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!