I’ve read the blog posts. The ones that tell you to just put on your swimsuit already.
As I finished this popular post, my thoughts were about how it would be great if I could really just put on a bathing suit and just enjoy my kids at the pool. How great it is for those moms who could put on the suit and not worry about what others thought, and how awesome it would be to feel comfortable in my mommy-body. I thought about how it’s a lovely thought, but sorry… it’s still not happening for this mom.
The author ends the article hoping to encourage moms to push their insecurities aside; but what about those moms who struggle with more than just insecurities? Whose self-esteem is so low that it’s a constant, daily struggle to try and find the good in themselves? Because, you see – that’s me. Big time. I seem to have more insecurities and self-esteem issues than what I gather other women deal with on a regular basis. It’s been a part of me ever since I was a little girl, and is something that I’ve learned I am probably going to deal with all my life.
I have good moments and I have really, really bad moments (like when I publicly fat-shamed myself on social media – probably the lowest of the low points). But, working on my self-esteem is something I deal with every. single. day. Sometimes it’s every single minute of every single day. It’s hard, it’s not fun, and it’s probably the biggest thing I would like to change about myself.
When I finished that post, I could completely see the author’s point, and imagined how awesome it would be to be able to just get over it, put on a swimming suit and go – but it made me feel completely sick to my stomach to even think about doing it myself.
But, I went. I went to the pool with the kids last year, almost daily. I was the mom sitting on the sidelines and only occasionally putting my feet in the water – the mom that the author says chose the latter when she stated: “You’ve got two choices every summer – to put on a swimsuit or to skip it.” I chose to skip it last year, as I have for the last several years in a row. I wore my T-shirts and stretchy pants to the pool – some of which went all the way to my ankles – to stay covered up and to feel “better” about myself.
Then this summer crept up on us. All of a sudden school was out, the weather got warm, the pools opened and I found myself surrounded by my kids begging me to go swimming. It all began again.
However, this summer has been different. As I sat on the side of the baby pool – with my workout clothes on and only my toes in the water – I reflected about how things have changed for me over the last year.
I now have a more positive outlook. After my lowest of low self-esteem moment on Facebook – hating my body and every part of myself – I got sick of feeling so horrible about myself and decided that I needed to try harder to get better. It wasn’t an easy task to take on – and I still struggle daily – but I’ve been trying.
Rather than being frustrated with myself, I’m doing my best to feel more hopeful and optimistic. While I definitely have a long way to go, I know that I’m doing my best to change things – both physically and psychologically.
With this reflection, I made up my mind that I was not going to sit and sweat in my regular clothes on the sidelines of the pool this year. I went home from our first swimming outing with motivation to get online and purchase a swimming suit. I actually followed through!
So now that I’ve been to the pool a few times in my new swimming suit, I can tell you that it’s really not so bad. Yes, it’s about the kids being happy, but it’s also about us being happy, too, isn’t it? While my kids are happy that their mom is playing in the pool, here are some things I’ve figured out in the short time I’ve been back in a bathing suit that make ME feel better:
- There are swimming suits that are actually really cute and flattering to mom bodies!
- Not all eyes are on me; most everyone else is concerned more about themselves (or their phones) than me.
- We all come in different shapes and sizes, so who cares if my butt/legs/hips don’t look like that gal’s over there?
- Apparently even if I think my boobs look saggy, no one else is going to notice. (I mean, if my husband can’t tell, then…)
- Not to be judgy but, that girl in the crazy small bikini taking a million selfies looks WAY more ridiculous than I do.
- Someone needs to set an example for my daughter about how to wear a bathing suit and still be modest; might as well be me!
- If no one else thinks I look good (including myself) my kids totally do, and they aren’t afraid to tell me.
- I’ll never look like I did in high school, but that’s OK, because (on most days) I’d rather have my five kids than my old cheerleading body!
Are all of those negative thoughts of myself still there? Of course! But I’m not letting them dissuade me and I urge you to try and not let them dissuade you, either.
See you at the pool!