Keeping Mum
Dita De Boni looks at the trials and tribulations of being a parent.

Channelling Angelina


As I sit here typing this column, there's a presence behind me that's unsettling. Unnerving. Something is in the room with me, something that makes me lose confidence, makes me inwardy groan.

And it is ... the treadmill I hired for six months.

Four of those months are now up, and while the first month went gangbusters - somehow I managed to do four workouts a week - the machine now collects dust in the corner of the living room. At the moment it is handily hosting a huge pile of Plunket appeal-related material.

In short, it's not being used for its orginal purpose. Not only that, but it's costing us a significant amount each week for the pleasure.

Exactly how much time does it take for baby weight to miraculously fall off? I know, that's a trick question.

Tricky, because baby weight doesn't seem to just "fall off"for most women who are not Angelina Jolie, Bernice Mene or any other high profile yummy mummy.

These women are not only usually skinny but also - in the case of Bernice - natural athletes. In the case of Hollywood, a retinue of dieticians, cooks, maids and nannies are hired to help mummy regain her focus on her appearance.

It's easy to hate these pampered pooches who make motherhood look so damned easy, with their designer clothes that never have regurgitated milk on them, their fake nails that never snap when trying to fasten poppers, and their tanned and toned thighs that have proudly seen the sun instead of being cased away in tracksuit pants.

It's so much more easy, though, to be seduced into thinking that there's no reason women cannot look hot while mothering young children.

And yet, is there any sane reason why women should be busting their boilers to do so?

On the other hand, is this fulminating against the ideal of the yummy mummies just an excuse to do what many married / partnered women do, and put their appearance on the bottom of their list of priorities?

I confess I have been guilty of that. Hair unkempt and uncoloured, pants that are too big or too small, shoes that have seen better days and ragged nails don't suggest I work very hard at that part of my life. Comfortable underwear! And now, a body without any muscle tone to speak of.

Am I using motherhood as an excuse to avoid exercise, or is it genuinely getting in the way of keeping in shape?

One thing is for sure, and it's cruel - the physically punishing work of getting two children around the traps each day seems to do absolutely nothing for your actual fitness levels!

I've heard people say "nine months on, nine months off" for baby weight, but it seems to me that a small portion of that weight simply never comes off without a huge amount of effort.

Breastfeeding is no silver bullet either - yes, your metabolism is much quicker, but your appetite is keener.

I assure myself that once the baby is sleeping through the night I will be returning to excercise "with a vengence".

Time will tell whether this comes true or is yet another fantasy brought about by sleepless nights!

On the web:

Read this link for a fantastically bad-tempered rant on the yummy mummy phenomenon.

Pictured above: Angelina Jolie and her partner Brad Pitt when she was pregnant with twins Vivienne Marcheline and Leon Knox; Actress Jessica Alba shows off her post-pregnancy body just two months after giving birth to her daughter Honor Marie Warren. Photos / AP

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