We were talking about how quickly the kids are growing up and how we both wished we could hold those tiny bundles in our arms again.
Then, the subject turned to puberty and she happened to say;
‘I haven’t seen my son naked since he was 7 years old.’
Aghast, I looked at her and said but how do you know if everything is all ok ‘down there?’
I see both my sons naked all the time, coming out of the shower, on the loo, sneaking downstairs both hands in the biscuit tin and getting dressed in the morning.
There is nothing more natural than them seeing me naked too, granted I am not an exhibionist nor will you see me parading in front of the car cleaner or stripping off running free spirited into the sea.
I’m not ashamed to say that ‘nakedness rules in our house.’
Following that conversation with my friend, I asked my 15 year old son what he thought about seeing me naked and how he felt about me seeing him.
He was quick to retort: “Mum it just doesn’t bother me, so what if I see you butt naked it doesn’t really register that my mum’s naked. I dont see what the big deal is.”
I thought about my childhood, shared with a younger brother and I wondered if ‘nakedness’ has anything to do with mixed siblings in the household?
I do remember that from about 13-14 years I wanted privacy and I didn’t walk around in the nude especially not in front of my father.
Likewise, he extended the same courtesy to me. He would never barge into my bedroom or bathroom without knocking first.
There was seemingly an unwritten rule that said you are a teenager so going naked is probably not the right thing to do.
I freely admit that whilst I can sunbathe topless in front of strangers and friends I could never show my top half to my own father, even though he is one half of me.
Do you go naked in front of your children?
My upbringing has fostered a good sense of self worth and yet this is a contradiction because when I look at my body it is with a reluctant acceptance of ageing.
I do not recall my mother promoting a good or bad body image, a body is a body and that was it.
As a gymnast I trained as hard as I could and my body was fit and strong but there were constant reminders from coaches about the importance of weight.
I remember on one occasion a coach saying to me how strong I was and that I was short and stumpy, a perfect gymnastic physique.
In my head I wanted to be tall, lean and skinny and so his comments cut me like a knife.
Not only were they way off base but he single handedly made me foster an unrealistic body image of myself that has stayed with me.
All I could see was a blob in front of the mirror.
In reality I had a fantastic physique and recently when my god-mother showed photos of me when I was 14, it came as a surprise that I wasn’t the blob I had become so familiar with in the mirror.
But I had spent the last 30+ years of my life convinced that I was.
How a few inapproriate words can change the perception of your own body image!
I believe that might be why I’ve never made any rules about the boys being naked or made them feel uncomfortable.
Nudity is healthy and very natural and growing up unashamed of being seen naked with all your bodily imperfections raises uninhibited children who have a realistic body image.
When I researched the idea for this post opinions made by people, posted on forums, blogs and articles all had a view on nudity ranging from it being perverted to being ‘au naturale’.
I am sure that at some point my sons will cover up and will lock the bathroom door for feeling uncomfortable or embarrassed.
Likewise, they may ask me to do the same, but until then I see no need to close the door whilst I undress or cover up when I walk along the upstairs landing to put my clothes in the linen basket.
As far as I’m concerned they will make that decision, not me.
What do you think?