Today is National Women’s Day and of course, the first thing I see in my news feed is this Huff Post article on Fit Mom, Maria Kang.
In the article, there is a picture showing off her body with various tags pointing to different parts of her body. The picture also links to her new website, No Excuse Mom
“What’s Your Excuse?” –It’s such an in-your-face question, isn’t it? By its very nature, a little insulting and a blow to the ego. In my own experience, it has such a negative connotation that I couldn’t possibly see anything positive about the question at all. Who would ever guess that three little words could be so powerful and cause such an uproar over the internet. Well, me and anyone who’s ever seen a meme. That simple little question begs people to become defensive and thus the fighting begins.
Don’t get me wrong. I admire Ms. Kang and her passion to make herself a better person as well as help others to achieve the same success. She is obviously a hard working mother who is very proud of what she has accomplished. Good for her. She’s an empowered woman but after seeing the backlash that she has endured, it has occurred to me that perhaps she is asking the wrong question. Perhaps, we are all asking the wrong question.
We all have excuses.
I don’t feel like doing the dishes so I’m going to let them soak in the sink. I’m too tired to walk the dog so instead, I’ll sit in my lawn chair and play fetch instead. I’m cheating on my diet but a slice of cheesecake is just too good to pass up. I can’t have lunch with you this week because my child suddenly came down with a cold. I have a headache so sorry honey, no sex tonight.
Honestly, I can never seem to see the good in an excuse and I’m willing to be that I’m not the only one. As far as I’m concerned, an excuse serves to hide something or make us feel a little better about not doing something. The only thing an excuse is good for is making us feel guilty and that’s not really good at all, is it?
Who wants to live like that?
Us women are so hard on ourselves and each other. We can look in the mirror and point out 20 things within 20 seconds that are wrong in our own eyes and at the same time, we will shun a compliment and feel as though we don’t deserve it. I know this because I read it every day on Facebook, I see it every day on TV and I live it every day. I am not alone but I am certainly not helping myself, either.
But…ya know what? It has to stop.
We are asking the wrong question! We need to empower ourselves and each other. We need to stop asking what the excuses are and instead ask this:
WHAT DEFINES YOU?
If you think about it, Maria is listing what defines her. She is a mother, a fitness enthusiast, a working woman and mentor. It’s what makes her Maria Kang. It is what defines her as a human.
We could list a thousand excuses for not being like Ms. Kang. Hell, I could do it with my eyes closed and both hands tied behind my back. The point is, we are not all so gung ho for life and sometimes, life and its challenges get the better of us. Sometimes, life just knocks the damn stuffing out of us, puts us in a headlock and refuses to let go until we tap out, give up, give in and cry, “UNCLE”!
Y’all have been there at least once. Right?
Everyone’s circumstances are different. We have to stop comparing ourselves to others who have accomplished more in their lives or who seem to have it all and then some. (sorry if that sounds a little passive-aggressive LOL) We have to learn to accept our circumstances for what they are before we can make changes. We have to learn to accept our bodies as they are before we can make changes. Excuses only serve to make us feel guilty and then help us to push those feelings down into the deep abyss only to come back up in the form of self-loathing and junk food binges.
Define yourself by your own circumstances and your own choices. Don’t let someone else ask the negative question. Ask instead what defines you. Are you a wife, a mother, a sister, an aunt, a teacher, a mentor, a role model, a nurturer, a friend…Feel free to add to the list.
Jacob noticed that I was losing weight and he literally panicked and told me that he didn’t want me to lose any more so I asked him why. He said, “Because you won’t be soft and squishy anymore when I hug you.”
I looked at him and said, “Honey, when I lose more weight, I’ll be able to hug you even tighter because my belly fat won’t be in the way.” He was good with that.
So how does this fall into “What defines you?” The answer is that my son loves me for who I am right now and by looking through his eyes, I am able to define myself as a mother and nurturer. Defining myself as such allows me to see past an excuse to use his fear to stay fat.
Ask the right question! What defines you? What makes you the person you are and why are you worth doing something for yourself? Throw excuses out the window. In fact, throw that word out of your vocabulary. Find out what makes you, you. Then, by all means make the changes that you see fit but do it because you have already accepted who and what you are. You have just decided to make yourself better.
So getting back to National Women’s Day.
Empower other women to ask the right question. Empower them to empower others. Lift each other up instead of tearing each other down. We have come too far as half of the human race, only to drown in negativity. Learn to love who you are and then show other women what you have accomplished. Teach your daughters the same so they don’t have to grow up in a sea of negativity.
Empower yourselves. Define yourselves!
Then kick some ass!