Oprah isn’t the only one who has learned a thing or two. Like every other mom on the planet, I have acquired my share of hard-earned wisdom, some of it more useful than others. But more some reason, recently, the wisdom I’ve acquired by bathing suit shopping has been playing over and over in my head. Maybe it’s because the way we approach this simple, if excruciating, task spills over into so many other areas of life. So here is what I know for sure:
1. Nothing, absolutely nothing, good can come of comparing your body to a much younger woman with a long torso and flat abs. Especially if you have a short torso and saggy abs. Trust me on this. Don’t torture yourself.
2. There is no rule anywhere that says that you have to look like one of the models in Victoria’s Secret in your bathing suit. Trust me, I checked. It doesn’t exist. It’s okay to be human and have a flaw. Or two.
3. There is an inevitable trade-off that happens when we have children. Taut stomach skin gets traded in for the joy of motherhood. If you are very young, and fit, and genetically blessed, your stomach may retain some, if not all, of its elasticity. But the rest of us are stuck with varying degrees of saggy skin on our abs. And I’m learning to be okay with that. But I will never bend over in a bikini.
4. One summer, maybe in the not too distant future, you will find the courage to buy a bikini. That may not be the same summer, however, that you find the courage to wear it. Those are two very different things.
5. Motherhood means that bathing suits have to be functional as well as fashionable. Unless your hubby is whisking you away on a romantic retreat a deux (lucky you!), you need a bathing suit that stays put and looks great with minimal fuss.
6. There will be times when you look at yourself in a bathing suit and are totally okay with what you see. And there are times when you will hate every last thing about your reflection. And these may both happen in the same day. Or the same hour. And that’s completely normal.
Sigh. It’s not glamorous, but this is my reality during this very body-centric time of year. So here’s to fall, then, one of my favorite seasons, and to cardigans and layers and clothes that don’t require sit-ups!