*SIGH*...... Yesterday was probably one of the most miserable days of my entire parenting life. Yes I know that sometimes I am prone to exaggeration but this time I am really not. After yesterday I am convinced our society is doomed to raise an entire generation of young ladies who see their body as a commodity to be flaunted and shared with the first boy that comes along that pays them some attention.
Yesterday I took my daughter bathing suit shopping, doesn't sound too daunting a task now does it? Well let me be the first to tell you, IT SUCKED BIG FAT ROCKS!!!!! My daughter if asked will agree.
Let me back up a moment. My daughter was invited impromtu to go on a beach trip yesterday with her brother Josh and his family. I thought GREAT Genna will love it. I called her and asked and she said "Mom I would love to go but I have outgrown all my bathing suits." I told her I would run out at lunch and would get her a couple and bring them home. Not such a big deal with the exception work to home for me is an hour commute. Anyway off I went, after all I do work near the biggest shopping area in the city. At first I thought Whewww hooo this will be a cinch. I know what she likes I will run out to one of the semi-popular stores.. It's bathing suit season after all. I get to the store and go to the swim suit section BINGO JACKPOT I send her pictures of 4 reasonably priced suits, marked down I might add due to it being mid-season. Now for me reasonably priced suits for my daughter is under $40.00, preferably WAY under 40.00 after being marked down. These suits were great! Sent her pictures (gotta love the smart phone) I got the thumbs up. They were all marked down to under 25.00 paid the cashier and off I went. That is when the trouble started......
Now what I have not shared with you is my daughter is 67 days from being 13 years old. By some miracle and grace of God she is not your typical almost 13 year old. She is still more interested in her horses and animals than boys and would rather wear boots and blue jeans than shorts. Needless to say by this description she is still the young lady that when she is in the water she wants to swim, dive, flip and not have to worry about her top coming up or her bottoms coming down. THANK GOD she still wants her one piece bathing suit. So I get home with 4-awesome suits that she has given the thumbs up on. She tries them all on, one after another I here "Mom it doesn't fit, it is too tight on my shoulders." My heart sank as I knew this meant a trip back into town 2-hour round trip in for a bathing suit that fit. That isn't even the bad part that is really just the beginning.
We have a great trip down joke about things here and there. Talk about the beach trip and such. We get to the store return the suits with no hassle and off we go on our swimsuit journey. We go to the swim suit section only to find that the suits I found were in the girls section. My pre-teen child has grown enough to be in the Juniors and Misses section. NOT ONE DAMN 1-Piece bathing suit to be found in the entire section. Every one of them was bikini or tankini (or whatever you call those things) but not one standard general state issue 1-piece bathing suit to be found. OK I thought my child is tall maybe just maybe there is a one piece in the adult women section and we will just get the small size. There were 1-piece bathing suits there however none of them made for swimming or for 13 year olds. NOT ONE! I found the strapless, the ones with ruffles to hide what we don't want the world to see (my daughter doesn't do ruffles either) and the 1-piece with enough gatherings to hide whatever body flaw you might have while showing every bit of cleavage you don't have. Not to be discouraged I say "This is only one store, we are in the shopping mecca." Not to be deterred we went on to the next one. Same thing! Junior and Misses not a single 1-piece to be found in the store. The next store the same thing no 1-pieces in junior and misses. For those of you who have not been keeping up I am now at 4- returned bathing suits, 3 stores later, 2-hours of driving, all I am missing is the Partridge in the ever elusive 1-piece swimsuit pear tree. By now I am grumpy, hot, tired, but this is not over yet. My poor child is now in tears, TEARS, I ask whats wrong and she says "I am just too big and too picky."
NOW I AM BEYOND MAD!!!!! My baby is upset because society has dictated that once you have outgrown girl size bathing suits and graduate into the Junior and Misses sizes that you MUST wear a bikini or 2-piece and let me share with you there are very FEW of them I would have let her wear even if she wanted too. HOLY COWS AND CHICKENS she wears more clothes when she is wearing her underwear than some of those bathing suits we saw. I took a deep breath and explained to her that she was not BIG for her age she was tall VERY tall and long wasted which makes the 1-piece a bit of a challenge but not un-doable. I was very proud of her decision to stay in the one piece bathing suits and as a matter of fact I was THRILLED she refused to wear "booty shorts" (as if I would let her) and if she wanted a normal bathing suit I would go to every store in Winston-Salem to find it for her. FAMOUS LAST WORDS......
Then it hit me... girls on swim teams wear 1-piece bathing suits no frills or ruffles simple 1-piece suits designed to stay in place while you are diving and swimming!!! BINGO this evening was looking up. I took her to one of the more popular stores which by the way I had never stepped foot in and there they were.... THE HOLY GRAIL of 1-piece suits. As we rode up the escalator Genna and were looking at the rows of suits. Excitment abound. She was looking at the designs pointing out ones she would like to try. I start to look for her size...30, 32,36, 38???? WTH is this? I am not a fashionista and by this point all I want is to get my child a bathing suit. Guess what the guy assigned to the women's bathing suit section didn't know either. Go Figure. NOW my second complaint. Why is everything going to EURO sizes? We are in America and I could understand if we were in New York, California, maybe even Atlanta, but we are in good ol'Winston-Salem, NC. For petes sake just give me normal sizes. Genna and I use our best guess and reasoning for these sizes and off she goes to the dressing room. Armed with a 30, 32, 34 of each size she tries them on. Apparently she is a 36 in whatever EURO size they are using because apparently there are several. We get excited she finally tries on one and it fits and might actually fit through the swimming season (3months left). I look at the price tag and all most die of sticker shock, it has been MARKED DOWN to $80.00. Just so you know I then let out a string of VERY unlady like cusswords!!! There was not a snowballs chance in Hades that I was paying 80.00 for 1 swimsuit. I mean I just returned 4 suits and only paid 83.00 for all of them. Now I know we are at a sporting goods shop and these suits are made to shave .0004 seconds of time off your laps which could mean the difference between winning the GOLD and not, but this was not my goal. I only wanted a suit that covered the assets that the good Lord gave my daughter. I don't care how long it takes her to swim across the pool.
Once again Genna and I talked... There was no way that she could make it through the rest of the season with one suit as much as she swims. Here was our deal. We would goto some other stores that might carry theses suits to see if they were cheaper. If we didn't find any then I would bite the bullet and we would buy the 80.00 suit. The MALL surely there will be suits in the mall, I mean there are sports shops right? NOT A DARN ONE! We covered every inch of that mall. So if you are keeping score we are now up to 2-hours of driving 3-hours of shopping time, 5-stores, The ENTIRE HANES MALL, and 2-bathing suits that actually fit but were out of our budget. Finally after 2 more stores we finally found suits in our price range, well not really they were still pretty expensive but it was buy one get one half off and the other suit was within budget.
I am so disgusted with the whole thing. It should not be this hard to shop for a modest 1-piece bathing suit for juniors and misses in a price range EVERYONE can afford. At every turn all we saw were very skimpy tops and bottoms. There were some Tankinis (tank tops with bottoms) but even the bottoms on those were skimpy. I want my daughter to be proud of who she is, for WHO she is not what physical attributes she may or may not have. I certainly don't want her parading around in less material than a Victoria Secret model or Playboy bunny, not ever, but especially not at 13. I am not a prude and yes I do wear a 2-piece but I am 42 years old and I am confident enough in who I am and what I am made of to fend off any hurtful remarks or unwanted attention. I am fully aware of the ramifications as an adult. Our children are not so lucky. They have not totally developed their inner self confidence and self worth at this age. We are setting them up as a society to fail and I think that is SAD AND WRONG. I am lucky very lucky and very blessed that my child is more secure in her skin than most. She is still very sensitive but I work hard to cultivate her self esteem and praise her for making choices that go against the teenage norm.
Society should not be surprised at the number of teenage pregnancies or wonder why our youth is "sleeping around" in elementary and middle school. We allow so called fashion to dictate what our young girls wear. We as parents buy and promote what should be considered trashy and unacceptable as adults. Clothes that if a woman wears it then they are looked at as slutty but if a 13 year old wears it then she is CUTE. WAKE UP PARENTS!!!!! . Shorts so short their butts hang out and tops so low you don't have to wonder their bra size. HELLO am I the ONLY parent in America that considers this a problem? I am not suggesting that we put our children in burlap sacks or that the Victorian collar come back into style. I am talking about SELF RESPECT. Respect your children enough to say no to clothes that reveal too much skin. Here is a novel thought TEACH them about self respect. Let them know it is OK to walk across the grain and not fit in with the clickish crowd. Don't let your child be a statistic. Clothes are not the only issue our societies children are having to fight with, but it is certainly one as parents we can control.