I’m out with friends the other night.
One girl– my friend’s friend visiting from out of town– doesn’t finish her last drink. Of course I’m the one that downs it (supposedly impressively quickly, but, hey, I’m tired and I want to get home.).
I don’t know if I instinctively don’t want to waste a perfectly good untouched drink, OR I’m used to being the one that finishes stuff off. Can’t finish your mac and cheese? What the hell, give it to me.
I say out loud, not really thinking, “There I go into mommy mode again.” The girl next to me chuckles appreciatively. She is a mother, too, though by the look of her you’d never guess. She looks like a college student who prefers partying to packing school lunches.
My friend would probably not look like a mom to most.
But she understands the mommy mode as well as I do. I look at my friend and think, “She does look like a mother, because she is one. She has a six year old at home. By definition, moms look like her. Or like a million other bodies.”
Mothers don’t only have one body; we have many. Because it isn’t what we look like that matters. It’s what we feel like. That stays with us, whether we lose the baby fat (or ever had it) or not. A friend was generous enough to highlight all the types of “mom bods” that exist. Beyond what social media will tell you. It’s nice to see representation.
My body doesn’t look like your average mom body.
I’m sure people pass me by on the train, in the street, thinking, “Shit, how does she look like that with three kids?” Easy. I didn’t birth them. But that doesn’t make me less of a mom.
Some mothers have loose stomachs and stretch lines. Others have worry wrinkles and a few extra gray hairs (not stress related of course!). Sometimes motherhood is about pregnancy and birth. That’s valid. Sometimes we look like any other child-free woman, or any other gender, out there.
Our stories vary, because people vary. Some mothers become a mom to a near adult (or even, I’m sure, an actual adult). Some give birth, but lose the right to be called “mom” by their child. Some come into the child’s life at a very young age, yet never give birth. They stay with the child throughout their life, and when the child grows up, they stay in touch with their mother figure (or mother figures, as the case may be).