When Should I Stop Letting My Kids See Me Naked?

Family Matters on 02.02.12
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I've never been one to walk around the house naked, but with two little kids, it's rare that I can get dressed without being interrupted with "Mom, where's my shirt?" or "Can you get me the toothpaste?" In addition to that, we only have one full bath for our family of four and it's tiny and has a door that swings the wrong way so to say we have an open door bathroom policy is an understatement. Most mornings there is some combination of someone getting out of the shower, someone using the potty, someone brushing their teeth, and someone half dressed all in there all at once...and don't forget the 70 pound dog who doesn't want to miss any of the action. But with my son approaching six years old and my daughter nearly three, I often wonder if it's time to stop the full show that is on display most days, or if I'm better off just letting it be.

My kids have steel traps for memories. It's not unusual for my five year old to suddenly bring up something that happened when he was two with a kid he met once and give me directions to the place where it all went down. Do I really want him having such a memory of post baby body? But on the other hand, I remember hopping into the shower with my mom or dad when I was kid, and I just remember it being a part of being a little kid and not being weird. And I took baths with my siblings and my kids do too. Do they sometimes discuss body parts? Yes. But it's never a big deal.

Our open door policy in the bathroom is largely due to space constraints, but I have to say that I'm happy that it turned out that way. Like many women, I don't have the most fabulous body image and I'm glad that I haven't been able to project that onto my kids by constantly feeling like I need to hide something. In fact, I think our open door policy has actually given our kids a healthier body image because they don't think there is anything to hide or be ashamed of. When they ask questions, which are actually rarer now than it was a few years ago when they were figuring out the human body, we answer them honestly but without providing more information than they need to know.

I never thought that I'd still be undressing in front of my five year old, but as long as the kids are comfortable with it and I'm comfortable with it, I think it is ok. In fact I suppose it's a non-issue as long as we don't make it an issue. Hopefully it will make them a little less curious about the body parts of the opposite sex as they get older, and help them realize that we're all just people.  I certainly don't anticipate being comfortable walking around naked in front of the kids forever. I'm not going to be one of those people with teenagers doing it. But by not making it taboo or attaching a cutoff date to it, I think we're creating a more healthy relationship with our kids' views of the human body.

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