinvent yourself and get to know yourself even better... not for anyone else, but for you.

and now I feel good... peaceful and calm, but talk to me again in an hour when I try to put on a swimsuit. :)

happppppppy wednesday darlings!
and happy reinventing yourself!
<3
andrea

p.s. here, listen to one of my favorite songs... guaranteed to brighten your day or your money back :)

This Time Tomorrow by The Kinks on Grooveshark

47 comments:

  1. I think I found you from your post that went viral! *g*

    But I think most mums go through the above, I know I did when I had my first 10 years ago. You do slowly get used to your new body and your new status.

    And yes, I spent time thinking about what sort of mum I wanted to be and I looked at women I admired in history, in the media today, those that I grew up around and those around me now and tried to learn from them. I still do today!

    I really did lose sight of who I was, but it does settle down again in time even if your hips and ribs never do go back in again!

    Kathye

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    1. Kathye, thanks so much. And you know, I am so lucky to have the blogging community and comments like yours to help encourage me. Although, really... I shouldn't complain (actually, i hope I am not complaining). Life is really good. Just a need for constant growth! <3

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  2. My baby is a year old, and I STILL have no idea how I'm supposed to dress or act. My body has gone from a post-pregnancy back down to (almost!!!) my pre-pregnancy size 10 (I WAS an 8,so I'm getting there!), but it's taken a year of daggy, frumpy, ill-fitting clothes, poor self-esteem, breastfeeding, babywearing and a lot of hard work.

    I dyed my hair turquoise just after my daughter was born to feel some semblance of ownership over my weird looking body that didn't feel like mine - it didn't work, I just felt more alien to myself!

    I gained almost 40kgs when pregnant, so I just didn't recognise myself inside all that fat and skin and stretchmarks. Now I'm more like me, just a bit more scarred and wobbly. And sad about my saggy boobs. Now I see why mums want to get "tummy tucks"and similar, lifting surgeries. It's just so awful to think that I'm going to be this saggy for the rest of my life, but I guess us women get the short end of the stick - people only find us attractive and interesting while we look young and supple. Even WE only find ourselves attractive when we look like this, so who's to blame? Who knows. I'm rambling because I feel your pain! I've (kind of?) come out the other side of this, but I still cry, and I still feel that it's unfair how much mums get judged

    Take a look at my blog if you want some company of someone in a similar situation :) http://wwww.beatrixquills.blogspot.com.au

    Beatrix xo

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    1. Edit: post-pregnancy size 18 (yikes. next time I'm going to try to reign-in the hunger beast)

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    2. Hey beatrix (one of my favorite names... EVER).
      thanks so much for your comment ... I have your blog opened in another window and am looking forward to replying to some emails so I can sit down with a beer and scroll through it! Your right, it's very unfair, BUT at least we have each other! I look forward to being mom-blog-friends with you!!!

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  3. I have a 2 year old and I still still struggle with this. But I have to say I am having run reinventing myself. I tried to fit the mom mold and then I said screw that. I'm enjoying being the same person who loves crazy hair and crazy outfits. I just happen to love my kiddo more.

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  4. I've been pregnant and/or nursing for over 5 years now, I don't know who I am anymore either. ;) I had a break between my first kid and the next 3, and I think I remembered who I was in between them. But 5 years of crazy hormones have erased the memory. ;) The only thing that stays the same is that I want more tattoos and better blue/purple hair dye, when I can afford it. ;) (anyway, you're not alone)

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    1. yes, on the more tattoos! I got my newest one when redding was just two months old ... I was itching for it! Honestly, I am terrified of having kids back to back like that (but how else does one do it?) ... Hopefully you are finding some me-time in the midst of all those kiddos!

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  5. Aw! Please don't be so hard on yourself! Remember how amazing a woman's body is to be able to nurture another human!!! I just turned 30 last month and get what you're saying about finally becoming comfortable with yourself. I don't have any kids yet, but have a few friends that are moms. And its weird! And different! Ive talked to them about how they feel like they've lost their identity...I suppose in a way its true, but at the same time, could it be a good change? You should be proud of how you look! You have a baby to show for it! I on the other hand, have no such excuse ;)

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    1. thank Melissa, I really hope I wasn't coming off as gripey and hard on myself. It's just a new struggle... you know? But, you are totally right, it IS a good change! and thanks, I should be proud! you are right! (I mean how many women can squirt milk across the room with their breasts?) haha :)

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  6. I can completely relate with the above.
    And to say that it all panned out and I don't have those thoughts even now, (my spawn are 10 and 8) would be a lie. I still wonder sometimes if I should lose the face metal, stop dying my hair, and wear khakis. But, that just isn't me. I am who I am and at 32, I am finally getting comfortable with ME. (It took me a while. I've felt for the past 10 years that I was trying to be someone I wasn't. A lot of changes and I feel a lot better.) I still wonder what the Moms at school think when I am at a choir concert or a pta meeting. And don't even get me started on first reactions from teachers lol. The teachers soon learn though that I love my kids and want to help them learn as much as possible. My kids are so used to Me, their Mom, with all my piercings, tattoos, dyed hair, and nerd tshirts. Shit, they ONLY know me this way.

    Don't be so hard on yourself...parenting will come to you. And on the plus side, I am sure your spawn will be open-minded!

    -V
    http://unfairytaleadventuresofanerdyzombie.blogspot.com/

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    1. girl, i love this! I don't know what else to say, thank you! I'm going to check out your blog now! <3

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  7. I found your blog through that viral picture, and I'm really glad I did. This is a great post, and I love the positive perspective you have on the potentially terrifying process of redefining your identity as a mom.

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    1. Oh! Thanks so much!!!!!! I really appreciate it!

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  9. GOD I FUCKING LOVE YOU Andrea. Fo reals. I do. Glad that I found you here, since we lost ya on Face Crack...but then I'll see you on a bike ride sooner than later..or hell, I know we're not close, but I'd come by and make y'all laugh ANYTIME!

    Here's something you don't know yet, but will when you get into your 30's..you will go thru ALL of this again, w/o a kid as the reason. Why? Because you've made it out of your 20's and all of a sudden you DO feel really good about who you are and what you've become. But this weird mid-life crisis thing still creeps in. I think all of it, including some of what you are feeling is attributed to what we THINK society wants us to be, as opposed to who we want to be. (Ie: Mom Hair --and no, don't you fucking dare. That's not who you are. Have fun w/colors..cus one day that shit gets gray and you'll start HAVING to get SUPER creative with it.)

    Society says moms gotta have shitty hair and shitty clothes and no life. Real life dictates that you need to do and be who you be. Keep a life, keep doing art, even if it takes forever to finish a project, keep being colorful, and amazing. Why? Because Little Dude will always love and respect you for it. Even if he goes the other way and becomes a jock/prep/repub primary candidate, he'll always know that he had cool-ass parents that really loved him and nurtured HIM to be whoever the hell he ends up to be.

    It's rare to meet a gal like you.

    love,
    April Dawne (Riggs-dawne is my middle name..see? that's my little secret....)

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    1. APRIL!!! I EFFIN LOVE YOU TOO!!!!!! (and loved reading all this, and slapping that ass last week!) see you soon, you crazy lady! <3

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    2. You amaze me. Let's run into one another sooner than later, purposefully, please.

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    3. Here's proof that Society doesn't know what good for anyone: KHAKI.

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  10. It's funny that you say your previous post went viral because a friend of mine from high school (in PA) posted your "we can do it" picture today on Facebook.

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  11. This blog beautifully sums up the transition into motherhood many of us young mama's have made. It's not graceful, it's crazy, but it is AMAZING! One of the most hardcore things I've done in my life is become a mom and my husband says so too hahaha. There's definitely an identity crisis we all go through but I hope we can all find more of ourselves through it. The road to becoming a mama is so raw and intense it reminds us we're alive. A friend of mine made a comparison that's really zen, she said "It's like you're a blossoming flower and each new petal is being exposed through your transitions." That's how I see mamahood, an unfolding of the deeper parts of ourselves (and that self doesn't have to wear mommmy jeans and ann taylor). Love the thoughts, and thanks for the great pic it's awesome! -Cel

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    1. Cel! this is beautiful! I loved reading your comment, it is very much like being exposed for the first time. Everything is so raw, you know? Anyways, love your support and thanks for stopping by! <3 andrea

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  12. I found you from your viral photo shoot and posted it to my employer's page (a breastfeeding resource center in Lincoln, NE) giving credit to YOU. It seems everyone else was linking to a strange FB page that has some strange politics. But I love your blog and hope it is OK if I link some of your posts to the business page in the future. You have a great perspective on new motherhood!

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    1. thank you so much! It is so weird that there has been so much political controversy that has absolutely nothing to do with me, my views or my blog. yuck. oh well, I'm just glad you found me! appreciate it!

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  13. I totally remember that stage too!!!! You will discover who your "Mom Identity" is...and everyday you are BECOMING the mother that you will be.

    My second sweet baby is now 5 months, and I'm still growing and changing. You will too. (example: totally badmouthed cloth diapers and now I'm a convert. LOVE em.) I used to be SO caught up with what everyone thought of my parenting. I felt so guilty for not being a "good enough" mother. I especially feared that my husband was disappointed in me. (It turns out I had the baby blues and was frustrated at my little darling and beat myself up about it. HOW COULD I BE FRUSTRATED WITH THIS PRECIOUS GIFT FROM GOD???? I've learned that there ARE frustrating times. Do your best. Don't do anything stupid. Laugh about it. Talk about it. Let it out.) I just needed to hear affirmation from my husband and my mother. And now, I stop comparing myself to other mothers. And I stop judging other mothers-- because really, that is what I was fearing-- people judging me. I'm NEW AT THIS! I'm DOING MY BEST!!! I will ask for your advice if I want it!!!

    If you haven't had your turn, yes, even your child will cry in the line at the grocery store and you'll think everyone HATES ME...no, they don't (minus the person who hates kids to begin with, but that's their issue). Most of them have been there.

    And as with most things-- I find that I'm somewhere in the middle. I hate feeling like I have to be extreme. Like the extreme preppy mom, or hippie mom, or babygap mom, or yardsale mom, or can't be seen without makeup mom, or always on facebook mom, or hates cloth diapers mom, or loves "Babywise" mom, or HATES "Babywise" mom, anti-pacifier mom, ETC!! I am me. I am my children's mommy and I cheer on my mommy friends and offer encouragement where I can. And even though I don't know you, I feel connected to you. We may be different, but we are both mothers.

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    1. Cheryl, hahaha, i love this - especially the last paragraph. I have always been extreme, and I feel like I'm trying to find my niche ... But you are so right! Why can't we be a little bit of each of them. Yesterday when this picture was flying around there were so many: 'And she is EVEN cloth diapering, awesome!' ... I had to laugh, because he was in disposables yesterday (somedays you just are way behind on laundry). ANYWAYS, my point, no ones perfect and no one fits into a box.
      I'm so glad you made it by the blog. and hope to hear from you again soon.
      a <3
      OH, and me too with the mom and husband thing. Why is it that I need affirmations from them so much now?

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  14. My oldest turns 21 this year and I STILL feel like this : )
    Just go with it. If you're going to be a mum and keep your own identity going as well then there will be times when you're not sure which hat you're wearing. There will be crying days and not crying days. But if there are people who love you and who you love and if you never give up demanding and expecting respect from people around you (yes, even toddlers and teenagers must say please and thank you at least!) then it will all be ok. Enjoy your adventure!!
    Jo x

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    1. wow! thanks jo! (I will now try to get redding's first word to be 'please'. ha, no not really.... but that would be rad!
      <3

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  15. Please,don,t worry in about 18 years you will be yourself again ;-) no kidding, you will figure it out along the way,just be you that,s good enough! and as an older mother ,being my youngest 16 years old, i,m somewhwat an expert;-) but celine dion is still a nono, try kate Bush!

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    1. AHHHHHHhahahaha! I will figure out who that is right now! :) thanks! (I needed a laugh after all these serious comments!)

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  16. Oh bless you! That's it exactly. The other morning, while sobbing uncontrollably, I woke my husband up and handed him our beautiful little baby. I then showered(!) squeezed into my funkiest dress (which I now have the boobs to fill out!) put on sparkly makeup and turquoise shoes and went out to read in a cafe. Just to prove to myself that some of my former self still exists.
    ps I have taken to wearing long flowing skirts that make me feel lovely and sort of mother-goddessie.

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    1. oooooo, good idea! I have a couple and I'm TOTALLY going to rock them soon.

      AND, i love this little story, it makes me so happy. We are so lucky to have supportive men/dads in our lives!
      <3
      andrea

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  17. I love your 'We can do it' photo, glad to find your blog. Great style. Thanks for sharing your art and your thoughts with the world.

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  19. I was up early this morning with Ellie, so of course I had to check Facebook. Thought my eyes were fooling me when I saw two adorable pics of you and redding on the peaceful parenting news feed. I'm still trying to figure out where you find the time and energy to do all your fun photo shoots?! I'm still in a robe today, but at least I did manage to shower, ha! You're not alone in trying to find and figure out your new role, I feel like within the last month I'm beginning to get somewhere, basically by letting go and just going with it. You're doing great, you're awesome!

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    1. MELANIE!!! it's nuts isn't it? whew. such a crazy couple of days for me. You know, I've missed being on Facebook only for the mamas group i left.
      Hope you and Ellie are doing well!
      <3

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  20. I'm in love with your blog (I also found it through your 'we can do it' photo!), I'm in love with this post, and I'm in LOVE with all the supportive women here cheering you on! I just wanted to join in and let you know that you WILL 'find' yourself again, and it WON'T take as long as jr. high ;) My son is 2 1/2 and I remember feeling exactly like this. I don't remember when it faded, but here I am painting and baking again (along side of the boy!), sewing, and spending lots and lots of time being myself, with him and my husband right by my side. Everything is MORE fun than before, as he learns and grows and wants to share in the fun.
    I also agree that we don't have to fit into a mold, or a catagory, we are who we are and should be proud of each conscience aspect of our personalities! ;) Thanks for writing and sharing all of this!

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    1. Thank you so much for this kari! And I am glad to know you are having so much fun with your two year old, that's one thing I just can't wait for ... painting besides redding.

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  21. Love this. And love your blog. Thanks for the good read!
    I can relate. 3 kids down and I still wonder how to dress, talk and dance like a mum. And ah, the body image! I've only just started blogging and this was one of my first posts http://www.impressiveinscriptions.blogspot.com.au/2012/06/unappreciated-female-body-id-like-to.html

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  22. Egad. I hear you. I feel like my entire life has been relabeling and redefining myself. I figured it would end once I got into my career and was married, but then after a few years of being a "wife" and "teacher" I left my job and became a mom. Then wham! A million critical eyes staring at me from every corner. I don't label myself anymore, or try to define myself even, but I do struggle with the judgement part. I realized that it's me judging me that is the hardest though, not everyone else!

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    1. you are so right Joanna! I am always the hardest judge... and I try not to be, but eek, it is just so hard. But, i do think I get better everyday. now if i can just take care of the rest of those 'critical eyes' ;) haha

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  23. Oh my goodness! I needed this sooner! You hit the nail on the head. Strangly enough I was thinking about this same thing before I drifted off for a few seconds and my 19 month old woke up (she is getting more teeth). Well put! I am glad I am not alone and I doubt myself all of the time. It is getting really tough because my first born is almost 4 and he is becomming a stinker when it comes to attitude and being naughty. I found myself wondering what others were thinking. I say...don't worry and worry about him being a good kid and teaching him to be a good kid.

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    1. wow sandra, 4 years old seems so far away, but I know it will happen so fast. You are in uncharted territory for me... pave the way and tell me how it goes! :)

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  24. Yep, I found your blog through the viral image :) And I know exactly what you are talking about. In fact I once wrote a blog post about it. http://mumsyjr.wordpress.com/2011/04/16/thoughts-on-my-fifth-mommyversary/
    Although I may have been optimistic at the time in believing my personal style and my identity as a parent were at some kind of final fixed point. They both keep changing.

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  25. oh man. thanks for that. my little dude just turned one...and this stuff is still hard.
    found your blog on Dainty Squid...but a friend posted your we can do it breastfeeding pic on my Facebook a while ago and said it reminded her of me. i was flattered (:

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