Stephanie Barnhart wears many hats. She’s a plant-based runner, writer, columnist, speaker, and advocate. She’s also a single mom to her son Max, who she lives with in NYC. As the author of a popular blog (Football Food & Motherhood) and the editor of another (Mommy Nearest), Stephanie knows a lot about the ins and outs of motherhood, and she doesn’t hold back when it comes to sharing her own personal journey.
Little Spoon recently met up with Stephanie to discuss how becoming a mom has changed her life and she was happy to share all of the details (even the TMI ones).
Motherhood is Different Stages of Mess
Being a mother is always going to be a bit messy. We’re not talking about the mysteriously sticky messes inherent to child-rearing (although, believe us, that’s a major part). Nope, we’re talking about the embarrassing personal messes, like emotional vulnerability and disorganization.
Even though she prefers to be organized in most aspects of her life, being a messy mama is OK by Stephanie. “It’s just going to be that way for sure,” she says. “It’s starts messy, it stays messy… it’s just different stages of mess, you know?”
My Whole Body Changed
There is a whole rhetoric out there about embracing your stretch marks as tiger stripes and your mom-pooch as proof that you are a warrior. But what about those of us who accept the body changes that happen when pregnant, even if we don’t love them? Is it anti-feminist that I hate my mom bod? Stephanie’s answer? Nope. It’s feminist as heck to allow yourself to feel whatever you want about your post-baby bod.
“Women make excuses for their post-baby body because we’ve internalized that criticism. But we don’t have to justify our mom bods. I was just a little baby twig my whole life,” Stephanie shares. “Thennnnn my whole body changed.” She shrugged. “You just get used to it.”
But when every single instagram account is screaming at you about how to get your body back in less than three weeks, it can start to weigh you down. Luckily, Stephanie notes, the tides are starting to turn when it comes to body acceptance, especially with post-baby-bodies. “I think it’s finally starting to get to the point where it is ok to not be model thin and perfect,” she explains. “Ultimately, it’s really about you, and not worrying so much.”
Not Normal is the New Normal
The good news is, according to Stephanie, you get used to the chaos. It’s just another part of your new normal. “Your life is going to be totally different than what you ever expected, but you just have to roll with it,” Stephanie explained. “The child brings in a new aspect to love that you’re totally not expecting. Loving your child is unlike any other type of love. It’s life changing.”
Not surprisingly, the messes of motherhood aren’t exactly something you can get equipped for until you are in pretty darn deep. “You can’t really prepare for things as much as you want to. Personally, I like to be as organized and prepared as possible,” Stephanie explains, “but you just have to accept and embrace the chaos. Chaos isn’t tidy or color-coated. Chaos is a wreck. Luckily, with motherhood, chaos is normal.”