Taking your kids to the beach is supposed to be one of the perks of motherhood. An afternoon of swimming, of building sand castles and lying in the sun and just being together... this is the part of parenting that should be a no-brainer. And yet it tends to be fraught, because swimsuits. Moms, raise your hands if the last thing you want to do is climb into a bikini, like, ever? That's what I thought. Well, it's time for a little inspiration from this mom who wore a bikini for the first time in 20 years.
Adrian Wood, a freelance writer and mother of four in her 40s, recently shared a post on her Facebook page about her decision to don a bikini after two decades of hiding under a shirt. After her 8-year-old daughter asked her where her shirt was when they were going swimming, Wood realized something. She realized her daughter "only knows a mother who swims in a shirt." Wood went on to share an inner conversation she had with herself on her Tales of an Educated Debutante page:
You haven't worn a bikini top in twenty something years. Why not?
Your stomach hasn't seen the light of day since you were thirty thirty pounds lighter. Why not?
You used to be so confident, I tell myself.I used to love myself.
Why does it matter? Does it even matter? Who cares?
Wood wrote that her lack of confidence and inability to love herself absolutely mattered to one person — her daughter.
The little girl that scrutinizes her mother at every step, every turn, every crossroad and yes, even every shirt.
We all know that children model their behavior after their parents, and little girls in particular tend to take on their mother's own self esteem as a factor in the way they view their bodies.
Which is perhaps why Wood figured it was time to make a change, even as she still struggled with years of mounting insecurities:
You are flawed, I tell myself. Scars, battle wounds, a c-section scar, none are pretty but they tell a beautiful story.
You are soft, I tell myself. Four babies burrowed their downy heads into my chest many an evening.
How did it turn out? Well, it seems Wood finally discovered that she was truly "more than enough" exactly as she stands now. Because, as she wrote:
I am strong. I am imperfect. And I love with my whole heart. Where's my shirt? Well darling, I don't need it anymore.
Because taking your kids to the beach shouldn't be an exercise in self-doubt, a day of trying to cover up the person you are in a sort of shameful memory of the person you once were.
The person who brought four actual entire humans, or any number of humans really, into being is still the same person from before. Only more.