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Friday, May 27, 2011

Mommies and the Pool

Two years ago I took the time to learn to swim.

I am not particularly, um, how shall I say.... in shape.

This is apparent whether I am in a swimsuit or not.

With that said, I do not wear swimsuits that would subject the rest of you to nightmares about whales, cottage cheese, and porcupines.

I wear "size appropriate" swimwear. 

In fact, I purchase my swimwear from the following website:

http://www.alwaysforme.com/plusseparates.html

They have great stuff for water aerobics, if you have a bigger chest, etc, etc. 

I've had more than one person come up to me at various pool parties, as they sit in the heat and ask where I get them, and they add that if they had a suit like that, they'd probably get in the pool.

Age and pregnancy do all kinds of things to people-- I'd love to still look 19 again, but let's face it, that's not happening.  I get not wanting to wear a bikini.  Boy, do I get that.

Me, on the far right, at 19.


So today at my daughter's pre-school swim party I wasn't completely surprised to find that I was the first mommy in the pool.  It was also related to the fact that my daughter and her friend ran in, full speed.

It was a small party.

I will never see most of these people again.

I don't care what they think.  I know I'm fat.

And I definitely didn't get the impression that anyone else cared.

It was clear they were being too self-conscious of themselves.

What stunned me, though, were the skinny, completely beautiful women who waded into the pool in full cover-up.

Women who were not remotely overweight. 

Really?

I convinced my very attractive friend to ditch the cover up and get in the freaking pool.  She said "I have another 10 pounds to go...."  and I said "You're gorgeous, I have another 50 to go, get in here, it's hot."

She did.  I think she had a blast.

Out of about 20 moms, 5 moms got completely in.  All of us in various shapes and sizes.

It was a pre-school swim party, not a beach party at the Hard Rock. 

It made me sad. 

How could these completely beautiful women be so self-conscious?  What on earth is wrong with our society that if you're not perfect you're not even good enough for a pre-school party at the Y?

And what kind of model does this set for our daughters?

The dads, by the way, jumped on in. 

While I am frustrated with my weight and very excited about my impending breast reduction so I can actually run and exercise again, I don't think that I'm less.  I would never want my daughter to feel that she is-- for whatever reason-- less than.  Being overweight is one component of me.  It's not one I'm proud of, but it's a little hard to hide (and big, baggy t-shirts in a swimming pool actually make it look much worse, by the way).  Personally, I think it's taught me a bit about humility.  It's the one area I am failing at.  But does it define me???  I don't think so.  And if someone else defines me solely by that, they are nuts.  And missing out.

But back to the moms-- they weren't even close to fat.  Not even a little.  And yet they shrouded themselves as if we were hideous.  Were there bodies perfect?  I doubt it, but is anyone's?  No. 

They looked so uncomfortable in their own skins, it was sad.  I wanted to hug them all,  tell them it would be okay.  Tell them that it really doesn't matter.  Tell them that their children don't care what they look like in a swimsuit, just that they play.  Tell them not to stand on the sidelines, watching, while all these precious moments go on without them. 

My daughter will not remember my swimsuit.  She will not remember that I was the fattest mom there.  She will remember that I helped her be Sleeping Beauty while she floated on her back.  And maybe someday, she'll appreciate that I had to check my ego at the door a long time ago when I became a mom.

And I hope the other moms weren't really saying "Wow, can you believe that Mrs. Bean had the nerve to get into the pool looking like that?"  From the looks on their faces, I didn't pick that up (disgust is easy to sense!). 

In fact, what they thought or said really doesn't matter to me at all.  I had a great time playing with my daughter, my son and my daughter's friend. 

Life is too short to watch from the sidelines.

Jump in.
Me, not at 19.

2 comments:

Sarah said...

I love the pictures you posted with this ! I feel the same way , but it took me a long time to get there . It's no fun watching while other people enjoy themselves . Last year we put a pool in our backyard and I was in it almost daily . Thank you for the great website . As someone else that is not exactly in shape , I am always looking for a better swimsuit .

Rita said...

Yay! Glad you a good time and now I'm gonna go check out that website. :-)