I’m now nearly a year postpartum and am still learning to work with the new shape of my body. While my weight is the same as when I got pregnant and my size is the same, my clothing does not fit the same. I was excited to partner with Olga for their new intimates collection Flirty as the biggest discovery I’ve made this postpartum experience is how important it is to love yourself and feel comfortable in the skin you are in at the moment. This post is in partnership with Olga an intimates company that specializes in intimate apparel for curvy and busty women. All opinions are my own. Olga’s Flirty collection may be found at Macys and Kohls.
Having a baby does some pretty crazy things to your body. It is basically stretched, pulled, swollen and deflated all in the course of a year or so. My body bounced ‘back’ a little easier after baby number one than it has with baby number two. Though I have technically lost the weight gained during pregnancy, my body is different than it was after my first pregnancy and certainly different than it was pre-kiddos.
I can’t blame ALL of these changes on the kiddos, because, in fact… I have AGED over the past six years. It is funny. In my head I’m still 25, but when I look at myself in the mirror I now see my mother and grandmother looking back at me. Between my changing body due to both aging and having babies, I really need to learn to love my body all over again. This holiday season I am really working on taking steps to feel comfortable in my new skin while making efforts to be healthier overall.
There has been so much this past year that I’ve struggled with both silently and pretty loudly depending on how well you know me or how close you’ve been to a melt-down. One of those struggles has (obviously) been appreciating my body as it is now and feeling good about myself in total. I’m gonna be totally honest, the tips below are from someone who doesn’t have it all together. These tips have worked for me in the past. These tips have come from friends who have dealt with these same struggles. But, they are from a totally imperfect person who is still trying to follow them all.
There have been so many times this past year where I’ve ran across a photo of me five, ten, or more years ago and have been caught up in wishing I still had the slender frame I had then. At some point I even broke down in tears for not really appreciating what I had then when I had it! Then it hit… that is the key. We are getting older. As much as I would love to not get another wrinkle or roll of funny mole on my back I also really, really want to keep getting older. (The alternative is really not a fun option.) So, my biggest tip is to take a moment and appreciate what you have right now in this very moment in time. Do you love your eyes? Think your ankles look great in those shoes you bought? Find the things about yourself that you LOVE and celebrate them. Focus on them. Appreciate them.
A bit of TMI here (though, isn’t this whole post really?): I wore my stretched out underwear and old nursing bras WAY past their expiration dates. When your panties are falling off you while you walk because the elastic doesn’t work anymore it is time to get new underwear. I had been waiting. I’d been waiting for my wonderful sleek figure that was just gonna suddenly appear. I was waiting until I had time to hit the gym more often or for my thyroid meds to finally make a difference. At some point I thought, It is time to STOP WAITING. Finding beautiful, comfortable, and well-fitted underwear, bras, and clothing items made me feel so much more comfortable in my own skin.
I don’t care if you feel best about yourself in a pair of yoga pants or some heels and earrings. Dress in a way that you can really feel comfortable and beautiful.
Side note: I have always had difficulty finding bras that are actually comfortable in my plus size figure. I even threw down way too much money at a popular plus-size clothing retailer to NEVER wear the bras that they custom fit to my body. They pulled and pinched and were so HEAVY. Enter in Olga’s Flirty Collection. I loved the look of them when the team at Olga sent over the lookbook, but was still weary that I’d actually like the selection. I can’t even begin to tell you how happy I’ve been with the quality, styles, fabrics, and fits of the Flirty bras and underwear I received. If you are looking to buy yourself (or a loved one) some really nice (yet affordable) intimate wear items then I’d highly recommend this brand. The sizes range from 34 C to 46 H.
This is the part I really, really struggle with on a day-to-day basis. I know what is good for me. I know that exercising and eating healthy will go a long way in making me feel better. I do overall make fairly good choices. However, I also know that when I am feeling down and out about things it is SO much easier to make the unhealthy choices. No judgement from me here and I will take no judgement on this as well, thank you. This is human. Sometimes we don’t always act in our own self-interest. I feel that moms especially don’t take enough time focusing on their needs because they want the needs of their family to be fulfilled first. So, whether it is committing to drinking more water, walking more steps, cutting certain indulgences… making a commitment to your health with invariably help you feel better about yourself. It is not going to fix it all right away and I really stress BALANCE in this area. Going into extreme lifestyle changes with high expectations is a sure fire way to get burned out and feel worse about things.
One of the hardest parts of these changes for me is not so much seeing myself in the mirror, but seeing myself in photographs. I’ve cringed and cried at the site of me in photos with my sons. I’ve focused on those rolls of fat or the swallow looking skin. I’ve made myself get in the photographs anyways. I’ve made myself STOP focusing on what I deem as imperfections in me and instead focus on how HAPPY I look or how beautiful my family is in that moment. I don’t want to get to sixty to look back and not see me in my photos of my family. I’ve found that making myself get in more photos and making myself look at the good in those photos has had the side effect of me actually liking myself in photos more and more often.
With the launch of Flirty at mass department stores, Olga now provides sexy solutions for curvy women everywhere, encouraging and empowering women to be #FearlesslyFlirty because “sexy comes in every shape and size.”
The collection features four bra styles ($45 each) – deep plunge, balconette, unlined underwire, and deep plunge with lace. It also features coordinating hipster panty ($12.50) in playful colors and prints. I chose a deep plunge and balconette bra and coordinating panties to test. I am in LOVE with both though the deep plunge is worn more often simply because I got it in the nude shade.
How was your Mother’s Day? I hope you either spent some time being pampered or pampering someone you call mom. I had a lovely day, even if nearly the whole family has come down sick. It was nice both getting some alone time and getting some time with my boys.
I got to spend the day with my lovely mother-in-law who will never truly know how much I appreciate her. She is a wonderful mother-in-law and fabulous grandma, but the fact that she was (and still is) a fantastic momma to her own kids led to me having a husband who is kind and giving, a wonderful partner and parent.
I missed a few mommas and had to phone in my happy wishes for the day. I have had the good fortune of having a friend in my own mother and wonderful examples of mothers in my grandmothers. I think it took having children, or perhaps finally get to a certain age, to truly understand all that the mothers in my life have done. I hope that the way I live my life, the choices I make and the work I do is a good reflection of the work that they put into me.
This year I participated in a little “Mother’s Day Gift to Myself” series that I really enjoyed, not only writing, but reading throughout the weeks coming up to mother’s day. It really got me thinking on the subject and I felt a little bit more like I appreciated myself and this chapter of my life.
Check out my story about a recent moment with my son when he asked me, “Mom, do you get a prize when your reach 100?”
Meet Joan, a working mother and a part of a blog series of stories of working moms. I’m excited to share 13 stories from real working mothers. I also really would like to hear YOUR story and I’d love to hear it. Keep the conversation going in the comments & on social media using #wellcraftedworkingmoms. A huge thank you to the women who volunteered to share their stories, Mary Boyden of Mamma Bear Magazine for her photography and Madeline Roosevelt for hair and makeup!
Joan and I are nearing our ten year friendaversary. We met through my husband as she was a coworker of his at Borders. Joan and I have been through thick and thin over the years and I can truly say that I think of her as a sister. She is my first son’s Oddmom and has been a wonderful constant in his, and my life. She is also featured all over this blog so she may be a familiar face for many of you.
I knew long ago that Joan was a fantastic graphic designer. (Check out the work she did on my first and second baby showers. Amazing, right?) I’d honestly equate her ability to turn nothing into something beautiful as magic if I hadn’t seen her doing it time and time again. On top of a talented worker, Joan is an amazing parent. I often learn tricks and tips from just watching her with her son or mine. I’m very excited that she agreed to do this interview with me.
Joan and her husband have been together for about fifteen years and have been married for ten of those years. Their son Desmond is two years old. Joan worked as a graphic designer in the printshop of a healthcare company before, during and after her pregnancy.
“I worked throughout my pregnancy, until 2 days past my due date (well into the largeness that makes people’s eyes go big with concern.) It was a big priority for me to spend as much time as possible with the kiddo once he arrived, and working right until delivery day was part of the scheme,” she said.
Joan shared about why she likes her job, “My job is a nice mix of creative work and craft. I really love working in print. I love the noise and busyness, the smells of ink and paper. I like bending technology to my will, and using the tools I have to make things more beautiful, useful, and intuitive. I love the moment when a piece of the design falls into place; you exhale, and everything is quiet and peaceful inside. In my more vain moments, I really like seeing something I designed, crisp and perfectly trimmed; or as an enormous print.”
She also has found that it is pretty difficult to beat the benefits of working in a union shop at a healthcare company.
She explained, “There is a LOT of comfort in knowing that if something goes horribly wrong with our health, that we won’t be broken financially.”
In thinking about working during her child’s early years she shared that though this is a hard time, it is ultimately what is best for their family.
“I have a lot of fears about leaving the field and not just losing ground professionally, but also losing the confidence it takes to do creative work for a living,” she said.
“Things are winding down to a more sensible pace now that we have a toddler instead of an infant. He still needs pretty constant attention, but he’ll play independently more often. Also, no more pumping/bottle cleaning shenanigans. Or waking up at all hours of the night,” said Joan of their daily work-week schedule.
She wakes up around 6:45 in the morning. Her husband will make the coffee and pack bags while she gets Dez dressed for the day and ready to head out the door. They leave the house by 7:30 AM and she does her one hour commute that includes daycare drop-off. She typically arrives to work at 8:30 AM.
During her lunch break she typically runs errands, naps, or takes a walk and chooses to eat at her computer. She leaves work around 5:15 PM, picks up her son and is often home around 6:15 PM.
Brandon usually makes the family dinner while Joan spends time with the kiddo. They eat as a family and Joan cleans up while Brandon spends time with Dez. They finish the evening off with some family time before starting the bedtime routine of bath and books.
“Kid’s down by 9:30 and by then we’re usually pooped,” she said.
“I think our generation has had a tough time of learning how to be married with undefined gender roles. Each couple finds their own way. It’s hard to find a balance that doesn’t leave anyone feeling resentful or less than. But when a balance comes, I think it can make for a very profound partnership. As we work on this partnership, our balance right now includes us both working. Dad cooks. Mom cleans. Dad does laundry and mom folds. We take turns with the yard and garbage. We both parent. I hope that as an adult, Dez knows the need for compromise and communication in his relationships—however the norm falls for the next generation. I also hope it lets us both have a close and nurturing relationship with him as he grows up.”
I absolutely had to ask a few questions about some of the topics that often come up for the working mom such as maternity leave, childcare, and the challenges & joys of working. I love the answers so much that I felt it was best to just put it in their own words. Read on to learn about the ups, downs, ins and outs of Erin’s working mom experience!