Eva Bradley: Time to get real about bodies

By Eva Bradley

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Women are bombarded with images of perfect bodies, such as JLo's. Photo / Shutterstock
Women are bombarded with images of perfect bodies, such as JLo's. Photo / Shutterstock

It is a universal truth that, as life and the responsibilities in it expand, some priorities will slip down the list, and others will drop right off it.

Never an enthusiastic supporter of today's obsession with staying fit and working out, I quite happily put exercise in the "would if I could, but can't so I won't" category after having a baby and returning to work.

Eva Bradley
Eva Bradley

My husband, meanwhile, has remained more committed to the retention of his pre-baby body (yes, men have them too) and despite far more responsibilities at home, he still manages to squeeze in a run around the block with the dog or a bi-weekly mission to the gym.

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But lately as his work commitments have increased too, he's taken to very endearingly apologising for his body, which looks to me exactly as it always has but, as we all know, it's not how the world or our wives see us, it's how we see ourselves.

Last night, however, he added a caveat to his apology, saying, "It isn't so bad for a business body," to which I added the rejoinder that it teamed up nicely with my impressive "working mother's body".

While it was all in jest and we had a good laugh, it got me thinking about the importance of judging ourselves in a relative way, if indeed one has to judge at all.

Unless you live under a rock, it is very hard to go through the day without being bombarded with images of perfection in its various, usually youthful forms.

The girls eating icecream on TV commercials are - for a start - girls and could, because of that fact, eat 10 icecreams a day and still be a size 8.

Frankly, my model body is terrible. But my working mum body is something to be proud of. And since I'm a working mum and not a model, things could certainly be far worse.
Eva Bradley

The men creating the "Lynx effect" as they strut along with women in their wake are suspiciously chiselled of jaw and toned of thigh as well as smelling apparently irresistible.

Even the fresh-faced mothers cooing over giggling newborns in the nappy ads look like they'd struggle to birth a pea let alone a small human.

And yet these are the idealised bodies many of us - often quite unconsciously - aspire to or judge ourselves by.

So, lets get real, people. We don't expect to be able to run as fast as Usain Bolt so why do we look at Bradley Cooper or Jennifer Lopez and find ourselves wanting?

The reality is that , if we stood beside Joe Public or anyone else going about daily life with a mortgage, 1.5 children and no team of stylists, we'd probably scrub up okay.

Yes it's true, I could spend every spare moment I have working out and I would undoubtedly look better than I do now.

But that would come at the cost of something more important, such as time with my family, or under the duvet with a good book and a cup of tea (okay yeah ... a Tim Tam as well).

Frankly, my model body is terrible. But my working mum body is something to be proud of. And since I'm a working mum and not a model, things could certainly be far worse.

So instead of comparing myself to the ideal, I'm going to try harder to compare myself to the real. And, in doing so, maybe one day I'll stop comparing all together. Though probably if that happened, you'd find a whole packet of Tim Tams under the covers instead of just one.

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