Finding Ninee » Sharing our parenting and special needs stories with heart and humor.

On Self Image, Invisible Connections, and Mornings

This morning, I looked into the mirror, sighed, and wondered why my recent haircut hasn’t held its shape for as long as the last one did. I traded shorts for yoga pants, brushed my teeth and applied lotion hoping that it’d plump up the papery skin beneath my eyes.

My son was downstairs eating breakfast. It was almost time to catch the bus to school. “Hey Buddy,” I said. “We have to finish practicing your spelling words this afternoon, okay?”

“Okay,” he said, and looked a little less happy than he did before I’d reminded him.

“You’re breaking him with the homework,” the voices hollered upstairs. “Shut up,” I thought, but did not say.

I stood, leaned behind my little boy, and wrapped my arms around his chest. I whispered in his ear. Told him that I’m so proud to be his mom.

“Your breath is terrible and minty” he said.

***

This morning, I saw a mom at the bus stop. “She’s so put-together,” I thought. Looked down at my yoga pants and criticized myself for not having gotten up earlier, put on real clothes, and for the fact that yoga pants are the most comfy of all because I rarely go to the gym these days. “I bet she goes to the gym every morning,” I thought about put-together-mom.

***

“Hey Tucker,” one of my son’s friends smiled at him today. “Why’d you call me taco?” my son asked. “I didn’t call you taco,” his friend said laughing. I said “Tucker!”

It did sound like “taco” and my son corrected him. “It’s Tuck-ow,” he said. I thought about how they both use the sound a “w” makes instead of an “r,” and wondered about how kids with speech delays hear themselves in their heads. I walked home and thought about how my son says his name closer to “taco” than to Tucker, hears himself fine, but hears his friend’s pronunciation as closer to “taco.”

***

This morning, I stopped at the store. We needed strawberries and I didn’t think about changing out of my yoga pants before going. I saw a friend I haven’t seen in awhile and tried to avoid her, remembering my hair and my face in the mirror this morning. Looked down at my yoga pants, feeling badly again. “You have crappy self image for a reason,” the cart whispered. I studied the sale items at the end of an aisle hoping my friend would walk by. 

I have crappy self worth but I

“Kristi” she said.

I glanced around, as if confused, hoping she’d see what a rush I was in, even though I wasn’t.

Again. “Kristi!”

I turned, found her face, and smiled. We hugged.

“You look so pretty” she said.

“Um, I, um, yoga pants? Hair?” I replied. “It’s your hair,” she said. “I love the new cut.”

I realized I’m every mom. That each of us looks in the mirror in the morning and sees a version of ourselves that’s older than we remember.

That each of us fights with our kids over homework and sees little faces on the wall in the bathroom who yell at us about not being enough.

***

This afternoon, I walked to the bus stop to pick up my son. I saw one of the moms that I really like, smiled, and said hello. “I love your shoes,” I said, meaning it. They looked stylish and comfy and like something I’d buy.

“These old things?” We chatted about her finding them on sale and getting them in navy and in black. In her, I saw me, that morning, when somebody told me she liked my haircut.

Walking home, I wondered whether we’re really so needy and insecure that we perk up only when noticed.

Sometimes I look down at my yoga pants and feel like crap. Then somebody says something nice about my hair and I wonder whether we all have a crappy self imageInstead, I decided that it’s the invisible connections.

That each of us does not see ourselves through our crappy self esteem. But others see us, and we see them.

That put-together mom? She is all of us. The yoga-pants mom with the too-grown-out haircut is as well.

***
This has been a Finish the Sentence Friday post. This week’s sentence is “The things I’ve seen this morning…”
Your hosts are, as always me (Kristi from Finding Ninee) and this week’s fabulous sentence thinker-upper, Leanne from Hope.

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  • JT Walters - Yoga pants sound awesome!! I only have scrubs and old Hanes t-shirts.

    I see an o,d lady with grey hair, no cut, bags under her eyes and bite marks all over her.

    But I saw a friend from High School who also has autism. Her son is 6’4″ and he rocks while mi e jumps. I told her how beautiful she looked. She was like, “JT you need your eyes checked!” But it is true all babies are beautiful, all pregnant women are beautiful and all Moms are beautiful.

    It doesn’t matter what their hair looks like or what clothes they have…it is the love radiating from their hearts for their children that makes them so beautiful.

    If I come to Virginia, I am redoing your downstairs bathroom.

    Now where can I buy yoga pants. They sound comfy!March 31, 2016 – 11:27 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - You don’t have yoga pants? Comfiest pants EVER. Although scrubs look super comfy too. It’s so true that our love makes us beautiful. Well said, Mama. LOL to the bathroom and you can get them at Target or wherever!April 1, 2016 – 3:23 pmReplyCancel

      • JT Walters - I am headed there this weekend. Yoga pants here I come! YAY!April 1, 2016 – 4:03 pmReplyCancel

  • Kerry - I drive myself crazy sometimes, thinking someone else is hearing me sounding how I hear myself as in my own head. I can’t trust people see me in the exact same ways I see myself, as that image is distorted now. Same with them and myself. Kids are no different. That’s what makes school such a learning experience, friendships a tough landscape to navigate, and the wider world so overwhelming. Kids learn so much from other kids, but we adults are still learning from each other. Plus, kids and adults continuously teach each other, which I hope keeps us adults somewhat humble, if we realize it.
    You seem to realize many things through this weekly blogging exercise you host. Thanks Kristi. I learn a lot from you.April 1, 2016 – 12:09 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Isn’t it weird that we sound different in our heads than we do in real life? I remember when I first recorded my voice and thought “that’s NOT what I sound like!”
      I like your thought on kids teaching us humility. xo Thanks Kerry!!April 1, 2016 – 3:25 pmReplyCancel

  • Janine Huldie - I am so with you on the yoga pants as I usually wear them pretty daily here in the morning to take my girls to the bus. And I also most definitely do feel self-conscious at times when I do see other moms who seem so much put together. Trust me you aren’t alone very much there with you on this one.April 1, 2016 – 2:07 amReplyCancel

  • Deirdre Conran - I’m always the yoga pants mom and the self conscience about my appearance mom. I am always surrounded by the well put together mom’s and I’ve learned to be okay with them because I know I can be put together if I feel like it. Great post today!April 1, 2016 – 2:19 amReplyCancel

  • upasna - I, too, wonder why we need other’s praise word to be happy. I really feel happy when someone says “You are lucky”. I feel more beautiful when someone says it. Why is it so? Don’t we believe in ourselves ?April 1, 2016 – 2:53 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - It’s so true, Upasna! We really should realize how important and wonderful we are – yoga pants and all.April 1, 2016 – 3:31 pmReplyCancel

  • Leanne Russell - Well I’d be one of those put together Mums…but only because I wouldn’t be seen dead without my makeup and only because I’m pathetically insecure and am even reluctant to open the front door to someone without my makeup on!! So put together Mums are probably ten times more insecure than you are who confidently strode out in your yoga pants….they’d look crap on me! Sometimes lately, I’ve been slipping out that door with no more than a long black spandex dress creation that I sleep in. I shove my funky white retro sunglasses on and go braless, makeupless and shoeless to the end of the street …drop the kids and hope and pray the car doesn’t break down, I don’t run into another car or some unpredictable event occurs which would force me from the security of my car and expose me for the daggy, most unputogether mother ever!April 1, 2016 – 8:48 amReplyCancel

  • Emily - I’m glad you came to the realization that you are “every mom” because that can be tough to see when we are so engulfed by our own “stuff.” Because everyone and every mom has their challenges, and sometimes that put together looking mom has it the worst of all, but we never know it. P.S. I am typing this while wearing my yoga pants, even though I’ve never done yoga in my life. 🙂April 1, 2016 – 9:10 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - It’s really true that everybody has their own challenges… and LOL to your yoga pants. I did like three yoga classes years ago and well, not for me. I wish it were – the people who like it really like it, ya know?April 1, 2016 – 3:35 pmReplyCancel

  • Emily Nichols Grossi - Kristi, I found this so riveting and powerful and honest. Those voices we hear, of judgments and shoulds, are such bitchy devils. But connection and kindness make such differences and perhaps even help us see ourselves in a more sincere light? xo
    PS- You are a great mother!April 1, 2016 – 11:30 amReplyCancel

  • Tamara - What’s funny is that recently I hadn’t washed my hair and it was still four colors because I hadn’t glazed it yet. So I put on a cute hat and someone saw me and told my friend I looked perfectly put together! ha!
    Sometimes just being real and smiling. I guess that’s enough.April 1, 2016 – 11:33 amReplyCancel

  • mike - it isn’t just mom’s. we guys can feel the same way. My brain thinks I am still young, the mirror lies to me.April 1, 2016 – 4:23 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Yup. The stupid mirrors lie. And I’m HONORED you commented. I know you’re ill and out of the stuff so thank you huge, love.April 1, 2016 – 9:32 pmReplyCancel

  • Deb - Yeah… Just, yeah. love ya.April 1, 2016 – 4:51 pmReplyCancel

  • Lisa Moskowitz Sadikman - The truth here resonates for me so much Kristi. There are so many ways for us to be down on ourselves but when we make those connections and “see” each other beyond the yoga pants (wearing them right now), that’s where the lifting up happens. Thanks for sharing yourself here and helping me see myself with a little more compassion as well. Love you. XoApril 1, 2016 – 5:26 pmReplyCancel

  • Jena Schwartz - Best. Post. Ever.April 1, 2016 – 6:03 pmReplyCancel

  • Lizzi Lewis - I’m glad your friend liked your hair and told you you looked pretty. I’m glad you realised you’re as put-together as the others, and they’re as un-put-together as you. And bravo for ‘paying it forward’ to the mom you like.

    And lovely, lovely, to hear how very FOR Tucker you are. He will never ever doubt that you’re in his corner, cheering him on, changing the world for him one tiny step at a time. It won’t matter if you wear shorts all the time or your haircut grows out more than you’re comfortable with – you’re making a difference.

    (BTW your voices on the bathroom wall are assholes)April 1, 2016 – 7:50 pmReplyCancel

  • Lisa @ Golden Spoons - Well, you know that my self-image is in the toilet & i really wish all those voices in my head would shut the hell up. As I was reading this, I was thinking “Why are you beating yourself up over wearing yoga pants? I wear yoga pants all the time.” Then, I remembered this morning when I put on yoga pants because I told myself that’s all that fits and then hated that I looked like a slob. Long story short, I agree 100%, I just don’t know how to change it. XOXOApril 1, 2016 – 8:54 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - I do know… and nothing wrong with yoga pants except that I LOVE jeans. Like love love them, and none fit. Even my fat ones. Here’s to us figuring out how to change it.April 1, 2016 – 10:37 pmReplyCancel

  • Josie Two Shoes - This is not just every mom, but I think every woman out there, or nearly. We all judge ourselves so critically, and see everyone else as so much more perfect. And yet instead of building each other up we often try to tear those “perfect images” down. The little reminder about your nice haircut, or a pretty pair of shoes, those are golden comments that warm the heart and help us regain our perspective. I’ve made it goal to share a little of that sunshine each day, with my coworkers and our clients, in the elevator at work, at the grocery store, etc. and you know, I end up feeling a little better about my frumpy self then too! 🙂April 1, 2016 – 9:16 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - So true Josie. We do see everybody as having it more together than we do and the fact is, none of us have it together… or maybe a few do, I dunno. They’re probably boring though.April 1, 2016 – 10:41 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Also? I love that you share the sunshine each day. That’s big huge.April 1, 2016 – 10:42 pmReplyCancel

  • Mo Lux - First of all, yoga pants are the best contribtion to the world of comfortable fashion since, I don’t know, fuzzy slippers. Both admirable wardrobe choices in my book. I wish that the voices coming from our bathroom walls could show a little kindness like the gal in the grocery store. And, speaking for myself, I wish I could be better about accepting compliments rather than blurting out all the reasons that the compliment is undeserved.April 1, 2016 – 10:13 pmReplyCancel

  • Kenya G. Johnson - I hate running into people and it never happens when you want it to. I think the worst thing someone can say is, “I almost didn’t recognize you.” That wonderful that you got a pretty hair compliment. That’s the best one. Also compliments from strangers. Sometimes I don’t want to compliment somebody because their hair is SO nice and then I think about how it would make my day and that makes me say it out loud.

    Also interesting about heaing “Taco”.April 2, 2016 – 8:57 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - So true that running into people never happens when hoping for it! That’s cool that you compliment people on their hair even when your first reaction was to stay quiet.April 4, 2016 – 3:09 pmReplyCancel

  • My Inner Chick - “She’s so put-together,” I thought.

    I get it.

    You speak for all of us, Kristy.

    Want to know something?

    To me, YOU ARE FAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAABULOUS!!! XxxxApril 4, 2016 – 2:45 pmReplyCancel

  • Roshni AaMom - Yoga pants are really comfortable. I’ll tell you what’s more comfortable – pajamas! I wear them when I drop my sons off at school in the car! I mean, whatevs!! 😀April 5, 2016 – 5:52 amReplyCancel

  • Allie - Sweet beautiful Kristi, I can’t wait to see you and beat some sense into you;)!April 6, 2016 – 9:11 amReplyCancel

  • Christine Carter - Wait. I thought yoga pants were what you wear to GO OUT? I change from my pajama bottoms into them, when I must be out in public, and sadly- I’m totally cool with that. Seriously. PJ bottoms? Not so much. LOL

    I love this view, Kristi. It’s just so true. I’ve experienced that amazing connection and persperctive from other moms and given it myself- those compliments that surprise us and the inevitable truth that we are all quite simply beautiful- exactly where we are at and what we are wearing.

    Except the damn PJ bottoms. 🙂April 26, 2016 – 5:20 pmReplyCancel

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