My husband and I were laying in bed last Friday night after we had just pulled off a busy day of Cousin Camp. He said to me, “You are a hard worker.” I said, “I know, but I want to be fun.”
I used to be a fun person, but I am really not anymore.
Take swimming for example. Swimming used to be fun for me. But now all I see when someone suggests “Let’s go swimming!” is
having to lather all of my fair kids up with sunscreen
feeling uncomfortable in a swimsuit
washing chlorine out of long, ratty hair
hoping Locke doesn’t poop
constantly on edge because 2 of my kids don’t know how to swim
Did I mention feeling uncomfortable in a swimsuit?
This is a terrible way to look at swimming, but it is where I am at right now. And I don’t like it! So that night in bed I decided I wanted to be fun again.
The next day Chad and I were supposed to go out with some friends while the rest of my husband’s family had a pool party. I was so happy to be missing swimming. If I thought swimming was bad, swimming with my in-laws was worse. In fact, the last thing I want to do is be in a swimsuit in front of them. Not only are they all skinny, they are also way younger. I could have babysat them all.
So when my friend texted to tell me she was sick and had to cancel, I mildly panicked. Oh crap! The pool party! Does this mean I have to go swimming now? Do I have to get in a swimsuit? I contemplated not telling my in-laws about the change of plans and just going out with my hubby anyway. They would never have to know. But since they were watching our kids for us, I felt a little guilty. I reluctantly opted to go to the family pool party.
Chad left to take 3 of the kids and I stayed back to wait for Croft to get home from a party. At this point, I still wasn’t sure what I was going to do. Would I swim or not? Would I stay on the side-lines and watch or would I get in the pool?
As I waited for Croft, I had 30 minutes to stew and think…
I thought about my last trip where my kids were constantly asking me to get in the pool, but I always had something else to do or somewhere else to be.
I thought about how I feel when family members won’t get in the pool when every one else is swimming. It annoys me. I don’t care if they are fat or white or old or hairy. I just want them to play in the pool with us.
I thought about the ‘fun’ conversation I had the night before with my husband.
After going back and forth and much self talk, I had a moment of clarity.
I realized that I could either be the fat girl on the side line or the fat girl in the pool. Either way my body wasn’t going to change and I wasn’t fooling anyone if I sat out. I could either be a party pooper on the sidelines or a participant in the pool having fun.
I also knew my kids wouldn’t notice my rolls or cellulite or pasty skin. They would only notice if I got in the pool or not.
So I made the decision to get in the pool and have fun. I put on the dreaded swimsuit and headed to the pool party.
When we arrived, I casually took off my swim cover only to be met by my daughter’s screams, “Mom’s in a swimsuit! Mom’s in a swimsuit!” She was so excited. Of course this ruined any chance of me trying to be subtle and slip silently into the pool while no one was watching.
Long story short: I got in the pool. I got my hair wet. I almost lost my top as I tried to catch a football off the diving board and I was on fire with my pool-side jump shot. I had fun with my kids and I am pretty sure they didn’t care what I looked like in my swimsuit. They were just happy I was in the water.
Don’t get me wrong. I am not going to be organizing a family swimming excursion any time soon, but I will get in the pool next time someone else says “Let’s go swimming!”
That night as I laid in bed, I was proud of myself for taking a step towards fun. For putting away my insecurities. For thinking of my kids before myself. For seeing myself through their accepting eyes, not my critical eyes. And for realizing that kids don’t care if their mom is fat, they just care if she has fun with them.