Baring your mom bod for all to see isn't always easy, but wait until you hear these little girls' takes on how you are supposed to look in a bathing suit.
As a mother of three daughters, how my body image will shape theirs is on my mind more than ever during beach season, when every stretch mark and ripple is on display for their eyes—and everyone else's, too. But while I may feel self-conscious of the little roll around my middle, I'd never want my girls to know that.
I worry my "beach body" insecurities would only serve to plant seeds of self-loathing in their little minds; it's kind of my biggest fear. That's why you'll never, ever hear me say something like "I feel fat" in front of my daughters. I don't even want them to know what that word means. I want my girls to stay innocent of the pressures society places on girls to look a certain way, for as long as possible.
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That's why when I saw a new video created by Real Simple's Women IRL (In Real Life) campaign asking little girls, "What's a beach body?" I was thrilled to see they had absolutely no idea. One flower crown-adorned little sweetheart even suggested a beach body is when you look like a beach.
When the moms get a chance to "weigh in" on the topic of beach bodies, of course their take is decidedly "heavier." One mom admitted her insecurities started to settle in around middle school. Another mom said looking in the mirror at her body in a bathing suit makes her think she needs to work out more.
Yet another mom admitted that when she's around younger women at the beach, she just wants to cover up her body.
When the moms are asked what they'd want to tell their daughters about their bodies, before I even watched their answers, I teared up. Because I know what I would say: "You are beautiful. Just the way you are. And please, please don't let anyone make you feel any differently."
And that is pretty much the gist of what these moms say. Watch the full video to see more. Then let it serve as a reminder that most girls are blissfully unaware of how they are "supposed" to look in a bathing suit. Let's not be the ones who take that away from them, by making a show of our own insecurities.
What is your take?
Melissa Willets is a writer/blogger and a mom. Follow her on Twitter (@Spitupnsuburbs), where she chronicles her love of exercising and drinking coffee, but never simultaneously.