The bathing suit search is on. It’s spring in the Northeast and we’ve learned that although it may be months before we can actually swim – things sell out fast. Modesty is a strong conviction for me – it’s come up around here before. I firmly believe that just because the culture around us is spiraling downward, my convictions do not have to spiral down with them.
Some might say that I’m over thinking things. That they’re just kids and they’re swimming! Loosen up! But I firmly believe that it’s our job to protect their purity and modesty – even before they realize it needs to be protected. This is not about fear or stranger danger, it’s about guarding our daughters and sculpting them in palace style. Treating them like they are precious and worthy of protection rather than like a cheap bauble that needs to be flaunted. After spending days at the local beach over the last few years and seeing too many peekaboos from little girls (completely clueless, innocent girls!) playing in the sand, we have set some fairly high bathing suit standards for our daughters.
I might have a small issue with control. I like things my way and on my time. But as my children are growing up, I realize that they want to express their own style. This does not mean they are allowed to dress however they want. Pants have to look like pants, not a second skin. Shirts can’t be low cut. And bathing suits cannot resemble underwear. Once we have a standard established, we work together on finding an acceptable solution in a style that we both like. (Yes, this can sometimes be a long process.)
In years past, I lightened up on my standards when I got frustrated. I would purchase something out of sheer exhaustion with the battle and live to regret it all summer long. It’s made me realize two things: 1) I need to be willing to return or put aside items that I’ve purchased, even if it means I lose money. 2) I need to be upfront with my daughters when we purchase something online. Just because it looks modest on the model does not mean it will meet our standards when she tries it on.
This also goes for the little girls in my house. We realized years ago that it was unfair to let the girls dress a certain way and then switch up the rules once they got older. As much as we can, the standards stay the same for all ages. This does not make my life easier, trust me! It’s just as hard to find a pair of jeans that are not designed to look painted on for a 4 year old as it is for a nearly 14 year old. But the standard stays the same, as much as we’re able, and expectations are clear to avoid confusion or hurt feelings.
So we’re learning as we go here and working hard to communicate the how’s and why’s to our daughters, at their level of understanding. It’s a process, you know, this mothering thing. We don’t just instantly get it all figured out when we birth a child. Learning what to stand firm on and when to let go are just part of that process.
How do you handle the bathing suit battle with your daughters? Maybe it’s not a battle with them, but a battle with the fashion industry. Have you found a great source for affordable, modest swimwear? Share it!