I hate shorts. I loathe them. With the fire of a thousand suns. They never fit me right. They are too short. They are too long. They hug the parts I don't wanna be hugged and gap in the wrong spots. I do not wear shorts unless under duress. Until now.
Now I am a mom. I do a lot of things I don't want to do. I've long said perhaps the best parenthood hashtag is #itsnotaboutyou. But, it also is about you. A lot. Maybe a more accurate hashtag would be #getoveryourself. Because that's what being a mom is really about. Getting over the not so great you and all those things that hold you back. All those little lies and half truths and fears that keep you from doing all the things you really wanted to do to begin with. The things your kids need to see you do. Like being brave. Like wearing a swimsuit. In public. And shorts to the park.
Being a parent is one thing. Being a mom is one thing. Being a dad is another. None are better than the rest. But, all are different. (Unless maybe you're a dad that worries your thighs look fat in shorts or that your stomach isn't flat enough to wear anything high-waisted without a good round of carb detoxing — then maybe you get to be a part of this ridiculous conversation.)
There's a great and empowering post on Huff Post you can read right here called Mom, Put on That Swimsuit that talks of how we should model positive self image and not let any of our insecurities rob us of experiencing life with our child. Amen, sister.
Being a mom is different than being a dad. There. I said it. I'm not saying it's harder. (If you say it, I'm not going to slug you or anything.) And perhaps no other time is that true than in the summertime (or when you're breast feeding or in actual labor but I digress). There is a huge list of things this time of year that only moms deal with. That only real women must face.
The vast difference of my needs pre and post baby was seen with absolute clarity while perusing Instagram and catching the photo below with a "summer essentials" checklist label. Maybe you have naturally tan skin and you don't fear skin cancer and you just love to wear bathing suits and you are a hairless wonder. If so, there may not be much here in the way of information. And can I add here not just wear a bathing suit like you did when you were single and pre-baby body. (You know where you only either stood in a flattering stance or laid down on your beach towel.) I mean really wear your swimsuit. Like bend over in it. In front of people you are not related to. In public. Like sit down. With a toddler between your legs who you are greasing up like a little pig that is squirming and thrashing and wailing as you apply sunscreen. Like sit down and build sand castles. And change diapers and make peanut butter sandwiches. The days of sucking it in are over. In every sense of the phrase. The days of sucking it up are here. Get on board.
I love the water. And I love the beach. I am the color of milk and fear the damage of the sun (that only took about 27 years and a smattering of freckles to register). I love to swim. And I love Wilder more than I love or hate anything else. And so I wear the swimsuit. And I wear the shorts. And really I don't care too much anymore. Because as much as being a mom is about sacrificing self, it's really about being your very best self. For some people that may mean getting that beach body you always wanted. Go ahead, momma. I'm thinking about working on it. I have a hot momma friend that's getting increasingly hotter thanks to some hardcore dedication. (She's about 15 pounds away from leaving my inner circle.) I'm so proud of her. She knows who she is. Right now she is fake blushing.
Moms love to debate and slam each other — especially about how they look. The hot ones can't understand why the unhots don't get to the gym. The moms who aren't fitness model look alikes slam the ones that are — obvs they are neglecting their kids while at the gym. It's all about priorities and being your best self — whether that's 20 pounds this way or that way. And owning it. I mean not just renting it. Owning it. Like 24/7. Embracing yourself and if you aren't in the place you want to be then working to get there and forcing a bit of contentment while you're on the journey to get there. I mean body and mind and soul and heart. We're all just trying to get there.
Having a son or a daughter watch how you treat your body and view the bodies of others is powerful. It's important. It shows them where our priorities live. Having a 2.5 year old talker is a big reality check. They see everything. They hear everything. Especially the things we don't say.
They know whether we love life. Whether we love other people. Whether we love ourselves. And they learn from us what is possible. Not by our words. But, by our actions. By what we fear and what we do anyway. Instead of telling our children not to be afraid, we should be showing them what it means to be afraid or insecure and to do it anyway. A pair of shorts. A swimsuit. These are small things. But, they are a great example of where it begins. Where being brave starts.
Last week I bought new shorts. I'm basically ready to conquer the world. Join me.