Mighty Life List
Jul 31 2009

In Front of the Children

The latest Momversation is about whether it’s cool to be naked in front of your kids. Which it totally is. Except for the chastity belt, I mean.

Excellent reader comment from Miss Tracey Nolan: “I did not grow up in a nakey house. Despite that (because of that?), as a toddler, I used to strip down, sneak out of our apartment and run down the hall yelling ‘I’M FREEEEEE!!!!!.’”

29 Responses to “In Front of the Children”

  • aubriane Says:

    I love your lampshade. So much.

    Also, your site appears really weirdly for me? I think it’s that damn Firefox 3.5, but pretty much everything is left-aligned and outlined in bright blue. FYI.

  • Maggeh Says:

    Aubriane, have you tried clearing your cache?

  • Michelle Says:

    Aubriane, I was getting the same thing, but resolved the issue by turning off my ad blocking software. Which of course is a good idea anyway, so our dear Maggie can get paid. :)

  • Hesper Says:

    I also think it’s different with a mom and a daughter. I’m still not uncomfortable seeing my mom. She’s more uncomfortable with it because of body issues. And I think my Dad was too comfy when I was a preteen he’d still walk around in his underwear and I can still conjur up that HORRIBLE image.

  • JennBo Says:

    Maggie: I love your hair in this momversation. LOVE. IT. Cheers!

  • Steph Says:

    Love the nakey song. :) Being in the South, we pronounce it “nekkid” and have many other colorful expressions. My family is not uptight about it, but I married into a family that considers walking around in your underwear some form of exhibitionism. Still, I think same-sex parents can be naked around the child indefinitely… opposite-sex parents should not be any more bare than underwear after about 4 years old. Maggie, I wonder if/how your nakey time will change as Hank gets older…

  • Amber Says:

    Maggie, I love your naked song! I grew up in a naked house, and I feel like I was always a lot more comfortable with my body and with things like, I don’t know, changing in gym class or at the pool, or other situations like that, because I didn’t feel the sense of shame some of my friends did about the whole thing. I agree, though, that at a certain point, it gets more complicated. There was a lot less naked-ness or even walking around in underwear as I got closer to puberty, and I think that was for the best.

  • Sugared Harpy Says:

    Oh my gosh, this is such a great topic. So, as it was said, in a family there is nakedness and when my boys were little I totally would have agreed with the idea of NO nakedness after say, 4, or especially near puberty, etc.

    Except that now I have a 14 and a 13 year old and you know, what? There’s still a lot of mom naked time. I kept expecting them to just NOT want to see me nude, you know? But they talk to me in the shower, come ask me a math question when I’m getting dressed, and hell ask if they can have a damn apple while I’m peeing. Now, THEY do not walk around too nude (boxer shorts if at all). But my nudity seems pretty normal to them. And their Dad’s, Aunt’s, and their Nana’s for goodness sake. My mom was like this. My sister is the same way and when she just gave birth two weeks ago, her 13 year old daughter CUT the freaking cord and watched the whole birth saying it was “Awesome!”

  • maire Says:

    I very clearly remember showering with my parents. I really do. I took baths with my sisters but as we were transitioning to stand-up showering (to save time; 5 people + 1 bathroom = chaos if you’re not careful) I took showers with my mom and dad. And it wasn’t weird. They wanted to make sure I washed myself up enough, got the shampoo out of my hair, didn’t slip & fall and whatever. No big deal. And due to the busy nature of our clan, my parents frequently wandered about the house in only their skivs. Again, no big deal.

    But pre-dating all of that by a number of years? I remember the very quiet early mornings when my mother would nurse my younger sister. And I remember being curious but also being allowed to jump up onto the bed and snuggle in to everyone. To be close to my folks and my sister and it was no big deal that my mom was topless, my baby sister was eating, and I was invariably telling silly stories.

    I am 32 years old. Relaying all of this suddenly makes me realize ole mom and dad weren’t as uptight as I sometimes thought they were. In fact, they were pretty effing cool.

    Thanks for the post, Maggie. Made me remember some early stuff of being close and dependent on my parents; something I think we lose over time. Keep singing about your undies to Hank. He will look back on it with fondness, I know.

  • Deidre Says:

    I definitely grew up in Naked household. I showered with my dad until I was like 10 (seriously – now that seems awkward, but at the time I didn’t even notice).

  • Maureen Says:

    My almost 9 yr old runs around naked, and his dad wanders around naked between the bedrooms and the bathrooms. I’m just starting to turn sideways if he comes around while I’m putting on underwear, but that’s because I’m wondering about such things, not because he’s sending any signals about being weirded out.

  • Dana Says:

    Our house is small. Three bedrooms. One bathroom. Four children 5 and under. There’s really no way to get around the kids seeing us in various states of nakedness.
    No big deal as far as I’m concerned.
    I will say, though, if you’re willing to bare all you must be ready for the questions and curious comments. It’s only natural.
    I’m all too aware of this as just yesterday my daughter poked her head round the shower curtain to talk to me about her day. She was waiting to read stories with her father while I washed off the gunk from twilight gardening. She looked me up and down and said: “Why are women’s breasts long and little kids have these (pointing to her own chest)?”
    That’s right, ladies… LONG. My 5-year-old chose LONG! to describe my breasts.
    Sadly, after multiple pregnancies (including twins) and years of nursing, her honest assessment, while brutal, may just be accurate.
    I laughed then and I’m still laughing. I’m just sayin’… be ready.

  • rosanna Says:

    LOVE the nakey-nakey song!!

  • steph Says:

    THE NAKEY SONG! I did not grow up in a naked household which explains why I’m so prudish sometimes.

    There was an interesting story about this in the NYT recently: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/16/garden/16nudity.html?_r=1&scp=5&sq=naked&st=cse

  • katie Says:

    Love the songs! We have silly songs for, ohhh, just about everything. But one of our favorites is at bed time, “Don’t go to be with underwear on your head! Don’t do it, don’t do it!”. Which is usually accompanied by (you guessed it!)children running around naked with underwear on their heads. And I second Jennbo!

  • amy Says:

    momanet did you really just say that? Eww!! Be nice.

    Pretty conservative house I live in. Not sure if it was my upbringing or what (parents total prudes ;) Hubby will walk around with his undies on and leave the bathroom door open but I discourage it as the kids seem uncomfy with it. I say take your cues.

  • Kristin Says:

    I love this topic! I grew up in a naked house with a single mother, we didn’t even close the bathroom doors when we would pee, but I agree that you have to be prepared for comments. My mom gave my nephew to me in the shower once, when he was about 2, and he started patting my breasts and saying “big, big”. I had to hand him back. I was laughing so hard I thought I was going to drop him.

  • MichelleM Says:

    I just stopped showering with my almost 5 year old. Why? Because he kept telling me, “I like your BOOOOOOOBS!”

    But he still runs around nakey all the time and, like Maggie, we sing songs about it. He is clearly quite comfortable in his own skin. The little one, 18 months, also enjoys making a nakey run for it but he has the unfortunate tendency to piddle on the floor. NAAAKED BAAABY!

  • misstraceynolan Says:

    I am singing the nakey song, right now.

    I did not grow up in a nakey house. Despite that (because of that?), as a toddler, I used to strip down, sneak out of our apartment and run down the hall yelling “I’M FREEEEEE!!!!!”.

  • misstraceynolan Says:

    PS – gotta say, liking the little added production values on this episode of Momversation.

  • Kelly Says:

    HA! Love this Momversation. And that’s saying quite a lot, since a)I’m not a mom and b)I don’t plan to be. Nevertheless, every girl needs a little momversation, right?

    The Nakey Song is totally stuck in my head now, though.

  • dgm Says:

    I had always assumed that my kids would “let me know” when it was times to stop with the nakedness. Sure enough, my daughter did–when she was about 7 or 8, she suddenly turned very modest about being naked around us or seeing us naked. When I went to a mother-daughter class with her on puberty and sex, the instructor (who was very progressive and open-minded) said, several times, “Mothers, do not be naked in front of your sons after toddlerhood. You will screw up their healthy sexuality.” Boys, she said, will not let you know when they are uncomfortable seeing you naked BECAUSE THEY WON’T BE. They come into sexual feelings early, and they don’t understand them, and from a very young age they are visual creatures who enjoy seeing women naked, plain and simple.

    That turned it around for me.

  • nursery bedding Says:

    Totally agree what dgm said. Boys won’t tell you when they’re uncomfortable seeing you naked. It’s a fact…so you’d better put your clothes on :)

  • Alissa Says:

    We’re a naked house too. Your song is great, at our house we sing (in a very sing-songy way):

    I see your hiney, it’s white and shiny
    it makes me giggle to see it wiggle

  • cee Says:

    I’m in my twenties and I still see my mom naked.

  • Megan Says:

    Um. I had a completely uptight household as a kid. After I asked once – the first and last time – what that thing was my brother had, I never took a bath with him again. There was NO nudity, no accidental parental sex surprises. No-thing.

    I think that’s connected to the fact that my first course at CAL was a feminism and porn class, I later taught a sex-ed class there to other uptight kids, did my Anthro film on SM women in the Bay Area and generally ran around causing trouble for four years once I’d left home.

    I now live in Germany, married to a totally naked-at-home guy. His parents run around in their underwear when we visit.

    And you know what? I am still learning to be ok with it all. The uptight feeling remains in the background. First two years of going to the co-ed neekid sauna and I was still strategizing how to best get from shower to towel to sauna and back with the least exposure.

    I say let it all hang out at home and help encourage your kids to grow up with fewer hangups. We pick up enough along the way anyway. MY goal is not to pass this trait down the family line any further.

  • teneisha Says:

    This was a fantastic Momversation. I snarfed a bit of my spaghetti when I heard “my dad’s franks and beans”.

  • Megan Says:

    My naked parents pushed me into having a cover-it-up attitude: No nude swimming (among non-sexual partners)! No showering in the backyard with the solar camping shower!

    But, I am pretty comfortable with my body, and I can go to the all-girl naked spa and deal. Something about my mom’s gardening in a string bikini must have sunk in as a positive thing.

  • Trish Says:

    We’ve always had a fairly nekkid policy around here. And by “we”, I mean the kids and me. My husband grew up button-up so nudity has always been less comfortable for him. As the kids have gotten older, I’ve tried to cover up more. However, like many of the other commenters have stated, the kids still barge in when I’m showering, dressing, or “going.” They know there’s a good chance I’ll be undressed, but they obviously haven’t yet reached the point where they’re embarrassed or they’d start knocking. My son, who’s 9,has started requesting his privacy which we are happy to respect since more times than not, he dresses in the living room in front of our huge picture window.