I notice it mostly when I'm going to the bathroom, when my abdomen has broken free of the constricting pants that held so much back. Like a prisoner let free and is now sitting on my lap. That's how I measure my waist, whether it is any further down my lap or closer to where it should be.
Little Miss cradled her belly one day and squeezed it all around her belly button and said, "Look, Mommy, I can make a doughnut with my tummy." I said, "Oh, that's nothing, Sweetie. I can make a bundt cake with mine."
It's amazing that the stomach can stretch so far out with pregnancies and then settle somewhere in between that size and your pre-pregnancy waist size. And we blame pregnancies for it. I'm sure all those doughnuts and required trips to McDonald's while the kids are little have nothing to do with it. The food we are forced to eat so we can have a social life while the kids play in the Playplace. I'm starting to think, the bigger the belly, the better parent you are because we sure did take our kids out for burgers a lot. I've got the collection of toys to prove it!
Another way I measure my waist is the suck in factor. Once it gets past a certain point, there's no sucking in that makes any difference. Though you can still feel your muscles contracting underneath all that waist, it does not make you look slimmer. And then there are those parts that you just can't suck in. Like your chest. Your hips. Your chin. So it just leaves me to use my little nest egg to pay for liposuction, so I can have a few more years of vanity.