The Mom Bod: When We Love Our Bodies, So Will Society

The Mom Bod: When We Love Our Bodies, So Will Society

First there was the dad bod...
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My mother has six large stretch marks across her abdomen. My father calls them her "tiger stripes." She earned her first two stripes at the age of 21. She was a senior in college, majoring in dance, when she fell in love. Nine months later, she got to hold her "surprise." Me.

The next few she earned a mere two and a half years later. My younger brother gave it to her. He's an athlete. She spends most weekday afternoons cheering him on at his soccer games. She did not miss a single game this season, home or away.

The final stripes came with my younger sister. My mother now spends a few hours here and there throughout the week, after work, organizing her Barbie dolls, simply so she can stand by the doorway on Saturday afternoon and watch my sister explore her imagination.

My mother has graying hair around her temples.

These silver strands came as a badge of her humility, putting her children and her husband above herself. After giving up her dream to go dance in New York City, so she could have me, she supported my father through years of school, and had two more children. She sacrificed her dream to allow four other people she loved more than herself have theirs.

My mother has sun spots on her arms.

These came from afternoons of enduring the blistering heat to cheer for her children in sports and sitting in the sand with us at the shore making drip castles along the ocean's edge. Those spots came from walking around the zoo on a hot July afternoon and taking us on walks through the parks and around the city.

My mother's life has shaped her body. My mother is one of the most beautiful women I know, and some day I hope I will be able to bear my own stripes. I hope that my body will, someday, tell the story of a woman who was confident, bold, and humble.

A woman's body is a piece of artwork; it tells the world a story. A woman's body is a canvas, painted and shaded by the colors of her life. The richest stories leave their marks. No woman looks the same because no woman has lived the same life, experienced the same world, or encountered the same people. The beauty of a girl's body, a mother's body, is in the stories that have shaped it.

If a woman who is bold enough to embrace her physical appearance, love her life, and be proud of her stripes is not seen as the epitome of beauty, then we as a society, have lost our perspective. Beauty does not come from a bottle of foundation, and beauty does not come from a number on the scale. Beauty does not come from a box of workout DVDs or from a Photoshop program on a computer. Beauty comes from confidence, a sense of humor, her stories and her soul.

So in light of the recent dad bod craze, and the movement for male body acceptance, I want to remind society that we, too, as average women, are just as beautiful. Mom bod isn't a body type, it's a movement. It's a powerful movement for female body acceptance. As women and men who live healthy, active, busy lives, we should not compare our bodies to the billboards or to the Photoshopped celebrities on the cover of the tabloids we get every month, but rather listen to the people around us who encourage us.

Our bodies are shaped by iced coffee with friends on hot afternoons, and the scar on our leg that reminds us of the time we fell while hiking in college, and when we cry laughing and it seems the wrinkles began to find a permanent place at the edges of our mouths. I encourage women everywhere to reflect, remember your stories, remind yourself what it is that makes you beautiful, to bear you mom bod, and love your stripes. You earned those stripes and no one has the same ones you do. You are truly one of a kind. When we love our bodies, so will society. We are beautifully and wonderfully made. Exalt the average body, encourage positive body image, and embrace the body that your life has shaped.

Cover Image Credit: Ave Nocturna Photography

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8 Reasons Why My Dad Is the Most Important Man In My Life

Forever my number one guy.
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Growing up, there's been one consistent man I can always count on, my father. In any aspect of my life, my dad has always been there, showing me unconditional love and respect every day. No matter what, I know that my dad will always be the most important man in my life for many reasons.

1. He has always been there.

Literally. From the day I was born until today, I have never not been able to count on my dad to be there for me, uplift me and be the best dad he can be.

2. He learned to adapt and suffer through girly trends to make me happy.

I'm sure when my dad was younger and pictured his future, he didn't think about the Barbie pretend pageants, dressing up as a princess, perfecting my pigtails and enduring other countless girly events. My dad never turned me down when I wanted to play a game, no matter what and was always willing to help me pick out cute outfits and do my hair before preschool.

3. He sends the cutest texts.

Random text messages since I have gotten my own cell phone have always come my way from my dad. Those randoms "I love you so much" and "I am so proud of you" never fail to make me smile, and I can always count on my dad for an adorable text message when I'm feeling down.

4. He taught me how to be brave.

When I needed to learn how to swim, he threw me in the pool. When I needed to learn how to ride a bike, he went alongside me and made sure I didn't fall too badly. When I needed to learn how to drive, he was there next to me, making sure I didn't crash.

5. He encourages me to best the best I can be.

My dad sees the best in me, no matter how much I fail. He's always there to support me and turn my failures into successes. He can sit on the phone with me for hours, talking future career stuff and listening to me lay out my future plans and goals. He wants the absolute best for me, and no is never an option, he is always willing to do whatever it takes to get me where I need to be.

6. He gets sentimental way too often, but it's cute.

Whether you're sitting down at the kitchen table, reminiscing about your childhood, or that one song comes on that your dad insists you will dance to together on your wedding day, your dad's emotions often come out in the cutest possible way, forever reminding you how loved you are.


7. He supports you, emotionally and financially.

Need to vent about a guy in your life that isn't treating you well? My dad is there. Need some extra cash to help fund spring break? He's there for that, too.

8. He shows me how I should be treated.

Yes, my dad treats me like a princess, and I don't expect every guy I meet to wait on me hand and foot, but I do expect respect, and that's exactly what my dad showed I deserve. From the way he loves, admires, and respects me, he shows me that there are guys out there who will one day come along and treat me like that. My dad always advises me to not put up with less than I deserve and assures me that the right guy will come along one day.

For these reasons and more, my dad will forever be my No. 1 man. I love you!

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From One Nerd To Another

My contemplation of the complexities between different forms of art.

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Aside from reading Guy Harrison's guide to eliminating scientific ignorance called, "At Least Know This: Essential Science to Enhance Your Life" and, "The Breakthrough: Immunotherapy and the Race to Cure Cancer" by Charles Graeber, an informative and emotional historical account explaining the potential use of our own immune systems to cure cancer, I read articles and worked on my own writing in order to keep learning while enjoying my winter break back in December. I also took a trip to the Guggenheim Museum.


I wish I was artistic. Generally, I walk through museums in awe of what artists can do. The colors and dainty details simultaneously inspire me and remind me of what little talent I posses holding a paintbrush. Walking through the Guggenheim was no exception. Most of the pieces are done by Hilma af Klint, a 20th-century Swedish artist expressing her beliefs and curiosity about the universe through her abstract painting. I was mostly at the exhibit to appease my mom (a K - 8th-grade art teacher), but as we continued to look at each piece and read their descriptions, I slowly began to appreciate them and their underlying meanings.


I like writing that integrates symbols, double meanings, and metaphors into its message because I think that the best works of art are the ones that have to be sought after. If the writer simply tells you exactly what they were thinking and how their words should be interpreted, there's no room for imagination. An unpopular opinion in high school was that reading "The Scarlet Letter" by Nathaniel Hawthorne was fun. Well, I thought it was. At the beginning of the book, there's a scene where Hawthorne describes a wild rosebush that sits just outside of the community prison. As you read, you are free to decide whether it's an image of morality, the last taste of freedom and natural beauty for criminals walking toward their doom, or a symbol of the relationship between the Puritans with their prison-like expectations and Hester, the main character, who blossoms into herself throughout the novel. Whichever one you think it is doesn't matter, the point is that the rosebush can symbolize whatever you want it to. It's the same with paintings - they can be interpreted however you want them to be.


As we walked through the building, its spiral design leading us further and further upwards, we were able to catch glimpses of af Klint's life through the strokes of her brush. My favorite of her collections was one titled, "Evolution." As a science nerd myself, the idea that the story of our existence was being incorporated into art intrigued me. One piece represented the eras of geological time through her use of spirals and snails colored abstractly. She clued you into the story she was telling by using different colors and tones to represent different periods. It felt like reading "The Scarlet Letter" and my biology textbook at the same time. Maybe that sounds like the worst thing ever, but to me it was heaven. Art isn't just art and science isn't just science. Aspects of different studies coexist and join together to form something amazing that will speak to even the most untalented patron walking through the museum halls.

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