What do you think one of the biggest triggers is for moms? The subject that causes every mom to bristle, to dole out advice? This subject hits them hard–it makes women passionate, devoted, sometimes even angry. But it is something that, if given the opportunity, every mom wants to talk about.
It’s not kids, it’s not fashion, it’s not family. It’s not breastfeeding, it’s not sleep training. It’s not even vaccines.
It’s weight. Nutrition. Fitness. That whole realm of things. Health and fitness for moms.
A few weeks ago, I posted something on Facebook to the effect of: “I’ve been bouncing around the same 4 pounds for two months, after working out at least 5 days a week, eating completely clean and between 1300-1700 calories a day, and keeping my carbs down to 20%.” That one post, on my personal page, got SEVENTY-FOUR comments. I am pretty sure that everyone I have ever met left me a comment. People I haven’t talked to since elementary school. People who I invite to every Facebook event and never show up or even reply. People who I didn’t even know existed. But I’m pretty sure that everyone who responded is a mom.
Facebook elicits lots of comments when a post is particularly funny or particularly controversial. But my post wasn’t controversial. I wasn’t even really asking for advice. I believe I was venting, with a heated WTF at the end. So why did so many women feel the need to respond?
My first reaction–because I tend to be cynical, overanalytical, and a little dramatic–was: We have a problem here. Our society is teaching women that our weight is one of the most important things in life.. Otherwise, how do we explain the fact that all these women want to talk about this?
My second reaction–probably a reaction to my first reaction and my mind trying to redeem the world–was that most people are generally interested in improving their health.
While trying to come up with some epiphany, some enlightening thesis, I came up with my third reaction. I wonder if, after having kids, we become semi-obsessed with our weight, fitness, and nutrition because it’s the one (and only) thing we can now control in our lives. We can’t control how relaxing our showers are (because there are little ones often screaming outside the curtain). We can’t control how long we sleep before being rudely awakened. We can’t control how much milk our breasts make. We can’t control what our kids eat. We can’t control the factors that go into our kids’ crazy tantrums. We can’t control the tantrums. Hell, we can barely control our kids.
But we can control what we put in our mouths. We can control how often we lift our bodies off the couch to move around. And when we feel like we’ve had success with this, we want to share this success with the world:
“Look everyone! My kids are running around naked in the front yard, peeing on the bushes and yelling profanities, I can’t find my couch under the piles of laundry, I only got 2 hours of sleep last night and haven’t showered in a week, but I figured out how to feel good by going to the gym (substitute this with any of the following: counting calories/doing Weight Watchers/drinking meal replacement shakes/lifting weights/walking on my head/eating only kale and chicken, etc.)”
It seems like every mom is really passionate about what worked for her. And you know why? Because it worked! Because she controlled something that actually had the outcome she wanted it to have! And that is a success (and a surprise) in any mom’s life.