Here’s a fun fact about me – I don’t enjoy being in the water. For years, I successfully avoided swimming, and I believe I did not wear a swimsuit more than just a few times from the time I was pregnant with my first kiddo until she was 6. My hubby did most of the water stuff, and I stayed on the sidelines.
Then when she was 6, she started getting invited to swim and water outings – a friend’s birthday party, a Girl Scouts outing, etc. I knew I had to get over myself and purchase (and wear) a swimsuit. I had avoided it for years – I was no longer a slim size 2, and combine that with my dislike of water activities, I could literally think of almost anything else I would rather do.
I dutifully went to the store and found something that would work. It fit decently, didn’t look awful, and I could be active in it, in case I needed to chase after my kiddo at a pool – it was important that I wasn’t worried about having a wardrobe malfunction. I wore it very self-consciously, wistfully wishing that I could be like that mom who appeared to be so confident and carefree in her adorable 2 piece. As soon as the God-forsaken swimming event was over, I changed out right away and shoved that swimsuit into the back of my dresser drawer, banished to live in the depths of the dresser with my Spanx.
Fast forward to last week. That 6-year-old is now 10 (with a younger sister who is 8), and we went on a family vacation that involved a lot of being in and around water for much of the trip. I now have 3 swimsuit tops and 2 bottoms so I can mix and match the pieces. I have found some styles that are more comfortable (dare I say, almost cute?), and I even have a couple of cute cover-ups and some sun hats that complement the looks.
We went to our resort pool and while the kids were playing, I looked around at the other families. I saw women of all shapes and sizes, in all different kinds of swimwear. I saw them applying sunscreen to squirmy kids, I saw them listening to music, looking at their phones, swimming, having a drink, visiting, reading a book, taking a nap…. but I never once saw someone else looking at me with a critical eye. I never saw another person caring at all about how I looked in my suit. I never saw anything but people having fun.
Then I realized it – I didn’t need to worry about anyone judging me in my swimsuit. We were all too busy having fun with our own families to care about how the lady at the next chaise looked, and if anyone had a thought or opinion about how I looked, that’s their business, not mine.
I’m going to be honest – I still don’t LOVE my swimsuits and I am still not a fan of being in the water, but now I don’t all-out dread it. I forgot to pack my cover-up for a beach day, and I didn’t even really mind spending the beach time in just my suit.
Mommas, please don’t be afraid to just wear the swimsuit and have some fun with your kiddos because you are nervous about what others might think or say. Life is too short and these years go by too quickly to sideline yourself. If anyone says anything to you, remember that their harsh words are probably more of an indication of their own insecurities than of their perceptions of you. Or, to state it more simply… “You do you, Boo.”
If you need me, I’ll be over here wearing my SPF 50, with my sun hat and my “mom suit”, but not wearing the shame or judgment of others. (Oh, and remember to set your timer so you remember to reapply that sunscreen!)
Have any tips on how to get over your insecurities and just wear the swimsuit? Share them in the comments below or on Facebook!