I was at home with my youngest daughter yesterday morning, spending time playing before heading to a neighborhood playgroup. As I often do, I snapped a few selfies, never wanting to forget those moments, and wanting Violet to know that she was just as loved as her older sister, who was the subject of many more pictures in her first two years of life as an only child.

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What do you think when you see that picture? I wanted it to show a mother and a daughter having fun together. All I could think about, however, were the lines on my face. Those lines at the corners of my eyes... crow’s feet? Did I really have crow’s feet?! I began scrolling through pictures on my phone and noting all the lines on my face. Just a week ago, I remember snapping this selfie to send to my Body Back mamas to see if the afternoon sunshine could convince them to hold our evening class outdoors.

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I noticed the lines on my face that day, along my cheeks. I once had a dimple on one of those cheeks that is now lost in the creases. That day last week when I noticed the laugh lines (a much better label than crow’s feet), I had stalked several friends’ Facebook pictures to see who had the same lines, and who did not, comparing my smile to theirs. This is not the person I want to be. This is not how I want to spend my time. I had come to accept my post-baby body thanks to FIT4MOM. I will never be the skinniest person I know. I will never work out to the point that people would see me and think “Man, she’s ripped.” I’m okay with that. My personal wellness goals do not involve being skinny and ripped. They involve being strong and heart-healthy. They involve eating well more often than not. They involve self-confidence. Through all of this, I want to set a good example for my girls so that they see fitness and wellness as a fun and normal part of life. I want them to accept their bodies and love them for what they can do, not for how they compare to their friends. I was not setting a good example for the latter.

Seeing as how I had truly only accepted my body below the neck, I decided to reach out to some of my closest mom friends. That group who knows WAY too much about you but loves you anyway. That group who is also brutally honest with you when you need them to be. I sent them the picture of Violet and me. I shared my worries and fears, asking how to cope with my aging face. How are they coping? I wanted to know. I NEEDED to know. The answers were funny, they were serious, they were REAL. I’m not alone. Phew.

Their responses ranged from “Botox” to “acceptance” to “collagen powder in coffee” to “more expensive makeup” to “embrace them girl… you’re beautiful” to “you are all gorgeous” and then there’s the one that really hit me:

“Remember being 25? When I look back, I’m so mad at myself for not being more confident in the way I looked then… I am working on acceptance so that when I’m 45, I’m not mad at myself for not appreciating my 35 year old self.”

Wow. Just WOW. My friends are awesome... and wise. This was just what I needed. Are these negative thoughts what I want to consume my time? Do I want to look back and remember being unhappy with a few lines on my face when, let’s face it, it’s not going to get better with time? No. Absolutely positively not. I don’t want to spend my time fretting over the lines. I don’t want to spend my time comparing myself to my friends. As much as this particular conversation with my friends was amazing, very funny at times, and probably helpful for more than just me, I don’t want to spend hours of my life talking about my aging body. Embrace it… accept it… enjoy life... smile often. Because, honestly, when have you ever seen a smiling face that was not beautiful?

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Speaking of "embracing it", I can’t believe how well my experience ties into our Moms’ Night Out later this month. I swear this wasn’t planned, but it's obviously very necessary. A huge group of women, including several mamas, are going to see Embrace: The Documentary at Landmark Harbor East on Wednesday, February 22. Please join us if you’re free! Get your ticket here.

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In the craziness that is motherhood and business ownership -- and all those other parts of life as I know it -- sometimes I like to sit back, quiet my mind, and just remember what brought me to this crazy beautiful happy place. I remember when I tried my first class and made my first neighborhood mom friends. When I first met the mom down the street who would later become my business partner. I remember the moms who came, who saw, who conquered; those who have been with me since the start and those who have moved away. All that remembering leads me right back to today. I thought I'd share some of these moments through pictures and a little story-telling.


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