The trees are bursting with buds, the grass is green and just like that, it’s swim suit season. It kind of snuck up on me this year and I didn’t have time to take the usual precautions. This year, I said F it and bought a mom suit at Costco without trying it on. Apparently, that’s how I roll now.
The act buying a suit at a warehouse retailer would have made my younger self recoil. Back in my younger, skinner days, I picked a swim suit to highlight my assets as I lounged on a blanket reading. It never got wet unless it did a spin in the washing machine. I would try on a ton of suits and turn around in front of changing room mirrors trying to decide which one made me look “less fat.” Less fat. Seriously.
Then, I had kids. When my oldest son was about one, I rocked my favorite pink and brown tankini. It was a my last non-mom suit. I loved that suit. I wore it to his first swimming lesson. All the moms and dads and babies gathered in the pool, with spouses on the sidelines snapping pictures. Within the first 10 minutes of class, in his frenzy to pull himself out of the water, my son pulled it completely down and was standing inside it, putting all of my goods on display. That was it for the cute pink tankini. It now resides at the bottom of my last dresser drawer because I can’t seem to let go of that glimmer of hope that someday I will be able to wear it again… maybe next summer.
After that swim lesson, the goal of swimsuit shopping was to find something sturdy – that little hands couldn’t rip down in a crowd of people. For some reason, when they were babies, both of my kids liked to stick their whole arms down the front of my swimsuit. As I held them in the water, they would jam their little arms down the front, rest their heads on my shoulder and fall asleep. Kids are weird. At this point, I no longer bothered bringing a book to the beach and I looked for something cute and sturdy to wear as I stood freezing in waist deep cold water.
Then, cute and sturdy rolled into cute and sturdy with coverage. If I’m on the beach and I bend over to pick up toys, juice boxes, shoes and whatever else is scattered in the sand around me, will anything fall out? If there’s a TMZ paparazzi hiding in the bushes taking pics for a Moms of the Midwest spread, will they need to blur anything out? I no longer even really care what color it is. I just want to make sure nothing falls out.
This was my mindset when I found myself at Costco flipping through the sturdy and skirted swimsuits. There’s something odd about getting veggies, huge bags of meatballs, dog food and a swimsuit in the same place. It’s also kind of freeing. There’s no changing room. That means there is no standing in your socks assessing your suited up body in a full length mirror under florescent lights. However, it’s a little awkward. The thing about Costco swimsuits is that they’re on life sized curvy hangers with giant, size tags hanging from them. So, the best thing to do is lay it flat in your cart and bury it under whatever else you find. Unfortunately, when it doesn’t fit, there is no hiding it in a cart. You need to do the walk of shame back into the store, holding it out in front of you on the life sized hanger with the giant size tag fluttering in the breeze. Then, tell the customer service lady that it was obviously much too big and in the awkward silence that follows, dart off to do it all over again.
The thing about mom suits is that they are what they are. Over spring break, I went to a water park with my family. At the water park, it’s mostly families – mom suits galore on moms of all shapes and sizes. Looking around the park at my fellow skirted warriors, I had kind of an epiphany.
- The park was packed and nobody there was perfect.
- We’re moms. Our bodies are what they are. Whatever their shape, they are amazing. They’ve gone through this incredible journey, providing life and a soft place to land for our little ones. They’ve healed wounds and gave and received love. Sure, they’ve taken some hits and gotten a few dents. It doesn’t matter. None of the kids in the pool gave a second thought to what his mom looks like in a swimsuit. They were excited to be in the water playing with the people they love. They will always remember that. They grow up fast. Don’t miss that time because you feel self conscious in a swimsuit. Don’t give it that power.
- I’m not that same girl in a bikini reading at the beach. I miss her sometimes, but I wouldn’t trade my life now for a bikini. All we can do is do is take care of what we are given and do the best we can with what we’ve got. Sometimes, that involves a little underwire and a flutter skirt. It’s all cool.
Do you have a mom suit story? Tell me about it.