At the pool yesterday, where I sported my swimsuit proudly :)
My children have been doing something lately that sometimes I don't understand, and other times I cannot get enough of.
They will come up to me and say, "Mommy, you are so beautiful."
Or, as Gracie says, "Mommy, you are boo-if-dul." No matter what kind of day I'm having, if I've showered or not, or how I feel about how I look at that moment, it makes me stop, smile, and thank them.
No matter how I feel about myself, and my physical shortcomings that I struggle with daily, my children think I'm beautiful. And that makes me feel really good.
The other day, I was lying on the sofa with Brantley, and we were watching cartoons. She said, "Mommy, I like your tummy. It's squishy. It makes a comfy pillow." Now, my first instinctive response was, "Great. My own child is noticing my soft (and supple) midsection." But then I thought, no. She loves it! My soft tummy is comforting to her, and she snuggles into me closer because of it. What I see as a "problem-spot" she sees as a positive thing. Now, I'm not saying I'm trying to keep this pooch around forever, but in the eyes of my child, it's not the problem that I consider it to be.
As I'm getting ready for the beach this week, I am packing towels, and beach toys, and hats, and sunglasses, and I'm packing my bathing suits in the suitcases too. Am I 100% happy with and proud of the way I look? No. I have baby weight I have still yet to lose, and I weigh more than I wish I did. I have problem areas that I didn't have before I had kids, and problem areas that I feel I've had my whole life. I try to be positive about the way I look and show confidence in my look and my appearance, especially in front of my girls. But I struggle, daily, with those body issues, like most women (I would imagine) do. And bathing suits only exacerbate those negative feelings. They leave little to the imagination, and usually expose those vulnerable areas that I try so hard everyday to conceal and camouflage. But you know what? My kids have seen me in bathing suits, coming out of the shower, in my pjs, and as I'm getting dressed, and still they say, "Mommy, you are beautiful." They have seen me at my most exposed, and my least impressive moments, and they still love me, think I am worthy of them, and still want me to play with them, and love on them, and be right beside them in life. They still think I'm pretty.
So next week at the beach, will I look as beach ready as I had hoped? No. I'll still stretch and pull and position my swim suit so it covers and conceals as best as possible, and I'll probably keep my cover up on a little longer than usual. I still have weight to lose, body goals to reach, and I'll feel bad that I haven't gotten there yet. Not sure it's still considered "baby weight" to lose when your baby is almost 2! But, I have three beautiful children that my body has grown, and I have the proof. And how could I possibly feel bad about that? I am proud of what my body has done, and though I have a lot of insecurities, I am a strong woman and mother, and my body has done a lot of wonderful and amazing things. And of that, I should be satisfied and grateful.
I refuse to let the negative feelings I have about my body affect my children and the way I mother them, and the way they see me. I will be out on the beach next week, playing with them, and enjoying the fleeting time we have together, delighting in some of the best times of the summer, of the year, and of their childhood. I'm not going to concern myself with my own insecurities or the opinions of others, comparing themselves to me. I'll be out on the beach having the time of my life with my kids, not sitting on the sidelines, concerned with how I look. And they think I'm beautiful anyway.