A day at the pool: restorative respite or body image battlefield?
Please know this about me: I loathe the term Yummy Mummy.
I hate that it implies that moms are not desirable—that they are, indeed, undesirable (there is a shade of difference. “Un” seems even more derogatory)—if they don’t look better than they did before they popped out a few kids and somehow remain all carefree and sexy while managing other lives in addition to their own.
And I lament the fact that lots of women—perhaps even those who also hate the term—feel compelled to flaunt it if they fit the requirements.
Which is exactly what went down at this lovely pool at an upscale club in a warm climate that I had the pleasure of visiting for a few days just into the new year.
To put it simply: for men and children, this pool was an oasis of fun. They shrieked and jumped and splashed and swam.
But for women, it was a battleground.
Or, more precisely, the site of an intense competition where women pranced around and judged each other from behind sunglasses and book club paperbacks to determine where each fell on the Yummy Mummy continuum.
Here’s how things shook out:
One category of winner was the 65+ women, with blow-dried hair, lipstick, and gold-threaded sarongs. They clearly had no intention of swimming—they just seemed to want people to know they still looked good enough to rock a bikini in their golden years.
And they did. So cheers to them!
The other category was Moms of Young Children. What factors ensured a medal in this category?
Well, basically, the bigger the spread between the number of kids birthed (who were preferably in attendance—to be shown off as living proof) and the competitor’s bathing suit size… the better.
The events for women in this category included lots of walking back and forth to the water fountain and a fair amount of greeting friends and acquaintances in loud voices and laughing hysterically at whatever mundane conversations were had in order to show off toned ab muscles.
Also, constantly noisily repositioning metal-framed lounge chairs on the concrete in order to get the best sun.
Bonus points went to women who had husbands in attendance who looked after said children to yummy mummies and could lounge by the pool and flip through magazines (and by that I mean look around and judge other women).
The biggest losers were women who had children over the age of 2 who looked like they still hadn’t dropped the baby weight. These women didn’t speak loudly to call attention to themselves. Nor did they struggle to ensure their swimsuits were artfully placed on their torsos every time they moved. Instead, these women swam with their kids in the pool and ordered ice cream smoothies from the pool bar.
So then I ask you, who really won?
Audrey D. Brashich is the author of All Made Up: A Girl’s Guide to Seeing Through Celebrity Hype and Celebrating Real Beauty