You know that look you get when you say something you thought was pretty normal, only they think you're bonkers? I got one of those looks recently. I had mentioned being embarrassed when my daughter threw open the bathroom door when we had company because she's so used to it being open.
When it's just the family at home, most doors are open in my house. It doesn't matter who is behind them or who is naked. My daughter has seen me naked. She has seen my husband naked.
Hold on, before you freak out, let me explain!
I wouldn't call us nudists. For the most part, everyone in the house is wearing their clothes pretty much all the time. The most "undressed" we get on a regular basis is sitting in shorts and a tank top (for me) or just a pair of shorts (my husband) on a hot summer's day.
We don't get naked around our child on purpose.
But there are those moments when someone gets into the shower or out of the shower when you're completely naked and the child walks in, and you have to make a decision. Do I freak out? Do I grab wildly for the towel or t-shirt, making a big show of the fact that, OMG, I'm not wearing any clothes?
We don't make a big deal out of being naked around our daughter. I don't and neither does my husband.
We don't want to draw attention to the fact that we're naked, but even more than that, we don't want it to seem scary or uncomfortable. We don't want her to think that bodies are "gross."
That's the message we send kids when we make a big deal out of being naked, isn't it? That there is something dirty about our bodies? Something secret?
I don't want my daughter to think bodies are dirty.
Secret? Well, we do make sure she's covered up in public, and we've had long, long talks about the right to say no and why private parts are "private."
But I grew up in a buttoned up household, where no one was ever naked. I also grew up with an eating disorder and to this day am extremely uncomfortable with my body. Even sitting in my own home, wearing clothes, I often move a blanket or a pillow onto my lap to add coverage, to help make myself disappear.
My husband and I don't want our daughter to feel that way, to feel that her body is something she needs to cover up even in the comfort of our own home.
This is why we've made nudity a non-issue.
We don't flaunt it. But we don't freak out over it either. If it happens, it happens, and we just go with the flow.
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All over the Internet, there are sites where parents ask "when are kids too old to see their parents naked." The answers vary. Some parents never let it happen (seriously, the moms didn't even breastfeed). Some parents stop when a child can use anatomical language. Still others are still naked around their adult kids (THOSE I would call nudists).
I have read them all, and each time, I've come back to this: I'm raising a kid who is never afraid to tell me how she feels ... about anything. And she's never told me that it's wrong for her parents to be naked in her presence.
So how about you? Do your kids still see their parents naked?
Image by Jeanne Sager