Navel Gazing and Other Hysterics

You’re Not Me

Josh and I were watching American Grit (more on that later) when I saw her. Maria Kang – the “no excuses” Mom, just seeing her on the screen I became unreasonably angry. If you don’t know who she is: she is an American fitness advocate, coach, and blogger and founder of the No Excuse Mom movement, a nonprofit organization which promotes a healthy lifestyle, centered on diet and exercise, for mothers. (from wikipedia) But, her “No excuse” movement is a mixture of body shaming and gloating. She believes that if she has time to exercise (with three kids and a business and no nanny) so do you. And if you don’t… well… obviously you’re lazy.

(If you want to read more about her try here, here, and here, and here.)

I don’t want to be a hater. She’s got a great body, she obviously works really hard and fitness is a priority for her, so she makes the time. But that’s not me, and I don’t think that there is anything wrong with that. I assume that she doesn’t want me to judge her for all the things about her that I would do differently, but she’s not willing to extend other Moms that same grace.

I have never felt pressure to lose weight the way I did after my children were born. Especially after Redding, since were now done having babies. It felt like everyone had some sort of “trick” that they wanted to “share” with me.  (FYI never say anything to a new Mom about how the nursing will help her loose all that “baby weight.” 1) she might not be nursing and 2) all she hears is “you’re fat.”) This was also the point in the my life that I felt least able to do it. To do anything, really. I was home alone with a toddler and an infant. Post partum depression. I was overwhelmed with just keeping us all alive. It was all I could do to bathe and feed us. At the time, the idea that someone was judging me for how quickly I lost the weight made me sad and empty. Now it makes me furious.

In actuality, I GAINED ten pounds in the six months after Redding was born. About 2 months after he was born I developed what I thought was mastitis. After weeks of pain, turns out it was MRSA. So I end up on antibiotics, the kind that pass through to breast milk and I had to stop nursing, but I kind of forgot to stop eating like I was a milk making machine, oh yes, and stress eating. So, you know, I packed on the pounds. I was miserable, and I got shit for quitting nursing. I couldn’t believe how many people thought that I should have “pumped and dumped” for the 14 days I was on the drugs, and told me about it!

Riiiiiiiiiight.

Cause what I really want to do is be up all night feeding my son formula, and instead of sleeping in those brief interludes, I want to be expressing my swollen breasts in order to keep up my supply – for 2 weeks!

For me, it was craziness, for you it might be something different. But that’s what’s so great about being an adult – you get to choose what is right for you. AND, you don’t need to worry about what my choice is – it’s none of your business. In fact, as someone who doesn’t live in my body, you don’t even get to judge me.

There are all sorts of sayings about “walking a mile in another’s shoes” but how often do we really do that?  I know I’m guilty – I judge the Mom at preschool who constantly parks her SUV in places that are not parking spots, creating havoc for everyone trying to get out of that hellish parking lot. I judge people who are pro Trump. I judge 40 plus women who don’t wear enough clothes. I judge dudes who can’t grow beards but still try. (And a whole heck of a lot more.) It’s not fair, but I do, and I need to stop. Just because I wouldn’t make that decision, doesn’t mean that it’s not the right one for you. Assuming that I know best for you is immature, closed minded, and hella narcissistic.

But the thing that hurts the most is that Maria Kang is a Mom. She should understand. Or, if she doesn’t understand this specific problem that I have, she should at least understand that everyone has different struggles with their kids, and with their lives, with their bodies, and while FAT might not be her problem, it is mine.

If I can’t count on another Mom to have my back, who can I? As women and mothers, (and lets interpret mothers broadly here – biological moms, step moms, foster moms, grandmothers, aunts, etc. we all have the same job) we need to pull the sticks out of our asses. We need to forgive ourselves for whatever failures we are holding on to, failures that are making us crazy and judgy and unable to allow others to make decisions different than ours. My quitting nursing early has no effect on you, it doesn’t change anything about your life (unless ‘you’ are my husband) it doesn’t reflect on your decisions at all. My weight, whether it is up or down, doesn’t have anything to do with you. We can’t pretend that we truly care about these mothers and that our concern for their health and waistlines comes from a deep place of love. That’s bullshit. It’s about being afraid, and needing to feel superior, if only in that one unimportant area of your life.

If a single person who had an opinion on my post baby weight loss had made it about me, instead of being about them, and asked me if they could watch my kids for me so I could have an afternoon of peace, I would have taken a nap. But, then I probably would have taken my kids for a walk, and we would have all been a lot better off.

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