We knew this day was coming. Swimsuit season arrives each May as inevitably as diaper blowouts happen when you forget the spare outfit.
Summer doesn’t care if we’re feeling fit. But the marketers—they seize the opportunity to make us feel like we lack something. “You aren’t ready!” they taunt.
From the bikini-clad girls in the suntan lotion ads, to the aisles of swimwear that will only look good on a sixteen-year-old, to the gigantic push for diet and exercise products we “need” to feel confident at the beach. Their messages scream: You can’t enjoy summer unless you have a hot body.
No matter what potions or IBS-inducing gear they sell me, I’m not going to spring back into my twenty-year-old, pre-kiddo shape anytime soon—certainly not before summer begins.
So, I say, we get real. Instead of focusing on our bodies, why not ready our attitudes? What if—regardless of the amount of cellulite hiding under our swim skirts—we could smile, with settled hearts, ready to face (and enjoy) summer like never before?
Wouldn’t that be awesome?
We can do it. We just need a new “mom-faces-swim-season” creed. Here are its mantras. Say them. Believe them. And, I pinky promise, summer will feel different this year, no matter what shape you are in.
1. I Will Wear a Swimsuit Because My Children Need Me
You can’t rescue a near-drowning toddler in jeans. Seriously. There are safety issues looming if you aren’t going to the pool dressed like you could swim if you needed. Girl scouts motto, mommas: Be prepared!
But, beyond safety issues, I wonder if we send subtle messages to our little girls and boys when mommy doesn’t wear a swimsuit. Do we reinforce to our daughters the media’s lies that only a certain type of body is good enough to go to the beach? Do we teach our sons that the fake, airbrushed body is the only type to be valued? Subconsciously, do we communicate that moms can’t enjoy summer because they’re too ashamed of how they look?
Size two or size twenty-two, momma, your kids need you to model truth.
Speaking of truth . . .
2. I Will Refuse to Allow My Body Shape or Size to Define Me
You know how at one point in your life you had not just a name, but maybe a job, and, likely, some other things that were interesting about you. People said, “Hey, there you are, that woman who is super cool and talented at (fill in the blank).”
Then you had kids. If they are old enough, you’re identity may have changed into something like “Emma’s mom.” And, you chuckle a bit when it happens, when someone calls you “Emma’s mom,” because you know you have a real name. Yet, you also don’t expect children to know or use it.
Can I tell you a secret?
You still have a real identity. Real value. Not from being a mom or your fabulous freezer-meal-making talent. No, it’s not from what you do at all. It’s because of what’s been done for you.
Jesus gave it all. For you. This truth gives you indescribable value.
Sometimes, other people won’t see it. Like children they’ll try to define you by your body—label you as “skinny one” or “plus-sized.” But, you’ve gotta know, just as sure as you know you are more than just your kid’s mom. You are also a loved child of God. Neither the size nor the shape of your body can define you. His immeasurable love alone is where healthy hearts find their worth.