“Not a real mother”

Anyone who follows Natalie or I on Facebook, or has ever had a real conversation with us about fitness, has heard our rants on FitShaming. Very few (not none) subjects will get Natalie or me more heated, more quickly, than shaming someone for being fit, or trying to be fit, or implying that them wanting to be fit is in someway ‘bad’. Truly, it gets ugly, fast.

We don’t mean for it to, but politeness goes out the window for us, or more me, when someone makes the claim that thin/athletic/healthy/seekers-of-physique are somehow “less”.

**I’m going to put this up front, so that my critics can more easily ignore it and accuse me of fat shaming later. There is ALSO nothing wrong with having other priorities. Being out of shape is not ‘disgusting’, you shouldn’t be ‘ashamed’ of your body….EVER. We are ALL a work in progress, some people decide to work on one thing, others decide to work on something else. I will fully admit, as an artist, when I get thrown into a project of my own, that my fitness/health/diet goes down a notch. There is only so much someone can keep on their plate. I am the first to offer support/advice/guidance/training to ANYONE that tells me that fitness is a goal of theirs. But Natalie and I would be the LAST to tell someone they were somehow incomplete without a 6pack, or that they aren’t good enough because of their weight. End of disclaimer.**

Natalie was talking to a person very close to her recently. Who was talking about living in a new area, in a new social circle, with new surroundings to internalize and navigate. Amongst those comments, she mentioned all the other mothers in her area weren’t “real mothers”, as they were married to wealthy doctors and the like, only had one or two children, and spent their lives in workout clothes, and made daily or semi-weekly trips to the gym. Her comments consisted of comments like “here I am, a ‘real mother’, I can’t make it to they gym.

I’m going to do my best to keep from losing my mind here, but… don’t hold your breath. WHAT IN THE SWEET HELL IS THAT SUPPOSED TO MEAN?!?

Natalie, is half-canadian, which in this particular conversation rendered her incapable of being impolite and making a comment/retort to this remark. I am 0% Canadian, and pretty much 100% ass, so allow me to make comment as publicly as I can:

Natalie is the mother of 5, three of those children are in diapers.
Natalie is a stay-at-home Mom, who is doing a better job with five kids living in a shoebox than I think anyone could ever replicate.
Natalie is NOT married to a doctor, or someone of wealth, but perhaps someone quantitatively failing in basically every category.
Natalie is a BEAST. I couldn’t keep up with her workouts on my BEST day.

See, Natalie has goals. Goals she takes seriously. Natalie navigates the world of her diet, a rigorous workout routine, clothing and feeding 5 children, a husband who is little to no help 85% of the time as he is almost never home, and allow me to verify is nearly ALWAYS in a good mood.

See shaming in general has become so prevalent, so accepted, so commonplace, that instead of accepting responsibility for yourself, it is just easier to point the blame at someone else. Not “I don’t know how those women do it”, but “they aren’t ‘Real Moms’ “. When FitMom (a professional trainer/blogger) subjected the postulate “what’s your excuse”, the world erupted with a sense of indignation and anger; HOW DARE SHE?!?. It was a question, calm down.

Natalie decided, she had no excuse. Despite the fact that 99% of Americans would give her a “pass” without argument. No money, too many kids, no gym membership, tiny house, absent husband. But, for her, none of these were valid enough, being HER version of HER best physical self needed a place in the top of HER priority list. I am frankly blown away by everything she does.

In what universe is Natalie not a real mother? But truly this actually goes deeper than that. How has it become so common in our social lexicon to shame others for your/their priorities. How is this okay? I don’t really know how productive I’m being in this particular post, so allow me to close it out with this:

Being the best version of you is beautiful, and only you get to decide what that is. If that means a poet, an artist, a painter, an architect, a police officer, soldier, then so be it. If spending time with your kids keeps you from finishing your novel, that is not the fault of all the other novelist parents. There is also no shame in either side. Being a parent, opposed to being an author… it’s about priorities, and shaming someone else’s shouldn’t be so readily acceptable.

If you can’t find it in yourself to workout because there is too much else on your plate, there is no shame in that. But there is certainly no need to put shame on other women whose priorities fall different than yours, or whose talents are different, or whose circumstance is different. The reason you don’t eat right, or workout, or do ANYTHING really, is you. You. You.

I am only as good as I am. You are only as good as you are. And contrary to popular belief, belittling others doesn’t actually make you a better you… quite the opposite.


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