(UPDATE: I wrote this post the summer of 2014 and proudly can say shortly after I suited up!)
Here was the challenge I wrote about that still holds true today:
I came across a blog post by a mom that was titled "Put on That Swimsuit".
A couple things happened immediately. I saw a photo, full body, close up, untouched of the mom Jessica laughing on the beach with her kids and it made me smile.
Then about four lines into the blog I wanted to cry.
Jessica talked about the one choice us moms have every summer: To put on a swimsuit or not. Many she points out choose the latter.
How many mom friends do you have that go to the pool with their kiddos but never get in? They might dabble their toes in the water but don't dare bare the suit because they're worried about what somebody might think of their body.
"Or they go to the beach, but stay under the umbrella instead of running into the ocean.
"It makes me incredibly sad." Jessica writes.
Jessica really struck a chord when she talked about how this insecurity is not only a bad message for our children but above all.. makes us miss out on precious moments.
As a blogger myself.. I started to think of my trips to the beach since I had my first child 3 years ago. I went back and searched my posts... and what I found was disheartening.
A post from 2011 was titled "Summer fun.. first swim" and it showed pictures of my then 7 month old daughter Adora getting her first wade in a pool. My husband was holding her there.. as he has for the last three years everytime we go to the beach or a pool.
It made me realize I have no hands-on memory of that moment.. helping her float, watching her fat fingers and toes touch and kick the water for the first time. I was on the sidelines. I didn't realize it at the time I did something Jessica wrote about in her story. I let the swimsuit define me. Define me on days that I can't get back.
I love the challenge she has put out to us moms this summer: Put on that suit. Easier said then done right? I agree.. but encourage you to read on. Struggling with her own insecurities she really proves we have the power to change our mindset and into that one piece or bikini:
I refuse to miss my children’s high-pitched, pool-induced giggles because of my insecurities.
I refuse to let other women’s judging eyes at the pool prevent me from exposing their eyes to the wonder the sun glittering on the water.
I refuse to let my self-image influence my children’s.
I refuse to sacrifice memories with my children because of a soft tummy.
Because at the end of the day, it is not about me.
It is about my kids.
I want them to remember twirling in the water with their mom.
I want them to remember splash fights together.
I want them to remember jumping off the edge of the pool into my arms.
I want them to remember that their mom was there, with them.
Today, I hope to encourage you to push your insecurities aside. Put on that bathing suit. Run through the sprinkler. Jump in the pool. Splash.
Your child will remember those moments and your freedom – not how you looked in your swimming suit.
I am among thousands who have already shared her courageous post with other friends. Jessica tells me that the feedback has been incredible and inspiring. Within just a couple days her message has reached more than a million through social media.... impacting generations of women.
For so long I've used the excuse of being scared of jelly fish to avoid jumping into the water.
As I gear up for a week at the beach with my kiddos this summer... I think it just might be the right time to face my real fear.
This post comes from the TODAY Parenting Team community, where all members are welcome to post and discuss parenting solutions. Learn more and join us! Because we're all in this together.