Body Acceptance struggle, the sad tale of every woman.

Fighting for what you believe in!
Fighting for what you believe in! Stand up for yourself!

 

Women tend to be their worst enemy and what a formidable enemy we make. Nature has made women beautiful and strong, when used for the greater good blessings abound, however just as every coin has two sides, so does the strength of women. As mothers we are nurturing and kind but as adversaries we can rip the very foundation of a fortress.

It is rarely the boyfriend, the husband, the father, the brother, the son or any man who calls you fat and worn down. It’s usually your rival, mother, sister, girlfriend or daughter, not to forget the woman you meet in the mirror and the voice in your head. It’s not the image of the handsome ripped male in the magazine that makes you self-conscious but the gorgeous flawless bronze goddess.

So why are we so brutally critical of ourselves and the ones we love? Why do we expect so much from our children, our husbands, our lives and ourselves? There isn’t a single woman I have come across in my life who doesn’t live with some form of regret and as mothers we drive the longest train of guilt. There isn’t a single woman I know who is truly happy with her body image, whether she is fat, thin, slim, athletic or drop dead gorgeous, it doesn’t matter, she will always find herself too fat, too thin, to lanky, too muscled, right eye bigger than the left or with a big nose!

We are harshest with respect to our body image, we chastise ourselves, shame ourselves and always focus on our failures, never on our strengths or our gifts. We keep asking what’s wrong with us and why we can’t do this or that; we never look at what is so right with us and how we managed to this and that, despite everything.

It is time we stood up for ourselves; it is time to defend and cherish all that is beautiful within. No we won’t get proud and conceited if we appreciate the good, great and wonderful within us. We only get that way of we say that we are the ONLY ones with that trait and everyone else is without or lacking. Universal love and acceptance is the true way forward. Let us dream again and sprout wings to fly to heights far away from regret and guilt. In the immortal words of Sister Corita Kent, “Maybe we are less than our dreams, but that less would make us more than some Gods would dream of ”.

The best of both worlds!

baby
I’m 36, a mother of three and until today, 9.30 am, I did not realise that I have it all. Until 9.30 am, I was hassled, stressed and like every other woman who has delivered three children in the span of four years, struggling with my weight. I could go on and on about why my life is far from perfect, the dark circles under my eyes from waking up repeatedly at night to tuck one of my toddlers back to bed, my potty training struggles, my husband who just doesn’t understand, my work deadlines that I just can’t seem to meet, my shelved ambition to be a writer, I could go on…

So what happened? Well, I was as usual in my home office, I write articles for my husbands digital services company, when I chanced upon a very loud conversation between my au pair and my youngest, 20 month old Freny.

Merieke: “Oh Freny what did you do, naughty Freny, naughty!”

Freny: “I pretty, pretty!”

Merieke: “No, not pretty, naughty!”

Freny: “Pretty?”

Laughter all around….

Or an earlier incident when I dished up something exotic to entice my 2-½ yr. old to eat. She took one look at it and screamed, “Dangerous!”

LMAO!

How many women can boast of being able to work and still not miss out on the precious moments with their kids? I work and I probably should mention that as an aspiring writer, writing freelance articles is as good as it gets. My hours are anywhere between 6 to 10 hours a day, all subject to deadlines and my workload.

My husband who I constantly label as unsupportive is the one who gets me this fulfilling job and pays me for it! I get to spend this amount on anything I want, mostly clothes and toys for the kids that are not budgeted for, gifts for friends and family that my husband would consider excess. My kids of whom I never cease to complain about how they are demanding, taxing and the reason why I haven’t had a decent nights sleep for four year straight are the highlight of my day. The happiest moments of my life are centred on them, the day they were born, when they cuddled me and said they loved me or when they pass smart comments.

familyI have what most women wish they did and regret missing out on, time with my kids whilst still working (doing what I love!).  I have never missed any of their firsts, so much so that I don’t even remember to log it or keep a digital keepsake; I take it so much for granted!

As far as my weight is concerned, that’s another story, I am a great cook and I love food! Not a good combination if you want to be skinny! As long as my husband finds me attractive, I really shouldn’t stress on it but I do because that’s what a woman of today does.

That’s what I realised today at 9.30 am, I have the best of both worlds, I am truly blessed, praise God, and yet I moan and I complain. Why? Who has implanted this picture of this unattainable perfect life that my already wonderful life doesn’t measure up to? Who wants perfect? If my kids were absolutely well behaved, always immaculately dressed (meaning actually coming home with the same number of clothing, shoes etc. they went out with!), and slept peacefully through the night; then where would the memories be? Actually, in hindsight I would like the sleep through the night bit!

It’s their idiosyncrasies, their strong will and personalities that make every moment so memorable. The house is filled with laughter on account of their adventures and quirky behaviour. I have a really hard time with my 2-½ year old but when I look at her I see myself at that age. Apart form being an exact copy of me, she is an amalgamation of the strong personalities she has inherited form both sides of the family. It makes me realise what a blessed opportunity I have in the moulding of someone who is poised to do something extraordinary in life.

I am a mom, when did moulding lives and shaping personalities become such a mundane task?

Yes, 9.30 am today was an eye opener that my life is wonderful, and I am truly blessed. No, I do not have a model figure (probably never will), my kids are an unruly bunch, my husband is not perfect (neither am I), we are not rich but we are happy! I read somewhere that happy was originally derived form the meaning ‘lucky’ and wealthy actually meant ‘wellbeing’; both of which I am. At 9.30 am I realised I was rich with happiness, works for me.

by Antonia Rapheal