I'm a first-time mom and my son is eight months old. He sees me in my birthday suit all the time because he's with me all day long and he's a baby. But what about when he's older? What age does it become inappropriate for a son to see his mother's nakedness or a daughter to see her father au naturel? Is this another controversial topic for the mommy wars? Will I be judged for letting my son see me naked past a certain age? What's wrong with your kids seeing you naked?
These are all questions I had after someone in my moms club asked when she should stop letting her daughter see her husband naked. Then it came up as hot topic on "The View" with one of the hosts, Sunny Hostin, expressing how wrong she thinks it is for children to see their parents naked saying, "My kid doesn't need to see my pubic hair." While the opinions varied by the hosts, that was the comment that stuck with me, because it sounded so outlandish to me.
My mother never balked over taking a stroll from her bedroom to the bathroom in the buff. She liked to sunbathe topless on our back porch. My father often got dressed in the living room because that is where his dresser was (space issues). I vaguely remember showering with my dad and brother, although I remember showering far more frequently with my mother. I loved to pat her butt, it was so soft!
I'm the primary caregiver in our home and I'm a woman. My son is going to continue spending his days with me and sometimes that will involve changing my clothes, showering and going to the bathroom. I would much rather he see my regular woman body as his first exposure to nudity rather than some Photoshopped paper-thin model. I don't believe that nudity in one's own home with one's own children is sexual in nature at all and I think covering up sends the wrong message.
We are ridiculously uptight about nudity in this country. People losing their shit over a mom nursing her baby? Women's nipples banned on social media? Kim Kardashian's nude selfie causing Twitter feuds with Bette Midler? C'mon, it's total nonsense.
If we feel ashamed of our bodies and act like something is wrong when our children see us naked, it continues this bizarre American cycle of completely sexualizing the human body.
It's the human body and it's OK for kids to see it naked, especially if we want them to grow up to feel positively about their own bodies. I never want my son to feel ashamed of his body. I want him to feel strong and free and beautiful. I've struggled most of my life with issues around weight and not loving my body but I've never been ashamed of being naked. Bodies are bodies; they have parts and those parts all have a function and there is no reason to feel embarrassed about our natural functions.
I want my son to recognize that his body is amazing! I want him to feel comfortable in his skin. If we feel ashamed of our bodies and act like something is wrong when our children see us naked, it continues this bizarre American cycle of completely sexualizing the human body. It's an early way to create a gender divide and instill body shame.
People who feel like their naked body is something to hide from their own child weird me out. It seems to me that they are somehow sexualizing these little people who don't have a sexual thought in their little heads. The world is all new to them and they need to be free to explore it with abandon. It's natural for them to wonder why Mommy and Daddy have different body parts and it's our job to explain it to them at various age appropriate intervals.
I'm not suggesting a sex talk for a 3-year-old but understanding that Mommy pees out of her vagina and Daddy pees out of his penis is good information for kids to have. He should know that all humans have the same parts no matter what size, race or religion they are and that is just the natural way of the world.
I'm sure there will come a time when my son isn't going to want to see his old mother naked and that is totally fine. But for now and the foreseeable future, this is a naked house and if you have a problem with that, don't come over.