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…

red spectator seats with a single person in them

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.Alyssa swimming in a kiddie pool

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.Alyssa and I in a Pool

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.

Me under a water shower

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.

 

11 Comments

  1. Jane says:

    We also need to teach our children that body shaming isnt ok and kindness is king. You’re beautiful by the way xxx

  2. Sarah-Marie says:

    I was just chatting to someone the other day about the need to add body image and self confidence to the PSHE curriculum at secondary school and for it to be taught as a serious subject for both girls and boys. Body shaming should definitely be a part of the conversation. #ABloggingGoodTime

  3. Absolutely … we have to be comfortable with who we are first, and to hell with the critics. #ABloggingGoodTime

  4. I would have been one of those women watching. Not because I’m uncomfortable with my body (I’ll happily chuck on a swimsuit at the beach) but because I have eczema and the chlorine dries my skin up so much. I think it’s shocking that so many women miss out on things because they’re so uncomfortable with who they are though.
    Debbie
    #ablogginggoodtime

  5. I have to confess that I usually take the opportunity to watch if hubby is willing to go in with the kids – mostly because I’m not keen on swimming. Good for you not letting being uncomfortable in a swimsuit hold you back from having fun with Alyssa. I’m with you on not letting those opportunities pass by. Glad that you and Alyssa had fun together. #ablogginggoodtime

  6. Heather Keet says:

    I think we should all embrace our bodies and get out into the water! I know that’s easier said then done, and I’m so happy you went and had a great time with the kiddo. #ablogginggoodtime

  7. Kylie says:

    I know that feeling, that one of being self conscious in a swimsuit, but I agree these moments will soon be gone, our children grow up and they don’t look back and think about whether we felt uncomfortable in a swimsuit they just remember that we were there for them, we had fun with them and that is how we create a great bond with them, through play and laughter our relationship strengthens and so why waste time on the sidelines. This post is brilliant I hope it empowers more of us with a lack of body confidence to get out there and have fun with our kids!

  8. Obsessivemom says:

    I am just so glad I read your post. Being overweight holds me back from so many things – swimming is one of them, taking part in school races is another. You’re right when you say people’s attitude to weight needs to change but more importantly it’s our own attitude that needs to change. Glad you went in there and had a ball.

  9. Nyxie says:

    This is a wonderful post. The world really needs to start wising up to the fact that bodies come in all shapes and sizes, and that size does not determine worth, personality, kindness, strength etc. I am so proud that you overcame any prior issues that you had with yourself and had a wonderful time.

    #ablogginggoodtime

  10. Swim suits are not my favorite thing either because I hate the way they make my bottom half stand out in an uncomfortable way but I won’t let it stop me to joining my kids at the beach and because I love to swim too. I try to wear swim suits that have shorts attached or something but either way, I’m getting into that water, body image be damned! I love that you don’t let it stop you too! Thanks so much for hosting #ABloggingGoodTime

  11. It’s a shame that this self-consciousness about our bodies often gets in the way of us living life to the full or doing something we want to do. Great that you don’t let it stop you. And body shaming is unforgiveable , the physical aspect should be the least important thing about a person. #ablogginggoodtime

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