The media loves to have a go at parents, but particularly mothers, because we set ourselves up for it so beautifully and react so strongly. We are click bait dream. Baby before 30 or after 40? Abstain or drink while pregnant? What about tuna/salads/sushi/soft eggs? Vaginal or C-section? Breast or bottle? Co-sleeping or stick them in the shed? Stay at home or go back to work? Full or part time? Screen time limits or TV as parent? Child care or nanny? Vaccinate or not? Private or public school? Oh we have so many opinions! And we need to share them! And we need to be a bit judgy about those who don’t! Please, give us more articles about these “debates”, so we can get on our high horses and rip into everyone else. It’s super fun and we don’t have anything better to talk about.
J/K, I ignore all of that. The most important lesson I have learned thus far about parenting and other parents is this: we are all just trying our best. (Okay, there’s a few people who aren’t, but they are in the tiniest minority and I’m not sure I’ve even met any.) So I pay no attention to articles that seem to ignore this truism. But there are some things the media loves to bash parents about, serious and not-so-serious that every time I see them, it bugs me.
My first bug bear is people who seem to have a problem with mums who wear yoga clothes all day. You’re not going to the gym! They seethe at us. You’re having coffee! Why did you spend all that money on expensive yoga clothes that you’re not doing yoga in! It’s a great punchline, usually preceded by a story about how our prams take up lots of room in the coffee shop because it’s our fault that coffee shops aren’t built for anything bigger than a high school girl (but seriously, where do people in wheelchairs get their coffee? That’s what I think every time my pram doesn’t fit). This riling against our yoga clothes baffles me for the following reasons.
Firstly, no one gets annoyed at the men who wear sports jerseys for teams they don’t even play for. (I know, it’s crazy – but it’s a Thing! My own husband has clothing for the Wests Tigers which I know he has never played for.) People are weirdly obsessed with women’s clothing choices in a way men get to avoid.
Secondly, when you’re carrying a few extra kilos because of that baby you just had, and your body has changed in ways you haven’t even figured out yet, not many of your clothes fit. People would be surprised to know you might still be wearing your maternity clothes, months after having a baby. But you know what does fit? Yoga clothes. They’re stretchy and if you spent a bit of money on them, they manage to stay flattering, or as flattering as you can hope for at this point.
Thirdly, how do you know we aren’t going to the gym? We might have been earlier, we might be going later, or we might just be hoping to fit in a few downward dogs in front of Ellen this afternoon while the baby sleeps, and we’re feeling very hopeful about that, especially if we don’t have to waste time changing out of jeans beforehand. Just because we are at this very moment not doing yoga, please don’t think we are going to sit around drinking coffee all day.
Finally, even if we aren’t technically going to the gym or doing exercise, do you know what we are doing? We’re walking – around the block to get the baby to sleep, or around Coles to buy dinner, or around the lake to lose some weight so we can wear something other than yoga clothes. We’re down on the floor – changing nappies, looking for a dummy, waving a brightly coloured Fisher-Price contraption in front of our kid to get them to smile, helping the toddler build a train set or a Lego city. We’re running – chasing the escaped toddler across the park, outside to get the sheets off the line before the rain starts, back inside to answer the phone which always starts ringing while we’re outside getting the washing. We’re getting kids in and out of cars, shopping in and out of trolleys, dishes in and out of the dishwasher. We’re getting dirty – blowing bubbles, painting, play dough, introducing solids, accepting a hug, burping a baby. We’re on the slippery dip, in the sand pit, pushing the swing, making dinner. And yoga clothes and the accompanying sneakers, well they are great for all of that. They’re comfortable and wash well which is all you can ask from your clothing at this stage.
So seriously, leave us alone about the yoga clothes.