Do I Need an "Excuse" for Not Looking Like HER?
By Carmen Sakurai on November 09, 2013
There's this boy... his name is Eddie. Eddie is a friend of the family from back when we lived in Chicago.
Okay, this post isn't about Eddie. It's about his niece... Maria. Maria is a stay at home mom of 3 little boys ages 8mos, 2, and 3. Girlfriend runs 2 businesses, fought through eating/weight disorders, and makes time in her busy schedule to exercise every day.
You've probably seen her photo floating all over the interwebs. The pic has received many positive reactions... as well as negative.
Ok, A LOT of negative feedback.
My first thought when I saw the pic was, "Ohhhh! Way to go!!" But see that question up top... "What's Your Excuse?" Apparently quite a few people felt Maria was "fat shaming" and being a "bully".
... BULLY? Wut da huh???
Then I slipped on a pair of shoes worn by the not so impressed, and here's what I felt...
- "You are implying we're failures if we don't look like YOU."
- "Why do I even need an excuse if I don't look like YOU?"
- "I can exercise for hours & starve myself for months & still not look like you because it's not in my genes... you're a bully!"
- "I have health issues which keeps me from exercising - that's my excuse!"
Which was really interesting because Maria has not once said that anyone should strive to look like HER... or that SHE was the standard to meet.
She explained in her interviews that her intent was to encourage mothers to be healthy... just like the fitness graphics that challenge us to "Just Do It"... and photos of children running a race with artificial limbs, with the question, "What's Your Excuse?" Her message basically was... Busy mom of 3 young kids have found a way to make time in her day to keep healthy & in shape... and now you can too!"
Sooo... Maybe she should've said just that?
Because we live in a world of high stress, crazy family responsibilities, continuously trying to prove ourselves to our "significant other" (if one exist), and expected to keep up with the Joneses. Of course, in an "ideal" world, we would live a fairly balanced, fulfilling life where as long as we have our priorities in order, the responsibilities will fall into place... a world where our "other half" fix their hearts (and eyes) on us... a world where we fully understand & accept that we do not have to make another mother's dreams & goals our own.
Either way, the last thing a busy, stressed out mom need is yet another person (and a stranger who knows nothing about our life, no less) to make demands on us... telling us we should be doing more for our kids... our spouses... and ourselves.
But it's not Maria (the mom)'s responsibility to tip-toe around every other person's feelings in response to her message. She has just as much right as you and I do to keep doing her thang and share her goals and opinions.
So if you were offended by her message, you might want to stop and ask yourself, "Why?" Did it piss you off because she's made having children as an excuse for being out of shape, obsolete? Have you been trying to lose weight, but cannot look like her? Are you angry because "clearly" she has it much easier than you do?
Anyway, after trying on different "shoes", I finally looked at the photo again (from my own personal view) and still found myself not at all offended. I still thought, "Good for her for owning up to her goals & dreams!" I also thought about how she's disciplined herself to follow a strict daily schedule using a wall plastered with calendars to make sure she gets her workouts done... and thought, "Yeah, NOT happening in my world."
Not once did I feel pressured to look like her or replicate her routine. Why?
- I'm Carmen... not Maria.
- Her priorities and goals have nothing to do with mine.
- I feel suffocated and trapped just looking at her crazy workout calendars...
- And I keep hearing her repeat "moderation" of food... I am not familiar with that concept, nor am I interested in learning more about it...
What's MY excuse? Well, I don't need an "excuse" to be as I am and live as I do. It would be just as silly for me to ask Maria what her excuse is for not being like... me. (Honestly, why wouldn't anyone want to be me, right?) My priorities are much different than hers and I'm not her target market - plain & simple. No big deal... I go my own merry way... and skinny mama continues rockin' her amazing abs.
HOWEVER... Maria (the aspiring leader in health & nutrition) DOES have the responsibility of showing sensitivity & compassion to her target audience... which she confirmed are busy moms.
If you're going to reach out to busy moms across the globe, with hopes of motivating & encouraging them to improve their health & lives, keep in mind that we're a sensitive bunch... worn out from pressure, comparison, and guilt.
Rarely will you find a mother who simply wakes up, sends her children off to school, plant her booty on the couch and eat a box of bonbons while watching the soaps until the lil ones comes a knockin at the front door. Many moms I know work the 9-5... drive all over town for their children's extracurricular activities... help with their kids' homework and projects afterwards... then feed them dinner & tuck them in. By the time these moms get their 15 mins of "me-time" they just want to close their eyes and relax... even on the laundry room floor. #ahhhh
Today's Supermoms don't need "excuses"... but we DO find strength in seeing other moms fight through challenges and sharing their victories. And really... NOBODY needs an "excuse" for the choices they make for themselves and their family. But guess what? If you've been wanting to shape up your body and eat healthier, and thought you can't because you're busy with kids... Maria has good news for you... YOU CAN DO IT!
That's what you meant to say, right Maria? :)