Keeping Mum

Dita De Boni looks at the trials and tribulations of being a parent.

Baby weight

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Like so many women the world over, I have been shocked and dismayed at the changes to the body wrought by pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding.

Granted, I never had a "body beautiful" to lose - I have always been short and stocky, am currently short and stocky, and will always be so.

When Trinny and Susannah did their infamous show where they pointed out the various body shapes of women using things like guitars, planks of wood, apples and so on, I was not gratified by comparing myself to the items on offer.

Where I thought myself a shapely guitar, or even a womanly viola, my husband was on hand to confirm I was a vase - all shoulders, thick waist, big hips, sack-o-potato legs.

But childbirth has turned an unpromising situation into a no-win situation.

A stomach that was once merely flabby and potentially tone-able now seems like the piece of pork belly I brought to make dinner with the other night (and yes, probably eating pork belly for dinner is the reason my belly is so beyond help!).

What I mean is that this firm, solid lard will be with me until the grave rather than the "love handles" that can be lovingly lost with the right amount of attention.

Like many women who stay at home with their children I suffer from "garbagebin-itis", where every spare scrap of food the kids discard seems to find a way into my gob.

A sweet tooth cultivated during my last pregnancy still hasn't dislodged itself, and the way we are taught to feed kids now - small portions more regularly - sees me not only hoovering up plenty of food but also preparing lots of food more frequently.

Let me tell you, gentle reader, of three more reasons that have driven a stake through the heart of my good diet intentions.

One: The dairy that is a 45-second walk from my house (three doors down).

Two: The award-winning bread shop right next door that is open from 7am in the morning til 6 at night.

Three: The newly-opened cake and coffee kitchen, a 15-second walk from my front door.

It simply isn't feasible, when at home with very young children, to maintain one's sanity without the help of a "crutch".

There are "good" crutches - say, constantly calling on your mother-in-law for help (because she lives so close and is happy to drop everything to look after your loin fruit).

Or perhaps you simply need to read the paper to get through the day. Again, unless you have to imprison your children in a cupboard to make it happen, it's probably not going to harm anyone.

And then there are the terrible crutches. Yes, Valium, cocaine, crank calls, and breaking crockery all fit into this category.

For many women I know our answers are in the middle. Not completely harmless, and yet not illegal. I'm talking about the 5pm wine, the compulsive overeating when bored and stressed out (yes, the two CAN happen together), the wallowing in the funk of it all, the desperate need to justify your existence when everyone you meet seems to be a woman who looks fantastic, enjoys her job, and doesn't seem to feel any regret that her children call the childcare centre "home".

I tried the 5pm wine for a while and still resort to it after a bad day (there are quite a few of those at the moment as toddler asserts himself ever more and he and the one-year-old need to be physically separated for their own safety!)

But my more common recourse is to the dairy for sweets, the cafe for coffee, and the breadshop for bread.

It's part of my routine, unfortunately, as I go about my day justifying yet another flat white; another bag of lollies, another mini-ciabatta loaf. Not to mention the cost.

One day soon I WILL join a gym, I swear. It would be immensely helpful if the gym was also somewhere in my immediate vicinity!

- Dita De Boni

Pictured above: Even before childbirth, I was a 'vase' (all shoulders, thick waist, big hips, sack-o-potato legs) according to Trinny and Susannah. Photo / Herald on Sunday

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