Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Postpartum Barbie

Ever see one?
Yeah, me neither.
Several years ago Mattel knocked up Barbie's best friend Midge, but she was pulled from shelves after parents complained that the doll was inappropriate for young girls (something about promoting teenage pregnancy - this outrage clearly came before Teen Mom ever aired).
The real controversy surrounding Midge (in my book, at least) is that she doesn't look anything like me when I was pregnant.  Where are the cankles? The swollen fingers? Where are the mood swings??? And who on Earth wears shoes like that when they're prego? And why is her hair down to her ass??? She's going to have to cut that for real when she gives birth.  That's a serious strangulation hazard for a newborn.

"The Biggest Loser" trainer Jillian Michaels ignited a firestorm last year after suggesting in an interview that she would never ruin her body with a baby.  She says she was misquoted.  Read here and decide for yourself.  No matter how she said it, we know what she meant.

Pregnancy means your figure will change.
The end.
It also means you'll metamorphose into some sort of circus-like caricature of your former self -- with a bigger nose, wider hips, and larger feet.
Like.. for real... no joke.

You're never quite the same no matter how hard you work to get yourself back in shape.  Even if you manage to reach your pre-pregnancy weight and go down a  dress size.
Something is always just a little off. 
And because once you become a mother your life revolves around someone else, your personal care and self-attention fall by the wayside.
Ever wonder why all the moms you know look like they bought their clothes at Target?
That's because they did!
Because they're always at Target.

Here's how things went down during my last trip.
It all started before I even entered the store, with my shopping cart flying across the parking lot as I was taking Mackenzie out of her car seat.
A huge gust of wind came and whisked my cart away and it slammed right into the back of someone's minivan.  The worst part was that my bag and Mackenzie's shopping cart cover were already in the cart, so I couldn't make a run for it and pretend nothing had happened.
When we finally got inside the store (the minivan appeared to survive the ordeal and no one saw what happened, thank GAWWWD) I got right down to business.
Paper towels - 6 ct. $1 coupon.
Toilet paper - 12 ct. $1 coupon.
Baby food.
More baby food.
Here's where things get tricky.
I'm making my way to the register when I realize I've been wearing the same two bras for the last 10 years and my favorite night shirt has more holes in it than Lindsay Lohan's latest alibi.
So I peruse the selection of women's (and juniors') clothing at a leisurely pace until someone comes and slams their cart right into my heels.  I whipped around with my usual amount of venom in full force, ready to tell this person off and send them crying for mommy...
Until I see that it's a young girl, mid-teens, carrying several pairs of ridiculously short shorts.
My first thought is -- don't you think those shorts are going to make you look like a huge slut bag?
Won't those shorts land you in the same spot as Barbie's BFF Midge?
My second thought is -- I used to wear ridiculously short shorts.  I still have them tucked away in the back of my closet for when Doug and I take our next beach vacation -- which is so long off I'll be too old to even wear regular shorts and I'll have to walk on the sand in a burka.
As the back of my heel pulsated with mind-numbing pain from the cart casualty, I quickly shooed this young girl away -- only so that she'd stop saying, "I'm so sorry, ma'am."
Who did she think she was with her short shorts calling me ma'am?
I grabbed whatever was on the closest rack that didn't make me look like my grandmother or a slutty teenager and made a beeline for the checkout.
I didn't try on the top I'd bought until I went out that night with my mommy friend neighbor.
I took a long, hot shower, slicked back my hair (Doug always thinks that's sexy), put on some makeup, and even went as far as to swipe on a bit of lipstick (always makes me feel better even though I truly despise lipstick).
I don't know if it was the four margaritas I had with dinner (my friend was driving) or the fact that I had successfully rocked a $20 "going out" shirt from Target, but when I came home that night I felt like a new woman.
(For the record, my mommy friend neighbor also looked smashing... in a dress from TARGET!!!)
When you're a mommy -- especially a SAHM who rarely visits the abyss that is her cosmetics case and seldom sees the "fun" clothes in her closet -- it doesn't take much effort to drive yourself through the "glamour tunnel" (a phrase coined by my father) and come out the other side feeling refreshed and refurbished.
I felt positively radiant, even though my "accent piece" came cheaper than a one-week supply of toilet paper.
So if anyone out there is wondering what to get that special mom in your life for Mother's Day, here's a hint.
Make her feel young.
Make her feel beautiful.
Make her feel appreciated.
But do absolutely nothing if she's on her period, pregnant, or newly postpartum.
Unless you want to spend your entire Sunday in the doghouse.
Or unless you want to explain to your daughter why her Barbie now has no limbs.

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