“CANNON BALL!!!!!!” is a word I remember fondly from my childhood. My uncle did the best cannon balls. We’d all cheer out as he’d leap off the diving board, tuck into a perfect human sphere and plunge securely into the deep end of the kidney-shaped swimming pool, sending what seemed at our age to be giant, surging waves for us to jump over, crash into, and swim through.
We’d scream and laugh with delight, demanding an encore performance over and over and over again. I’d stay in that pool until my fingers and toes were all pruney, until my blonde hair turned green and the sun went down.
And every time I swam in that pool, never once was I concerned about how my swimsuit felt or made me feel. Not once did I look sideways at myself in a mirror, and not once did I poke and prod to try to move things into a more desirable position.
Not Once Did I Look Sideways at Myself in a Mirror
All I cared about was waking up the next morning, so I could jump in that pool and do it all over again.
So when did I start caring about how I felt in a swimsuit? About the same time we all did; the moment our bodies started changing at puberty, when our body image anxieties flew through the roof, along with our perceptions of what other people thought of us.
With all that change happening in the span of just a few years, we struggled just to keep up with our bodies and the weirdness that was happening to them. When it was all said and done, we’d unknowingly ended up creating a habit out of hiding our physiques.
So now that we’re moms, the idea of slurping ourselves into a spandex swimsuit is even harder to imagine. Even if we’re lucky enough to lose our baby weight or not to have gained much at all, our bodies are permanently different. Nothing sits the way it used to anymore, and we feel exposed, uncomfortable…maybe even embarrassed. And who’s looking at us? Our kids.
We Feel exposed in a swimsuit; uncomfortable…maybe even embarrassed.
I get it, Mama. My extra large upper arms are disproportionate to the rest of me. My ass and thighs are dimply with cellulite and my mom-pooch doesn’t fit into my undies anymore. It’s not anything I like to put on display to be sure.
But a thought struck me the other day when my daughter asked me to go for a swim in our pool, and of course, I’d said no.
It occurred to me that I didn’t say no because I didn’t feel like it or because I was too tired.
I said no because I’ve said no for years.
Long before my daughter was born, and long before I met my husband, I’d opted out. It had become a habit, an almost trained, Pavlovian response to the idea of getting into a swimsuit.
So, how can we turn this around, Mama? How can we change the mindset that getting into a swimsuit to enjoy some fun and exercise is “just not something moms do”?
Well, let me ask you this: who’s looking at you?
Your own kids, babe. Just them. They’re the ones that you screamed through hours of labour to deliver. They’re the ones who finally emerged, along with God knows what other bodily fluids, looking pretty nasty themselves, can I just say.
So they’re not going to remember how much cellulite you have or how flappy your arms are. They’ll remember that you’re a mom who gets in the pool. They’ll remember how much fun you are, and how nothing holds you back from a bad-ass cannon ball!
So what’s the alternative, mama? Sit by the sidelines while your kids have all the fun? Isolate yourself from the memories they’re making? Break out the ole, “I’ll just sit and watch.” routine??
Nope! Not for this mom!
With this revelation, I’ve decided to get in the pictures and jump jiggly-ass-first into summertime with my kids, and you should too! Go diving for rings and teach them to blow bubbles. Do backwards summersaults and hand stands and hang off the edge by your legs.
Tell those teenage insecurities that have followed you up to this point to suck it. Change that mindset Mama, and jump in!
Know a mom who sits on the sidelines? Share this post with her, and tell her to get her ass in the pool this summer. Great for her and her kids. It’s a win-win 🙂