I’m a fat mum.
I’ve always been a fat mum.
I’m also a bloody brilliant mum. Most of the time, anyway.
So, when my attention was drawn to a personal trainer who posted this on his Facebook, I was pissed off. Big time pissed off.
Now, let me start by saying that I’d love to be slim and super fit. I know that would be healthier, reduce my risks of various health conditions such as type 2 diabetes and make me feel more confident in the way that I look. I don’t blame anyone other than myself for being overweight. I make bad food choices and I don’t get enough exercise; it really is as simple as that.
I also know that he is running a business that is centred around fitness.
What I don’t understand is why he needed to make any sort of connection between parenting and whether someone is fat or fit. There is NO connection. A fat parent can be an amazing role model and an amazing parent. A fit parent can be a shit parent and a shit role model. It was also interesting that he focused on mums.A fat parent can be an amazing role model and an amazing parent. A fit parent can be a shit parent and a shit role model. Click To Tweet
He then went on to delete and block any comments that called him out on it, and eventually deleted the post, replacing it with one that was probably even worse…’pissed off feminists’.
No, not pissed off feminists. Pissed off mums.
2020 has been a bloody hard year for mums. It has been for everyone, but as this bloke focused on mums, I am talking about them too. Mums have been going to pregnancy scans and going through much of labour alone. Mums have been trying to navigate those hard, early days of parenthood alone – no in-person support and visits from family and friends, no health visitors or baby clinics or playgroups. Mums have had to balance childcare and homeschooling, often with younger children demanding their attention, or trying to work at the same time. Now, we are expected, by this bloke, to be running 8km and getting super fit and following ‘incredibly healthy’ eating plans as well. If we aren’t, then, well, we are bad role models.
I could eat better. I could up my physical activity levels, sure. But, like many mums, I grab some food in between sorting out a demanding toddler, school runs, getting the piles of washing sorted, chasing up doctor appointments, ordering shopping, homework and work. Sometimes, that means making crap choices because it’s quick and convenient. Other than walks with the kids, exercise falls pretty low down in my list of priorities. I work until silly o’clock in the morning because that is the only way I can get everything done – I’d love to know where the time to fit in 8km runs is.
If a mum can manage to do that, I envy her. I really do, and absolutely fair play to her. I have no problem with any personal trainer talking about the importance of fitness and healthy eating habits because they are important.
What I do have a problem with is the mum-shaming with it. There was zero need to bring parenting into it. Mums already feel huge amounts of pressure to be everything to everyone all the time. This is just another thing to add to the list. A new mum, who is up all night feeding her baby and feeling self-conscious about her new, softer body is going to feel like shit reading that. A single mum who is already struggling to juggle parenting through a pandemic and work is going to feel like shit. The mum who has four kids and a job and doesn’t always get time to brush her hair is going to feel like shit.Mums already feel huge amounts of pressure to be everything to everyone all the time. This is just another thing to add to the list Click To Tweet
Making it worse by calling anyone who called him out on it a bunch of ‘pissed off feminists’ was the cherry on top. It’s incredibly sexist and misogynistic as if being a feminist is something bad. It isn’t – it’s calling out a bloke who is telling a woman what to do with her body. As one woman in the mum group said ‘When he squeezes a baby out of his penis and then provides the majority of care for it, then he can comment”. This point particularly struck me as being true. He has NO idea what a woman’s body is like after birth. There are women out there who are breastfeeding and cannot leave their babies to go to the gym or for a long run. There are women out there who have experienced birth injuries that may prevent them from getting fit. These things are always overlooked because they don’t affect men.
Not only that, but there other factors at play. Few women can afford the services of a personal trainer when they have children. not many of us can afford gym memberhips, or decent trainers and sports bras to go running. We have to manage in our old trainers and maternity bras. He’s also not taken into consideration the fact that the first chance many women have to exercise is when their partners come home from work, by which point it is too dark for them to go out for a run by themselves for fear of being attacked.
In an ideal world, we would all be a healthy weight and fit. There isn’t a mum out there who doesn’t know the risks of being fat and unfit; it’s rammed down our throats often enough through pregnancy, after giving birth, in the media, by doctors and now by men on the internet. What we don’t need is for it to be linked to our parenting skills. We can be fat and we can be good role models.There isn't a mum out there who doesn't know the risks of being fat and unfit; it's rammed down our throats often enough through pregnancy, after giving birth, in the media, by doctors and now by men on the internet Click To Tweet