It’s summer, which means it’s swimsuit season, and moms everywhere are meeting it with a mixture of dread and rage. It’s hard to find great swimsuits that not only flatter our ever changing mom-bodies, but also keeps up with the demands of the woman in charge of pool safety, floatie inflation, and sunscreen application for all the littles.
As moms ourselves, we get it. The last thing you want to do is stand in a fluorescent-lit changing room with your children underfoot, struggling with a strappy nightmare. So we did a little of the heavy lifting for you this year, and found some swimsuits you may love!
Shannon: Plus-size standard tankini from Costco
People always talk about pregnancy glow. That mystical radiance that just magically appears upon conception. I’m on pregnancy number five and I can assure you, that has not been my experience. Not unless you count the sweat inducing morning sickness from my first trimester. And I’m pretty sure with this hot California summer and a July due date, it’s safe to say that the only “glowing” I’ll achieve in the future is more sweating.
So even though my new round belly is supposed to make me feel more beautiful than ever, the idea of bathing suit shopping had me less than thrilled.
Even before I had kids I struggled with loving my body – in a world full of firm abs and butts, my body was always too soft. In my twenties I weighed 115lbs of nothing, but my flat stomach was still squishy and I loathed the thought of people seeing it.
Now five pregnancies, seven babies, several years and many, many pounds later – I’m still struggling to like the reflection I see in the mirror. And you know what? Enough is enough.
My family’s love for me has never decreased with my weight fluctuations. But I know their level of fun does when I choose to sit out from activities (like swimming in public) because I’m insecure. I’d also be so hurt and upset to hear my daughters speak about their weight as if it somehow represented their self-worth. So here I am, rocking my mom bod and baby belly — a belly that is sure to stick around even after this little one arrives in a few weeks. Which is just fine, because although I may never “glow” my kids make my face light up and that’s all that matters anyway.
I have always struggled with the same parts of my physical appearance before and after becoming a Mom (and I believe they are the same that all women in the history of time have struggled with); thighs, butt and gut. Now that I’m a mom, I carry ANY extra weight in those specific spots! Yay!
There are a few things that always make me feel beautiful. The first is when my four year old son gazes up at me and says, “Mommy you’re so beautiful!” It really melts my heart. It also goes a long way when my husband says ‘you’re looking hot/pretty/beautiful’ too. And for that matter – when any of my friends or strangers compliment me I always feel on top of the world!
I honestly I don’t think too much about what other people are thinking when they look at me… but I do hope there’s nothing stuck in my teeth and I don’t look like too hot of a mess. If any other Mom is struggling with their body image this summer, I want her to know when I get to the pool and feel this way – I take a deep breath, or a long drink, and just go for it! Usually people are so concerned with themselves, they aren’t even looking at you. And if they are, I get in the water and have fun. After all, they can’t see you underwater.
The reason I participated in this (crazy) idea of a project was so other Mom’s can know they are not alone and that confidence is key! That age-old adage ‘fake it till you make it’ really applies here. One time on a trip to Vegas with my girlfriends, one of them said to me (after the fact), “you’re just wearing whatever and strutting around like a model all confident, I don’t get how you do that.” I don’t think she meant it as a compliment at the time, but it made me realize that by simply pretending I felt sexy, it was coming through to other people – even my friends who knew me well! So get out of your head and into the pool!
It’s pretty hard for me to find a swimsuit I actually like, partly because as a former swimmer, I’ve never been comfortable in anything but a skin tight racing suit, and partly because my body-loathing game is uber strong. Yeah, I said it, I am not thrilled with where I am right now. I think it doesn’t help that my job consists of hours and hours on a computer, or that I’m a lazy-gal by nature (the laziest). I’m the heaviest I’ve ever been, and my entire life, I’ve carried any extra weight in my core, which means an extra round middle from carrying three baby-loves to term, and losing one just this winter.
My insecurities about my protruding tummy are deeper and wider than the stretch marks that run across it. But the truth of it is, even at my thinnest and at my strongest, I’ve found body flaws to zero in on, and make my focus. And you know what? I’m kind of tired of that habit. Maybe this is my body for only a summer, or a season, or a decade. But the real thing that needs to change isn’t the number on the scale, it’s my mindset. And it’s time for my mindset to change.
So this is the year I wear a bright vintage swimsuit instead of the black body-masking one piece of my past. I scoured Amazon, reading tons of reviews of cheap swimsuits and found two I absolutely love (for less than my monthly caffeine habit). This is the year I’m going to have that poolside drink with a friend and build a sandcastle at the beach with my kids. And this is the year my insecurities will not be joining us at the pool.
Katie: Full Coverage Red Swimsuit from Marshall’s
Swimsuit season is hard. It’s the one time each year we’re supposed to flaunt the things about our body that we spend the rest of the year hiding. For three glorious seasons we can pick and choose which “smoke and mirror” trick to employ that day, depending on how big dinner was last night or at what point in our cycle we’re in. Fitted waist? “No, thank you, I had a giant, molé smothered burrito for dinner yesterday.” Bras with no padding? “Yea, right – these mama boobs need some serious push-up power!”
But in a bathing suit there is nowhere to hide… So, with reckless abandon (and probably a glass or two of Sauvignon Blanc) I volunteered to be part of this photo shoot. And I couldn’t be more thrilled with the results!
One of the things that I love the most about writing for Wine Country Moms Blog has been that I’ve had the opportunity to see myself through different lenses, both literally and figuratively. In my head, I’m a dumpy mom of two who rarely exercises and can’t seem to get enough showers in during the week. But when I look at these photos I see a confident, sexy woman who is rockin’ her summer-mom-bod with pride. I mean, who knew that girl was in there? So, this summer, instead of hiding behind a pair of shorts and a big, flowy coverup, I’ll be running around in the sprinklers with my kids, showing them that Mommy is still Mommy, even in a banging red swimsuit.
Do you have a swimsuit you love? Share it in the comments below!