Everyone knows when you have kids that your life changes. Your entire world is tipped upside down, and you're left to try and put it all back together, with a few extra pieces to add to the already overflowing puzzle.
Not that I'm complaining! I am more than blessed. I count my blessings every day. Two beautiful daughters, an amazing partner and father to my girls, four dogs, and family and friends that I love with all my heart.
I'm even blessed with a (future) mother-in-law that I actually like! Which, according to the majority of parenting forums I've been on, is a rarity.
When you type 'babies and body confidence' into google, you get the usual. "How to get your body back post baby".
That wasn't exactly what I was looking for.
My eldest daughter, Rayne, is an absolutely beautiful little girl. I see her like every mother sees her child. She is entirely perfect to me. I would not change a thing about her.
Looking at myself, on the other hand, is a very different story. My nose slants too far to the right. I have crooked teeth. My lips are too small. I have hooded eyes and wrinkles, and I'm only 25!
My eyebrows are too bushy, the hair on my face is too dark, my eyelashes don't curl enough, my jaw is ridiculous. And let's not even bring up my ears, because I could put Dumbo to shame.
I could go on and on like this for ages.
These are all things I have thought about myself, and that was just the things before I had two kids! These horrible, negative thoughts, all stem from years comparing myself to others, taking an offhand comment someone once made about my lips, and turning it into something I fretted over and hated myself for.
I have never found myself beautiful.
And here's where it gets murky.
Rayne, who is completely her daddy in personality, is basically me in miniature (except for the ears). She is the double of me. Looking at her sometimes, I am hit with the weirdest sense of de-javu.
Rayne sees me as beautiful. I see Rayne as beautiful. Despite having extremely similar charicteristics, I see her as utterly perfect, exactly the way she is.
And she is perfect. My 'flaws' have become so exaggerated in my own mind that I became obsessed, and its only since having kids that I've realised how little they actually matter.
I've gathered a few extra 'flaws' since having kids (stretchmarks, anyone?) and after two pregnancies my boobs aren't what they were - but here's the thing. When it actually comes down to it, I just don't care.
Don't get me wrong, if someone could wave a magic wand and 'fix' all my hangups, I can't say I'd say no. I mean, who wouldn't want to fix a few things?
But since having the girls, I've come to realise that body confidence is as much about your mindset as it is about how you are physically. Before I had Rayne, I wouldn't smile with my mouth open in pictures, to hide my teeth. Now, my teeth really don't matter that much.
Random photos, with our teef out (and yes, that was a deliberate typo) are usually our best.
We look happy. And we are. :)
I don't want my girls to look back at photos of us and see me looking grim.
I don't want them to see me focusing on my 'flaws' either.
Putting the idea of self-love out there early on is so important, and I think as a parent it's one of the best lessons you can teach your kids.
Rayne frequently refers to me as Queen Elsa from Frozen. Even on the days when my hair is scraped back, I have no makeup on, I have awful roots, eye bags and I'm in full zombie-mum mode, she thinks I'm beautiful.
And that's just as important a lesson, so in a way, my girls are teaching me too :)
My beautiful girls :)