School is out, the beaches and pools are open, which can only mean one thing.
It’s swimming suit season.
I don’t know about you, but to me, those words strike fear deep down into my core. Well, at least what used to be my core, back before I had kids and my mid-section didn’t jiggle like Jello.
As a teenager I took for granted my lack of curves and stretch marks. I ran around in itty bitty bikinis without a care. As I got older I started to be more aware of how things looked, but it wasn’t until after I had my first child that I swore off wearing swimming suits around other people. All of a sudden my perfect flat tummy was pudgy and covered in stretch marks, my hips had some extra cushion to squeeze, and I finally had the chest I had always wanted (at least until I quit nursing). The thought of someone seeing me stuffed into a swim suit was horrifying!
It took until after baby number two was born, and hours spent running and exercising, that I put on my bikini again. And it was on a practically empty beach with only my parents and brother around to witness. I’ve since had two more kids (the twins), and my body has aged a few more years and pounds. I’ve made a decision though. As the mother of a beautiful daughter, it is my job to teach her to love herself no matter what, and to do that, I have to love myself.
This year, instead of focusing on how I don’t look like the adorable, stick-thin teenager in her trendy bikini lounging on the chair on the side of the pool, I’m going to focus on the four amazing little people that I created. I’m going to hold my head up high and be proud of my stretch marks that came from carrying these beautiful babies (who are actually not babies anymore). I’m going to be comfortable knowing that even though there may be a tad more of me to love, I have a husband and children who love me no matter what I look like. I’m going to teach my daughter that it is OK to not be perfect, and teach my sons that they should love and respect everyone for who they are and not what they look like. And I’m going to get some awesome tan lines.
I hope that all of you ladies out there remember that you are beautiful, and I hope that you feel that way always. Remember that your family and friends love you because of who you are. You are amazing.