Thursday, November 8, 2012

The Family Boobs

In my house I am very popular.  It's flattering to be so popular but it's a fairly localized phenomenon.  I never experienced popularity until I started having children, and I am currently on a streak as the most popular person in our home.  That could change at any time, so I take each day for what it is.  Sometimes being the preferred person for hugs or help with homework and violin practice is a burden, but most of the time I revel in it.  Even the dog will come flop by me if given a choice.  I am the one everyone at this address wants to be with.

And I'm pretty sure I owe it all to my boobs.

Ian is the one you want for help with anything technical, and he handles the laundry and most of the meals.  He's always up for a board game or a trip to the zoo and is often patient to a degree I can only aspire to.  How can I compete with that?  The dog is cuddlier than I am.  Quinn is cuter.  Mona is funnier.  Aden is sweeter.  But damn it, I have boobs.  And apparently boobs rule.

I breast fed my children for a total of almost four years with my boobs.  I went from feeling self-conscious and private about them to being able to pull them out anywhere and everywhere to feed my babies.  I nursed my kids at the park, in restaurants, on planes, at Target, and once while visiting the Bronx Zoo.  (And unlike some people I've read who have had to defend their right to breast feed in public, I am grateful that I never once had a problem or even got a second glance.)

I got used to my babies feeling like they had ownership over that part of my body.  But it didn't stop with them as babies.  They all like to touch my boobs.  It got so weird for me with my girls a couple of years back that I finally started brushing them off while saying, "Grow your own!"

But my boobs make the best pillows, apparently.  So I become a cherished spot on movie night or when we snuggle up on the couch.  My boobs are like soft magnets that draw everyone in the house to me.  My husband has been a longtime fan.  I am boobtacular.

The problem is from my end they are just uncomfortable and problematic.  They make running painful, they make it difficult to wear button up shirts, and they're probably hard on my back.

But part of this I'm sure has been my bras.  I'm frugal when it comes to buying most things for myself, so I haven't had a good one probably since my mom bought one for me a lifetime ago.  I also suspected after nearly a dozen years of repeated pregnancies and varying degrees of weight gain and loss I didn't really know my size anymore.  I've tried on bras of various measurements at Target until I got close enough, and when they stopped carrying anything I could use (oh, to be a cute A cup for whom all the decorative cute bras are always in abundance) I switched to finding inexpensive bras online.  Nothing ever fit the way it should.  I kept thinking I would treat myself to something nice when I lost more weight, but I have been plateaued in that arena for so long that I finally decided it's silly.  I needed a decent bra.

So I announced the other day while snuggling a couple of my children on the couch that we were going to get my boobs measured for a good bra.  Immediately both children leaned back to look at my boobs with critical gazes and started feeling them as if they were selecting ripe fruit.  Quinn ran off to find a ruler.  They started laying the ruler across my chest and declaring I was thirty inches!  No, ten centimeters!  No, I was twelve of something!  (They may be my biggest fans, but in some ways they are no help at all.)

We went to a mall in the expensive end of town and found a store that did fittings.  My kids entertained themselves in a dressing room of their own while a helpful saleswoman measured me and brought me this and that.  The interesting thing I learned is that I was, actually, the size I had been using.  It just turns out there is a difference between a bra that is a worn and cheap 42DD instead of a new and good 42DD.  I left with a simple bra, a sheer and lacy bra that was surprisingly supportive, and one in a leopard print which makes me laugh because why not?

The saleswoman asked if I wanted matching underwear and I told her I'm just not that coordinated.  I already find it weird that an article of clothing almost nobody sees can be so decorative.  I'm not out to impress the water aerobics ladies in the locker room at the Y.  (They're probably already impressed I don't need a walker, so fancy panties would just be overkill.)

I will probably fall back into a cheap bra habit at some point, because honestly, I'm so much happier spending my hard earned money on a nice plane or gouge or a beautiful piece of maple.  But it felt good walking out of the store with a bag full of decent support for my boobage.

At the moment it's worth it, though.  We popular people need to invest periodically in order to maintain our fan base.  These bras aren't just pretty, they are a means of shoring up both figurative and literal support.  (I may only hold sway with a limited crowd that I mostly had to help make myself, but I want to keep my status as long as I can!  Wonder twins, activate.)


  1. I too am boobtacular. As such, when Ellie finally weaned, I knew I needed something a bit more, um, *substantial* to give my girls the lift they needed.

    I too balk at paying such an insane amount for something that is hardly ever seen, and as such, only buy new bras about once every three years. I found a wonderful website which gives excellent tips for proper fitting--Breakout Bras.

    May you continue to be popular--it's such a fleeting thing around these parts. I'm fairly certain the cats rank above me at the moment...

  2. ahhhh boobs. the things they do for us.

  3. I too find the price of a good bra obscene, but wear those nice new bras for 3 or 4 or even 5 years, until all the elastic is gone. You can try the cheap bras all day long and you'll be just as uncomfortable as you are with the worn out bras. Then, when you break down and finally spend the money on a good bra (or 4) that actually fit you and support the girls, you'll be so grateful and you'll wonder what took you so long to get a decent replacement. Not that I know all that from experience or anything...

  4. That was pretty hysterical. And you and I are the same size, at least the size I think I am and buy. I like the 14.99 models at Kmart, and right now I have exactly ONE. I think I need to follow your lead.

  5. The BOOBS!!! Always popular in the house! :)

    I've nursed all my children too--and am still nursing the littlest one! He's 2 and I often (affectionately and jokingly) refer to him as my little Boob Bully. He likes to boss me around to get some boobs!

    p.s. You know, it was very freeing to be able to write BOOBS so many times here!

    You are such a good writer. You always make me smile.

  6. nothing beats a good fitting bra!!

  7. I came across your blog yesterday when I was complaining about formatting on Babble. (I know, what???) But the more I read, the more charmed I am, especially as a fellow Milwaukeean. Now I'm dying to know where you got this fancy measurement work done! I suspect I could use similar help, as I am also responsible for the family boobs.

    1. Oh, Babble. Babble Babble Babble. I still have a couple of friends who write over there, but the new format is so bad I can't find anybody. I can't even figure out who all the bloggers are now. So weird to think they started out as an alternative parenting site, and now it says Disney right under the new logo. *sigh*

      Anyway, I went to Soma up in Bayshore Mall. They were nice and so far the bras I got are working out really really well. Treat your boobs! You won't regret it!

      (And thanks for reading!)

  8. I used to work at La Senza (a huge, albeit hugely tacky lingerie retailer) and if you have to get some cheaper bras to supplement the new ones, there are a few things to look for:
    - thicker straps (you'll want at least the width of your index finger)
    - a slightly higher back than most (aim for 3 inches high)
    - quality seams
    - and of course a good fit!

    I hope this helps, and I'm glad you found some nice things! I used to read you on Babble :)

    1. Thanks so much for the advice! Much appreciated. (And thanks for finding me over here!)

  9. I disagree about the panties! You never know when a rogue cactus will rip your shorts off in front of a group of buff ATVing men. You do NOT want to be wearing granny panties. Believe me, I know.

    1. I have since learned the hard way, having stripped down to my underwear in the last bike race for one of the challenges. (Rogue cactus!!! Hahahaa!)