Re-evaluating Modesty as a Mom

I’ve always followed some general modesty guidelines on principle. Basically, I wear shorts that cover 100% of my butt, don’t wear skirts that provide a view if I open my legs a few inches, and pants with “Juicy” written on the butt are definitely out. 

But as a mother, my clothing choices encountered a whole new set of rigorous standards. Could it be easily washed after being spit up on? Could it handle a little size fluctuation as the baby weight came off? And one I realized after a few months: Could it keep me covered when my baby sprouted octopus arms? You know, when they’re grabby and there are always arms down your shirt and pulling on your shirt and climbing up your shirt?

Moms are human jungle gyms, human Kleenexes, and human security blankets. A mom’s clothes have to be up to the task.

Having a baby means lots of bending over, not good for a lot of necklines. Even shirts I considered modest are now a liability as I’m bending and little hands are pulling down. I’ve got enough to do in a day, and, until I sprout octopus arms as well, I don’t have time to be constantly adjusting my clothes.

So how about low-rise jeans. Not only are they less-than-flattering on the mommy pooch, they don’t cut it for coverage for moms who plan on interacting with their small people. Sitting on the floor, bending over, reaching for that dropped sip cup… let’s just say no to crack if you know what I mean.

Swimwear… this is where I differ with a lot of mommy bloggers. There are a ton of posts about moms rocking whatever body they have in a bikini. Okay, great, maybe those moms either have babies under six months or kids over six years old. Because in my experience, swimming with any kids in between is a full-contact sport.

I’m not lounging poolside soaking up the rays. I’ve got small people clinging to me from all sides. I’m holding a baby while throwing dive toys while keeping an arm out for my paddler in a puddle jumper. I want to make fun memories for my kids at the pool, not make a display for the high schoolers about what boobs look like after breastfeeding three kids.

So I bought a rash guard. In addition to not being a fan of flashing people, I’m not a fan of skin cancer, so it works for me. According to popular mom culture, I must be ashamed of my body to cover it up. I’m obviously harboring some unhealthy body image issues. And how dare I model such insecurity in front of my three daughters.

Not the case. I’m going to follow the Daniel Tiger song of “Think about what you’re going to do, and find the clothes that are right for you!” And when I want a day I can focus on playing with my kids in the water, choosing a rash guard is right for me. Also, a current trend is high-neck tankinis and bikinis, so those are another great option for play-safe swimwear.

In today’s world, modesty is a scorned topic. Those kinds of clothing choices surely only demonstrate a repressed, insecure body image. The only way to demonstrate a healthy view of your body must be to show it all off, right?

When I choose clothes that eliminated adjusting, fidgeting, pulling up, yanking down, and re-arranging, I can go through my normal day and focus on my day. Modesty is practicality not a body problem.

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