Thursday, May 29, 2008


I'm lying back, propped up on on my elbows, on the side of a grassy hill in a public park in the city where I live. F is leaning back on my stomach, his baseball hat askew, his grubby hands reaching into the Pirate Booty bag. He pops the cheese puff in his mouth and reaches for another which he feeds to me, giggling as my tongue touches his white-coated fingers. The sun is out and there's a stillness in the air. It's in this moment that I can stop and be grateful that we can have this time together.

There are other moments, though, when I can admit to myself what a toll staying home as a full-time caregiver has taken on me, on my psyche, on my body. I carry around daily physical reminders of my struggle; the extra weight on my frame, more poundage than one of my five-year-olds, envelopes me. No, I haven't gained the weight from eating my kids' leftovers. It's just been from eating. Eating when I am tired. Eating when I am frustrated. Eating when I'm lonely and my self-doubt is consuming. Yes, it's nonsensical-- food doesn't make F sleep later in the morning; food doesn't make C put his shoes on more quickly; food doesn't form community around me; food doesn't give me worth or value.

And I am afraid to put into words how low the extra weight drags me down. I expect everyone I meet to judge me as harshly as I judge myself. And I wonder constantly why don't I just stop, why can't I just stop, how do others have this figured out and I don't. And sadly because I feel this way about myself, my memories will be the only reminders of hanging in the park with my two-year-old leaning up against me, giggling, because I would never allow a camera to capture the moment. I have loads of pictures of my sons, but none with me in them.


Anonymous said...

I am fortunate that (when I am not pregnant), I don't tend to put on tons of weight. But there are no pictures of me, either. Because I hate how I look. I look tired and broken-out. I look like I don't wash my hair.

Mommyness makes us feel ugly.

deborah said...

sara - this brings tears to my eyes. why, why, why is it so easy to look at our friends and see amazing, brilliant, creative and beautiful individuals and yet so difficult to use that same lens on ourselves? i wish i knew what the answer was. i, too, have a period in my life where there are no pictures. and it was way before i had my own family, so it is pretty much like i didn't exist during that time. how many women feel trapped by this at some point in their lives? and for how many years? it definitely takes courage to write it - i certainly couldn't have done that as it would have meant admitting it to myself.. thanks for sharing this.

Briggs said...

there is a picture in my head of my mother and two other moms from the neighborhood lying on our floor on their backs with their legs in the air "bicycling" to an exercise record on the phonograph (geez, this makes me ancient I guess). Of course, they also spent mornings drinking coffee and smoking cigarettes and watching "As The World Turns" on our B&W t.v. I remember those neighborhood moms, and of my mother's friends as well as I remember her because they were always around, sharing jokes and gossip and their children's tantrums, trials and mishaps - and of course all their crazy diet and exercise schemes. Nobody actually lost weight, but I don't think they really cared. The point was, you had somebody to share it all with just a kitchen door shout away.

Anonymous said...

sara you are beautiful and you need to be in those pics with your beautiful children!

Andrea said...

Oh Sara! You are such a beautiful, wonderful person--I had no idea you felt this way about yourself. That emotional eating is a tricky one, but even more tricky is learning to love ourselves unconditionally. You should let yourself be in pictures so your kids don't look back on the photo albums (or CDs) and think they were orphans.