Fit Mum: Why I really think every mum deserves a bikini shoot.

She butted heads with Chrissie Swan. Now she’s under fire for suggesting a bikini shoot is a must for mums. Is “Fitmum” sent to torment us?

After all the drama, we asked  controversial “Fit Mum” Sharny Kieser to tell iVillage what she really believes about motherhood and fitness. And here’s her surprising column:

How do we learn to behave like a mother? We just look around at all the mothers we know and behave like them. But here’s the big question:

If my picture of an ideal mother is what I think you’re doing, and your ideal picture of a mother is what you think I’m doing, who are we copying?

Yes, we’ve gotten rid of the old stereotype of mum being a cook and cleaner, but we’re still living in a time where we believe a mother should be in the darkened home-cave, just nursing baby all day and night. A time where not having a shower for a few days is worn as a badge of pride, where washing our hair is seen as a luxury. It’s the whole, “How could she have the time” premise.

I know I felt that way. When my husband said to me one weekend to just go for a walk on my own, that he’d look after the kids (we have 4), I spent the whole time feeling guilty that I wasn’t at home with them. I felt like I had abandoned them.

But it doesn’t have to be that way, and I’ll tell you why.

Not being yourself is a guaranteed path to unhappiness. Unhappiness is like a disease that spreads through a family. An unhappy mum has an unhappy husband and unhappy children. They feed off your energy.

I wasn’t happy for about 4 years. One day I decided to do a few things to just make me happy. The difference in the kids has been phenomenal.

So how do you become yourself again? How do you break the mold of motherhood without feeling like you are abandoning your kids? For me, it was my exercise and eating. I decided to fit in 10-15 minutes of exercise a day. More importantly, I decided that I was no longer the swill pig. I was going to eat my own food; not the kids’ scraps.

After about 3 days, I began to feel better. I felt happier and more in control of my life. I felt that if I could do this, 10 minutes of exercise in the lounge while the kids played around me, I could do anything.

So I decided to do all my house chores with them. This is probably second nature to most mums, but I used to wait until they were asleep to get any house work done, I felt like they needed to “play” all the time, housework was work. But housework is play for kids.

After I became comfortable with that, I took them outside, first to just hang laundry. This was a big thing for me. We have no fences at our place and four little kids outside could be crazy! But it was fun to have them there.

After a little time I decided to to take them to a playground. At the playground, I played with them. You wouldn’t believe it, playgrounds are gyms in disguise. There are so many ways to exercise at the park, you’d be amazed. All you have to do is follow your kids. Do exactly what they do, it’s one amazing workout!


Some people have the perception that I spend all day in the gym while my kids are being cared for by someone else, but the last time I was even in a gym was before I even had kids.

I really don’t have an hour to do a class, and I don’t want to leave my children in the gym creche. I do everything at home or at the park, with all my babies around me.

Just by doing 10-15 minutes of exercise a day and eating well, I lost over 30 kilos, most of it in the first 8 weeks. I had a dream of wearing a bikini one day (I’ve had that dream since I hit puberty and got a big butt!) and a few weeks after I lost all my weight, my husband bought me a bikini, which I wore with my new-found confidence, and the owner of the bikini brand asked me to do a photo shoot.

This was where the bikini shoot goal became a reality and why I push for other mums to do it. I just want them to feel as good as I do.

Sharny wants all mums to feel good about themselves

If losing weight and getting fit is your thing, and you achieve it, you deserve to see your results. In my head I still felt like the same frumpy housewife, despite my new found health. I definitely felt happier and had a much more fulfilling life, but I didn’t see what others saw, until I put on that bikini.

Most mums are the same, so photographic evidence of your achievement solidifies it. I tell all the mums on our Fit, Healthy, Happy Mum program that if you have lost weight and you’re feeling good about yourself, book in a photo shoot. For you. Nobody else needs to see it, but you do.

Every single one of them comes back a new woman. And so far, not a single one of them in over two years has gained the weight back.

But it’s not about ‘body image’ or looking a particular way; having a bikini shoot is ONE achievement that a mum can do for herself. Mums tend to put themselves last, so proving to themselves that they CAN do something for themselves without abandoning their kids, leads to them becoming better mums. Every single time.

For some mums it is a bikini shoot, for others it may be a marathon, or starting a blog. Whatever it is, and whatever conduit to self achievement, it is important; because mums have to start somewhere; and self achievement has a cascading effect on a person’s happiness.

It’s definitely NOT about looking good for anybody else; it is about feeling good about yourself.

This is what I think: Happy mums make the best mums.

Images provided.

Do you dream of wearing a bikini? Maybe you have another goal? What is it? What do you think it will take to achieve it?

Sharny is proud of her body, stretch marks and all. CLICK THROUGH her family photos: