Women can be mean. Really mean. And man, are we just insecure? Why do we need to constantly bring each other down just to make ourselves feel better?
I've seen it countless times whether its about how much of a genius your kid is compared to others (and NO I will not vote for your freaking kid) or whether you are 2 months post partum and fitting into your jeans. We get it. You are amazing and everyone else just sucks.
One thing though. Your life is not that great and pretending your family is this little barbie doll dreamhouse is all fantasy. I don't buy it and I guarantee no one who isnt in your little orbit buys it either.
I'm sure a lot of people were witnesses to the viral picture of athelete and mom, Maria Kang. I'll admit it. She looks DAMN good and good for her. But ya know what I don't like? The shame she projected outward. Sometimes it isn't about your explicit message but the implicit one. She was implicitly saying, "Look how great I look. Now all you complainers who use kids as an excuse to not lose your weight and look good like me are a bunch of lazy fat asses."
Now do you think that did any good? Do you think the mom that is feeling crummy about herself will now go to the gym because of that little piece of showboatmanship? Probably not. In fact, she'll probably pick up another pack of cookies and give herself a sugar high for the rest of the day and put herself deeper into the shame hill you've flung onto her.
After I had my first kid I felt really crummy about myself. *Cue the sad violin music* I had just had my little baby 3 months premature. Her situation after coming home wasnt normal and I felt ridiculously overweight and unhealthy. I had post partum depression and I just didn't feel like life could ever get normal again.
I constantly would make myself feel bad because I couldn't find the energy to lose the weight and I also had a baby with a compromised immune system who needed constant care and attention. Finally I couldn't handle the guilt and shame I heaped on myself daily and decided to get to work on myself. I became so unhappy with my weight that I was so desperate. I was willing to do anything. My mom had just done that dreaded HCG diet. You know that god awful diet that only gave you 500 calories a day and big red sores on your butt from the shots you'd inject into yourself? You know because thats COMPLETELY normal! She lost a bunch of weight from that diet and on our way home from her house I just started bawling to my husband. I told him I couldn't stand myself anymore and that I needed to lose the weight. We decided we were going to do it once and for all.
The diet sucked but the pounds were coming off, finally. Looking back now I just didn't know much about healthy foods. I thought a home cooked meal was a Ricearoni box and processed tortillas with cheese. At the very least the hcg diet brought me back to whole foods like vegetables and fruits that hadnt been part of my diet for awhile. I only did the hcg diet for a few weeks but those few weeks propelled me into my journey of losing the rest of the weight naturally. It gave me the motivation to work for the rest. It wasnt a conventional way to start but regardless its what worked for ME!
After the hcg diet I began to eat healthy and I took up running. I started at a couple blocks, then 1 mile and worked my way up to eventually running a half marathon. I became OBSESSED with working out and eating healthy. I lost about 30lbs and looked GREAT!
But ya know what? It wasn't good enough for me. No matter how much weight I lost, no matter how good I fit into my jeans I never looked good enough. It seemed that it wasn't about what I looked like on the outside after all that was affecting me but the shame women are made to feel if they dont look absolutely perfect. If I got to my goal weight I'd push the goal further down the scale, always telling myself I'd be that much happier when I was at 110lbs instead of 120lbs. I don't know one person who isn't striving to make themselves better but its much more than that. Women often buy into the lie that we will never be perfect enough. Never thin enough. Never pretty enough. Never stylish enough. Never expensive looking enough.
But you know what I realized? If we buy into that we will never be truly happy with ourselves. I got to a point that I was working out two, sometimes three times a day. I was working my butt off to look good. I was obsessed. And if I cheated on my diet then I felt like a complete failure. Then figured what the hell I already cheated I might as well gorge myself.
There is a big difference between guilt and shame. Guilt is actually useful because it corrects bad behavior. Its focus is on the wrong behavior and not on the person. Shame, on the other hand, is very dangerous. Instead of guilt where the focus is on the bad behavior, shame's focus is on the person being inherintly bad. At the core, shame destroys your soul and your confidence. If you use shame to correct bad behavior you will never be happy and you set yourself for a mountain of self-esteem and worth issues.
I mean if we're being honest with ourselves how many times have we uttered these words in regards to our diets, "I don't care. I'm being bad today."
Why are WE bad? Why can't we say, "I'm eating bad today."
Subtle but big difference.
I think many of us have had heaps of shame shoved onto us throughout our lives, either by the media and/or friends and family. In the age of social media its gotten even worse. It's no longer shame resulting from just magazines and tv shows. It's gotten more personal now. Its seeing our friends...sometimes not even friends but people we once knew on facebook. We often present our lives as perfect to the world on facebook and save the bad things for behind the curtain.
It's such a sham! I often say that fantasy is what pictures people post of themselves on fb. Reality is when they are tagged by a friend on fb. If you compare the two they are often drastically different. They havent been through the filter of perfection and show the person as they really are. Without make-up and without the right angle to appear thinner.
After I had my second child I didn't want to go the same route. Even though I was so healthy after I lost the weight with Jayda I wasnt truely happy with myself. Haven is now a year old and guess what? I have a ways to go to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight. I've lost about 30lbs so far but have about another 15-20lbs to go. But I'm going a different route this time. I'm going to lose it slowly and without the shame heaped on me day after day. If I want a piece of candy its OK! Just have a little peice, not an entire king sized kit kat that I feel I need since I've deprived myself of any happiness in the world. And if you know happiness you know its cholcolate! Don't lie to yourself, it's CHOCOLATE!!
I'm not going to kill myself in the gym twice a day and stay away from carbs and sugars completely. Because guess what? Thats not reality! What person truely eats "clean" for the rest of their lives? Probably dedicated atheletes. But guess what...I'm a mom not an athelete. I don't need to impress anyone. Its not an excuse but reality that I've faced. I've decided I'm going to be kind to myself. I'm allowing time to make the change. The realistic way. If I have a serving of ice cream im not turning my back on everything healthy. Im allowing myself to have a little bit of a delicious treat and thats not anything to feel ashamed of!
And until we as women present ourselves as we are, stop heaping the shame onto others to make ourselves feel superior, and live to hear how wonderful we are from almost complete strangers on fb, then it will never be corrected. And over time we will not only destroy our inner confidence which by the way is so refreshing and beautiful but we'll eventually destroy each other.