Behind The Scenes
Behind The Scenes With Stephanie Barnhart
“Women make excuses for their post-baby body because we’ve internalized that criticism. But we don’t have to justify our mom bods.”
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.”
ACCEPTING THE CHANGES
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.”
NOT NORMAL IS THE NEW NORMAL
While it might sound contradictory at first, it soon becomes clear that since nothing in motherhood is normal that really means that everything in motherhood is normal.
Stephanie explains, “You never really know what you might end up doing. You might accidentally sleep in, or you have to get up early and make a special lunch or pack a special project, or go home to take them to a soccer practice…” One of the coolest parts of parenting is experiencing all the different days through your child’s eyes. Whether that’s your child waking up to three dollars from the tooth fairy or seeing your child’s excitement as you head to the park you also loved going to every Thursday after school, it is always fun to share those moments with your own kids.
“My twenties were great and I had fun,” Stephanie explains, “but now it’s a whole new world. I’m like, oh my God, I’ve never seen the Statue of Liberty, let’s go see it with Max! So now he sees it, I get to see it. When you take the leap and allow for anything to happen, you get to do things with your kids you wouldn’t have done without them, and you experience so much more.”