Monday, September 28, 2015

Don't hide your nude body from your children

**I'm so excited to announce that I've started a youtube channel discussing everything home making. My channel name is Surviving As Mom.  Check it out!!

Growing up, I was one of 5 children in our household.  We lived in a 3 bedroom apartment with 1 bathroom in Brooklyn.  Three girls in one room, one boy (the oldest) in his own room and my parents and baby brother in the 3rd room.  One bathroom meant no privacy, ever!  Even if the door was locked (with a latch hook), a butterknife was used to unlock it and barge in.  Showers and baths were usually shared too, just for convenience.  It wasn't anything weird or inappropriate.  Just normal routines amongst family members.

My mom was not shy at all about her body.  Many times we'd catch her walking completely naked from the bathroom after her shower to her bedroom on the opposite side of the apartment to get dressed.  She call regular meetings with random kids in the bathroom while she was doing her business, just as part of her multi-tasking.  We never found any of this to be weird or awkward.  The only one we never saw nude was our dad.  I'm sure we can all agree we are fine with that.

What's the point of all this?  To prove that nudity is a natural, normal, healthy thing.  There is nothing wrong with children seeing their parents nude, especially their mother.  I am often nude around my children, whether we are showering together or I'm just in the process of getting dressed.  The same is true for my husband.  My kids, all boys, learned to pee standing up by using the toilet alongside my husband.  They learned by example.  It teaches children that there is nothing to be ashamed of.  I DO teach modesty in the sense that my children know privacy with others.  They know that nudity is something restricted to the privacy or our own home (or hotel room, etc.).  Because of this, my kids don't pay any attention to our nudity.  The may ask questions or make random comments, but it doesn't bother them one bit.

My mother once told me a story of her friend who had two sons.  This woman (D) always hid her nudity from her boys.  One day she noticed her 6 year old son staring at her body oddly one day as she stood in her nightgown.  Almost as if he could see through it.  It made her feel very awkward.  When she told my mom, my mom explained that he is probably just curious.  She advised D to allow her boys to see her naked body and explain the differences between her and them.  She did this and that solved the problem.

It's not always perfect.  You still have to teach limits.  Once my 6 year old squeezed my breast while I was nursing my baby.  He said he was helping the milk come out.  I explained that a woman's "boobies" are her private parts, just like the bottom is private.  He felt bad that he touch me that way and was sorry.  I told him it is ok, but it was something he had to learn.  My children are very clear about "private parts".  They know it is NOT ok to touch people's private parts and the same is true for their own parts.  NO ONE is allowed to touch their parts, unless Mommy or Daddy says its ok, which will only be a doctor.  They also know that even we are not allowed to touch them if they are not comfortable with it.  When we shower them, they must wash their own parts.  They know that some "tricky people" may want to try to touch them inappropriately or ask to be touch by them.  They know this is NOT ok and to tell a trusted adult immediately.

The point is, there is nothing wrong with nudity between a mother and her children.  Why is it ok for children to watch people being killed violently, heads being blown up, bodies being mutilated on tv, but a nipple is considered offensive?  Violence is appalling!  Sexualizing the naked form is inappropriate for children, but there is nothing wrong with nudity itself.  It's all about what children are taught.  They are a blank slate and need to be filled with good, healthy, useful information.

The pic below is me with my preemie son Logan.  I am giving him Kangaroo care which is when the mother holds her baby skin to skin.  This helps the baby's health overall.  It is also great for mom.  In this case, nudity is beneficial for mom and baby.  When each of my children were born, I'd breastfeed them the same way.  Skin to skin.  It was so beautiful and definitely helped with the bonding experience.  Human health depends on skin contact!