Courtesy of Samantha Taylor

I'm Naked In Front Of My 5-Year-Old Son & I Don't See A Problem With It

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Nakedness is a virtue. OK, not quite. But to me, it's not a big deal. I'm still breastfeeding my 20-month-old daughter, and my breasts are often out around the house because of that. I don't try to hide them. When it's hot outside, I sleep in just my underwear. In the morning, I bring my toddler into bed with my husband and me and I breastfeed her in bed, soft baby skin snuggled up against mine.

My 5-year-old son will do his sleepy little mummy walk from his room to ours, and join the three of us in bed. He'll plop his thumb into his mouth, and for those few minutes he's one of my babies again, all snuggles and jammies and wet thumbs. He doesn't appear to give my partial nakedness a second thought as I breastfeed his sister in bed, so I don't either. For now, I don't hide my nakedness from my 5-year-old son.

I realize there is a stigma with nakedness and children. Some morally righteous parents argue that being naked around your kids could scar them, or at least leave them with unpleasant memories. But what kind of memories? The kind where your parent has a naked body just like everyone else? The kind where they have wrinkles and fat rolls and body hair, because that's what humans have to varying degrees?

Courtesy of Samantha Taylor

Other parents even contend that nakedness could sexualize your children. Whatever that means. At some point, children will become curious about naked bodies and naked body parts and have questions. That's OK with me. I will answer those questions as honestly as I can. So far, my son has not asked me questions about my body, but he has asked some about the differences between his and his sister's bodies, which is natural and expected. We talk about our differences rather than around them. I want my kids to know I'll be honest with them.

I do take the occasional shower with him. When we shower, we are laughing and scrubbing our own bodies and enjoying the hot water and being together. There's nothing inappropriate about it, despite the criticism of some who say children should not bathe with parents of the opposite sex beyond babyhood.

If at any point my children become uncomfortable with me being naked around them, they're free to leave the room or I will cover up around them. Even though they're young, I want them to own their decisions and to feel in control of their bodies and actions. Just because I am comfortable naked doesn't mean they have to be comfortable with my nakedness. Unless they show me they're uncomfortable, I'm going to do my best to show my children that bodies in their natural state are nothing to be ashamed of. Similarly, if they choose to hide their nakedness when they're old enough to not need help with bathroom or bathing duties, I'll respect that decision.

Rather than my breasts sexualizing me in front of my son, my son understands that breasts are for feeding his sister. He knows that he breastfed as a baby, and now it's his sister's turn.

Courtesy of Samantha Taylor

While I'm fine with my son seeing my naked body for the time being, I do try to avoid him coming into too close of contact with me without clothes on. For example, I recently took a bath with him and his sister, and the limited space meant feet were coming dangerously close to kicking places they shouldn't. I've since stopped taking baths with him. But I do take the occasional shower with him. When we shower, we are laughing and scrubbing our own bodies and enjoying the hot water and being together. There's nothing inappropriate about it, despite the criticism of some who say children should not bathe with parents of the opposite sex beyond babyhood.

In addition, my son and 20-month-old daughter bathe together on most nights. There's no sense in wasting water by running them separate baths. I watch them to make sure no one touches the other person's parts out of curiosity, but I think it's a good lesson for them to see the differences between girls' and boys' bodies. It's been at least a year since my son even asked about his sister's anatomy, and that was when I changed her diaper as a baby.

My nakedness won't push my son towards adulthood any faster. But making a big deal out of it will force him to be sexually aware and more mature than he needs to be. He'll wonder why bodies in their natural state are a cause for concern, when I only want him to know that this is the way mommy looks. With breasts, hair, imperfections, and lots of comfy soft parts.

Similarly to me changing in front of them, if either one of my children become uncomfortable bathing together, I won't hesitate to stop. I also think it makes sense to stop bathing my children together and to stop changing in front of my son once he starts to develop crushes and feelings for future potential partners. Around that time, he'll likely learn about the birds and bees, and I don't want to cause him any confusion by looking at my naked body or his sister's should the nakedness arouse any sexual urges.

Courtesy of Samantha Taylor

For now though, he's still a little boy who asks if he can marry his sister. Not because he sees her naked, but because he adores her and is so innocent-minded that spending the rest of your life with your best little buddy who happens to be your sister makes perfect sense.

My nakedness won't push my son towards adulthood any faster. But making a big deal out of it will force him to be sexually aware and more mature than he needs to be. He'll wonder why bodies in their natural state are a cause for concern, when I only want him to know that this is the way mommy looks. With breasts, hair, imperfections, and lots of comfy soft parts.

My son is growing up fast enough. For now, I'm going to enjoy the last of the little boy phase while it lasts, family morning snuggles, breastfeeding babies, and all.