That's why I really felt mom Shelby Goodrich Eckard's Instagram post, about her resistance to the idea of even signing her little girl up for lessons, since it would mean she'd have to wear a swimsuit in front of others.
About her daughter, Goodrich Eckard wrote, "I know damn well she, at 3, cares more about playing with glitter and dolls and in the mud with her brother than what her mom wears."
But this mama also realizes her 3-year-old is watching her. It turns out Goodrich Eckard also has something to learn from her child. "She tells me all the time how pretty she is and how strong she is. And I want to be like her," the mom writes.
Still, when she took her daughter shopping for a bathing suit for lessons, and the little girl announced she wanted a bikini, then told her mom it was her turn, Goodrich Eckard says she felt a knot in her stomach. "I told her, 'oh mommy can't wear a bikini to swim class, boo.' She looked up from the cart and asked, 'but why?'"
The mom admits that wearing a bikini would make her feel "uncomfortable. Observed. Exposed." And also like she would embarrass her little girl.
"But all of those sounded selfish in the moment, so I said, 'you know what? You're right. Let's get mommy a bikini.'" The reason Goodrich Eckard says she decided to be courageous and show her body? She wrote about her daughter in the now-viral post: "Because she is learning, every day, from me just how to view her OWN body. I don't want to teach her to put limitations on what clothes she can wear or to worry about what others will think."
"I certainly want her to see her body as unique and wonderful and to be kind to it," she adds. "I want her to always stay the brave, bold blonde little girl who knows exactly what she wants and exactly how beautiful and strong she is. The same little girl I used to be, before life and society taught me I shouldn't be."
Um, powerful much? As a mom of three girls, I feel her words so hard! I often marvel over how carefree my daughters feel in their bodies, and think about how I used to be the same way. But now? After four pregnancies and an endless inundation of images of perfect moms, not so much. I'm more into the suck-you-in kinda swimsuit right now. This mom's post is a good reminder that it's never too late to find that carefree girl inside, and embrace your body, no matter how hard it may be.
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In the end, Goodrich Eckard writes that both she and her daughter bought bikinis. "Like the brave, bold beautiful blondes we are," she declared.
Would you wear a bikini now?