Bathing suit lessons

My child is yet again teaching me lessons.  This time about my body image.  We recently took her to a community swimming pool that has a wading pool with a play area for little ones.  For a year she’s been asking us to go every time we drive by it and we drive by it a lot.  She calls it a water park.  Needless to say when we found a nice day that wasn’t melt-you-in-your-shoes-as-soon-as-you-step-outside hot and told her our plans, she was beside herself.

I felt a bit more reserved.  I was excited FOR her, but I wasn’t especially looking forward to prancing around in public in my bathing suit.  My body is certainly not stellar.  I’ve had two children in the last few years and it wasn’t stellar to begin with.  I didn’t know what to expect, but in my head the pool was filled with lots of moms wearing size 2 bikinis who would be smirking at me.  I debated wearing shorts over my suit the whole time.  Then I realized that I’d have to explain why to my daughter.  She loves asking questions.  If I told her I didn’t want to show off my big ol’ white thighs, she’d start thinking the same.  After all, at 3-1/2 she thinks it’s great to do what her mommy does.

My cute girl having fun and being silly at what she calls the water park.

When we got to the pool, we headed straight to the little kiddo area.  We put down our bag and I helped the kiddo out of her cover-up and into her swim shoes.  Then I had to unveil my own bathing suit.  I took off my T-shirt.  I looked around and quickly pulled off my shorts.  I tried to avoid eye contact with anyone else outside of my husband and daughter.  I didn’t want to see their judgment and smirks.

We started by parading in front of a row of moms watching their kids to head to the splash pad first.  Again, I focused on my daughter.  We played in the water, but the splash pad was too cold, so we switched to the wading pool.  I started relaxing.  I was there for my daughter. It wasn’t long before I realized that I was running around with her, helping her, enjoying her and having fun with her and not worrying about how I looked or what other people thought.

As she got her confidence in playing on her own, my husband and I sat on the side of the wading pool and watched her.  I got a chance to do some people watching.  You know what I saw? A slew of moms of all shapes and sizes.  And I noticed many seemed to be body conscious in their own ways, like the young mom chasing after her toddler while wearing a T-shirt in the pool over her bathing suit.  I smiled.  After all, she had a nice figure, but I’m guessing she was as self-conscious about it as I was.  I also realized that nobody was judging me.  They were all too busy judging themselves.

I think we women all have something we don’t like about our bodies.  We’re very hard on ourselves.  I still am not super thrilled with my body.  I still am not going to run a photo of me in a bathing suit with this blog post, but as I get older and hang out with my proud-of-who-she-is 3-year-old, I’m learning to ease up on my self.  Life is too short to worry about what other people are thinking of my body and me.  I want to be the mom in the fray, wearing a bathing suit and running around the wading pool with her kiddos making memories.  I don’t want to be the mom sitting on the sidelines all covered up and missing out on the fun because I’m worried about what others are thinking.  I may not be 100 percent proud of my body, but I am proud of who I am.

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