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.
I personally am a huge believer that women should empower women, so this experience really jolted me to my core. I was mortified.
Why do people feel the need to voice their judgements when they’re so negative? When they don’t know someone’s life?
Those women didn’t know that I was up at 5am this morning working out before my family woke up. They didn’t know I am already a size smaller than I was a month ago. They didn’t know that I was putting my everything into getting fit and healthy, so I can be the active mum I want to be, I even have an Instagram page dedicated to documenting my progress.
They also don’t know that I struggle with depression and emotional eating, that my weight is affecting my fertility or that every day I go to the park with my son and I give as much energy to him as I possibly can, because seeing him happy is my number one priority, even though I am so embarrassed to be the “fat mum” on the playground.
So, fellow parents, please try not to judge another mum or dad for their size. At the end of the day, you don’t know their life. You don’t know if they’re currently on a health kick and trying to change their ways. You don’t know if their size affects their ability to be a good parent, I know I for one try my hardest not to let it.
Just try to be a nice person and most of all, if you do have those thoughts?
Just keep it to yourself.