The latest pretty, admirably fit lady to post a photo of her post-childbirth abs looking like very athletic snakes coiled in formation under the skin of her stomach is Caroline Berg Eriksen, a fitness blogger and the wife of a soccer player (I refuse to call it football, because AMERICA) in Norway. I came across that story in a furious blog post written by Rebecca Sparrow, who has taken up the mantle for women who somehow managed to not maintain the figure of a powerlifting Olson twin after pregnancy.
Here’s the deal: I’m 38 and I have two kids, a 19-year-old and a seven-year-old. The first I gave birth to when I was 18, and being 18 and barely capping out a hundo on the scale, I snapped back with a vengeance. Less than a week later I was back in my size-0 Z Cavariccis. This wasn’t because I was hyper-athletic or a Breathatarian — it was just, I was 18. The second pregnancy was eight years ago when I was 30, and there was decidedly less back-snapping. Unless you count my actual back, which totally snapped multiple times. So my point is: have babies when you’re 18, and then stop. Tell that to your young daughters! It’s great life advice.
A lot of mothers seem to be looking at this lady’s picture and feeling bad about themselves for not looking like that, or somehow judged for not having abs you can grate Pecorino on. I dunno. It’s pretty much her JOB to look like that, so, you know, way to be good at your job, Caroline. When I see ladies who don’t naturally have a five o’clock shadow on their upper lip every day, I get a little envious, sure, but I don’t feel bad about myself. I just remind myself that one day I’ll be grateful my filtrum is so well-insulated, I know it. And she’s not pulling a Maria Kang, who actually did call chunky moms out on being lazy-assed cud-chewers who pounded every orifice full of Nutella and Cheez-Its at every opportunity. No, Eriksen just…took a picture of herself. Sure, she was showing off, but aren’t all selfies about showing off? Showing off the Cheeto-crusted interior of your car, showing off that boil behind your ear, showing off your your weird-looking lump of a child. And I have to say: if I had abs like that, I’d wear that outfit to the post office, to the bowling alley, to pick up my kid’s report card. My winter coats would have a big plastic window in the front from my ribcage to my navel. Do they make caskets with ab-viewing windows?
But I don’t, and like many people, I have only myself to blame. I do try to stay in reasonable shape by eating well and exercising, but the problem is that as the years have gone by, two things have happened: one, I learned to appreciate the value of a good sitting session more, and two, I have more disposable income to spend on bacon-wrapped stuff and booze. You might think that forgetting the names of your children and your cartilage turning into mush were are the worst parts of aging, but the REAL killer is increased access to high-quality cheese. And it’s like, what am I gonna do? NOT eat the cheese? Am I not made of flesh and bone?
What I’m saying is, if I really, really wanted to have those abs, I could, or at least, I could get a lot closer. I could work out more, and harder. I could eat things that make me shit out desserts I ate during the Clinton administration. I could finally buy one of those Groupons that feature photos of smooth, bony pelvises that I assume somehow cause fat deposits to explode into clouds of pink sparkles. But in this, my fourth decade on earth, I’ve decided to prioritize other things above abs as hard and flat as Nebraska.