As a child, I practically lived in a swimming suit in the summer. I was comfortable and happy wearing a bathing suit. As a young adult, before I had kids, bathing suits became just another article of clothing, something to pack in the suitcase before a trip. I didn’t spend much time thinking about them one way or another.
But after having kids, bathing suits became more complicated. Will this bathing suit allow to chase after my toddlers at the beach? Is this one too flashy? Will this one cover my cellulite and post-baby belly pooch? Will other moms be wearing a swim suit or will they be sitting on the lounge chairs under a cover-up? What will people think if I wear a swimming suit? What will they think if I don’t?
I’m exhausted just thinking about it.
These days, the only question I ask is: will I be hot or want to swim? If so, I wear the swimming suit. And I hope you do too.
Mostly I hope you wear the swimsuit because you want to. Life is too short to waste time and energy fretting about things like cellulite and belly rolls and saggy boobs. Put on the bathing suit and enjoy it.
Not only is it important to wear the bathing suit for our own happiness—but it’s important for our kids to see us happy and comfortable in our own bodies. It’s important for them to see us enjoying all that life has to offer. Things like jumping into a pool on a hot day. Chasing waves at the beach. Waterskiing. Floating on our backs in the ocean while the sun warms our face.
The messages we tell ourselves become the messages our kids tell themselves. If they see us hiding our bodies or criticizing the way we look, these are the messages will wiggle their way into their minds as well.
As a child of the ‘80s and ‘90s, hearing women complain about their bodies and watching them hide under cover-ups was par for the course. I grew up assuming that being a mom meant hating—and hiding—your body. This isn’t healthy for anyone, regardless of gender.
Bodies come in all shapes and sizes, and they should all be celebrated. Our bodies are amazing miracles. Some bodies grow babies and birth other human bodies. Our bodies feed those baby humans and carry them for years to come. Some bodies run marathons and bike up hills. Some bodies move through the world in wheelchairs and on crutches. Some bodies powerlift weights and hold yoga poses.
Sure, our bodies change over time. We get laugh lines and cellulite. Our breasts sag and our hips widen. They might get lumpier here and there. But our bodies never stop being any less amazing.
A couple years ago mom Sandy Ballard wrote an Instagram post celebrating her postpartum body and encouraging other moms to do the same. She wrote:
"Nine months in, nine months out. Or something like that. This is postpartum (x3). This is mushy belly, jiggly booty, & bowling ball boobs because #breastfeeding. This body is pool ready. Is it skinny? No. Is it what it used to be? No. Did it bounce right back? No. But it's a body & it's at the pool. So it's pool ready. It grew three giant babies. It stretched to capacity & stretched some more. It nourished two of those babies round the clock. It was cut in half twice. It could barely walk without help, but here it is still standing."
"Don't waste time praying to be skinny cause it ain't gonna work, trust me," Ballard wrote. "Spend time playing in the pool with your kids. They won't remember your lack of thigh gap, they will remember this moment when you had so much fun together. I am working hard to love the skin I'm in.”
And we applauded her. We breathed a sigh of relief.
Now, it’s time for us to live into those words. Buy the bathing suit. Wear the bathing suit. And have fun in the bathing suit. Quiet that voice in the back of your mind that is repeating the toxic messages that we’ve been fed for generations about what it means to be beautiful and worthy. Tell that voice to hush up.
Our bodies are beautiful and swimsuit-ready just as they are.