Throughout our lives weight fluctuation might be something we deal with, but during motherhood it... more
When my children were younger, I was as excited as they were when a school break came around—and... more
In any successful partnership there’s trust, honesty and open communication. The same holds true... more
Many kids grow accustomed to mom or dad saying things three or four times. They don’t really even... more
Throughout our lives weight fluctuation might be something we deal with, but during motherhood it is inevitable.
Many women go from a shape they’ve been used to since teen years, to a constantly-changing pregnancy shape, to a new post-baby shape. The latter shape can take years to settle into. With the stresses of motherhood, on-and-off breastfeeding and having more children…it can take years to feel like you’ve found your new self.
While these weight and shape fluctuation years are happening, it can feel really hard to get dressed. Many women lose themselves to athletic wear because it’s a way to feel ease everyday—athletic wear just fits! But if you want, there are other strategies you can use to keep a sense of yourself while this fluctuation happens…that won’t break the bank.
First things first
Please, please, please, try on everything you own. You don’t have to get rid of any of it, but you do need to sort it. Keep only what fits right now in your closet. The rest of your wardrobe pieces can be stored in a bin outside your closet marked by size so you can pull them out if you ever need them.
This is extremely important so you can see what you actually have to wear! If you keep everything you own in your closet you’re just tricking yourself into thinking you have more to wear than you actually do.
Buy exactly what you need
If you’re weight fluctuation is extreme at the moment, this is not the time to be flitting around in the clothing department. Decide exactly what it is you need to get by for now. Would two bottoms and five tops do the trick for a while? This is a great time for keeping the most minimal of wardrobes. Solid neutrals will be your best friend—that way no one will know you’re wearing the same pieces over and over.
Rethink alteration advice
Alterations can be expensive and continuous alterations cause clothes to lose their shape, so altering pieces while your weight is fluctuating might not make the most sense. Instead, pick and choose the pieces that make you feel happiest and alter them once your weight and shape have settled.
In the meantime, you might find it’s a better use of your dollars to buy a minimal amount of inexpensive clothing that fits and donate or store those pieces when they no longer work.
Stretch it out
Not just in athletic clothes—in all your clothes. If a garment is stretchy you’ll get more comfortable wear out of it for longer. For example, a pair of jeggings might look and feel good for fifteen to twenty pounds in either direction rather than a straight denim pair of jeans, which will be good for less than ten pounds.
Know your current beauty
This is so so important! No matter where you are on your journey it’s important to your self-esteem to feel good now. Show off your current assets by wearing clothing that actually fits. You will start to receive positive feedback from others immediately, which will only encourage you to keep things up.
When my children were younger, I was as excited as they were when a school break came around—and it wasn’t just the reprieve from having to think up creative school lunches that appealed. For me, it was a break from extra curricular activities. No more dance on Wednesdays, yoga on Thursdays and swimming on Fridays—at least for a couple of weeks anyway. After talking to other parents however, I knew that my schedule didn’t even compare to some whose kids were involved in competitive dance or in a hockey league. Multiply that by two or three children and both parents and kids are often left feeling exhausted.
I’ve always encouraged parents not to enroll their children in more than two extra curricular activities per week. Religious school may be a third, depending on the family’s inclination and the age of the child. When my children were preschoolers, I enrolled them in more. (Having two children born eight years apart certainly had its advantages). For instance, when my second was born, my first was already in grade two. I had more time at my disposal to explore different programs. As she got a little older, I noticed that she liked to climb and move in her physical space. So, we checked out gymnastics and found that she had a real aptitude for it. When she entered grade one, we put gymnastics on the back burner and she enrolled in dance. Swimming, the second extra curricular, I made mandatory since I considered it an essential life skill. The following year I let her choose between dance and gym (swim continued) and we added religious school into the mix. In short, my recommendation is for parents to explore as much as time and energy allows before their child goes into grade one. After that, it’s best to refine the choices according to your child’s interests or aptitude. Allow them to choose one activity each year, maybe alternating for a couple of years until they settle on one. A second choice, as I said, may be yours—an essential skill such as swimming, for example.
Children, like adults, can feel overwhelmed from always being on the run. A sandwich for dinner in the car three nights a week is not ideal. As well, by occupying our children every waking moment, we don’t teach them the value and importance of enjoying their own company during quiet moments. Learning how to sit still, process and reflect on what is going on around them and developing patience are just some of the benefits of not always being on the run. It’s true that keeping them busy does sometimes keep them out of trouble, but sometimes to the detriment of the family.
Instead of adding another activity to an already full plate, consider scheduling ‘family time’ instead. Especially in families where parents are working full time, most children prefer just spending quality time with their parents when they get home from work. This may include sitting down to eat dinner as a family at least a couple of times a week, without feeling that it’s tightly squeezed between getting home from school and work and rushing out to another activity. It may also include putting one night a week aside to play board games or even to watch a mutually enjoyed show on television together. Spending time together as a family might include going tobogganing on a hill near your house after dinner, raking leaves (and then jumping into the piles), visiting grandparents or volunteering. All of this together time will create wonderful memories and encourage bonding as a family.
The bottom line is that there’s as much to be learned and gained from spending time with one another as there is from learning or developing a new skill. So, don’t feel guilty about not keeping up with the Jones’s. Instead, de-stress by taking some of the load off your plate and hanging out with the people you love.
Image of tired child from Shutterstock.
We’ve assembled a select group of experts on parenting topics that affect all ages and stages of a child’s development. From sibling rivalry, sleep deprivation to nutrition, our savvy experts have your parenting dilemmas covered. (We know they’ve helped us with ours.) Let us know if they are helping you with your dilemmas by commenting.