We’re going to a water park next week. I hate water parks for a number of reasons too extensive to list in this post, but the top of the list is that they require wearing a swimsuit. This year, however, I’m changing my attitude on swimsuits. Read on.
Did anyone else feel like a Victoria’s Secret model immediately after giving birth? Yes, you read that correctly. I’m not talking about the dark, depressing weeks that follow birth where you grow to hate every aspect of your ruined body (engorgement, stretch marks, excess skin, dark circles, poor bladder control). I’m talking about the first time you stood up after giving birth when everything shifted and you suddenly realized you were no longer carrying eight pounds of baby and a million tons of amniotic fluid, placenta and other miscellaneous rubbish. I felt fantastic after Boy One was born. My mom warned me:
Now, don’t expect your tummy to just go right back down. You’re still going to look about six months pregnant after you have him.
Wrong! I looked great and I told her so.
Look at me! I’m practically back to normal already!
She just raised her eyebrows, looked up and down at the pile of fat and skin that used to be my body, and gave me the silent nod and fake smile. I was right about one thing: The fact that she was wrong. She said I would look six months pregnant and it was probably closer to eight. I may have felt light and airy like a pixie, but I was not. I realized this a few days later when I got out my pre-pregnancy jeans that I was sure would fit. And then the tears came. I cried and cried. This was not postpartum depression. It was just devastation that this was the body I now had to live in. Forever. And also devastation that I was wrong. I hate being wrong.
Anyway, that reality check stayed with me for eight years, through a second pregnancy, and while I’m still largely put off by most aspects of my body, I’m pleased to report that this year I will be donning a two-piece swimsuit for the first time post-pregnancy. This is because I have worked so very hard, exercising 10 times per week, cutting out all alcohol and sweets, eating only nuts and berries….
Ok, ok….I credit my decision completely to the condescending, self-righteous attitude that can only come from eight grueling years of parenting. Eight years ago, I would have looked at a tan, tight little 19-year-old in a bikini and felt sad and inadequate. Now I just feel superior.
Sure, you can put on a minuscule amount of cloth and look fantastic and my husband is going to ogle you in a way that’s slightly more than extremely creepy – kind of similar to the way he looks at those gigantic steaks they keep behind the glass counter at Texas Roadhouse. You got me there. But I’m willing to bet that there are a number of things that I could do better than you:
Can you go for eight years on less than five hours of sleep per night?
Can you get yourself and three other people dressed, fed, and out the door in 30 minutes flat?
Can you live covered in puke and poop for years at a time?
Can you carry a purse, a diaper bag, $75 worth of groceries, and a baby up a stairway, in the rain (without dropping any of them) while talking on your cell phone and barking orders at two other unruly, disobedient people?
Can you even say, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that you could keep three irresponsible, clumsy, accident-prone people alive for eight years?
Oh, girly, you have no idea the terrible things that are going to befall you over the next 20 years. I haven’t seen it all yet, but I hear that it gets worse. Enjoy that meat-ogling gaze while you still can. I’ll be over here shoving this pale, Play-doh-esque body into a two-piece swimsuit and the creepy, pudgy dads at this hot miserable hell of a water park can look in awe, curiosity, horror…and I can honestly say that I don’t care one bit.