I've Posted Over 700 Blog Posts, What's Your Excuse?
Forget about "What day is it, Mike?"
"What's your excuse?" is the new phrase sweeping the nation.
"What's your excuse?" was the question posed recently by a fit and trim, sports bra-wearing Sacramento, CA mom. Flanked by her three young children, her proud picture appeared in my news feed months ago. I paid it no more attention than I did the bathroom selfies of former classmates, the fattening recipes from Pinterest or the desperate pleas from Candy Crush. Just another quick scroll.
But lately, a lot of moms have expressed their disdain for the post and the negative message it sends. Many of them are calling it bullying and shaming. So in a show of solidarity (and a hot blog topic), I jumped on board.
I have no excuse for not having washboard abs and three children under the age of 3, all things Maria Kang boasts while simultaneously asking for my excuse. What I do have is a hectic life as a busy writer-mom to three kids, well over the age of 3. Excuses, I believe, are things we say when we have guilt over not completing something we've been contracted to do: e.g., feed, clothe and care for our kids, schedule well visits and dental checkups for said kids, pay the mortgage and feed the dog. Those kind of things. For example, if I forget to pick up my children from school, go ahead and ask me what's my excuse. If I forget that my youngest does not get a peanut butter sandwich in his lunch because he's allergic and I pack one anyway, then you can ask me what's my excuse. But when it comes to whether or not I planked or squatted today, mind your own.
I can see this trend spreading quickly. Soon my favorite DIY bloggers on Pinterest will be adding captions to their perfectly perfect pictures of their insanely perfect homes. Photos of an uber-organized pantry, with juice boxes lined up like soldiers, will read “What's your excuse?” By the way, I'm pretty sure the people who write those blogs have their children, their dogs and quite possibly their husbands locked away in a spare room. Because who lives like that? Their homes are like pages out of a magazine, leaving me both insanely jealous and completely suspicious. The same way I feel about a fit girl in a sports bra, posing with her toddlers.
If we're going to call each other out, let's start posting pictures to Instagram every time we get our eyebrows waxed or our lip hair removed. Let's start a movement called "Look, I did something that makes me feel good, now why aren't you're doing the same?." Pointing out the shortcomings of other women is sure to ignite another round of the age-old Mommy Wars.
Moms are always at war. It doesn't matter who throws the first punch, we're always ready. It starts when we're very young. A deep, quiet, thought-out battle. It starts with that first playground disagreement over who's going to be the mom and who's going to be the big sister. It starts with that moment in time when we are told by an older, taller sibling or neighbor that "You are not going to be the mom today, you will have be the baby, or the dog or go home." The resentment starts to build, early, festering for years, finally manifesting itself once we have our own children. And in that moment, we vow to be the very best mommy we can be, damming those who told us we couldn't. Those who made us be the dog. Or those who wore a sports bra, sounding all judgy.
My reason for not working out is simple: Showing up for carpool in leggings and a sports bra can be considered "showy." How would the other moms feel if I was standing there with my washboard abs and them in their baggy capris? Why stir the pot? It's mom-code. Just like you don't show up to an 8am ice hockey game with high heels and a blow-out. You just don't. And now that it's fall, everyone is wearing hoodies, so how would you even know if I did my two-minute plank today?
I'm not at all surprised that the "What's your excuse" mom has come under fire. She's fit, she's pretty and she's successful. She's the mom all the other moms talk about at the bus stop, as she bounces toward them in her running shoes, verbally ripping her apart as she approaches, "who the hell does she think she is, wearing that . . . heyyyyyy, how are you? Love your sports bra!”
Women can be catty. They really don't need any ammunition. So, frankly, posting a pic of you and your washboard abs, with your brood, was enough. Don't ask me to do the same. You're into fitness, I get it. I'm into writing. I've posted over 700 blogs in the last four years, what's your excuse?
Shivaun Williams is a Bucks County, PA writer and mom of three. This post is adapted from her blog, Dar Liomsa (In My Opinion).