My son is two years old and would live at the park if I let him, just look at my Instagram, almost every photo of him is taken at a park. Every day he asks to go, so we jump in the car and head to the park. While we’re there we run around, play on the swings and climb on everything we can. Most of all, we both have a great time together.
But today was different.
As usual, I was rocking my favourite #MUMLIFE leggings, a mum bun and no makeup. I was red in the face and sweaty, running after my son who was laughing as I chased him. I noticed that there were two other ladies a little older than me sitting on the bench watching their little ones play, but didn’t pay them much attention. As I climbed to the top of the play equipment, picked up my son to help him across the rope bridge and started mentally preparing myself to brave my fear of heights, I looked down and noticed the two women were watching me. All of a sudden, I felt self-conscious and tried to focus on walking across the bridge with a toddler in my arms.
Then I heard a laugh and a, “Do you think it’s going to hold her? That poor kid” and my heart dropped. I could feel the heat rising in my cheeks and the tears well up. I got across the bridge as fast as I could and stopped at the top of the slide, knowing that I’d come out the end and be directly in front of the women. As my son jumped down the slide, I went down after him and as I looked at these women I knew they could tell I had heard them and they’d upset me. They looked ashamed, as they should.
Listen: Is this documentary empowering, or fat shaming? (Post continues…)
But for some reason I also felt ashamed. As a woman there’s no denying it, I have some body
confidence issues, but I have never felt like I needed to be embarrassed of my appearance and certainly hadn’t thought that my size was something others may base my parenting abilities on. I was also deeply ashamed to know that there are women, especially fellow mothers, out there who are so quick to base their opinion on someone due to their appearance and, worst of all, so easily let those damaging thoughts turn into a voiced opinion.