Just like there are different "camps" when it comes to parenting styles — from attachment, to helicopter, to hippie — there are different "camps" when it comes to nudity and parenting. I fall in the nude parenting category. Now, I'm not saying my home is a nudist colony and my family eats dinner in the buff. Instead, I'm simply talking about letting my kids see me naked, because I don't think there is anything wrong with it. In fact, IDGAF if my kid sees me naked and I've got quite a few reasons why.
Some people might find it particularly scandalous that I walk around naked because I have boys. I know. How dare I parade around my boys with the breasts that I nursed them with for a cumulative total of nearly three years, right? How uncouth of me to let them see the c-section scar right above my pubic bone, the opening from which they each emerged. This is not only an IDGAF kind of thing, but an active choice I make to let my boys see me naked and for it to not be that big of a deal. This is my body, this was their vessel, and my body is a real body. I mean, a naked body is as "real" and true as it gets. If I can't be true with my children, and in my home, am I really giving them a sanctuary in which they can be real and true with themselves?
The degree to which I live the "nude life" around my kids may change as they get older. Still, I hope that they will always know that being naked is nothing to be ashamed of, being naked doesn't necessarily have to be attached to sex, and being naked is a choice. You can set your own boundaries about being naked, and you must respect the boundaries other people set. So, with that in mind, here are my reasons for being completely at ease when I'm naked in front of my kids:
Because I Don't Have Time Or Patience To Be Formal In My Own Home
If I'm getting out of the shower, and I've got a towel on my head, I'm not about to get all fancy and put on a silk robe to walk from the bathroom to the closet. For one thing, I don't have a silk robe. Second, my apartment literally faces an expressway and if I didn't give an eff what the truck drivers were seeing on my way to my closet, you can be sure I give less what my 5 year old sees.
Because I Don't Ascribe To The Idea That Nakedness Is Sexual
Apparently, some people on the internet think being naked in front of kids is inappropriate in a sexual way. I don't get it. Is every time I get undressed — like at my OB-GYN's office or in one of those department store public dressing rooms with horrible lighting — a time to cue up some Marvin Gaye? When my kid wakes up with a night terror at 3 a.m. and I rush to his room in just underwear and a bra, because it was more important that I comfort him than waste time finding appropriately conservative night time wear, am I being sexual or maternal?
Because I Believe In Normalizing Regular Human Bodies Over Airbrushed Ones
If my sons don't grow up accustomed to seeing regular human bodies — the kind that have freckles, birth marks, cellulite, stretch marks, or sagging breasts (thanks breastfeeding!) — I fear they'll expect their own bodies and (the ones of every partner they have) to look like the ones on Instagram.
I know I'm guilty of succumbing to the trap of the Instagram Lie, after having spent countless hours staring at gorgeous "It Girls" and "Influencers" in all their filtered and photoshopped perfection. When I emerge I can't help but look at my own face and body and instantly assess what is wrong with me and what needs work. If this is how I feel after just a few years of being exposed to social media, I can't imagine how it will be for my boys, who are growing up with social media as a given part of life. If putting a real naked body or two in their faces can help offset the false realities around them, I'm all for it.
Because I Want To Set An Example Of What It Means To Be Comfortable In One's Own Skin
Being naked in my house is a form of therapy for me. Feeling comfortable moving past mirrors without sucking in or whizzing past my image is an exercise in tolerance. I'm not saying this requires full nudity — underwear is usually part of the equation — but I do force myself to be OK with what I see.
Since I'm rarely home without my kids also being there, that means they are present during this exercise. I hope when they see me move around in the nude and "living life," they're absorbing a message of what it looks like to be at ease with oneself.
Because I Don't Want Them To Feel Weird About Being Naked
Right now, my kids move with joy and abandon. They run around naked with no sense of when situations call for modesty (because, honestly, that's my job).
For example, they will gleefully run straight from the bath to the front door to say "hi" to the food delivery person in the buff (usually beating me to the door before I can cover them in towels). I'm not saying this is "wrong," per se, it is just that this is where I draw the line. In the end, I don't want the delivery person to see my kids naked. As they grow older, I hope they can maintain that "wild child" relationship to their naked bodies, though. This is not to say I want them to greet delivery people naked for the rest of their lives. I don't. What I do hope is that they eventually learn to set their own boundaries about when is the right time to be naked but without attaching shame to it.
Because I Think You Can Be Naked In Front Of Your Kids And Still Maintain Comfortable Boundaries
Every "naked family" has their own set of boundaries as to what being naked means to them. For me and my husband, being naked in front of our kids means we are naked in the bathroom going in and out of showers, semi-nude in the middle of the night when we attend to middle of the night wake-ups (because that's how we prefer to sleep), and we don't close doors when we are changing. We do not take baths with our kids, and we do not shower with them. I don't think we set out to have these specific boundaries, but this is what fell into place for us and what feels right.
Because, For The Time Being, My Kid Doesn't Have Questions About Sex
Maybe I will feel differently when my kids start having crushes, or showing signs of approaching puberty. However, from where I sit right now, I like the idea of all of us living comfortably in our home without hastily slammed doors and shouts of, "Get out! I need privacy!" I would love to be able to change my shirt in my room like it is no big deal, all the while talking to my kids about whatever.
Sure, I guess you could argue I'm probably being an idealist. The minute they start expressing discomfort, I will likely back off and cover up. And of course, when they request privacy of their own bodies, I won't hesitate for a second to respect that.
Because My Kid Doesn't Really Respect My Privacy
These days, the second I try to lock the bathroom door my kids act as if I have died. Literally. They both start throwing their bodies against it like lunatics, or they hang with their full weight onto the doorknob, hoping to break it. So I don't even bother. I shower with the door open because I don't have the luxury of not having an "open office" policy. Someone always needs something from me.
The other day, my 5 year old freaked out because I didn't actually come out of the shower to put the blanket on top of the pillow fort he had spontaneously assembled on my bed. "I was in the shower! I had shampoo on my head! What did you expect me to do?" I asked him. "I don't know," he said. "Get out of the shower?"