A friend and fellow small business owner recently gave me a piece of advice that put my head back on right. She told me 'don't be ashamed about wanting to conform, it's only natural to want to fit in'. I had just been expressing my concerns about body image and how I was planning to address them. If editing the way you present yourself has you walking taller then whats the issue right? Well, I thought I was beyond that. I thought I could set an example for myself and my kids by being true to myself, listening to my intuition and becoming all enlightened and whatnot. Ok, yeah, I see where I've gone wrong here. These are some pretty high standards to hold myself to. I'm no monk, I'm just me. Five years ago I wouldn't have cared about the standard I was holding myself to. I would have taken the fastest, straightest route to the endpoint I was after even if I knew it would hurt me, mess up my health, cost me money or my sanity. So when all of us Mums are finding ourselves giving far less of an eff about the little things, why has body image got us so caught up?
Motherhood has a way of rearranging your soul and spitting you back out in bits. We spend the next few years trying to put the pieces back together between feeds, nappy changes and increasingly irritating episodes of Peppa Pig. Some of the pieces slot back together easily, sometimes new art is formed and you're in awe of what you built. Other parts seem to lay on the floor confused, with no clear place of where to put them. For me, those pieces are body image.
I have a theory about body image, the digital age and our village. I don't know if you've noticed, but there is no village. For many of us, no one is coming. We find our village online in the DM's of instagram or on Mumtok. And if looking at Skye Wheatley donning her paper white new balance to go hit the gym inspires you then who's to say that's a bad thing. Certainly you don't want to compare your body, if you don't follow Skye let me save you wondering, for most of us Mums you'll find yourself lacking in a traditional sense, if you don't I'm both happy and in awe of you and want to follow you too. But if you find some inspiration online to get yourself ready in the morning, throw on a lick of paint or maybe get yourself some of the new it shoes, (I hear Air Force 1's are over I dunno) then good for you!
Honestly, I reckon it's modern biology at play. Survival of the fittest has always described a desirable phenotype, that is appearance for those of us who didn't study year 11 biol. Those of us who did would remember the simulated moth game thing whereby the moths who couldn't camouflage themselves in the forest were eaten by birds, therefore leaving the hidden moths to breed and carry on the species with more moths who could easily hide from birds. Sun kissed skin and bike shorts that go up your butt might be our Mum camouflage, our war paint, our village approved phenotype to tackle our groundhog reminiscent days. Our uniform to wear while we pick up the pieces off the floor and find a place to stuff them back into our soul in a way that feels good.
So all in all I think once you find your herd you should use the safety of their shelter, however this may look. That way you can relax a little and take your time to safely find yourself again.
Emma is the founder and CEO of Angus The Label, Mum of two and Step Mum of two. A self described tree hugger Emma brings a particular bougie vibe to natural living through her company and loves to build community within her space.