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My husband is one of those
people who can eat anything he wants and not gain an ounce. He can throw back a
Chipotle burrito, wash it down with a milkshake and two cookies, and his
stomach remains flat as a West Texas highway. His metabolism is like that of a
hummingbird—every morsel is converted to energy seemingly before it hits his
gut. I'd be lying if I said there weren't times I wished I had his metabolism.
And now that I have children, I pray they have it too.
Yes, I hope they get his gentle nature and his sharp, analytical mind. His brown eyes are pretty dreamy and his hand-eye coordination is staggering to
witness. I want my kids to have all that stuff, but that metabolism, that
Holy Grail of eat-whatever-you-want? That's what I want for my kids.
I wouldn't be a very generous mother if I didn't wish to spare my children a lifetime of wondering how many bites is too many.
And it's not that I have no hopes about what they might get from me. I
hope they get my memory and my long eye lashes. If falling in love with books
is hereditary, I hope the gene is dominant. But I share my metabolism with Creation's slower creatures: large wooly
mammals who are usually pictured lolling in the shade. Or the mud. It's
not that I'm overweight or unhealthy, but a Chipotle burrito goes straight to
my midsection. And the milkshake? It
knows just how to find my muffin top.
Mine is a metabolism that isn't very forgiving. One overindulged meal
means my jeans are snug before I get up from the table. I wouldn't be a
very generous mother if I didn't wish to spare my children a lifetime of
wondering how many bites is too many.
My therapist says that if it turns out that my children share my metabolic
speed, then it will be a wonderful opportunity to see how much I love them,
regardless of the shapes of their bodies. He thinks it will help me heal
the old, rotten idea inside of me that I'm only lovable if I'm thin enough.
I understand what he's saying: Of course, I'll love my kids, even if (when?)
they go through awkward, pimply, surly or, yes, even if they have their pudgy
stages. Hell, even if it turns out those so-called states last their
whole lives, I'll love them singly, fiercely and devotedly.
I'll love them no matter what, which is exactly how I should love myself
right this second.