Honestly, I haven't always been the most confident person. With over 30 years of weight fluctuations, self-esteem issues, and postpartum changes, body acceptance is something I'm always grappling with. As a result, nudity isn't something I've embraced, even when I'm alone. No matter how hard I try to come to terms with my natural body, flaws and all, I'm just not there yet. However, of all the reasons I don't allow my children to see me naked, it's not necessarily my insecurity I hide behind. Instead, it's often theirs.
When both kids were a bit younger, I didn't focus much on nudity or the need for privacy, because I didn't want to stigmatize, sexualize, or infer negative feelings surrounding anyone's body. Nudity, after all, isn't shameful; it's completely natural. Back then, I merely dressed and undressed as needed, and if they had pressing questions about any body parts or why they look the way they do, I'd answer them openly and honestly (while silently screaming in my head). My intent had always been to normalize bodies, including and especially mine, but over time my feelings have shifted. Before I knew it, I was asking myself, "When should I stop being naked in front of my kids? Is there even a right answer?"
Not long ago, when I exited the shower, my 5-year-old son commented on how "crinkly" my thighs are. While some kids his age may have poked, prodded, laughed, or expressed childlike curiosity, he was genuinely concerned something was wrong with me. I still remember his big, sorrowful eyes asking how to "fix" the boo-boos. In that moment, I realized something: it didn't matter how hard I worked to ease everyone's nudity discomfort. What he saw was a deformity or something not "normal." In my earnest attempts to normalize bodies, I accidentally did the opposite. He still mentions that day every now and then as I modestly hide behind a towel (while pretending not to), or when he has to accompany me into the restroom. To be completely honest, it's a moment I don't want to experience again, for his sake or mine.
Along the same lines, my 10 year old daughter — a carefree girl who's always been body positive — recently hit the pre-pubescent milestone where all she craves is privacy. I respect that. Her uneasiness with her own changing body signaled to me I should do the same when around her. So, I did. While I've tried to navigate nudity with my children as each moment happens, it's still something I have to really think about. Every parent has to make their own decision, but for me, here are some reasons I don't allow my kids to see my "crinkles" anymore.