Love your body. It’s a message we are being bombarded with all the time these days. And the spirit in which most people push the message is, for the most part, positive and well intended. It’s personally not a message I embrace, which I’ve written about previously, but I get it. I really do. And when I hear the “love your body” mantra I take it for how I believe it is intended. But it’s one thing to encourage women (or men for that matter) to love what they have and it’s a totally different ball game when you start calling people out for not conforming to your idea of what that means. Because you are making assumptions. You are assuming that the mom at the beach in the t-shirt and shorts is too ashamed of her own body to ditch the modest attire and put on a bikini. But there is a good chance you are wrong. I don’t wear a bikini. Not to the water park, the pool or the beach. And here’s why:
I’m not comfortable in a bikini
That’s right. I’m not comfortable in a bikini and I never have been. I’m a 43 year old mother. I watch what I eat. I work out consistently. I’m fit. I have very few stretch marks. I’m far from perfect. Very far. But I’m not trying to hide anything. Not being comfortable in a bikini is not something that has come with age or having a child. The truth is, even when I was 21 and everything was toned and tight and as close to perfect as its ever been, I still did’t feel comfortable in a bikini. And it has, or had, nothing to do with how I feel about my body. I simply don’t like the way they look. On me. It really is that simple.
Bikinis just aren’t my style
I currently have two bathing suits (and a rash guard and board shorts) that I love. They both cost me a small fortune but they were worth every penny. Not only are they great quality but they reflect my style. Bikinis simply aren’t my style. Just like palazzo pants are not my style.
I hate sunburns
I am a fair skinned, freckle faced redhead. That means I get sun burned very, very easily. Wearing a bikini means I am exposing more skin to get burned. Yes I know – that’s what sunscreen is for. But, quite frankly it’s a pain making sure every millimeter of skin is slathered in SPF 30. And a spot always gets missed.
I am always cold
My five year old is pretty much immune to cold. We can be at the beach and she is waist deep in the water (btw she sometimes wears a bikini) splashing and having the time of her life and I am shivering, hugging myself trying to stay warm. If I can get away with shorts or cropped pants and a t-shirt on those days that are not blazing hot I am happy. I don’t want to be itching to get out of the water and go wrap myself in a warm towel. I want to be comfortable and warm and having fun.
It has no impact on my daughter’s self esteem
News flash – me not wearing a bikini is not sending my daughter the wrong message. She does not see me in my one piece or more coverage than a bikini two piece and think “gee mom must hate her body.” I promise you she doesn’t. And the idea that she might is ridiculous. My little girl sees me buck naked all the time. And not once has she ever heard me talk about my body in a negative way (well except for occasionally cursing my bum knee that I injured in a ski accident). She also sees me work out and take care of this body. There is no shame going on here. My daughter thinks her mother is beautiful and I certainly don’t try to convince her otherwise.
On second thought it’s none of your business
What you wear to the pool is none of my business. Seriously. What I wear to the pool is also none of your business. And the fact that you feel the need to analyse why or why not I’m wearing a bikini is more a reflection on your own attitudes and self perception than it is on mine. Maybe you had to talk yourself into wearing a bikini. Maybe it was a big deal for you, a journey of self acceptance. We don’t all that the same story. Most of us actually don’t have a story at all.