I’m going to let you in on a little secret: aging is not kind on a woman’s body.
I know, I know.
It came as total shock to me, too.
Particularly yesterday, when I was standing in the fluorescent lights of a Target dressing room, trying on bathing suits.
Bathing suit shopping is hard after 40.
There’s just so much to consider.
When you are in your 20s, nothing moves when you walk so those cute little teeny-kinis with zero underwire support look totes adorbs on your non stretch marked body. Frankly, and here’s where I want to slap my 20 year old self, I didn’t appreciate the luxury of being able to buy a bathing suit off the rack WITHOUT EVEN TRYING IT ON nearly enough. I mean, seriously, 20 year old self, WTF?
Now, I have to worry about ass coverage. And boob hangovers. And back fat.
OMG, NO ONE TELLS YOU ABOUT THE BACK FAT AFTER FORTY.
After two C sections, I am finally going to raise the white flag on ever having six pack abs again. Just kidding, I never had six pack abs.
And, I’ve decided that I’m holding on to the pregnancy pounds from eleven years ago as a momento because I never got around to finishing the Fruit Loops’ baby books. Shut up, let me have this.
Between the election, a tough year on our marriage and a six month battle with plantar fasciitis, I should probably be kinder to myself. But, unfortunately, I’ve spent a year being “kind to myself” in the form of stress eating while consuming wine like it was my job during my pity parties in front of Netflix.
While yes, I could have spared myself the humiliation of bathing suit shopping by going to one of those fancy stores where overly helpful salesladies serve you champagne so you are drunk enough to be able to handle squeezing your mom sized fun bags into a lycra disaster, the truth is, I’m just not that gal. I don’t go to fancy beaches in the Hamptons. I don’t spend my vacations on the French Riviera. No one cares what label I’m wearing when I’m sitting at our favorite beach in Maine and every other mother I rub shoulders with in the summer is wearing a Target special, too. Target moms are my people. They understand my need to be able to buy a bathing suit, school supplies, an econo box of tampons and a rotisserie chicken all in one trip.
And so, that’s how I found myself in Target, with two annoyed Fruit Loops waiting outside the dressing room, wondering how the hell bathing suit shopping had gotten this out of control.
I had many thoughts and I know I’m not the only one who has a running dialogue in her head when it comes to picking out a suit that is somewhere between “hides my C section scars” and “is not a turtleneck.”
1). Wow. There are so many bikinis to choose from.
2). That bottom would barely cover my right ass cheek.
3). That one over there wouldn’t cover my ass crack.
4). Huh. That suit looks awfully complicated.
5). I’d definitely get stuck in that suit.
7). Is it hot in here? I feel like it’s hot in here.
8). Oh, gross. That guy is helping his girlfriend pick a suit. Enjoy it now, honey. Her thighs won’t always look like that.
9). I don’t care if that lady is staring at me as I hysterically laugh.
10). I’d get arrested if I wore that bikini top.
11). It seems the “let’s put triangle Triscuits on a string” look is in this summer.
12). YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME.
13). I don’t even understand how this suit works. Seriously, where does my hoo ha go?
14). Yes, I have 15 suits to try on, Dressing Room Target Lady. Do not judge me.
15). Why do these lights make me look like a beached whale?
16). It’s taken me five minutes to get these straps right. Hard pass.
17). Seriously, is it hot in here?
18). WHEN DID I GET BACK FAT?
19). Well, this one doesn’t look horrible.
20). Clearly this isn’t “sized for pendulous, post nursing mom boobs.”
21). Neon yellow is never a good choice after 40. Take. It. Off. Now.
22). This mirror is broken.
23). Do I hear a woman crying in the next stall?
24). Target really should look into serving booze in these dressing rooms.
25). “Yes, I’m STILL IN HERE! And, no, I don’t need larger sizes, thank you, Dressing Room Target Lady!” Bitch.
26). I miss my 20 year old boobs.
28). Why can’t I be like one of those moms who writes about loving her body and telling the haters to screw off if she wants to squeeze her mom body into a dental floss bikini?
29). Because your mom ass would scare the fish in that dental floss bikini. Snap out of it.
30). Oh, wait. Boy shorts. Yes! BOY SHORTS ARE MY FRIEND.
31). If I stand at this angle, with my arm back, suck my abs in, pretend I’m wearing heels and hold my head up towards the ceiling, I almost look okay in this suit.
35). Okay, boy shorts with bikini top that would fit a circus elephant it is.
36). Yes, you have to put the other 14 suits away smug Dressing Room Target Lady.
If I were a braver person, I’d end this post with a selfie from my dressing room and spend another paragraph telling you that I love my mom body because it grew humans and all that body positive horseshit. But, I’m not that brave and really, I don’t think anyone but my best friend needs to see my half naked duck face selfie.
But, in case anyone is interested, me, my mom sized fun bags and a totes adorbs boy short bikini will be trolling the beaches of Maine in short order.
And screw the haters.
Cuz I just bought a really cute mom suit.
This article was originally published on Keeper of The Fruit Loops
Christine Burke is the owner of the popular parenting blog, keeperofthefruitloops.com In her spare time, she runs marathons, collects thrift shop finds and eats ice cream like it’s her job. Her work has been featured on the Today Show, the Today Parenting Team, Scary Mommy and other parenting websites. In her current role as Assistant Editor of Grown and Flown, she writes about the realities of soon sending her not so little anymore kids off to college and prays she doesn’t use too many comma splices in the process.