Summer is fast approaching and along with it is bathing suit season. I want to nudge all mamas to put your bathing suits on and swim with your kids. For me, there is nothing more fun and chill-axing than hanging at the pool. I love to play and splash with my kids. I love the beach and the lake, too. I also like to sit poolside and read a good book or let the sun drench my skin (with ample sunblock on, of course). But what always breaks my heart is seeing women fully-clothed, sweating it out under an umbrella, or hanging their feet in the pool to try to cool off a little. It is so sad to see women missing great opportunities not only to make memories with their kids, but also to model healthy self-worth.
Know this truth: a bathing suit does not define you.
You have grown a human (possibly more than one)! It’s time to thank our bodies for the miracles they are. It is no small task to grow a baby for nine months and then deliver it. It is a miracle and it does change our bodies. Scars, stretch marks, a little more roundness. Whatever we consider our imperfections to be, they are proof that we are strong, brave, and resilient.
I am finally embracing my scars.
I’ve had three C-sections via classical and lower uterine segment, so I have a nice “anchor” that stretches both ways on my abdomen. My C-sections saved my life and my children’s lives. I have some other abdominal scars from other surgeries too, mostly related to child bearing. Before motherhood, I used to feel my best feature was my tummy. It was flat, tan, and perfect. The scars sort of rocked my world for a time, but as I’ve aged, I see them for what they are and not what they did to me. They are beautiful reminders of where I have been and the miracles I have lived through. I am thankful for them now because without them I wouldn’t have my beautiful children.
The only requirement for a “bathing suit body” is a body and a bathing suit.
That’s it. I know that is one of those “easier said than done” statements and there is nothing I loathe more than trying on bathing suits in the stores. But you know what? Your kids only see their beautiful mommy in that brightly colored suit. They don’t see the imperfections we see. No cellulite, scars, stretchmarks, or love handles can overshadow the joy and squeals of delight as you launch your child into the water. They swim back for “Again! Again!” whether we look like a VS model or a beached whale. We are their mamas and in their eyes we are perfect.
The best thing about the love a child has for their mama is that it knows no boundaries. They will not remember — won’t even notice, in fact — if you aren’t in “swimsuit” shape. What they will remember is how fun it was when their mama built a sand castle with them and then helped them knock it down. Our kids will think back on their childhood and remember their mama teaching them to hold their breath and kick their legs. They will not remember if we had a thigh gap in our thirties.
When I think back on my grandparents, one of my fondest memories is of them swimming in our pool with us. They both loved to swim and would even play games with us. I got to take my grandma to the beach when my oldest was little. I have pictures of them napping in the sun together and splashing in the waves. At 75, my grandma was the most beautiful woman on the beach, not because she had the perfect figure or the most expensive suit, but because she was oozing with self-confidence and love for her family. That is beautiful.
I want to challenge you ladies to buy a suit you feel good in (OK is good enough), plan a beach, pool, or lake day, and get out there and play with your kids in the water! No pool available? No problem! Grab the water guns and the sprinkler and run and splash like you were a kid again. You will make the most lasting memories for your kids and yourself.