When my dear friend Shana invited me to be a guest blogger on the peanutbutteronthekeyboard blog, a blog dedicated to motherhood and written by writers, I was flattered but a bit hesitant. I’d tried blogging once before, and it was a dismal failure. But let me explain…
I, too, am a writer, but of a different variety than the lovely ladies who are regular contributors here. For the past ten years, I have written a parenting column for several San Antonio publications. Mommy Matters started out as a newspaper column for my local neighborhood newspaper. The column grew until I eventually moved it to the magazine circuit where it changed a bit, but was still basically me talking about my kids and trying to come up with a “moral of the story moment” so I didn’t sound like a complete loser of a mom. Mothers related. Who knew? My singular blogging attempt came at the request of my editor at the magazine, who was trying to bring all her regular columnists on board for the magazine’s new blog site.
You would think after all those years of writing a parenting column, it would be easy to sit down and knock out a quick blog about what was going on in my life, but that damn blog tormented me for weeks. Bloggers were young and hip. I was not. Bloggers made people laugh and think about political issues. I would not. Blogs were streams of consciousness or pithy comments that flowed easily from the keyboard with little effort or foresight. Seriously? I could not.
When I finally submitted my one and only post, about signing my kids up for swim lessons or some other nonsense no one was interested in, I prayed no one would read it. I think I got my wish though I’m not one hundred percent certain as I promptly forgot my password and never returned to the site. (My editor never mentioned this. I don’t think she knew any more about blogging than I did, or she read my lame post.)
So, when Shana asked me to be a guest blogger here…well, I was uncertain. Then I read the topic for the month—food, weight and eating issues. Now, here was something I could talk about. Relate to. Here was something I specialize in discussing with my girlfriends on long walks around the neighborhood! Or at lunch. Or while grocery shopping. Most importantly, here is a topic that rattles around my brain incessantly all day, every day, and has for the past sixteen years.
I’m a forty-three year old mother of three children, ages sixteen, fourteen, and three. Battling my after-baby-weight has been an ongoing struggle since baby number one and is still going strong. Babies one and two came in my late twenties/early thirties. Two years after baby number two came along, I was finally fed up enough with the baby weight I had been carrying around since baby number one to actually do something about it. I joined Weight Watchers where I did have some success, met my goals, and became a lifetime member. (Toot-toot. That’s my own horn.) I started running, and between the running and occasional returns to Weight Watchers for “maintenance issues,” I was able to keep my weight pretty stable for about ten years.
Then baby number three came along. She was born exactly two weeks after my fortieth birthday and is the brightest little ray of sunshine in our family. But this blog isn’t about her, so forget I mentioned that. This blog is about me. And my weight. And my struggles. Don’t put on your happy face.
I don’t care what Hallie Berry looks like right now, having a baby in your forties is NOTHING like having a baby in your twenties or thirties. It’s as if the fat around my middle has been stuck there with Gorilla Glue and refuses to budge. Same goes for under my chin. And the back of my arms. Three years after giving birth to number three, I am fifteen pounds heavier than that “goal weight” I maintained for ten years, and it’s not going anywhere fast. Yes, I returned to Weight Watchers, and it helped for a while, but it was so HARD. Much harder, this time around. One tiny little glass of wine was five points, and my normal glass was probably more like seven or eight. Times two glasses…I hardly had any points left for eating. So, I gave up on Weight Watchers and decided what I really needed was a good get-skinny-quick scheme. If I could just lose the weight really quickly, I would go straight to the WW maintenance plan to keep it off. I justified this by telling myself that as long as I eventually got to the healthy eating aspect of the diet, it was a good, solid plan.
So, here I am, two years later, and that is still my goal. Find the miracle cure for these pesky pounds, then keep them off using a sensible, healthy, portion-controlled eating plan. Sound familiar? Well, it’s been a long, hard road. As far as diets go, I’ve tried them all: Southbeach, Atkins, The Zone, Paleo Eating…throw in a couple more attempts on Weight Watchers, and that about sums it up. I’ve also tried pretty much every diet aid on the market. Here are a few I have tried so far that have NOT been my miracle cures: Acai berry (juice and pill form), Ally (beware the Ally-oops!), Lipozene, Hydroxy-cut, Hoodia (Thanks, Oprah), Metabolife, Slimquick, Cheaters, Raspberry Ketone (Thanks, Dr. Oz), numerous cleanses and juice concoctions, and a cream that you rub on your belly before putting on this fat-burning belt. I have even tried an illegally obtained Mexican diet pill sworn to completely suppress the appetite. (Don’t ask. I will not give up my mule!) To date, I have lost and gained the same six pounds more times than I can count. But I’m still optimistic that the miracle cure is out there. I will not give up. I am anxious to get rid of these extra pounds, so I can get on with some good sensible eating. Just as soon as I lose this weight.
So here is the moral of my story: parenting is kind of like dieting. It’s not an exact science, and there is no miracle pill to make you skinny or the perfect mom. It’s trial and error, success and failure, baby steps in both directions, and a lot of hard, hard work. There are lots of experts out there willing to sell us a miracle—make us skinny, fix our kids’ problems—but really, the only miracle we can count on is the one God gives us every day. The miracle of motherhood and the children who make every one of these pesky pound worthwhile. Occasionally, we get a toot-toot moment, and that’s what keeps us going. But perfection is rarely on the radar, and sometimes you just have to say, I’m doing the best I can.
Wishing you lots of toot-toot moments today.
Courtney Burkholder is a writer, mother, and professional dieter who lives in San Antonio, Texas with her husband and three children. She is currently a biographer for Epic Bound Books, a private publishing company for families and businesses, and an aspiring author of young adult novels. She has recently completed her fourth manuscript and is, once again, on the hunt for agent representation.