Many things surprised me about motherhood; going weeks without a good night’s sleep, how much you can love someone who initially just uses you for food and shelter, and discovering that Dino Nuggets actually taste pretty good, especially when they’re dipped in ranch dressing.
But the thing that surprised me most of all was the realization that motherhood requires you to wear a swimsuit on a daily basis all summer long.
It doesn’t seem fair considering that part of becoming a mother often means carrying a child and watching your stomach grow beyond all reasonable proportions. Not to mention the fact that your rear end also gets larger in spite of the fact that you’re not actually carrying anything in there.
And there is nothing like having a newborn in the house that will make a woman put away her body weight in some M&M’s or any other chocolate substance that can be found.
Then that first summer post-child rolls around and you discover it’s like some Mommy Code of Honor to suit up and join the other mamas around the swimming pool. The only saving grace is that you’re all in it together.
Except for the mom who spends every waking minute at the gym and has the abs of a sixteen year old, because no one wants to sit next to her for obvious reasons.
Last year I read Nora Ephron’s book “I Feel Bad About My Neck”, which is hysterical by the way, and as she talks about growing older she makes the comment that if she had known then what she knows now she would have worn a bathing suit everywhere she went throughout her twenties.
And Nora, if you’re reading by any chance. Love you. Love your writing. Please quit reading or I will get nauseated thinking that Nora Ephron might be reading something I wrote.
Anyway, since wearing a swimsuit is a reality for many of us, let’s get started.
First, if you are looking for a cheap swimsuit then head to Target, Walmart or TJ Maxx. I have spent many years wishing that I could wear an inexpensive swimsuit, but it’s just not possible. I need a little help from a little friend I like to call UNDERWIRE. And Target doesn’t bother with underwire in their swimsuits.
Plus, if I’m going to be wearing such a small amount of clothing then I don’t want a $10.00 strap being all that stands between me and complete humiliation at the neighborhood swimming pool.
I received a lot of different questions about swimsuits, but ultimately everyone was asking something along the lines of “Where can I find a swimsuit that performs miracles and can walk on water?”
And the answer is nowhere. It does not exist.
But here are some suggestions that may help you in your quest.
The first place I would look is Lands End. One really cool thing about the Lands End site is that you can enter in your size and measurements and it will create a virtual model in your size. And then you can try various swimsuits on the virtual model.
However, we all know that a computer generated image isn’t going to have any stretch marks, cellulite or girls that have suffered the effects of nursing three children, but it still gives you an idea. A guideline, if you will.
Let’s start with the suit favored by many a mama. The tankini.
Here are a few really cute tankinis from Lands End that are stylish and offer great support. I love this halter tankini that comes with a coverup skirt. And how cute is this giraffe print tankini that comes with underwire and built-in SPF 50? Plus it has ruching which camouflages the tummy area.
Why it’s a miracle of modern engineering.
And here’s another tankini that comes with bottoms with a side-tie. I personally believe that the side-tie is very flattering because it creates some kind of illusion, but maybe that’s just me. I have no scientific proof.
Maybe I could conduct a highly scientific experiment regarding the side-tie one and enter it in a Science Fair.
Aerin Rose also makes really great swimsuits with good support that come in regular and plus sizes. And I love that you can order the bottoms and tops separately. Here’s a tankini from Aerin Rose. I love the pattern.
I adore this tankini by La Blanca from Nordstrom but, alas, it has no underwire so we are not meant to be. However, if you can live without the underwire I think it’s just darling.
Okay, so now for the traditional bikini. I know many of you may balk at the idea of wearing a bikini but I am spreading the swimsuit love to everyone. So here are a few that I love.
Have I mentioned that I love Aerin Rose swimwear? Because I do. I really, really do. This is a great swimsuit and you can choose from various bottom and top styles depending on what you like and feel comfortable in.
Freya also makes really good suits, like this one.
J.Crew has all kinds of different suits and offer mix and match bottoms and tops. Love that.
The one-piece is experiencing a bit of a resurgence. I just don’t know that I can go back to a one-piece swimsuit. It reminds me too much of the black one-piece with multi-colored polka dots with faux buttons down the side that I wore throughout much of junior high. I have one-piece issues, but there are some good ones out there and nothing will hold in your stomach better than having it covered up.
That is an actual scientific fact.
Lands End makes a suit called the slender suit that supposedly makes you look one size smaller than you really are. Of course the real question is can you look two sizes smaller if you wear two at the same time? Because that would be gold, baby, gold.
Here’s a one-piece in a fun zebra print.
And here’s one with a ruffle detail which I really like.
A few important things to keep in mind while shopping for swimsuits no matter what your style and personal preference.
1. Make sure you actually move around in it like you will when you wear it. Bend over, lift your arms, and move around to make sure everything stays in place. Because when your child takes off a full speed towards the deep end of the pool, you don’t want to have to worry about the girls falling out in mid-run.
And, hypothetically speaking, if your pool has a brand new slide that you decide to go down to impress your daughter, you don’t want to have to worry about almost losing your bottoms. Hypothetically speaking.
2. On that point, try different sizes to get the right fit. If the bottoms don’t have enough coverage, then try different bottoms. Going up a size isn’t going to necessarily help and may just give you saggy bottom syndrome once they are wet.
3. As painful as it may be, look at yourself in a three-way mirror to make sure everything you want covered is actually covered. Just a quick look is all it takes, don’t torture yourself.
4. Last of all remember that NO ONE will be more critical of how you look in a bathing suit than you. Every other mama is a lot more worried about how she looks than how you look. Find something comfortable that you feel good in and call it a day.
In case you haven’t found what you’re looking for, here are a few more links to some sites that have good swimwear selections. Beachbliss, Figleaves, Swimsuits for All, Lion’s Lair Specialty Swimwear, and Best Swimwear.
And just remember, a little fake tan makes everything look better.
That’s yet another scientific fact.
Which brings us to a grand total of three scientific facts in one post.
It’s a new Big Mama record.
Happy Friday, y’all.