Summer is here, and with it a slew of “inspirational” stories about how all moms need to shed their insecurities, shimmy their post-baby bodies into a swimsuit, and get in the pool with their kids.
Your child’s happiness is not dependent on whether or not you manage to shove your ass into a swimsuit and pretend you feel comfortable. You’re not robbing your child of their summer joy if you make them frolic in the pool without you.
If you feel shitty about your body, you don’t need the added stress of feeling shitty about feeling shitty about your body. Give yourself a break. Here’s a little secret that will free you from some mom-guilt: you don’t have to get in the pool. Don’t worry, the earth won’t tip off its axis if your thighs don’t make an appearance this summer.
I had my second child at 40. At about the same time, I started working at home and moved to a new place that I hated. My partner was traveling constantly for work and I was alone with the children for months on end. I was overwhelmed, depressed, and just not as active as usual. There are a zillion excuses why my body doesn’t look the way it used to (in addition to the fact that growing humans changes it quite a bit). I’m finally ready to start moving and getting in better shape, but in the mean time, I’m really not comfortable in the post-baby armor — a.k.a the extra 30 pounds my small frame is carrying. I don’t want to put on a swimsuit. And that’s okay.
As mothers, we’re pushed to believe that every moment is a teachable one. No, it’s not. It doesn’t have to be. You’re allowed to throw down your mom-cape and be a normal human being with her own issues from time to time. When you become a mother, you don’t magically lose all of those things that make you human, flawed, and insecure.
Body positivity is wonderful. If you read a post about missing out on summer and you’re inspired to put on a swimsuit and splash around with your kids, great. But if you’re left feeling guilty about not wanting to seize every moment with your children — inspiration has turned to shaming and it’s time to close your computer.
If the thought of putting a swimsuit on makes you unhappy – don’t do it. You aren’t robbing your kids of joy if you don’t splash around with them in the water for one summer. Go buy a few sundresses that fit and call it a day. Seriously. Struggling with body image is isolating, so I’m here to tell you that you are not alone. It happens to the best of us after we have children. You are allowed to feel like crap. You are allowed to be uncomfortable in your skin. You are allowed to freaking hate your post-baby body.
The pool will be there when you’re ready. So will your swimsuit.