Practical Tips for Getting Your Mama Body to the Pool

Practical Tips for Getting Your Mama Body to the Pool with Your Kids at ASlobComesClean

Me directing my 10 year old how to take the picture. And NOT drop my phone in the water.

This post over at the Creative Mom has been going viral, and I love it. It’s totally my philosophy. If you haven’t read it, you should. The author encourages moms to stop worrying about body image and get in the water with their kids.

It’s totally inspirational.

But you know me . . . I’m all about being practical. Inspiration only takes me so far.

So as someone who is committed to taking my three kids swimming at least five days each week every summer, I’ll share what I’ve learned over the past six years of hauling my own Mom Bod to the pool.

Look the Part.

This is the theatre teacher in me. Nothing irritates me more than someone wearing a 1940s costume with a 2014 hairstyle.


What I mean is, be willing to play your role. All the way. Step into your character as Mom with Three Kids.

Sure, it’s awesome if you’re Fit Mom or Slim Mom, but not everyone gets to be cast as that character. Every play needs Frazzled Mom and Overweight Mom and Mom Who Doesn’t Have the Time or Money to Test Every Hair Product on the Market to See Which One Will Keep Her Hair from Frizzing. It’s THOSE characters who make the play interesting.

This is my philosophy. I’m a mom. I’m working on getting fit, but in the meantime I’m embracing my role.

Get swimwear you’re comfortable wearing.

Practical Tips for Getting Your Mom Body to the Pool with Your Kids at

OK. So the first part is more of a pep talk, but now I’m getting specific. (And, just for the record, I’m using some affiliate links.)

There are all sorts of modest, comfortable bathing suits out there.Β  Unfortunately, though, many are CRAZY expensive. Like, in $80-$100+. For a cheapskate like me, if I wasn’t fully convinced I would wear it more than twice in the summer, that price tag would make me decide I just couldn’t do it.

And that would be my final excuse for not heading to the pool.

So here’s what I do. I buy board shorts. I’ve done swim skirts before, but I don’t like how they float up in the water.

I linked to some for a decent price on Amazon, but I generally get mine at Walmart for around $10-$15. You can wear a one-piece with the shorts, but that makes bathroom trips, ummmm . . . difficult. (Especially with kids small enough that they have to come with you . . . )

I grab a bikini bottom from the clearance rack for around $7. I don’t care what it looks like since it’s not going to be seen. It’s like Swimmin’ Undies.

Then, I’ll spend a little more for a tankini top. Costco had them last year for around $15, but didn’t carry them this year. I got mine at Sears for about $18.

Total cost is around $40, but I’ve worn the same swim shorts for three or four years now. The other items usually wear out after a summer of intense use.

Oh, one more hint that’s really just personal opinion: Halter tankinis make you look awesome. Seriously, they lift the things that need lifting. However, if the things you need lifted are somewhat heavy . . . it will eventually (or soon) KILL your neck. I’m all about being comfortable so I don’t do halters.

Prepare realistically.

If you read and relate to this blog, there’s a chance you’re the mom who loves to think of EVERY possible thing you would need to make a trip to the pool perfect. You might even make a list. And that first time, you would rock it.

But then life happens. So here are a few tips I’ve learned from experience.

  • Drip-drying works. Towels, schmowels.
  • A big box of unmeltable, special snacks marked “POOL ONLY” is a good alternative to making snack decisions on a daily basis.
  • Small Sonic slushes are only 50 cents each from 2-4 in case you forget the special snacks.

Honestly, the ONLY thing I never ever forget (because we keep it in the Suburban) is the sunscreen. And FYI, the Banana Boat Kid’s (or Baby) Tear Free Sunscreenis the ONLY kind that doesn’t burn kids’ eyes or faces. No other “Baby” or “mild” sunscreens have passed that test for us. And believe me . . . we’ve tried them all.

Oh, and if (like me) you don’t like smearing goop on your face, get a hat. Moms are SUPPOSED to embarrass their kids. I’m loving this one. (I got it for less at Costco, though.)

Just Go

I had “get a cover-up” and “bring a friend to talk to”as other things to include, but I’m going to skip that. Just go. If you’ve avoided going with your kids, the first time will be uncomfortable and awkward, but that’s okay. My main motivation for being purposeful about going all the time is that there’s nothing else to do to stay active in the Texas heat. My kids are in AWESOME shape every summer.

My secondary motivation is the joy I get from watching my kids experience childhood.

I do get in the water. I do play with them some. But it’s also perfectly fine for me to yak with my Mama Friends while we tread water (or just stand in the shallow end) while the kids make their own fun.

Without any direction from me, they spend the summer learning to dive by doing 67,001 practice dives. They organize races and relays. They use splash balls and pool noodles to play baseball with kids they wouldn’t even recognize at school when everyone’s wearing clothes. They have Crazy Jump contests and make George Washington hairstyles by flipping their hair up in the water. They learn to do in-the-water handstands and flips.

It’s worth it. Totally, completely worth the hassle and discomfort of stuffing this Mom Body into a spandex suit. Over and over again.

I’d love to hear your tips for getting to the pool/lake/whatever with your kids!


I’m not a fashion blogger. You can stop laughing now. Or a swimsuit model. Seriously, get up off the floor.Β  I just feel the need to say that I’m not giving advice on how to look your best at the pool. This is how to get yourself there. No matter your size or shape.

I suppose it’s possible that Sonic’s drinks cost more wherever you live. Check the price before you order. If you send me a bill for the overage, I’ll throw it away.

I included affiliate links in this post. Every single time there’s a link to Amazon, it’s an affiliate link. I love love love affiliate links. If you follow one to Amazon and buy ANYthing there (even a new refrigerator), I get a teeny percentage of what you spend while your purchase price is the same as if you didn’t go through my link. It’s one of the ways I get to call this blog my job.


--Nony get-how-to-manage-your-home-without-losing-your-mind-wherever-books-are-sold


  1. 1

    George Washington hair is the best! My bestie for the past 17 years will bust that move from the past out and we have a little moment being thankful for our friendship.

  2. 2

    This reminds me of something that happened to me a few weeks ago. Because I am completely insane, I decided to take the kids to the beach. By myself. 8 kids. Stepdaughter and stepdaughter’s friend (16) daughter (12), foster daughters (12,8,6), and nephews (11,9)
    Even though I am 200 pounds and a size 16, I wore board shorts and a bikini top. I built sand castles with the younger girls, I body surfed with the older girls, I threw the football with the boys, and even got some other kids to join in on our fun.
    All the while, this man was staring at me. It made me a little uncomfortable, like maybe he was judging me. I thought maybe he was thinking I was too fat to be in a bikini, or wondering why I wasn’t lying on a towel reading like the other moms were. When I took a break from the action, he came up to me and gave me the best compliment I have ever received. He said “I’ve been watching you all day, and I think you are an amazing mom. I can tell that you genuinely like your kids, and they clearly love you. Plus, I think you’re gorgeous. Would you like to go out sometime?” I told him I was married, but took his info, and set him up with my single cousin πŸ™‚
    The point is, when I put that suit on, I saw someone fat and unattractive, but he saw a confident woman who loves her kids. I saw pale skin and a squishy tummy. He saw blue eyes and a pretty smile. I think other people don’t see us the way we see ourselves.

    • 3

      What an awesome story!! How did it work out with your cousin?

      • 4

        They’ve talked on the phone twice, and are meeting for lunch tomorrow! I really hope they hit it off. She needs a nice guy πŸ™‚ We had a nice time at the beach (he and his little boy joined us). She and I have a lot in common and even look a lot alike, (since he liked me, hopefully he’ll like her). And he’s really cute, and was amazing with his son from what I could see. Plus he obviously doesn’t mind a woman with kids that has a little junk in the trunk πŸ™‚

  3. 6

    I LOVE this post! I had to take my 5yo to a swimming party the other weekend and cried from the worry that I would look fugly in front of the all the other Mums πŸ™ . Reading your post, I feel much stronger about taking my kids to the pool now and playing the “role” i’m supposed to, rather than feeling self conscious about myself.

    We have plans to visit the local outdoor pool this summer (which, btw, in the UK is like dipping into a bucket of ice then walking home shivering, even in the summer) and i’ll def be getting more involved and try to enjoy the experience as much as my kiddos!

  4. 7
    KellyJMF says:

    When I feel self-conscious about how I look in my bathing suit or exercise clothes I think of it as doing everyone else a favor so they can think “if SHE can do it, I can do it”.

  5. 9

    What an awesome post! We don’t swim much yet (kids are 6.5, 3, and 6 months) at a public pool, but when we do, I am taking your advice. I usually just wear a one-piece and my old Umbro shorts (remember those?) because maintaining a bikini line is not fun. I feel a bit silly writing that down online, but you know, it’s the truth!! πŸ™‚ Your suggestion to wear board shorts and swimming underwear (cheap two piece bottoms) is brilliant! Why didn’t I think of that? Smart, smart, smart. I’ll look for a tankini top, too. You sound like a fun mom!

  6. 10

    Oh I forgot about George Washington hair! My cousin and I did that all the time, but it’s been a while πŸ˜‰
    Great post and excellent tips… I’m off to explore board shorts!

  7. 11

    Awesome post and comments!!!! I finally found a swimsuit I feel comfortable in so I’m not so wary to go in with the kids.

  8. 12

    Walmart. Com is carrying some very affordable mom suits that are quite cute for $28. Suddenly slim by catilina modest and of a modern style. I am surprised with the quality. Various colors and styles

  9. 13

    Thank you so much for this. It is just what I needed today as we live in a very hot climate as well and my little guy has spent A LOT of time playing video games! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

  10. 14

    I totally absolutely love this post! I’ve been preaching to all my friends since highschool to just get over it and have fun in the summer, it was easy to say as a size 8 . Now as a mom who is flabby looking its walk the walk time. My daughter is 2 she doesn’t give a damn how I look do I got some comfortable stuff and we go to the beach and have fun. I look like crisp but we still manage to both be happy. Great post, thanks!

  11. 15
    Virginia says:

    Where did you get your top in the above picture? Thanks for your advice. Because of that other article (and now this one) I’ve changed my thoughts on avoiding the pool like the plague. I have board shorts (i might need to find some better ones but these are working so far) a halter tank. I need to remember the hat. I honestly try to stay (hide) in the water as much as possible though. πŸ˜‰

  12. 18

    You’re my hero!!!

  13. 19

    I too am a take my kids to the pool mom, and here is what I decided: I don’t care. I don’t care what that super sunburned guy thinks I look like. I don’t care if super fit mom thinks I’m a fat slob. I don’t care if the hip young lifeguard is disgusted by me. I don’t even care if those teens in the corner are laughing at me. None of that is my problem.
    To that end, I did invest in a suit that *I* this I look good in, even though it was a little pricey, because I go so often. And sometimes I do wear a cover up, but more as a I’m out if the water and want to give my shoulders and back a break from the sun.
    So if it helps practice : I don’t care.

  14. 20
    Rebecca S. says:

    I love you swim suit. I wear something similiar. Thanks for sharing because sometimes it is hard to remember what is important (enjoying your children) and is unimportant (how you look)


  15. 21
    Ginn strode says:

    I’m a fat mom, I don’t like it, I’m trying to change it! Getting in the pool with my kid is well worth the uncomfortableness of what I assume people are thinking… Who gives a crap anyway!!
    We love the water! In the last 12 years of his life I’ve only made it two summer to the pool but I’ll never miss another!! Fat or not!!

  16. 22
    Susan C says:

    Another way I get inexpensive swimwear is to buy end of season. They are marked down and you can get better quality. I am all with you not wanting to pay $80 or more for something that will only get one or two seasons use.

  17. 23

    The year we got our membership to the neighborhood pool I almost had an anxiety attack thinking about bathing suits. Prior to that my bathing suit wearing was limited to one trip a yr to the beach, a week at my parents and the sprinkler in our back yard. I brought a skirt and top suit that year and just decided to let it go. It’s not always easy but sometimes you just have to go for it.

  18. 24

    Love this! I too have swim shorts (they have built in undies – hooray!) and a tankini, as I got tired of being squeeeeezed by those dreadful “slimming” suits that cost a fortune anyhow. I say get out there, have fun by the pool, and honestly… nobody cares how you look. They are all too busy wondering what YOU think about how THEY look!

  19. 25

    Hi I have a silly question but what our board shorts.? So I just buy any old bikini bottom get a pair of these shorts and then get a really nice looking tankini and I should be good to go? LOL

  20. 27

    I find your blog soooo real, uplifting, and fun!! Thank you for being validating, honest, helpful and awesome! Your family is very lucky. I especially love how you turned a “weakness” (slob tendencies) and used your strengths (humor, writing, creativity, love) and turned it into something contributive and lucrative! Wishing you loads of blessings to continue with all your wonderful work.

  21. 28

    I wear a swimsuit. Or a shirt and shorts. Or whatever I have on, if I didn’t prep first… for four reasons.

    1. I like to go to the pool with my kids. They’re fun, and it is hot.
    2. They really like me to go with them.
    3. Perhaps seeing me in a swimsuit will help someone else feel better about her body.
    4. If people can not stand to see the wonder that is me in a swimsuit… they can avert their eyes.

    I wish I had as much confidence at 14, in a size 10, that I have well over 30, at a size 24w.

  22. 29

    With only one lake within reasonable driving distance (and NOT a lake you would want to stick your toe in much less your whole body), a pool is the only option, but I still don’t go. I did, six days a week for months, and if people didn’t like me in my swimsuit, I didn’t care. I have had to stop going though. Chlorine, unfortunately, isn’t good for thyroids … which sucks because I LOVE going to the pool. It’s one of my favorite things. πŸ™‚

  23. 30

    I bought some “boy short” things from sports authority to feel more comfortable when going to a water park or something like that. They are like the material of bathing suits but possibly meant for runners or skinny yoga women?? I pair them with a tankini top.

  24. 31
    Mary O. says:

    If you can’t find board shorts, you can also try some “flowery” guys swim trunks. Our Walmart carries them, and you may not even need the separate bikini bottom depending on how the liner is made. Also, as far as not using towels, I totally agree for while we are at the pool…but it’s always nice to have some stashed in the car to minimize/prevent wet seats on the way home because little Miss decided to take one last jump into the pool right before we leave!

  25. 32
    Shyanna says:

    I just wanted to say that anytime I buy anything from Amazon I come to your website first and then click on your Amazon search box so that you will get a little compensation. It’s just one small extra step and I hope it helps a little with your blog expenses. I think a lot of people don’t realize that ANYTHING that they buy from Amazon (if they will come here first) you will get a teeny tiny bit of the pie. Am I correct in thinking that? I don’t want to steer anyone wrong but I love this website so much I want to help in any way I can.

  26. 34

    You look great and you’re an awesome mom!

  27. 35
    Maureen says:

    Thanks so much for this. I love the entire premise! But, I had also just been thinking that I need to get a swimsuit with shorts, because I don’t like the way the skirts float up in the water, either. I was thinking it was going to be a pain to find a whole suit like that. It never crossed my mind to just buy them as separates. And the bikini bottoms underneath would never have dawned on me. Thanks!!!

  28. 36
    teri Livingston says:

    I grew up in Michigan, we are in the water as soon as it is warm enough, we just try to make the most of warm summer days. All my kids swim and I always swam with them ,now that everyone is grown it means swimming with all the grand kids and enjoying every minute of it. !

  29. 37

    I learned something very interesting while my preschool daughter was taking swim lessons at the YMCA. At the last lesson, they had a “family swim.” I totally did NOT want to go, but I knew it meant the world to my daughter, so I sucked it up (and in) and swam with her.

    One of her little friends was swimming without a family member there. I was surprised because I had seen her Mom lots of times, and she seemed very active and involved with her kids. I ran in to her in the locker room. She had been working out instead of swimming. She told me her daughter begged her to swim, but she didn’t feel comfortable in a swimsuit. She was probably a size 8 or 10. She said, and I quote, “I’m slim enough, but I’m not TONED. I’m working on that.”
    My heart broke both for the mom and her daughter. I was so glad I had swum with my delighted little girl, and my 50 extra pounds. The sadness I saw in that other Mom AND her daughter made me vow never again to let my self-consciousness deprive my kids of the joy they deserve. They think I’m gorgeous, anyway.

  30. 38

    Love this blog! It’s not that hot here and we don’t have outdoor pools. They are also really expensive and I am not allowed to take all three children on my own as there have to be two adults, BUT despite all that I have found a swim outfit that I don’t feel horrible in and I am determined to drag my mum and kids along to the pool on rainy days in the summer. Thanks for the inspiration!

  31. 39

    Nony, you are awesome and I love you! πŸ™‚ Great advice about the shorts/bikini bottom. I had to get a new suit this year, as I lost too much weight over the winter to use mine from last year (a good problem, but a problem nonetheless). I got swim shorts, but will keep your trick in mind. Have fun at the pool!

  32. 40
    Karin Kostich says:

    Thank You! I bought a pool pass this year since vacation was out of the question. I love taking the kids and I usually get in for a bit then they find their friends and go their own way but the fun and quality time is what makes it great.

  33. 41

    Great post, really ! You’re a wonderful and pretty mom !
    I had an idea about the bathing suit thing – since tankinis are expensive,
    how about using a one-piece and wearing the shorts over it ?
    the top part of the one-piece is pretty much like a tank top,
    and many times it has built-in bra support.
    The difference is that it’s tighter, but try it at home and maybe it’ll look just as nice and modest

    • 42

      Oops I re-read the post (that’s how fun it is!) and saw you wrote about that option
      I didn’t wear a one-piece for a long long time so I forgot about those bathroom details πŸ™‚

  34. 43
    Kristen says:

    One thing to keep in mind:
    My mom was usually too shy to actually go swimming with us. One time we were on vacation and staying at a hotel that had a waterfall thing in it. I thought it was soooo cool. She actually came swimming with us that day so that she could take us in the waterfall. Here’s the thing; I don’t remember how my mom’s body looked in her swimsuit. I just remember it was hot pink and had white polka dots and I was so happy she was swimming with us.

    As for anyone else at the pool that day and their opinions? Who the heck cares.

    I think that swimming just generally wasn’t her jam but still I wish she hadn’t let that get in the way of times she wanted to swim.

  35. 44

    No laughing here – I think you look absolutely adorable!
    I not only have a Mom Bod, but an OLD Mom Bod πŸ˜› I dress much the way you do for swimming. I found a really cute swim set on clearance last year at Kohl’s at end of season, with a swim skirt. Love it! but it doesn’t have ruffles like yours – I think I want some ruffles next time around. Thanks again for putting yourself out there for us – and enjoy these last summer days!

  36. 45
    Jen Britton says:

    I love this post!! I am still working on losing the mom bod, well maybe just enough of it to fit into clothes I think are cuter! BUT I am not about to miss pool fun with my babies! I also have lovely pale skin and varicose veins, but hey, my hubby loves me, so ’nuff said! Oh, I love your top by the way, I am looking for one with the ruffles bc I have a shirt like that and it is uber flattering! Rock on mama, plus having a summer time tan isn’t the worst look out there

  37. 46

    Hi! I’ve always felt this way about swimming with my kids. I wear long swimming shorts, a suit & a swim shirt–I hate putting on sunscreen. No, I don’t look like the other moms, but I, like you, also don’t act like them. I’m in the pool, not sunning/sleeping next to it. I figure if they don’t like looking @ me, they can probably afford to drive to the next city over & sunbathe there. Lol. We bike to the pool & that makes it even easier to not have to worry about towels. πŸ™‚ I also encourage all my kids–boys & girls to wear swim shirts–more modest & less $$ spent on sunblock. πŸ™‚ Thanks for your encouraging post. I’ve shared Mom Creative’s before; this time, I’ll share yours. πŸ™‚

  38. 47
    Cynthia says:

    i found really cute bathing suit at Sears (in the Land’s End section) that has the sucking it material that makes you look thin! It was on sale from $80 to like $30 something and has lasted me going on three years. I love it and feel really comfortable in it AND it was sold by size & cup size for the top (It has like a real bra in it!!)

  39. 48

    Im crying my eyes out because my baby just graduated from 8th grade and doesnt hang out with me anymore. Enjoy.

  40. 49
    TwinMomInTexas says:

    This really hit home for me – pre kids I cared what I looked like and was a little embarrassed. After you’ve delivered 2 kids with 40+ random strangers in the room a swimsuit just isn’t the least bit daunting. But this past weekend we went to the pool and ran into about 20 parents for our kids’ school there for a party and I was actually a little embarrassed for the first time in 7 years – first because my son clearly wasn’t invited to the party. And then because I was the only one in a swimsuit – all the other parents were dressed and chatting. And it really bothered me the entire time we were there so much so that I cut our day short. I was absolutely the only parent in the pool and I felt like they were all talking about me/us. Made me sad and not want to go to the pool.

    • 50
      Mommyofgrownones says:

      Oh no no.. My girls are grown now 22 and 17 , I was overweight when they were young, but I never let that stop us from going to the water parks pools or beach. You being “the only parent in the pool , reflexes on what a great mom you are. The others who missed out on swimming with their kids are the ones lacking self confidence , why would you watch your kids grow up from the sidelines ? My girls will talk about going here or there and how much fun we had together.(never has it come up “oh mom was fat”..Besides I love the water . Go swim Go have fun Go be Mommy Go Girl

  41. 51

    I love this! I’ve been working really hard on embracing my “mom” body this summer. With three little ones I don’t get to exercise nearly as much as I use to. Another tip that works great for our family is to always have a swim bag packed with towels, suits sunscreen, ect…for the whole family. This way anyone can grab the bag and head out the door without too much chaos.

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