#breakthemould

I have never been good at accepting a compliment. I don’t know why, but when a person says ‘oh, you look well’ I immediately feel awkward and usually disagree with them. I find compliments embarrassing, and that’s just who I am. Maybe it’s an innate lack of confidence I have always battled with. I guess true confidence has to come from within.

I recently met someone who I hadn’t seen in a while. They congratulated me on the lastest baby, etc and then said ‘you look stunning girl!’ Queue me and my awkward reaction so I side stepped having to take the compliment by mentioning that I was going to Slimming World and still had a few pounds to go.

“But sure what do you need to be going to Slimming World for? There’s not a tack of you there! I wouldn’t go losing anymore weight if I were you, it will age you.”

Now, maybe most of you read that as a compliment. Perhaps it was intended as such. But the tone with which it was delivered, to me, said otherwise.

To paint the picture, I am not hugely overweight. I have an athletic build, can fit into my jeans, and can wear a bodycon dress with Spanx. (Without Spanx it’s like a marshmallow wearing a thong). But I have had to work HARD to get to this, and yes I still have a few pounds to go until I reach my goal.

To say that there is not a “tack of me there” is a bit ridiculous. I have never been and never will be underweight. And to warn me about aging? Protect and Perfect all you want honey but wrinkles gonna get ya. (Eventually).

Lets reverse this little social scenario on its head. I bump into a friend of mine who has had her second baby. I compliment her and her little bundle etc and she mentions that’s she has joined a slimming group.

“Yeah, you need to be going to a slimming group alright, well done you. There’s a fair bit of you to go around. Try lose a bit of weight now, it will make you look much younger.”

I’m thinking that would be when she would pick up her Bugaboo and swing it at me (bundle of joy hanging on for dear life).

So what makes one comment ok and the other one a cause for grievous bodily harm?

I don’t have the answer I’m afraid, so it’s one I’d ask you to think about.

Maybe I really can’t accept a”compliment”?

Maybe I was “skinny shamed?”?

Whatever it was, there is one thing I definitely cannot accept – labelling.

Stop categorising body types. Stop trying to fit into one. Fat, thin, chubby, skinny or my personal favourite that has been graciously (with a subtle hint of bitch) extended to me – well built.

I can’t understand how we have only 3 types of bodies really – fat, thin and in between. Bullshit. There are so many variations on the human body so that makes zero sense.

Kim Kardashian wrecks my head. But I wil give her this. She used that arse to break the Internet and the stereotype of what is beautiful. I see nothing skinny about her, curves galore!

I also love Rhonda Rousey. She has been blasted all over the cover of FHM  – she’s fit, fierce, “well built” and stunning.

And then there is Taylor Swift – tall and thin and beautiful. Style Queen.

Get my point?

There is no one size fits all.

Variety is the spice of life.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

My well built arms and legs are fabulous.

Now I’ll take that compliment. From me, to me.

Blarneymum meets…….

To kick off Blarneymum Meets, I chat with Shaun Venter who works full time taking care of his son Grayson. Originally from New Zealand, Shaun shares his insight into life at home with an energetic 10 month old….

Thank you for doing this interview Shaun. Introduce yourself and tell us about your family.
I’m from NZ, 36 years old, married to Vicki for nearly three years. We have one little boy, Grayson who’s nearly ten months old and we have another baby on the way later this year. I gave up work as a chef to look after Grayson when he was a month old when Vicki went back to work.

What is a typical day like for your and your son?
Grayson wakes between 6 and 7 usually. We have breakfast and play until his nap at 9am which usually lasts for about twenty minutes. In the mornings we do whatever is needed – grocery shopping, housework etc. At the moment the weather is so nice we head to a park or down to the beach when we can. Lunch is around 12; he may or may not have an afternoon nap, if he does it’s usually about half an hour, not much longer. Then it’s more activities or outings until dinner at 5 and bed at 7.30 or so. If Grayson dozes off during the afternoon in the car or somewhere then bedtime is a bit later. He still wakes for a feed during the night. We’re trying to get out of that habit at the moment!

How has becoming a parent changed you?
I just asked Vicki and she said it hasn’t 🙂 – I suppose like everyone I’m more sympathetic or understanding towards other parents. I’m more tired as well. That’s all really I think.

Did you find it hard to transition from corporate life to the life of a full time dad?
We had always agreed that I would stay at home when we had kids so I was looking forward to it. I wasn’t enjoying work at the time I left which probably made it easier. I was hoping there’d be a bit more time for afternoon sleeps on the the couch though! It’s a lot more intense than I had imagined it would be. Ten minutes to yourself when you’re a parent is worth five hours to yourself before kids!

Can being a full time dad in Cork be isolating?
I don’t think so. I suppose it depends on the person – it’s as isolating as you make it. I have friends I meet up with on certain days, family I visit on other days and Grayson and I do activities outside the house as well like swimming which breaks up the week.

What do you do to unwind and ‘de-baby’?
I play a bit of sport and have occasional nights out with friends. It’s always easier when there’s two of you around to share the work. Grayson is a very energetic baby – he never stops so it can be tiring looking after him one on one.

Do you ever suffer from the Daddy Guilts if you are away for a period of time?
Not really, I do miss him when I’m away for a night or whatever. I’s always nice to have a good nights sleep though!

We all have our support network as parents. Who is that one person that you couldn’t be without for parenting advice?
Vicki obviously, we figure most things out together. Her sister lives close by and has four kids so she is always there with advice. My sister lives in America but has a six month old and a three year old so she knows what we’re experiencing. Everyone has an opinion and their own way of doing things but I suppose you have to have confidence in your own knowledge and instincts as well.

Why do you think so many men are reluctant to stay at home to care for children in Ireland? Is it similar in New Zealand?
It’s pretty much the same in NZ as here – I don’t know why really, maybe they’ve heard how hard it is 🙂 I suppose it’s tradition for the mum to stay at home and maybe women don’t want to give it up! I’m really glad I’ve been able to do it. I wouldn’t change the decision to give up work.

And finally, what is the best advice that you have been given as a new dad?
Get them into a routine as early as you can! We didn’t and we really should have!