Photo by: iStock

I Feel Bad About My Tankini

Photo by: iStock

I bought a tankini. I mean, I see them everywhere and they look cute on other women, comfy, easy to use the loo in at the pool and of course, they give great coverage to those of us who have, shall we say, some extra padding about the middle and are self conscious about the bum? Yes, let’s go with that. I’m padded.

I bought a tankini.

And the moment I put it on I felt bad about it. For some reason to me, the tankini felt like I had tossed in the last towel. Like, that’s it. I’m no longer a woman. I’m a MOM.

It felt shitty.

Suddenly, and without warning it hit me; this is it. I am a middle aged suburban mom. And that moniker, that thought, was diminutive. Disheartening. I am so much more, aren’t I? Is everything that made me special gone? Is this it? Is the tankini a woman Invisibility Cloak?

Because, of course I love being a mom, not just a mom but their mom. It’s the greatest experience and even when I’m exhausted and they’re cranky it’s still rad. It’s just that everything is different, including- especially my body.

I also love my mom-bod. After years of abuse it somehow managed to build three totally rad, bad ass, cool small people that I not only love more than anything in the world, I like. So I love this bod. 35 pounds heavier than it was, flabby about the middle, my adorable formerly pieced belly button is now stretched and kind of an outtie thanks to diastasis recti (the gift that keeps on giving…as in giving you comments from strangers asking how far along you are). I love it. I am utterly at home in it; but I am also completely uncomfortable in it.

How do I dress this body? Nothing fits like it did. What’s that saying? I wish I was as fat as I was when I thought I was fat? That. And fat or not, it applies. I used to grab clothes off the rack, not even trying them on and go. I knew what worked and what didn’t.

Now? Not so much. I am far too old for the juniors department, and I’ve no desire to spend a ton of money to look like I’m homeless (I’m looking at you Urban Outfitters). The “women’s” department is too old for me…I am not ready for stretchy pants and resort wear. But JCrew? Loft? Yes. But…I have a three year old. Are shirts that must be ironed, really applicable to my life? This is why Target has the market on moms. I can grab Capri Suns and a sundress. It’s both awesome, and depressing. Am I the girl who can’t even take a half an hour to go to an actual clothing store and find something? Don’t I deserve that?Is that selfish? But then again, that Mossimo top is kinda cute…Then there is the real issue: I don’t look like myself. I don’t like how things look on me. I am out of sorts. Will I ever see a picture of myself again and like it? Am I so vain?

Then the mom-guilt kicks in. Mom guilt is like Miranda Priestly “Millions of girls would KILL for your job” and don’t I know it. So many friends who have lost babies or had trouble getting pregnant, staying pregnant. Do I even have, I don’t know, the right to feel wonky in my own body, now that it’s performed it’s miracles?

What do I want? Other than to get over myself and accept my new awesomely heavier body?

Right now all I want is a cute bathing suit, even a tankini, in a matching pattern, or at least a bottom that isn’t black or navy. Apparently it’s cute bikinis but if you want one piece or tankini it’s mostly black, navy, maybe a blue and white pattern.

Bikinis are fun! One pieces…well we might as well put you out to pasture. Maybe I’ll just go ahead and get an old fashioned swim dress.

Because for reals, I feel bad about my tankini.

Stephanie Dulli is a photographer, essayist, and most importantly a mother. She lives in DC with her husband and three children. You can follow her comical observations (and occasional political rant) on Twitter.

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