Friday, February 8, 2013

Who wears a two-piece to Baby Swim?

Natalie and I are in the midst of an eight-week Baby and Me swim class at the local rec center. When I signed up, Matt asked, in a question I believe he proceeded with "please don't get mad at me, but...", "What kind of bathing suit are you going to wear to Baby Swim?" I knew exactly what he was getting at, and I immediately told him, no, I wouldn't be buying an ugly one-piece bathing suit that I would wear for a total of four hours over the course of our class. Instead, I'd dig into my drawer and pull out one of three remaining two-piece bathing suits I currently own. Matt, of course, said this was great, and clarified that he was only asking because he figured most moms in attendance would be wearing one-piece suits and he didn't want me to feel uncomfortable.


Several weeks into the class, through a serendipitous set of circumstances, I come to find out that at least one other mom is talking about me and the Russian girl in the class behind our backs because we're the only two moms wearing two-pieces out of about 15 moms in the class. "Who wears a two-piece to Baby Swim?" was this mom's way of judging myself and the other woman who see no problem with moms wearing two-pieces.


The thought of being judged by other moms for wearing a two-piece bathing suit not only makes me laugh out loud but also kind of makes my year, mostly because Matt and I predicted this could happen. In a larger sense, though, I am bothered by this statement because of its broader cultural implications. The thought process seems to fit into this American cultural mindset that moms give up their identity on the delivery room table. And the people who especially perpetuate this belief are other moms.

Moms wear one-piece bathing suits. And mom jeans. They don't do their hair or their make-up or wear nice clothes. They get mom haircuts that require little to no maintenance, and they buy frumpy clothes that hide their bodies.

And that's just the physical stuff.


If and when a mom decides to go back to work, she better not be a high-powered executive like Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, because clearly her desire to have a career demonstrates that her priorities are out of whack.

She better breastfeed for a year or more, because how long you breastfeed is a symbol of how much you love your baby and how much you're willing to sacrifice.

She better not trust anyone else to babysit her child, because no one can do it as well as she can, and time for herself, for her husband, for her friends can wait until her children are in college.

I really believe in my slightly over one year as a mom that fellow moms are each others' worst critics. I am not saying I am not guilty of this at times as well. We believe our decisions are the best decisions, and out of lack of confidence, or jealousy, or both we judge other moms for something as simple as a two-piece bathing suit to something as complex as a career choice. In our relationships together as moms but first and foremost women we need to nurture all sides of our personalities and identities. And we need to applaud the new moms who are ready to jump back into their two-pieces.

10 comments:

  1. We are starting baby swim in a couple of weeks and I was planning on wearing a two piece. Glad I am not the only one!!

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    1. And I totally support your wardrobe choice!

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  2. There are two kinds of people who say snarky things about you behind your back: People who are jealous of you, and people who want to BE you. I say take it as a compliment. :)

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    1. Ha, true, true. My friends seem to agree with your assessment.

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  3. The other moms are probably just wishing they could wear a two piece so soon after having a baby too. People are ridiculous and will find anything in the "mommy wars" to battle over. People just need to focus on enjoying the swim class like you are :)

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  4. I wore a one piece to baby swim. Still got funny looks.

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  5. I love this! Let me just say that there is not a one-piece to be had in the Argentine baby swim class. Also, there are 2 thong bottoms and 1 string bikini. Even the kids are wearing two-pieces - judge THAT swim class lady!

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    1. OK, this is amazing. Thanks for the info, Dawn. It helps drive home my belief about Puritanical Americans.

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  6. This is awesome! I was so excited this past weekend b/c I'm a mom of two and finally got the courage to put on a two piece bathing suit again! YAY!

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  7. Those moms definately wouldn't approve of the mom and baby class I attended when I lived in Croatia. It was in a women-only spa and every mom took to the pool in their birthday suits. All shapes and sizes and no one batted an eye.

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