We recently went away for a long weekend in Cornwall just Nonna, Rowan, Alyssa and I. It was your standard UK caravan holiday break and we were so excited to enjoy activities on the site and spend time together. We had a wonderful time (check out our Hendra Holidays Review to read all about it) and the kids had a ball doing all the different activities. The main thing both kids wanted to do and that we spent the majority of our time doing was swimming. There was a great big swimming pool with slides and flumes for the older kids and then a few bits for the younger ones. Now, I like swimming but the thought of donning a swimming suit at my current size doesn’t fill me with joy let me tell you but it’s my own fault and I have always said I would not let Alyssa miss out on anything because I enjoy too much food. So with a grimace, I pulled on my suit, grabbed their hands and slipped into the pool as quickly as I could. Within minutes I had forgotten all about what I looked like because we were having too much fun. It wasn’t until later, when I sat at the edge of the kiddie pool, body exposed and glanced around that I was reminded of my concern once again…
I sat there and looked around and became very self-conscious at first. I noticed two young girls who couldn’t have been older than 13, looking at me and then whispering and giggling to each other. It was possibly nothing but it felt like everything and I wanted to scream at them to not be the “mean-girl” because we have enough pulling us down in the world without doing it to each other. They soon moved on to something else, though I found it a little ironic when they stood up in the water and I discovered that they were both themselves slightly over-weight for their height.
However, I didn’t feel self-conscious for long because as I looked around a realisation crossed my mind as I realised that around the pool on the seating provided for those who want to watch and not swim, were women. All women. There was one older gentleman having a doze but the rest of the people sitting around the pool were women. The youngest I would have said was about 17 who was sat doing that thing we do where you sit down and continually pull your t-shirt away from your tummy to ensure it is falling okay and not clinging and showing a roll.
It was at this point I felt really sad. None of these women were slim but in equal part, none were huge either. All between a size 16-22 and yet they were all sat there watching and not in the pool. I looked across the water and did note that the majority of the adults in the pool were in fact male. Granted, I don’t know why they were sat out – it could of been for health reasons, tiredness, they can’t swim or some other reason. However, sat there and looking round it made me feel sad that these women were on the sidelines and not joining in with the fun their children were obviously having.
Then another emotion flitted across my mind and that was pride. I am not proud of my size, I do not like my size, but that is my fault and it is up to me to do something about that and I am. However, what I am proud of is that despite my size and feeling uncomfortable, I do not let it effect me doing something with my daughter. Granted I do not have a lot of opportunity to throw another adult into the ring, being a single mother, but even if I did, if Alyssa wanted or asked me to do something with her then I would.
I sat there at the side of the pool, uncomfortable in my size and with how much I was unable to hide in a swim suit but equally proud that I was there with my little girl who kept giving me cuddles and thanking me for taking her swimming and playing with her and her cousin and making her laugh.
The world’s attitude towards size needs to change of course. I completely understand that we need to be healthy, but fat or indeed thin shaming someone is not going to help. However, our attitude towards ourselves needs to undergo a makeover too. We need to take control of our self-image and try and accept and dare I say like who we are and not allow how we see ourselves to effect our children or enjoying the opportunities we have to do things with them.
Don’t sit on the sidelines forever because soon they’ll stop asking us to join them and the opportunities will be lost forever.