Maria-KangIf you’ve spent any time on Facebook or watched any news or current events programs recently, chances are you’ve seen this photo of Maria Kang and her three adorable boys.  The simple question she chose to place above the picture, “What’s Your Excuse?” has set off of a firestorm of criticism and outrage over her perceived fat shaming of those who can’t rock the booty shorts quite like she can.

While I don’t think it’s the most inspiring picture to pair along with the question (I’m more moved by the ones featuring a paraplegic working out), I certainly don’t think it’s one designed to fat shame.  Rather, it’s meant to address a common excuse too many folks make when it comes to health & fitness- and that is time.  Who is more time-crunched than a mom to 3 young children?

Perhaps I may have felt differently looking at this picture as my former 240 pound single mom self, but I certainly hope not.  I found the sheer vitriol and hatred expressed by some in the comments thread to the picture absolutely appalling and more than a tad ironic considering their fat-shaming accusations.  Hypocrisy in the form of fit shaming.

The nastiest comments involved criticism of her parenting  and as a fellow Mom who’s made fitness a priority, I couldn’t help but feel the sting.   These comments included gems such as these:

  • “My excuse? I care about my kids enough to sacrifice my outward appearance for the betterment of their lives.”
  • “I work full time and have kids that I actually spend time with.”
  • “What’s YOUR excuse for being a narcissistic self-absorbed twit who has to make other women feel bad about themselves so you can feel good about yourself?”
  • “Inspiring?  This is shaming women and is incredibly offensive. Yeah, maybe if I could afford a personal trainer and a nanny I could have a body like that, but as it is I’m still doughy because I, you know, spend time with my children instead of in a gym.”
  • “Right…I’m sure she has a nanny doing all the work while she works out all day.”
  • “It’s possible to look this good if you have an Indo/Filipino maid to do all the grunt work of caring for and raising 3 kids.” 
  • “I don’t have an excuse because I don’t need one.  All that time you spend working on your body, I spent mine bonding with my kids.”
  • “Not jealous of a woman who chooses to work out all day and ignore her small children’s needs.”

Boy, I guess a picture can really say a thousand words if by taking a few seconds to look at this image, you can suddenly know for certain her life story, her schedule, the fact that she can afford a nanny and spends all day in the gym.  It’s amazing what you can decipher just from a cute sports bra and booty shorts!  Please.   If the only way one could be a truly fit Mom was to be able to afford the assistance of a personal trainer, nutritionist, nanny and several hours at the gym, there would be very, very few fit Moms out there.

Taking care of yourself and your health is NOT a selfish act.  You do NOT need a personal trainer, nutritionist, maid and a nanny to become a healthier & fitter Mom, nor do you need to neglect your kids or spend hours in a gym.  And guess what? Maria Kang doesn’t have a nanny, nor does she spend countless hours at the gym.  If you need to label her as a crappy Mom to make yourself feel better about your weight or the way you would look in those booty shorts, shame on you.

Fitness and good parenting are anything but mutually exclusive.  I’m providing a far better example to my kids now planning out healthy meals & devoting a little chunk of my day to exercise than I was 8 years ago, sitting in front of the TV while guzzling a Coke & eating a cheeseburger, too tired to even take my then 5 year old son for a walk to the park.  I may not look anything like Maria in booty shorts, but I am a proudly fit Mom. And don’t you dare try to shame me for it.

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