When I was pregnant, one of the (many) things I agonized over was that having a baby was just not something that Women Like Me did – most of my peer group were either dating women or not dating at all, pursuing their careers, going into the arts, or otherwise being too plagued by Millennial Angst™ to consider having children. And because we all felt pressure to have children (and everything that involved), we’d insulated ourselves with some fairly unflattering images of what the “other side” was like, and how it wasn’t that great anyway.

Unsurprisingly, because a woman’s appearance is always a safe target, a lot of mean-spirited jokes about mothers center around how we look and dress. And if you think I’m wrong, I have one phrase for you: “mom jeans”.

I carried that with me a long time. I resisted (and yet was spooked by the inevitability of) looking “like a mom”, which ultimately did me wrong. Like a lot of moms, I continue to feel bad about my appearance, because it’s so different – it reflects that I, too, am different.

(Which is not actually very comforting, because being different isn’t a comforting thought either?)

The person on the left is unrecognizable to me. I cosplay her, sometimes, but the person on the right is who I am. And while that’s not a super pleasant thought, it’s not like it’s going to change. So I may as well try to accept it, and part of it is trying to reclaim it: yes, I look like a mom, yes, I look like the jokes I used to make about mothers. And yes, I am super comfortable in my sweater, leggings, and boots, thank you – and yes, it’s quick to put on while trying to get Momo out the door, and it’s easy to move in when she needs me to move fast, and there’s no gribbly bits to hurt her or get lost. It may not look super fashionable, but it works for a reason. I’m embracing it.

PS -thank you everyone who stopped by my table this weekend at ECCC!! It’s so incredible to see real people behind the screen names and comments and emails – it completely astounds and humbles and thrills me all at the same time. I’m so proud to know you and hear your stories and feel, myself, a little less alone on this crazy parenthood journey. 😀