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She sees me

Thursday was one of those stupid days. It was hot, we were bored, and Zoe has decided that napping is like “so 2 years old, and I’m 2 years and 3 months now, fool.”

I had asked (maybe begged) (on my hands and knees) Christian if he could come home early so we could go to the YMCA and check out the pool. But I know the dude’s gotta work and earn that green that pays our mortgage and stuff, so I tried hard not to sound too desperate. I mean, he never calls me to rescue him when servers start going all haywire, so what right do I have to guilt him into coming home before I go insane?

Don’t answer that.

But he’s a good man who cherishes his wife’s sanity and doesn’t care to bring about his own demise, so here he was and off we were to the pool. Which brought me to my second problem(s).

Swimsuit. Public. Other people. Jiggly thighs. Rotund waistline.

Oh, I also may or may not have been having some symptoms and emotions involving the PMS.

As far as appearing in public in a swimsuit, part of me has adopted the attitude of “I’m a mother of three, I know I’m not in perfect shape, but my kids want to swim with me, so suck it.”

And it’s true. I’m not trying to pick up dudes. I know I’m not the best pool bod, but I’m definitely not the worst. The Y pool is all families, so there’s no competition, no reason to be self conscious. It’s for fun, and I know that no one there really cares if I don’t look like a swimsuit model.

But still. The other part of me carries the attitude of “WTF pool mom? A six pack? Really? Go to hell.”

So it was on this Thursday with my bad attitude and my ill fitting swimsuit that I tried to let go of my negative feelings and just have fun. We splashed around in the shallow area and cooled off from the blazing sun as I tried to refrain from checking out the other pool moms in their suits, ill fitting or not.

Rachel splashed over to me and threw her arms around my neck. She’s my lover, my sweetie, randomly telling me, her sisters, and her Twilight Sparkle that she loves us at various times throughout the day.

“Mommy,” she said as she hung tight to my neck in the shallow water. “Mommy, you’re beautiful.”

She wasn’t even prompted by my husband to say this to me.

And then it didn’t matter. The swimsuits, the jiggly thighs, the boobs that aren’t where they used to be. None of it mattered.

My kids don’t care if I can’t suck it in or if my thighs have a little extra, ahem, texture. They want to show me their spectacular spinning booty flops and how they can repeatedly give me a heart attack by going underneath. They want me to catch them on the slide and swim with them on my back.

They want to be with me, not my hang ups.

Our kids, our husbands…they see us, not our insecurities. What they know is on the inside translates to what they see on the outside.

And to her? I was beautiful.

Love this girl.

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Leigh Ann Torres
Writer, artist, wife, cook, maid, bookkeeper, mom to twins plus one...all around genie in a bottle, except you only get one wish, and it has to be reasonable.
37 Comments
  1. Gorgeous.
    I love that children really see us, not our flaws.
    My daughter told me yesterday that my shirt was too big and then said I was beautiful.
    I kissed her all over!
    What a great reminder to love ourselves like they love us.

  2. What a great story. I love it! You are beautiful inside and out and your girls see that. :)

  3. I love this post!! You are beautiful in the eyes of your little girl and everyone in your family. And, seriously, there was someone at that pool so jealous of you..:)

  4. It’s funny how we see ourselves and then how everyone else sees us in a totally different light. We just tend to be so much harder on ourselves than we need to be sometimes.

    To your kids… you’re perfect.

    • I agree — we fret about this stuff when in reality, most people are too busy with their own kids and families to even pay too much attention to what I look like.

  5. I wish my mother would have learned this lesson a long time ago. Her insecurities were passed on to me and then when I finally said screw-it, her judgement continues.

    • Corrin, that sucks. I saw you rockin that swimsuit on your blog! You looked hot! Literally and figuratively.

  6. Perfect. Make-me-teary perfect.

  7. So true! And something I need to remind myself of after this third child…..

  8. you are. beautiful. I am glad you let your girls see it, and reminded the rest of us. Especially since, if you let the self critical voice take over (something I am guilty of far too often) your girls will see that too. It wil become their own far sooner than it needs to.
    Or maybe you loving your body can shield them from ever having to hate theirs. I cringe at the thought of my son and daughters internalizing the media and social and cultural messages about our bodies and appearances that contributed the war I have waged on myself. I also wonder what the future brings for my fraternal twin girls, one of who is taller and more slim, while the other is shorter and more compact. The comparisons seem innocent now, but if their body types remain the same, will the comparisons cause one undue stress and negative feelings about herself?
    not that you or anyone asked, but to over-share, I spent years being downright cruel and abusive to my body. Now, I see that it isn’t “perfect,” and I wish it didn’t have some of the scars that tell-tale signs of my adolescent self-hatred. Sometimes I catch myself wishing it ran farther, stretched longer, went into a handstand easier (or at all), swam faster, etc. But I’m in the final weeks of teacher training and we are doing our practicums. Tuesday one of my classmates offered an intention, or theme, for her class that I had been mulling over anyway: gratitude for our bodies, for what they can do. We’ve carried children inside us, we carry them now that they are no longer in utero. We have legs that walk, arms that reach, hug, carry, and prepare food, bodies that can move through water, play with our children.
    Actually, I don’t know that everyone who might read this has all of those abilities. I know I do, and from following along for the past two years, i know you do. maybe some of your readers have more limitations than either of us, yet there is probably still so much their bodies CAN do. It’s my personal goal to replace the critical voice with a kinder, more compassionate and appreciative one. and now I’ll get off my soap box.

    • Love that! I too fear that if I let my insecurities show too much it will rub off on my girls. And my twins also have a difference in build even though they’re identical. What can I say? One is a carb hound like me, and I have to be careful to steer all of them towards healthy choices — and myself. But I worry about the comparisons that ignorant people make, like why is she heavier if they’re identical? I try so. hard. not to use that as a trick for people to tell them apart.

  9. Tears and more tears. Love this. Thanks honey.

  10. I love this revelation! This is a very sweet and wonderful post.

  11. Sweet sweet post – and a great reminder for all us mommas!!

  12. My own daughter does that for me.

    (In fact, since age 6 or so, she’s been willing to help me figure out what to wear. And she has good taste, for her age. The only thing to watch out for is that if one option is black, she will pick that one, because she believes I look good in black. My fashionista friend agrees, so Daughter is doing something right, beyond helping me feel good about myself.)

    The sense of inferiority in situations where she’s not there to boost me still happens sometimes.

  13. How sweet of a comment was that?!?!? You have sweet kiddos, friend.

    • I know. I wonder sometimes how they got so sweet with a sometimes (ok more than sometimes) short tempered mom like me. ;)

  14. Thank you so much for posting this. I hate my body around other people. You and your daughter just put it all in perspective.

  15. What a beautiful post! My girls are the same… they seem to look right through my flaws and still see me as a more beautiful person than I can ever manage to find in the mirror.

  16. Oh yeah… i enjoyed watching you too

  17. Wonderful post – we are so very hard on ourselves all of the time.
    And we really need to stop.

    • Thank you, Nicole. I agree. There’s too much in life to miss while we’re agonizing over our flaws.

  18. I believe children see the true in people, because they don’t have the hangups and the insecurities and the negative life experiences to mar what’s in front of them. Always, always believe your children. And you ARE beautiful.

  19. “WTF pool mom? A six pack? Really? Go to hell.” I almost died. Hilarious, and exactly what I’m thinking the rare times I venture to the pool.

    • I know! I hope those women know how lucky they are. Even with all the work in the world, I’ll never lose some of my, ahem, cushion.

  20. It is so hard to basically get over ourselves and realize that the kids just want to spend time with us and could care less how we look in our bathing suits! I am going to hold tight to this post when we head to the water park this summer because I want to actually be there with my kids, not in my head hating myself.

    • That’s a good plan! We’re headed to a resort tomorrow where it may not be appropriate to wear my normal running shorts as swim bottoms. So I have some bucking up to do too. :)

  21. I have had this bookmarked to read since, well, the day you posted it probably! I wish I’d read it sooner – wise, wise words here. I have such a hard time letting myself be loved. And I would never want that for my kids.

    Beautiful post!

  22. So relate. And yes, there are some hot Mom bods, even at the Y, which totally give me hot Mom bod envy. I so needed to hear this. My husband doesn’t seem to care what I look like, which gives me grief sometimes, but which this post makes me realize is something I should be grateful for. Thank you!

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