Opinion

Now's not the time to say "I told you so" to Maria Kang

A couple of years ago, I wrote an open letter to Maria Kang, the "no excuses mom," listing my excuses. But now, I think we should show some compassion.

Photo: Maria Kang via Instagram

Photo: Maria Kang via Instagram

A couple of years ago, I wrote a blog post that got a lot of attention: some very good, some really bad. It took days for the social media shitstorm to die down, as I encouraged women to tell Maria Kang—often called “The No Excuses Mom” or “The Hot Facebook Mom”—via social media that healthy doesn’t have to mean sculpted abs and toned thighs. I was in the midst of coming to terms with my post-partum body, while also gearing up for a new pregnancy (I was newly pregnant when I penned the post), and I felt personally slighted by Kang’s message.  I’ve thought about it so many times since that post went live—about the backlash it received, and how my intention was to empower others in my boat, not to sink Maria’s. 

But today I read Kang’s Instagram posts about her recent family and personal issues, and about her willingness to get back in front of the camera regardless of her physical changes. I read headlines that said, “Oh, So There Are Excuses” or “Hot Facebook Mom Gains Weight” and I instantly cringed. I’m no stranger to a biting, sardonic perspective but in this case, this isn’t an “I told you so” post. This is about supporting another woman in her struggles and insecurities.

Maria Kang still looks amazing, but when your self-esteem takes a hit, no one can make you view yourself in a positive light. She sees extra weight and loss of muscle definition, and while these aren’t as important to me as being able to keep up with my kids and putting in the hours it takes to run my new business, I get that they are important things to her. And I get that feeling depressed and dealing with challenges in your marriage, while also caring for three young kids, means you inadvertently re-prioritize just to get through the day. And that’s alright. I wish the headlines had said, “Maria Kang Understands Her Limitations—And That’s Okay.” (No, I’m not that naïve, but it would be nice, no?)

I appreciate Kang’s candor and vulnerability in the posts, and I hope she finds balance and peace soon. But in the meantime, Maria, even if you can’t see it, you still look incredible, and you can bet your kids will be proud of your resolve in the face of adversity. Hang in there—a new year is just around the corner.

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