Confessions of a SkinnyMom: Mmm, Humble Pie!

Post baby on the runway:
Dress by Casey Sue

Reading this, you can’t really tell, but I have to confess: I am one of those “skinny bitches“. I lost the baby weight and was back in my skinny jeans after my fourth kid within a few weeks. (I will point out here, that my last two pregnancies, I had Hyperemesis Gravidarum and puked like crazy instead of gaining weight for 9 months. It really, really sucks.)

 [Update: I also made it 6 months exclusively breastfeeding, which has been linked to thinness in a new British study]

I’ve always been fairly slender. It doesn’t matter to most people- no one wants to hear why a skinny girl is skinny, just like they don’t want to hear why a fat person is fat. Either way, you get used to the skin you’re in after a while.

So, I’m used to my skinny self and so are the people close to me. But even us skinny folk can get a little too brave.

It started during a rainy spell (aka: California “Winter”: Having lived in Massachusetts and having experienced actual Winter -and actual bugs- the California versions seems fairly trivial) The kids and I had been cooped up and I needed to step out of the ever perpetuating cycle of meals, dishes and laundry. We needed to walk more than three steps without crashing into one another. I hadn’t slept through the night or been out recreationally in weeks. We needed to get OUT.

Indoor play area, you say?

So, what doesn’t cost anything, keeps us dry and will let the kids have room to move without touching each other? An idea, innocent at the time, strikes me: The mall! Yes! I can get a coffee for under $2 and walk around people watching(I award myself one point per mullet and take one away each time I see a teenager wearing a “vintage” shirt bearing the logo of a cartoon I used to love. Bonus, however, if I can find a person with a mullet and wearing 80s paraphernalia.) There is also a kids’ area where they can run around, climb and blow off steam.  (Does your mall have one of those? They’re pretty rad- if you’re not a germophobe.)

I tread the waters of the mainstream every so often, but having worked at & managed a few retail stores, the intermittent, tolerable novelty of traipsing through the aisles of new, shiny things has been violently assaulted by Black Fridays spent trying to find a parking spot at 4am- so I could open the store and finding myself recycling my paychecks into the things I ended up selling myself along with everyone else. (I won’t even get into dealing with irrational customers.) Anyone who was been there knows: Nothing will suck your soul (and paycheck) dry like working in retail, trust me. (sidenote: It commands respect as a source of employment, if you must. The same goes for waiting tables.) But now, as a born-again-human and SAHM, I respect the spectacle for what it is and plan the exact same way that I would if I were taking the kids to the circus. (The noise! The people! The lights! No honey, that person is wearing make up. No one really looks like that! It’s just like a mask, it’s not real…) 

Well, usually, that is. 

I’m feeling adventurous. I pack up the diaper bag, Moby and snacks, (always good for a break/reset/flat out bribe) brace myself mentally, and head to the corporate circus. And it’s awesome. It’s working! I’m people watching, fashion watching, enjoying wearing the baby. The boys are getting along, pointing out all the stuff I am SO not hip to and chattering about the secondary education they get in public school; about things like video games, tv shows, slang words and about 5,000 other ways to make me feel incredibly ancient. But I’m feeling good right now, so I don’t mind. The girls are mini teenagers already, squee!!-ing, pointing and jabbering about sparkly-this and hip-girl-that. Every time we hit that magical group symbiosis, I feel part mad scientist (The pieces of my master plan are finally coming together, mauahahahaha!!) part kid who’s just learned to ride a bike. (I’m doing it! I’m awesome! This is so cool! Is anyone witnessing this?)

We’re walking around the mall and I’m feeling pretty good about my back-to-skinny self and my effective plan. We lap the first floor, no problem. We take the “alligator” to the second floor… and then, I see it. My glowing pink kryptonite: Victoria’s Secret. And there’s a sale! Smirk now, smug reader. Finish shaking your head at me and then read on.

I had forgotten, in my born-again-humanness, about salespeople, and their not-so-humanness. It’s the funniest thing: Customers dread salespeople & their incessant pitches as much as sales people dread customers and their incessant customizations. (“I like this… but could you make it like that?” “NO!” ::bitchslap:: “Get THAT if you want that, dumbass!” …ahem… Like I said, I don’t care much to work in retail anymore. It’s probably best I don’t.) It’s like an awkward bird mating ritual;

One bird shows its feathers while hopping around with a practiced song & dance, while the one with  the goods hops about, chirping & inspecting, summing up who will in the end get her attentions. I kind of hate the whole thing, really. But I DO love shopping, the Pink collection & of course,  a good sale! I can’t deny my holy trifecta. I survey they still-happy kids. I think for (what should have been a much longer) second. I go in.

Within the first few feet, a couple of wide-eyed salesgirls close in and I am enclosed in an inescapable cloud of perfume. “This is our newest scent, Angelfarts!” Okay, maybe I made that last part up. My daughters’ chubby fingers are coated in shimmer-lotion and they are each handed a stuffed dog. “Only $15 with a $75 purchase!” Yeah, THANKS, chicky. See all these kids? That IS a $75 purchase. What, buy 5 dogs and get one for me, free? JOY! A whole littler of Victoria’s Secret dogs! Who are these made for, anyhow? Hasn’t it been labeled creepy, or at least terribly unsexy for adults to keep stuffed animals? Shouldn’t stuffed animals for children be from like, NOT lingerie stores? WTF?? Steam, I’m sure, is escaping my ears. If only I could really shoot daggers out of my eyes.

I come out of my onslaught of logic to realize it’s not just the perfectly-primped salespeople looking at me with wide eyes. Nearly everyone was looking at me rather quizzically. Now, let me say that if you have a more than three young children and venture in public, it happens. If you’re 5’10 alabaster beanpole with red hair to your waist, it happens. So… it was happening. One woman just couldn’t stop blinking, I think she was telling me in Morse Code, “Don’t you know that after you have kids, you are granted the ease of looking haggard all the time, and you never have to be sexy again?”  Another woman was eyeing me through slits of thinly veiled irritation;”You’re thinking of lingerie and you had a baby HOW long ago?? I hate you. Hate hate hate! Screw YOU, skinnybitch!”

I take a breath, try to brush off the looks and do a head count, (“Yes, that’s pretty. Please put that back.”, “Ooh! Sparkles! I see that!”, “Yes, boys, you can wait outside...”) I peruse the racks, (“Please come OUT of there, girls. The racks are for clothes, not kids.“) and head toward the dressing room with the littles. Like a complete idiot.

Says the skinny bitch in the picture.

Now, let me just begin to tell you that no woman, anywhere, ever, should be put in front of a mirror in teeny clothing having had a child within the last month. Not even the skinny ones. It was ghastly. I almost cried. Displayed before me was a road map of motherhood; all of the new lumps, bags and bumps that I had been too busy mothering to notice were now glaring at me in the mirror.

You know the term “Muffin Top”? Well, if you decided to stop cooking the muffins halfway and then cram them into tiny, lacy underwear…. that’s what I was looking at. Pasty, dimply, saggy, stretched, creviced and misshapen, I fought back my tears and averted my gaze from my reflection, trying to gently encourage myself to accept my body and its new topographical map of creek systems now spread across my thighs.

Perhaps feeling my pain, perhaps to remind me of the miracle my body has just performed, perhaps because he was hungry, the baby started crying. It’s not ten seconds before I give up trying on cute bra numero uno and polp down on the bench in my regular ol’ butt underwear to nurse and rock him, attempting to comfort us both. After I’m through, he is still squirmy and uncomfortable, so I pick him up, still topless, and dance him around the room, trying not to look at my pasty white, independantly bouncing skin, singing jazz standards and cooing silly baby noises to distract us from our current woes.

In the meantime,the girls have been marching in circles, chattering and singing and are now progressing to crawling in and out from under the dressing room door.”Girls!” I say in my best not-recently-stabbed-in-the-used-to-be-skinny-heart voice, “Doors are not for crawling under!” and turn back to my soothing and bouncing.

Stupid, stupid me.

Both my girls are smart. I’m proud of that. We teach them to think for themselves and use the rules that we teach them. Of course doors aren’t for crawling under. What are they for?


Humming and bopping in my granny-pantied state, I suddenly become aware that the sounds of the girls’ giggles are coming from a bit farther than their previous location. Then, two horrible, horrible things happened.

  1. My eyes meet previously labeled avoid-at-all-costs mirror to realize that the door is open wide behind me, my nearly naked rendition of “Fascinating Rhythm‘ broadcast from my private alcove for my former gawking audience to see. How nice. And then?
  2. The baby lets one RIP. I’m not talking about burping here, and I am not talking about a little delicate baby poot. My son has MANFARTS. It sounds like it and it smells like it.

O.M.F.G. people. Hello, mortification.

You can say what you want after a huge, echoing fart. People are going to think what they think and any attempts to try and defend even the most innocent person can be seen as an attempt to cover the obvious. I let them have their moment. I didn’t even try. This was clearly a take-one-for-the-skinnybitch-team moment if ever there was one.

I closed the door, crammed my clothes and the Moby on with impressive speed, ditched the stuffed dogs in the dressing room, grabbed each of my girls by an arm and attempted to exit the scene before the EVER so helpful salesgirls could snipe me with any prodding questions. Baby and I probably crop-dusted the whole store in a beeline with the stench of 1,000 turds and eau-de-OMG.
Angelfarts has NOTHING on this.

Note to self: Next time you’re feeling adventurous, pop in Indiana Jones. Try to put away laundry in a room with a sleeping baby. If you’re really feeling brave, talk to your grandparents about legalizing marijuana.

I think I’ll do my shopping online from now on. And buy a treadmill for myself and the kids.

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  1. I had hyperemesis gravidarum too, and it was a nightmare. I wouldn't say I was particularly thin before pregnancy, but not fat either, just average. But I wore my thin jeans home from the hospital after giving birth to both my boys. It was my payment for all toilet-water backsplashes, the broken blood vessels in my eyes and face, and the months of hospitalization. πŸ˜‰


  2. Bahahahaha! Brilliant. All of it. Incidentally I'm one of those skinny bitches too…way thinner than before I was pregnant, so this seems like the kind of stunt I would pull (minus all but one kid, who is add demanding as five I assure you), but I'm still recovering from my retail days PTSD :)Thanks for the laugh πŸ™‚


  3. Although I laughed hardest at the end, I loved this line the most:"No honey, that person is wearing make up. No one really looks like that! It's just like a mask, it's not real…"


  4. I cannot stop laughing…tears are streaming down my face. Howard's laughing and he hasn't even read this yet…just watching me.You paint awesome mind pictures, Julie. I saw it ALL!!! ;-D


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