Bikinis for Little Girls: Yay or Nay?

should young girls wear bikinisI’ve seen some cringe-worthy stuff at the beach this year. Old men in too-tight swim trunks. Teenagers engaged in very obvious, very sweaty PDA. And then there’s the remnants of a long summer’s day in a odorous public beach bathroom.

I’ll give you time to shudder at that last one.

I think the old men in inappropriate swim trunks bother everybody because no one wants to see that. But it’s the other end of the spectrum that people have differing – and strong – opinions about: young girls in teeny bikinis.

Right now my girls are ages 4 and 7, and neither wants to wear a bikini. They both picked out cute Lands’ End skirted swimsuits and they love twirling around in them. Annie says bikinis are annoying because she’s nervous the suit would move around and expose her. She’s just beginning to get a little modest about showing her body so I get her concerns.

And honestly? I’m glad. Because I see girls her age and younger in teeny bikinis and it strikes me as a little weird. They look like little grownups – but they’re not. They’re children. And I think their bathing suits should reflect that.

And I get really icked out when I see tweens walking around in very small, very grown-up bikinis – and older boys and men checking them out.

So I started thinking about it – WHY is this bothering me so much? Why is my mom-radar going off when I see young girls in small bikinis? Why do I want to cover them up with a towel? And when it comes down to it, it’s because of my own experience with bikinis.

I wore a bikini (starting when I was 15) to show off my cute little body. To get tan. To meet boys. To feel pretty and attractive. To me, that’s what a bikini is for. And I have no problem with this for older high-school girls who have confidence in their bodies and themselves – and understand their value is more than a cute body.

But I do have a problem with small bathing suits on small kids. Because the fact is, we live in a world where girls are inundated with marketing messages about what being attractive and awesome is. And too often, attractive and awesome = sexy. Which my little girls cannot possibly understand.

I don’t want my kids portraying something they don’t understand. I want them to understand their value and self-worth and why all their awesomeness has nothing to do with whether or not they can rock a bikini.

And when I see they do understand this and they are of a certain age? They can wear bikinis.

But until then, it’s Lands’ End skirted suits and tankinis all the way.

How do you feel about little girls wearing small swimsuits? What about tweens? What’s your stance?

Honest Voices linkup at NEW

Hey bloggers! Welcome to Honest Voices, an every-other-Tuesday linkup at Honest Mom. I invite you to link up with a post of yours that you’re really proud of. One that shows off your blog’s voice and what it’s all about. Funny or serious, it doesn’t matter – just as long as your post is HONEST.

There are only two simple rules:

1) Visit and comment on at least two other blogs who link up here

2) Promote this linkup at least once. Tweet it, Facebook it, Pin it, whatever. Just remember – the more people you get to visit this linkup, the more people will discover you!

photo credit: radioher via photopin cc

SAHMs and Working Moms: Rock Your Decision, Sister.

no more SAHM working mom guiltI work part-time. I’ve also done the full-time working mom thing and the SAHM thing. And because I have, I know everything about everything.

Given my work and stay-at-home experience, I can definitively say why working is better, and I’ll give you five reasons why I can’t be a SAHM again:

1) I’d have to give up the housecleaner because I’d be home, and of course I would have loads of time to clean.

2) I’d have to actually do those kid craft projects I’ve been pinning since my kids would want me to hang out with them.

3) My kids would actually expect me to make pancakes. Not defrost them. So I’d have to learn how to cook healthy, balanced meals the whole family would love.

4) I’d have to “enjoy every minute!!!!” Including the poop and vomit. It’s a requirement that SAHMs love every minute of their day, didn’t you know?

5) What would I DO with all my free time all day? I mean, I’d be bored, right? Because SAHMs just kinda hang out all day.

This all sounds ridiculous, right? I don’t actually think any of those things, of course. I’ve been a SAHM and I know better.

But there are working women think those things about SAHMs. And there are SAHMs who insist working moms are letting other people raise their children.

Who has it harder? Who’s right and who’s wrong? Do SAHMs lose their brain cells because they don’t work for a company? Do working moms actually raise their kids since their kids are always in daycare?

Enough already! Why is this still an issue?

Actually, I know why this is still an issue. It comes down to one thing: guilt.

The media loves to stir up “mommy wars” because they know that moms often feel guilty about their choices – or lack thereof. This innate guilt many of us feel makes us jump into the SAHM vs. working mom debate to defend our way of life.

I had this in mind when RadioMD interviewed me last week for their “Staying Well” show. The segment I spoke in was titled “Is Being a Working Mom Really Worth It?”

(By the way, the host sounds just like Delilah – you know, the nighttime radio host, love doctor, and problem solver extraordinaire? I was initially taken aback, thinking she going to ask me to dedicate a Chicago song to all working moms across America. And of course, it would be “You’re the Inspiration.” Duh.)

Anyway. I made the point that I think if a woman isn’t comfortable with her choice the guilt will fester, and that is what causes the mommy war drama. We all need to remember we are doing the best we can as parents, and the likelihood is that our kids will be just fine – whether we work, stay home, or do a combination of the two.

For me and my family, me working part-time is perfect. Working is worth it to me, even in those months where I don’t actually make much money. That’s my family’s decision. I’m rocking it. Yay, me!

Lots of women choose to or have to work full time. And to you women I say, rock on, mamas. Way to go, bringing home the bacon. Your kids will be awesome, too. They’re learning all sorts of great stuff at daycare and from you. Yay, you!

SAHMs are rocking the at-home mama gig. You’re spending quality time with your kids. You’re the household CEO, CFO, and cruise director. Your kids are also learning great stuff and will be awesome. Yay, you!

Let’s let go of the guilt and raise our kids in the way that works for our families. We’re all making sacrifices and making gains from whatever we do. Let’s own our decisions and ROCK THEM. No more guilt. Agreed?

Are you a SAHM or full/part-time working mom? Do you feel guilt about it? How do you think can you let go of it?

Honest Voices linkup at NEW