Picture it. It’s 4 pm on a Friday. You just drove 4 hours with two kids, working and trying to make to do lists in between the fighting and “are we there yet?”s. You can’t wait to get to the pool. As you’re walking there, sweating, lugging two kids, 4 pool noodles and beer in your hand, you hear,
“Dude. She needs to lock up the two piece and beer. I can’t tell if that’s beer gut or mom fat.”
I stopped. I saw two girls, no older than 16. I shouldn’t have walked over to them. I should have kept walking. I should have chalked it up to “young, immature minds.”
But my kids heard, too. So I couldn’t.
I walked over, introduced myself, and I told them,
“I want you to know I appreciate your opinion. I understand every one of us has them. I spend my days giving my honest opinion all day long online. I wanted to let it go.
“But my kids are listening. And I am teaching them to have a voice, but to use it for good. I am teaching them that you are free to have an opinion, but not to be rude. You can be honest, but without empathy it is just abusive.
“The truth is, yes- I do have mom fat. I also have a beer gut. Whatever this stomach that you find offensive is, keeps my kids warm during snuggles and is fluffier because of s’mores under blanket forts and pajama pizza parties. This two piece once gave me so much anxiety in a Target dressing room that I cried for two hours. I could sit here and tell you how I have worked hard to overcome disordered eating, anxiety and depression.
“I could tell you that I spent years at war with my reflection and missed out on life because I hated myself that much. I could tell you how hard I worked to take care of my body and respect it enough to stop hating it. I could force my opinion on you of how damaging I think your comments are. I could give my opinion on how rude and damaging I think you are being. I could give you my honest thoughts on how you are small minded, rude little girls who need to find a damn hobby besides judging other women. But that’s just my opinion.
“So instead I will tell you: I will not apologize for my mom bod. I will not lock away my swimsuits, nor my body, nor my right to go swimming and drink a beer in the summer. I hope you never feel insecure or inferior because of others opinions. I hope you know your worth and never feel pressure from outside forces to look or act a certain way. And I hope you raise your daughters to stand up to anyone who tells them they can’t wear whatever and be whoever the fuck they want.
“Now, I have beer to drink. Go call your mothers.”