by Sheila White
(Cambridge, Ontario, Canada)

I read a short article the other day that finally confirmed my worst suspicions. Motherhood makes your feet bigger.

The article didn’t say why motherhood makes your feet bigger, which I find very annoying. I always like to know the reason behind things, even though it doesn’t make a tad of difference in the long run. And I do mean long.

My feet have always been long. My own mother once threatened to have my big toes cropped when she couldn’t find shoes to fit me. I, being of a literal mind, thought she meant it, and wept loud and long until a well-meaning aunt took over the task of taking me to buy shoes. She had a formula she used when things didn’t go her way. She simply put a spell on whatever it was by waving her hands over the offending object and chanting the word “Kibosh!” It always worked because magic always does for a child who believes. And I believed.

Ergo, I often wore shoes that were too small for me. Also ergo, my toes grew bent. Probably just as well. If they grew straight, then goodness knows what size my feet would be now. Shudder!

However, back to my subject. After giving the matter of big-footed mamas some thought, I decided it was because of all that weight we moms carry around before our babies are born. Gravity takes its toll and our poor feet flatten and lengthen and there’s not a thing we can do about it. Except have our toes truncated, of course.

Come to think of it, having big feet has its compensations. It helps keep us firmly on the ground, which in a parent is eminently desirable. As well as longer feet, motherhood tends to give us larger bodies, so that we hesitate to go flying off the handle when the kids drive us up the wall.

There’s something ridiculous about a large, flat-footed woman whirling dervish-like about the kitchen, flailing a rubber spatula at all within reaching distance, merely because her child said “Why?’. Of course, if it was the 12th “why” within 30 seconds, one can forgive her. But who can take her seriously?

Now, anyone who knows me also knows it’s been a long time since my motherhood days, but I have news for whoever wrote that article. Grandmother-hood has the same effect. At least, it does in my case.

My feet have continued to lengthen with each grand-baby that came along, and the whole business is reaching–and I mean this–ridiculous proportions.

Despite the growing (groan!) trend of shopkeepers to stock larger sizes to accommodate the multitude of mothers of the world, I still have trouble getting shoes that fit. Oh, they are available, but at a price, and only in certain styles. And those two restrictions are fashion-cramping in the extreme.

However–and this is a big however–it really doesn’t matter anymore, not to me, anyway. I’ve long ago joined the jeans and T-shirt brigade and seldom have the need to wear anything other than those aerobic shoes that are so darned comforting for my now-arthritic toes.

Another thing–they are unisex, so that, unless another grand-baby comes along, I can wear my husband’s shoes in a pinch (ouch!) and no one is any the wiser.


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I have a question
by: Elna Nugent, Lenox, MA

Sheila: I have to ask you a question since I know many people with large feet who often had to "special order" their shoes.

All of these men and women ) were also tall . My husband Jack was 6' 2 1/2" . His brother-in-law who had very small feet would kid him and say Jack's feet each had a soul/sole all their own and he insisted on photographing them when we were at the beach..

My question is, " Can we assume you are also tall?". If so, you have very many advantages.

Love your sense of humor.

My smile for the day..!
by: Alison

What a lovely, light-hearted post....even may have had long feet...and all the other've based your story on a good attitude towards something...your feet...that you weren't particulary fond of..the analogies you've made...who ever thinks this stuff??

But..when you see it in print...well...makes you think..

When I was young...I had a real "thing" about my feet. They weren't big or small...pretty normal..but..I never wanted them seen..?? Who the hell knows??

Now I paint em...display nice shoes for em..treat them to a pedi every now and then...and..most of all...appreciate where they have taken me...thus far; without complaint...!!

Wonderful post..!!!

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