I’m a typical mom, which means that I generally look like I’ve been run over by a semi when I get up in the morning. I make a feeble attempt to pull my shit together before leaving the house, but by the time our bedtime routine rolls around 14 hours later, I look like fresh hell again.
This is why, on the rare days when I feel especially cute, I try to relish my hotness. We all have those days, right? The stars align — my hair looks good, skin is clear, pants zip without a problem, and I’m just feeling myself. On those days, I might stop and admire my reflection in a mirror, thinking “DAMN, my husband married up.”
But then, at some inevitable point during the day, I’ll catch a glimpse of my upper thighs or my ass and all of that self-confidence takes a momentary nosedive. A cellulite sighting is generally the fastest way to ruin a woman’s day, but since I am pretty sure I was born with dimpled legs, I’ve become almost used to it.
I was a tween when I first noticed the ripples on the sides of my legs. I’m 38 years old now, so I’ve had a lot of time to figure out how to deal. As an aside, it really blows to inherit a physical trait — in my case, a body that hoards fat and loves to manifest it in as much dimpled square footage as possible — that society deems ugly. It’s not like I can have a fat transplant. I can’t suck out all of my cellulite-filled cells and replace them with normal ones, and even when I lose weight, the dimples remain because CELLULITE IS PART OF WHO I AM AS A PERSON.
For years I waged war on my body, experimenting with every brand of cream, massage tool, exercise, or diet plan that I could afford. Thankfully (for him), I married a man who loves every inch of me, even the wobbly parts, and weirdly enough, his acceptance of me helped me learn how to better accept myself.
When my oldest child was 2 or 3, he walked up behind me at the kitchen sink and rubbed the back of my thigh. “What’s that, Mommy?” he inquired, rubbing his chubby little hand along the ridges of my leg. It was in that moment that I chose self-love, rather than self-hatred. “My leg!” I laughed, never offering an apology or explanation for the lumpiness. What he was looking at was my leg, the very same legs that carried me while I carried him, and later on, his brother and his sister. My legs have done all sorts of things over the course of my life. I’m very grateful to them for the service they’ve provided me.
My body is imperfect; I tie shirts around my waist when I wear yoga pants, so the lumps aren’t apparent. I’ve been wearing shapewear for over two decades under dresses to hold my lower half in place. I don’t wear shorts, and bathing suit shopping obviously sucks. But, I unabashedly run around with my kids at the swimming pool and the beach, I walk around the house in short pajama shorts, and I don’t talk about myself with disdain, ever. My self-acceptance is ever-evolving, but it’s hard-won.
Part of my job as a mother is to exhibit the kind of love for myself that I want my kids to have for their own bodies, cellulite, warts, birthmarks, and all. So what if my fat pockets are lumpy? The truth is, my husband DID marry up. He’s been telling me for years that I’m a fucking catch, and I’m finally starting to believe him.