As of recently I've seen more and more hashtags and lingo for the rising trend of the "Dad Bod." I have to say for a bit I laughed at how kinda hilarious the whole thing is. I mean really, try explaining to people not on the internet everyday that your barrel and manboobs are part of a trend.... good luck to ya. And then the reality of it all sunk in. A mom of two girls struggling with body image and being more positive about myself I began to take in just how much harm this new fad can do. To some it's funny, but to others, just like many things in life, it can be VERY misconstrued.
Doing some research, in actual fact, the "Dad-Bod" concept stems from frat boys who have acquired the ever famous "freshman 5" ... otherwise known as extra weight due to crappy eating, lazy habits, and obscene consumption of alcoholic beverages not low in calories. The idea didn't even involve Dads at all. HOWEVER the idea that the unkept, inactive, couch potato look is gaining respect and being the stereotype for dads is what has my head spinning just a lil'. I also enjoy how "science" believes men to suffer from sympathy weight gain, along with their wives during pregnancy. Like men's bodies are changing too?! ... more like they are just jumping on the craving train and now get to use "dad-bod" as an excuse at the end of it all.
*** This blog is a little bit of a fist pump to all women out there and a fist punch to those coining the term "dad-bod" ***
I know myself that I loved EVERY minute of being pregnant. Although I never felt truly "beautiful" with a growing belly, I felt wonderful. Suddenly baggy clothing and or tight revealing clothing was very acceptable and the belly provided a perfect accessory to every outfit (well except with heels... but I'm not that type anyway). I loved that I was growing a tiny human inside month by month and that it was such a rush getting to the birth day to meet both our "littles"! So, by no means am I complaining or bashing or meaning offence by this post. Please just take it as yet another public rant.
What I don't appreciate is this excuse for men to be gaining weight or "Letting themselves go" and all the positive attention and props they get for it. I mean really... women produce monthly eggs, all while maintaining a uterus just waiting to house and grow life. If life doesn't present itself we go through what for some can be a monthly, painful and inconveniencing "period" of time getting ready to do it all over again. Men... well... let's see... they just kinda hang out. Ladies, don't you love how they refer to their man parts sometimes as a "Baby maker"? Like basting a turkey; they play their role, but in actuality, they just provide the missing ingredient... the turkey was always already a turkey ;-) ;-) And if not called on to do their job... well... their little tadpoles just hop on up to the swim-up bar, order another drink and continue on their lounging days.
[I'm not "carving" their input, nor am I suggesting men don't play a VERY large role in babymaking... I'm simply searching for women to get a little more credit in it all]
This "Dad Bod" thing is essentially totally harmless and can be quite comical... and overall I truly love the idea of lowering our expectations of one another. But... (always a BUT) in a society of growing pressure for both men and women, I think we need to re-evaluate how we treat and perceive one another. Celebrities for a while were BRUTAL at promoting the fact that they were back down to a size 2 not 2 days after giving birth. Or putting themselves on the cover of a magazine preaching how they worked out and dieted to get their "Pre-baby" body back. I can assure you... the last thing I wanted to do after having a baby was put down my bagel with extra cream cheese and jump on a treadmill chasing a kale salad, protein shake with bird seed in it resembling the meal of a small rabbit. Nor could I afford the time or the money to have someone look after the "leech-like" child for me to do something for myself (Before you think it's horrible that I just referred to my child as leech like... have you ever pulled a leech off your leg?..... and now have you ever pulled a toddler from being wrapped around your leg?... enough said)! LOL The concept of physical activity made me even more tired than I already was. But the pressure remained. I just grew a life. Gave birth to life. Rented out my womb room free of charge and was now providing nourishment through breast feeding for this beautiful little being, and yet I was still consumed with being like the story on the magazine or like the town mom "celebrity" that everyone praised for looking so good after baby (we all have those freakin' friends). And that, my friends, is what needs to change.
We need to adopt more "MOM-BOD" ideologies too. Appreciate stretch marks, spare tires and back boobs as being part of what a woman is/can be (WITH OR WITHOUT CHILDREN). I bet all those dieters with none of the previously mentioned body "upgrades" can honestly look your straight in the eye and tell you they don't yearn for a hotdog on a stick, a croissant with butter or a carb packed grilled cheese sandwich.
I understand that there can be a positive spin to the fact that we are praising not so perfect "Dad-bods" and that the concept is gaining media attention and competition among men... But next time you laugh at the mention of the "Dad-bod" side of things... remember there should be praise for "mom-bods" too. And further more... "letting yourself go" shouldn't be why we praise it either, nor should it be an excuse. Using it as being proud of who you are should be what it's all about. 6 pack or no six pack, love handles or no love handles we all should embrace our different mom and dad bods.
*PROPS TO PARENTS for just creating and keeping these tiny little humans alive... and if you have a six pack, are a size 2 or have time for a personal trainer... then pat yourself on the back and pray to the lord you get to keep your metabolism for the rest of your life! LOL cause all the rest of us over here are trying to embrace and dress our "Parent-bods" and keep treading water in the life pool.
Being a parent is hard enough... but it's even harder in the world of social media, scrutiny and fish-bowl like characteristics.