There is no time like swimsuit season to hand you a swift dose of reality when it comes to self confidence. It’s enough to send moms like me racing to a panicked web search for a swimsuit with all the ruching, skirting and patterning possible. Fellow moms, I get it.
Mind you, I am a mom of two girls who painstakingly goes slightly overboard to preach girl power. I rarely compliment them by calling them pretty and rather go for smart, brave or persistent (in a “You kept trying!” way not a “You already asked me that 980 times” way). So, of all people, I should not think twice about putting on a swimsuit for a day of fun in the sun. But I do. And here’s why. Like a lot of moms, I’m still carrying around an extra 20, 30, however many extra pounds even though my “baby” is almost 3. I have the stomach shelf you get after having babies. You know the one. It looks, feels and jiggles like a bowl of Jello and makes you filter every pant search to only include the words “high waist” and “stretch”. I have cellulite in places I didn’t know you could have it. And my upper arms might be able to fly me to at least Lawrence for the day.
But here’s a little advice. Put the dang swimsuit on and get your big (or small) booty in the pool. Those flappy arms disappear as your kids’ eyes light up as they jump into your arms 537 times. The cellulite couldn’t care less when you are standing in the wave pool while your kid jumps and plays and grabs your leg to steady themselves. And your mom pooch actually serves as a nice ledge for toting your exhausted and elated two-year-old to the minivan.
Whatever state your body is in right now is temporary. But the memories with your kids? Those are priceless and permanent. I refuse to be the mom who misses out because of how I do or do not look. I refuse to give my girls some sort of weird, deep-rooted complex about their appearance when the only thing that is important to them is that I have their full attention and am taking part in the fun. And I refuse to spend my time simply not respecting myself.
So I see you out there, moms. I see all the shapes and sizes at the pool and it makes me proud to be part of this tribe of strong women who are enjoying their children, family and friends instead of judging others and themselves. It makes me want to high five everyone, but that would be slightly awkward, so I usually refrain.
But don’t put it past me to ask if you got that perfect, long, patterned, ruched, underwire tankini top at Land’s End or Kohl’s.