We are a few days out from a week at the beach with a ton of friends and family for my sister’s destination wedding. There was a time in my life, albeit brief and hungover, when I enjoyed the beach. When I was a teenager, I was crazy self conscious and wouldn’t wear anything more scandalous than jeans. Picture a fully-clothed, sulking sixteen-year-old girl with her headphones on, walking up and down the shoreline until she was allowed to go back inside to air conditioning and snacks without a sand garnish.
Then there was a minute in my early twenties when I could handle it. I felt like a babe. I only really needed to bring a book and a blanket with me. And I was an adult and in charge of my own life, so I could retreat when I felt too sweaty.
With kids, things changed. Kids tend to do that to pretty much everything. Not only was I lugging a shit ton of stuff to keep my children entertained and fed and safe and not sunburnt, I had gone right for the standard black one-piece bathing suit of moms everywhere. It’s basically the white flag of “I am lumpy now.”
That bathing suit is washed and ready to pack in my bag at 3am the night before we leave because I know enough to know I will never learn to plan ahead and pack early. But I also have an alternative ready to go. It’s still black. But it’s a bikini.
I’ve been struggling with getting the baby weight off after Halligan. It’s been a pretty solid combination of being really tired all the time, craving junk and not having the energy to cook for myself, and not having time to workout until after the kids are in bed. Every time I get into a solid rhythm and I’m eating well and exercising regularly, something happens about a month in and I’m back to square one.
In the fall, I was running several nights a week and really enjoyed it, which freaked me out because I hate people that like to run and now I was the thing that I hated. I trained for and ran my first 5k, something I never in my life thought I would do. But shortly after my race, I fell down my stairs and had a huge hematoma right above my butt. It still hurts a little and is still there. I could barely walk, and running didn’t happen again for a while.
This spring, I was getting into a good groove with the Sweat With Kayla app, doing her BBG workouts. They are a bitch. A mean old bitch. But I felt like a beast when I could get through one, and I enjoyed the program. Then we moved. I have barely worked out in a month. There were a bunch of other stops and starts along the way. It’s been frustrating, to say the least.
With Adam away, I’ve been trying to keep busy, so I’ve been taking the kids to the daycare at my gym and getting back to doing the BBG workouts. I can’t even finish a whole one yet, and I had to trust-fall onto my toilet for two days, but it’s only been a week. My eating habits are already getting back on the straight and narrow, so hopefully I don’t accidentally buy another house or fall off a cliff.
I like feeling healthy and strong. Skinny is not the goal, but walking up some stairs without needing a sherpa and an oxygen tank at the top is. Before I got pregnant with Halligan, I got really healthy. I weighed what was my highest weight before I was pregnant. But now I had muscle, which was something I never had before. The number on the scale didn’t mean shit. I felt awesome.
But back to the bikini. I’ve found a damn good combo that doesn’t feel momish and doesn’t make me feel uncomfortable.
These bottoms from Urban Outfitters are life. They’re high-waisted and cute, and also ruched. I am still lumpy. But the ruching helps to camouflage some of the lumps. And it’s got a retro-babe thing going. They’re black, but whatevs. So is my soul.
Then there was the issue of finding a top. I can’t wear that flimsy-triangle shit anymore. My breasts have done and seen too much for that nonsense. Anything strapless is like putting out a beacon that calls “Yank me down!” to my kids. Halters do this weird thing that makes my armpits look fat and what the fuck even is that, man? I need support. I need faith and trust and hope. I need something that isn’t so thin that my nipples will poke someone’s eye out. So I bought sort-of this.
When I say sort-of, I mean that I bought it in black. But that was a decision born of circumstances and not by choice. The only option they had at my Old Navy was black. I would have loved something in a fun print. But it was not in the cards. However, this fit nicely, and the way it comes down a little farther kind of elongates shit. It’s a slimming top. Old Navy’s stock is very low right now, but if this is a look you’d be interested in, I found some other options at different price points.
Target has this one in a frillion prints and colors, and the straps are detachable.
I love the print on this top from Urban.
The print AND the double back strap on this one from Nordstrom is cute as all get out.
I will be arming myself with a big-ass hat and some jewels. And I will feel fancy on the beach. For about nine seconds. And then I’ll be sweaty and sand sticks to sweat and my kids will be yelling at me for building a sand castle wrong and I won’t even crack the book that someone should punch me in the face for bringing because it’s dead weight. But I’ll look cute doing all that.
Go forth, my children, and buy bikinis. Or don’t. It’s your life and you can wear whatever the hell you want. One of the perks of being a grownup. Do you.