By now everyone has probably seen this picture that’s gone viral of hot mom Maria Kang posing in body-baring workout gear with her three small children. At the top, it says: “What’s your excuse?”
And ohhh are people up in arms! She’s “fat-shaming” other women. She’s promoting unrealistic standards. She’s a bad mom (because clearly, working out for an hour a day means you’re neglecting your children – somebody call CPS).
All I can do is roll my eyes at the hoopla.
Life is all about choices and trade-offs. We all have different priorities, all of our choices have consequences, none of us can have our cake and eat it too. For example, she says one way she makes time for fitness is by not watching TV – at all. So, she busts ass on the treadmill while I curl up with a blanket and a box of tissues for Parenthood. She can flaunt those abs, but she probably can’t eat cheesecake on the reg (and if she can, then fine, I hate her too). We all make choices!
Look, this woman is a former fitness model. I don’t think her message was “why don’t you look like ME?” I think it was more, “If I can make time for fitness, so can you.” Whether it was in good or bad taste is debatable, but I don’t see why grown women should be so threatened by it if they are content and confident with the way they lead their own lives. Fitness is one of her top priorities — for another person it may not be, and that’s fine.
But I feel like the vitriolic response to her message speaks to so much more than just fitness. To me, the hallmark of being an adult is taking responsibility for yourself and your actions. It doesn’t mean (I’ve learned) that you’ve mastered life, that you have it all together, or that you no longer screw up. But it means you know who’s solely responsible for how your life is proceeding – that’s you.
I think the reason people got so intensely defensive over her message is because they don’t want to have to take that responsibility, whether it be for their fitness or any other aspect of their lives. And I get it – making excuses is so much easier. I do it, we all do it. But where does it get us?
I suspect she struck a chord not only with people concerned with their weight, but with people who are unwilling to take responsibility in any given aspect of their lives. When you see someone who’s where you wish you could be – fitness-wise, career-wise or otherwise – it’s tempting to think that they, for whatever reason, had it sooo much easier than you. It’s easier to think that than to acknowledge that maybe they just prioritized it more than you or wanted it more than you or worked harder for it than you.
It’s not about the abs. I could just as easily look at that picture and ask myself what my excuse is for not writing every day. What my excuse was for putting off cleaning my apartment all week. We could all ask ourselves that question about something – maybe we just don’t want to.