I didn't make a summer bucket list. We made lots of plans, but I didn't want to stress out about checking lots of activities off my list. I can easily get caught up with "the list" and forget about the spirit of summer.
But there was one thing that I wanted to make sure I did: wear a swim suit every, single time we went to the pool. We go to the pool a lot. We have to, it's stinking hot here.
I'm not totally happy with the way I look in my swimsuit. Actually, I'm pretty self conscious. The last year has been hard on my body. Multiple surgeries. Menopause. All sorts of medications. But I'm finally starting to feel like myself again and working on losing the 10 pounds if extra weight I put on.
So why does it matter? First and for most, I want to spend more time enjoying my life and less time obsessing over things that don't matter. I'm pretty sure no one cares what I like in a swimsuit except me. When I think everyone is looking at me and judging me, they aren't. They're worrying about their own rolls and jiggles. And if they are judging me: who cares? They aren't people I want to know or be friends with if they look at my body and judge ... especially if they have no idea just how hard this body of mine has worked over the last 11 years. I've had two babies. I've traveled around the globe. I've ran a half marathon. I've survived three surgeries. I've adjusted after being thrust into (surgical) menopause. So what if my body isn't perfect? I can get out of bed each morning and do the things I want and need to do. That's what matters.
I'm also deeply concerned about how my body image is going to effect my daughter. Shelby is 11 now and her body is changing — fast. Any time I criticize my body, I plant a seed of self doubt in her pre-teen head. Being a pre-teen, middle school girl is hard enough. She doesn't need to be worrying about her body and obsessing over how it looks or how other people perceive it. As her mother, it's my job to model positive body love. This has been running through my had a lot lately when I am self critical about anything. She hears my words. My words matter. And I need to be more thoughtful about the words I use. I can and should offer myself and my body grace. If I can teach her to be kind to herself and love all that she is, I'd feel I've done my job as a mother.
I did do a couple of things to make it easier. First, I sought out and found a swimsuit I really liked and was flattering. Now that I have a swimsuit I really love and that makes the best out of what I have, I feel less self conscious and I have fewer excuses not to suit up.
Second, I kicked off this effort by going to the pool at low traffic times. The kids and I hit up our pool a few times when it was pretty empty. It gave me a chance to "dip my feet" into this process and feel more at ease.
Finally, I kept reminding myself: no one is looking at me, no one cares what I look like and I need to relax and have fun.
School starts next week and summer break is over. I've been to the pool so much, and I actually don't think twice about getting my swimsuit on. I'd say that's a win.