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Ladies, hold tight to your cellulite and run for your lives because swimsuit season is about to pounce.
It’s almost here. Crazy, right?! I feel blindsided, too. I mean, it all happened so fast.
The last thing I remember was that it was Christmas day. My kids were high on the three deadly S’s: Santa, sugar and a supersized sense of entitlement. I must’ve passed out on the couch after dinner and, next thing I know… BOOM! I wake up in a cold sweat only to find that it’s the end of March and the children are almost done with school.
You know what that means? Summer’s coming. The pool. The beach. It’s time to show your thighs and muffin tops off to the world while chasing down your kids in what you hope is a somewhat-fashionable bathing suit.
Finding the right one that doesn’t squeeze, looks cute, supports the saggy stuff, provides adequate coverage and can stand up to the violent, grabby hands of a toddler is hard. And the quest to find it throws many a mom into a tailspin of stress and sorrow.
As if we needed any more emotions!
In an effort to help moms better understand, navigate and conquer the whirlwind of feelings that comes with bathing suit shopping, I have outlined the 5 stages of swimsuit shopping grief below.
Stage 1: Denial
Moms in this stage feel removed from a world that appears to be rushing past them at a rapid pace. How is it summer… again?! They are shocked.
Plus, with a never-ending mountain of laundry engulfing their dinning room table and threatening to bury their toddlers, the thought of even locating last year’s suit to see if it still fits seems pointless and overwhelming.
In an effort to cope and numb their emotions, they fabricate and tell themselves creative lies such as:
- I’ll just find something that fits perfectly online
- I think our scale is broken
- Wow, my shoes must weigh a lot!
- I know my thighs have gotten bigger but I think it’s because my waist has shrunk. It’s all relative.
- I’m pretty sure I can lose 30 pounds in 4 weeks
- I probably won’t even be near water this summer anyway
- I heard that swimming is bad for you
- Time is going by super slow these days. I’ll have plenty of time to find a good suit later.
Stage 2: Anger
Moms in this stage are just mad.
Mad at their bodies for responding to carbs so poorly and mad at their kids for tearing apart their bodies.
Annoyed that winter was so dang wintry this season and turned their skin into a blinding and reflective shade of paste.
Furious at the mailman for delivering that Athleta magazine full of perfect, severely airbrushed women doing yoga in bikinis. Was that a joke? Was he mocking you?
Upset that they now have to regularly shave their legs, armpits and bikini lines.
Mad at ice cream for being so delicious and making them eat it. Truly… they had no choice.
And, naturally, they are angry with their husbands who get to wear baggy shorts and rash guards to the beach while they bend over to apply sunscreen and extract sand from sandwiches in tiny garments being held together by a string.
Stage 3: Barganing
In this stage, moms are trying to make deals or a truce with their bodies in the I will do this if you will do that fashion.
- I promise never to eat Oreos again if you could just run a mile without dying
- I will work out 5 days a week if you promise to tan more evenly
- I will practice self care if you would just give me my college body back
- I promise to always go to bed at a reasonable hour if you swear to me you will quickly fit into a cute swimsuit ON THE FIRST TRIP TO TARGET!
“What if…” or “If only…” statements are also common during this stage:
- What if I had enough money to pay someone to go swimsuit shopping for me?
- If only I had enough money to pay someone to go swimsuit shopping for me!
Stage 4: Depression
Moms can quickly become depressed and shut down when they walk into a store and are confronted with the overwhelming amount of bathing suit options.
Moms barely have time to brush their teeth. Where in the world are they going to get the time to sort through and try on bathing suits?
And let’s not forget that many a mom will be toting along some young children for this adventure through the bikini forest. Yippee! Because, as you know, small children never turn a public outing into a more difficult and torturous experience.
Moms can also become depressed when faced with the latest swimsuit fashions. I mean, really?? High waist bottoms?? Are we really doing this??
Last but not least, fitting room lighting. Talk about depressing and unflattering. Thank you, fluorescent lighting. My skin was already shockingly pale but now you have morphed it into a sickening shade of zombie flesh.
Stage 5: Acceptance
Moms in this stage are coming out of the fog and have backed away from the ledge. They have taken a few deep breaths and have calmed way down.
They have recognized that their bodies, which have amazingly imported, grown and exported children, will never be the same. And that’s okay.
With acceptance comes adjusting and readjusting daily. These moms are slowly embracing and owning their new mom-life and mom-bodies with confidence. Their lives have been changed forever and, thanks to nursing babies and tortuous breast pumps, so have their cup sizes.
While there may be times that they long for the swimwear of their teens and twenties, they are really starting to like the comfort and security of a more mom-appropriate suit.
* * *
And now, a word to all the moms, and ladies, in general…
This post was for fun. A friend and I were discussing bathing suits the other day and the idea for it came up in between laughs and sarcastic comments. I like to laugh. I like to make other people laugh. But here’s what I really want to say:
I DARE YOU not to care this year. I double dog dare you not to give a flying flip flop about what other people think of you. Let’s make this your year not to care and to just wear what makes you feel comfortable.
Let this be your year where, instead of obsessing over belly jiggle, side boobs and back fat, the only thing you are worried about is if your sandcastle is tall enough to win a blue ribbon.
Just have a blast with your family members, mamas. Life is too short not to.
Also, news flash, your kids don’t care what you are wearing!
They just want a silly mom who will get her hair wet, take them on a ride to the deep end and pretend to be an elephant by blowing water out of a pool noodle.
You want to raise strong, confident kids?? Then be a cannonball kind of mom. The one who’s comfortable enough in her own skin to run full-speed off the pool deck with her knees tucked into her chest screaming Geronimo!!!!
The one who hunts down memorable, quality time with her kids rather than perfection.
As for me, I’ll be wearing the same tankini tops from Athleta and the same reliable bottoms from Target that I wore last summer. And the summer before that.
I mean, why change them? They keep all my parts contained and are comfortable. Plus, they are surprisingly sturdy and still intact despite exposure to large amounts of chemically treated pool water, sunscreen and sunshine.
Why waist oodles of dollars, tons of time and the little energy I have left to hunt down the latest fashion and the ideal fit??
Nope! Not gonna do it!
And I hope you won’t either.
Good luck, mamas!