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Samantha Turnbull Writer, mother, anti-princess

Swimming

Mums do swim

Have you ever noticed how the word ‘princess’ evolves from term of endearment to insult as a girl grows?

I’m not quite sure at what age the transition happens, but a ‘princess’ who is a teenager or woman is often being referred to as such because she is spoilt, sheltered, cowardly or stuck-up.

‘With her hands on her hips, pouting mouth and a big boisterous umph, Dana shows her princess side whenever she doesn’t get exactly what she wants when she wants it.’ – From www.urbandictionary.com

My daughter accused me of having princess tendencies recently at the beach.

My husband swims all through winter and I often do too – that’s one of the beauties of living in Byron Bay.

But, on this particular day, I just wanted to stay covered up and build sandcastles with my baby son rather than take a brisk ocean plunge.

‘You never swim,’ Libby said. ‘Dads always swim, but mums don’t.’

I was highly offended by my four-year-old’s sexist generalisation, so to prove her wrong I stripped down, puffed out my chest, and ran into the water.

It was wonderful. Invigorating. It always is.

And I’ve vowed to swim on every trip to the beach with my fam from now on – regardless of the temperature, the size of the waves or my thighs.

See what I did there?

A lot of beautiful, bold women I know have had trouble with swimming, not because they don’t enjoy it but because of body insecurities.

I’ve converted from bikini to one-piece this year for that exact reason.

My mother-in-law, a former beauty queen and perfect size eight, refused to swim on Byron Bay’s Main Beach in case she ran into someone she knew. To me, she was a picture of perfection and I couldn’t understand her insecurities.

And just the other day, a couple of new mums I know were weighing up whether or not they should slither into their swimsuits before their post-baby bods were back in pre-baby shape.

As I watch my daughter playing fearlessly in the whitewater, I feel I owe it to her to drown my own hang-ups.

I need to lead by example and show her that girls can be are just as brave as boys in the water and everywhere else. That mums can do more than sit on the sand in kaftans, rationing out sunscreen and snacks.

Mums do swim. All the time.

* Linking up with Essentially Jess for I Blog on Tuesdays

 

12 responses to “Mums do swim”

  1. I love swimming at the pool but not so much at the beach, because sand! I hate the stuff. When my daughters first started swimming lessons at the beginning of the year I was really self-conscious about having to get in the pool with them but now I just don’t care. I have fun, the girls have fun and that’s all that matters.

  2. Renee Wilson says:

    I am so jealous of where you live. I’d love to live that close to the beach. I’m always the first to get in and couldn’t be bothered worrying about what everyone thinks about my fat tummy, flabby thighs and blinding white skin. Nothing is getting in the way of me and the ocean.

  3. Tegan says:

    Good on you! My partner and I rarely get in the water but when we do Mr 5 loves it. Recently I was reading the local newspaper and Mr 5 exclaimed that I needed to put it down because girls don’t read newspapers. I was gobsmacked because it wasn’t anything we’d ever said to him!

  4. Love this and I tell my kids that anything dad can do I can do too – including fixing their broken crane and other stuff! Love the new look blog.

  5. I’ll get in the water before Boatman will! But I won’t wear a bikini or a one piece. Partly body image issues, partly because I don’t feel that I need to show my body off to the world. A rashy and boardies are much more my style :)

  6. Jen says:

    Love it! Spot on. Life is not a spectator sport!
    Well done you (& thanks for the reminder).
    Cheers,
    Jen

  7. Exactly! Some days it’s hard to let go of the insecurities but I am always mindful of what my 2 daughters would think and learn from my behaviour. I want them to grow up self confident and know that they can do anything they want, it’s not a privilege it is a right. Good on you for braving the cold water!

  8. You’ve hit the nail on the head there. I shared an article on my blog just last week addressing this exact issue. Our kids want to remember their childhood frolicking at the beach or in the pool with their Mums. These days so many women are insecure, they don’t put on their swimsuits and sit on the side watching and kids remember that. I have been one of those Mums to sit on the side, but after reading that article, I’ve vowed to buy a new swimsuit and go swimming with my son as much as I can. I’m beyond caring anymore, it’s about being in the moment with my son that matters. p.s. Love Byron Bay! So lucky that my parents own an apartment there!

  9. Excellent point. I think I’ll go to the local pool today :)

  10. Tonia Zemek says:

    I love this post! Thank goodness for I Blog On Tuesdays, so I can discover great blogs like yours. Great image too. Thanks for sharing what is a really true tale. Great food for thought.

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