Kids Love Their Mom’s Belly in a Bikini, Much to Her Surprise

Jill Robbins and her two younger sons at a water park. (Photo: Facebook)

At recent family trip to a water park, Jill Robbins felt shy, insecure, and not so hot when it was time to jump into the pool to join her two boys in the water. In a popular July 12 Facebook post about the moment, she recalled how she felt when it was time to take off her swimsuit cover-up and expose her body in its bikini.

“There’s always that ‘here we go’ moment, and it always seems like the moment I bare my imperfect skin to the public is when I see some tan, toned twentysomething frolicking by,” she wrote. But then in stepped her young boys to turn it all around for her.

“My son surprised me by throwing his arms around me and declaring ‘Mommy, I love your belly,'” she wrote. “‘I love your belly, too, Mommy,’ chimed in the other kid. Because of course, that’s how it works, but I guess I’ll take compliments any way I can get them.”

As Robbins tells Yahoo Beauty, “When I look in the mirror, I see pudgy, flabby, and ‘needs to go to the gym more often.'” But clearly, her sons disagree.

The mother of three shared in the Facebook post that she has always been critical of the way she looks, especially about her abdomen area. Although her two young boys are adopted, Robbins has given birth to a daughter, which led to her having stretch marks. And her belly, as she wrote, “retains some of the chubbiness of babyhood.”

Luckily her sons knew how to reassure her at the right time. “Kids are honest to a fault, right? The message of how they see me versus how I see myself really hit home,” she says.

Robbins adds that it was encouraging to find out that they “don’t look at me with the same critical eyes that I look at myself with. I think that’s an important lesson for me and for all moms.”

It’s a lesson that other mothers have also learned recently — including Allison Kimmey, who took her daughter’s curiosity about her stretch marks and transformed it in a lesson of self-love and acceptance. “IT MATTERS HOW WE TALK TO OUR DAUGHTERS ABOUT OUR BODIES!” Kimmey wrote in all caps in her post.

Then there was Rachel Hollis, who shared a now-viral bikini selfie in which she proudly embraces her stretch marks: “They aren’t scars, ladies. They’re stripes, and you’ve earned them. Flaunt that body with pride,” wrote Hollis.

Not all moms feel empowered and proud of their stretch marks, of course — like Erin Zammett Ruddy, who wrote that she wants fellow moms to feel OK with not feeling comfortable enough in their own bodies to wear a bikini. As she wrote, “I’m sorry, I’m not particularly proud of my stretch marks as some moms seem to want me to be.”

Robbins meets all these women in the middle, noting that she does wear bikinis but more modest ones. “I think moms should wear what is comfortable for them and what feels good,” she says. “My goal is not to look like a bathing-suit model but to have fun with my kids in summer.”

The experience with her boys has also led Robbins to rethink the way she can influence her children about their own body images. She urges mothers to be more cautious of the way that they speak about themselves, because it can tap into their kid’s insecurities, as well.

“I have been absolutely guilty of criticizing my body in front of my kids, and this has really made me think twice about that,” she says.

Robbin is a recognized writer and blogger, sharing about motherhood and lifestyle issues.

On what advice she wants to most pass on to other mothers, she says: “Change and work on what you can, and accept what you can’t. Being healthy doesn’t mean being skinny. Be healthy and be kind to yourself.”

Other moms are agreeing with her message too.

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