Maria Kang started a controversy in 2013 when she posted a photo of herself with her kids in all her fitnessed glory with the caption, "What's Your Excuse?" She was very vocal about her beliefs that moms should look as good as her and that we truly had no excuse to not be fit.
Enter the UK's Abby Pell, who posted a similar photo of herself posed with her daughter; the caption says, "I have a kid, a six-pack and no excuse."
The controversy reignites the social media conversation that labels these types of photos as fat-shaming.
I get the argument from both sides: the fit moms want to show what they've accomplished and inspire other moms that they can look the same way, and some women feel that by doing that, the women are saying out-of-shape moms are just making excuses.
I see the issue much more seriously in the first photo from Kang because she directs the question to the viewer. She confronts the viewer and almost mocks them if they aren't looking as good as her. She sets up the idea that if we don't look that fit that we have failed.
Pell's photo and statement don't bother me so much; she's not turning the question to me. She's just saying, "Hey! Look at what I accomplished! I'm proud of myself!" I suppose the "no excuse" might trigger the feeling of fat-shaming in some viewers, but I think we might be reading into it too much.
I'm fine with her showing off her hard work at the gym. I don't feel like she's pointing a finger at me and my lame abs. Looking at the image doesn't make me feel bad about myself for what I look like.
Instead, I just feel like I've made different choices than these fit moms. Yeah, I know I could look similar to that photo if I chose to devote lots of time to working out, but that's not how I choose to spend my extra time.
The photos actually might be inspiring to some out-of-shape moms who don't believe they can get in shape after baby. Perhaps they can look at these women as role models.
Perhaps instead of getting down on these women, all of us moms should post our own photos displaying what we are proud of accomplishing as moms. Perhaps we should try supporting each other by saying, "Hey, look at what I was able to do. You can do it, too. If you want to."
A little validation for our accomplishments can go a long way.
But what we should also add in is a disclaimer that points out all the help we had and all the things we had to sacrifice a little on to make those accomplishments possible.
Mine would say, "Three kids, two published books, teaches at two colleges, a yoga instructor (but I can afford childcare and have a husband who helps a lot and I don't mind if my house is a little messy or if I don't have abs of steel.)