I had to pee like a race horse. The sun was still down, I thought the kids were still asleep. As I trotted into the hallway bathroom I dropped trou without shutting the door. I thought I was safe. Just as soon as I nuzzled my bum against the pot in the dark bathroom, I heard a gasp and then a giggle and then a very clear, “Oh my goodness mommy! I saw your big ole butt!” That was followed by yet, more inconsolable giggles. I was busted. My eight year old daughter had just seen my full moon in the wee early hours of the morning and I prayed she wasn’t traumatized. I was mid pee and I couldn’t shut the door. I smiled back at her as I felt my cheeks (the ones on my face) get red and hot. I was instantly embarrassed and watched her face squeeze and pucker into that of someone who had just bit into a lemon. My brain willed her back into her bunk and I thought, “Is my butt really that bad to look at?”
Nudity. When is it okay to be naked in front of your kids and when does it need to stop? I’ve come to the conclusion that it depends on the type of household that you grew up in. I’m modest when it comes to nudity. My husband has had a VERY good day if he catches me standing up and completely naked. Those closest to me might beg to differ, but when it comes to wearing a bikini, my body image issues come straight to the forefront and I hate it. I’ve never seen either one of my parents in the buff, not even in their chonies, and not any of my siblings since I was like age five. Being naked was private and we kept our goods to ourselves.
My husband, on the other hand, is the complete opposite. His family is from Sweden and being in the buff is no biggie. I can remember being almost traumatized at twenty years old when we visited the country. We were passing by a park (a typical playground park) where kids were playing and people were sunbathing in all their glory. I couldn’t stop staring, rubbernecking until the park was out of sight! Probably very similar to that of my six-year-old son who “happens” to pass by my room while I’m changing and gets a glimpse of my boobies. I was most certainly surprised because there is no amount of money that you could pay me to sunbathe naked in public.
When my kids were toddlers, I never thought twice about being naked in front of them. Sometimes we’d even shower together for the sake of saving time. It wasn’t until my oldest daughter asked, “Mom, why does your butt jiggle when you walk?” that I decided it was time cover up. Again, perhaps it was my own body issues and the thought of anyone seeing my jiggling butt is less than fun. About six months later, after I gave birth to our only son, my two-year old was “helping” me change his diaper. The look on her face was worth a million bucks. She ever so innocently asked, “Mom, why does he have a thumb on his vagina?” It took everything in me not to laugh, and I explained what a penis was.
In the beginning, we were meant to romp around the earth naked. It wasn’t until Eve decided to eat the forbidden fruit that modesty appeared. Let’s face it. Our bodies are beautiful. Short, tall, fat, skinny, pale, dark. Whatever. We all have one and it’s designed to do miraculous things. Let’s take breastfeeding for instance. As natural and amazing that it is that we can actually grow a kid and then feed it from our boobs, I could never get over the fact that I’d actually have to whip my tit out in public. No way. No how. I don’t care if I’m covered with one of those snazzy blankets or what, I could not do it. I tried. I really did. I wished I could. I cried over it. While my sister’s and sister in-law’s were the breast-feeding champs, I was the odd man out and forked over the hundreds of dollars a month for formula. All in the name of modesty.
About a week ago, I heard my son and youngest daughter giggling, huddling together looking at a book. I soon realized that they were looking in one of my very graphic school nursing books. It showed real pictures of all the birthing positions, the different stages of delivery and finally, the breastfeeding newborn. This is what my son said to me:
Him: “Mom!!! Look at this baby biting his mom’s nipple!” (followed by laughter)
Me: “The baby is breastfeeding. That’s how it eats.”
Him: “Awww, yuck!” more giggles.
Me: “Why is that so funny? You did that too!”
Him: “Well, what are they eating? A big giant nipple?”
Me: “No, silly. Milk.”
Him: “You mean a girl’s boob is like a cow?”
Me: “Yes, son. We’re just like a cow. What’d you think the boob was for?”
Him: “I thought they were just for fun.”
So there you have it. Maybe if I grew up in a household that wasn’t so modest, I’d be a little different about nudity, but I seriously doubt it. The answer to when you should stop being naked in front of your kids is when they start becoming modest themselves. My twelve-year-old would die if I saw her naked and I respect that. Trust me. I really don’t want to see your naked butt any more than you do mine.
What are your thoughts? Should we be modest around our kids? Does modesty teach kids that something is wrong with our bodies? Please tell me, I’m dying to know.