The Naked Family

Welcome to the October 2012 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Instilling a Healthy Self-Image

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have shared confessions, wisdom, and goals for helping children love who they are. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

When I was growing up, nudity was just a part of every day life. My parents slept naked and never showed shame or embarrassment when we went in to wake them in the mornings. So it stands to reason that when me and my husband had a child of our own, we would continue in this way. To be honest, we have never given it a lot of thought. We are not exactly a nudist household – its freezing most of the time and I like to be warm, so clothes are a must! However, since he was born, our son has joined us in the bathroom when we have a shower, watched us get dressed, and as he has gotten older, he has begun to take more of an interest in our bodies.

He is fascinated with my husbands penis and stares openly when he is getting out of the shower. He (somewhat predictability) gets very excited at the sight of my nipples and thinks the buffet is open for business, giggling and licking his lips! And he has learned about all of our body parts, as well as his own, from watching us in the shower. He will commentate “Mummy washing arms, Mummy washing back, Mummy washing legs!” as he stands by to pass me a towel when I’m finished.

It’s not only nudity that my son gets to witness on a daily basis. Anyone with little ones will know its not that easy to get some privacy when going to the bathroom. He has been a regular visitor in with me while I get on with my bodily functions, and as a family who do elimination communication, his ability to see that Mummy and Daddy use the toilet too, has spurred him on in leaps and bounds, and now he much prefers to use the toilet to a potty.

He is learning about a women’s monthly cycles, as perhaps somewhat controversially, I don’t hide away my periods from my toddler. He knows all about mooncups and often asks questions, which I answer simply and honestly. I don’t believe my cycles are anything to be ashamed of, and I am happy for him to know how the human body works.

As for when this will come to an end, who knows? What I am sure of, is that it is not something I will have to consciously decide. There will come a point when these visits to the bathroom will naturally phase out. He will be satisfied that he knows exactly what is going on in there, and I’m sure will find something more interesting to do with his time. In just the same way that I trust that he will one day wean from both the breast and the family bed, I know that this too will one day pass.

In the mean time, he is learning that our bodies are all different, natural, and totally accepted. He is never made to feel ashamed of his nudity and I hope that this, along with the rest of our parenting choices, will give him a healthy grounding and self acceptance that lasts the rest of his life.


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Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

  • Why I Walk Around Naked — Meegs at A New Day talks about how she embraces her own body so that her daughter might embrace hers.
  • What I Am Is Not Who I Am — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama discusses her views on the importance of modeling WHO she is for her daughter and not WHAT she sees in the mirror.
  • Carnival of Natural Parenting: Verbs vs. Adjectives — Alisha at Cinnamon & Sassafras tries hard to compliment what her son does, not who he is.
  • How She’ll See Herself — Rosemary at Rosmarinus Officinalis discusses some of the challenges of raising a daughter in our culture and how she’s hoping to overcome them.
  • Self Esteem and all it’s pretty analogies — Musings from Laura at Pug in the Kitchen on what she learned about self-esteem in her own life and how it applies to her parenting.
  • Beautiful — Tree at Mom Grooves writes about giving her daughter the wisdom to appreciate her body and how trying to be a role model taught Tree how to appreciate her own.
  • Do As I Say, Not As I Do: Nurturing A Healthy Body Image — Christy at Eco Journey in the Burbs is changing perceptions about her body so that she may model living life with a positive, healthy body image for her three young daughters.
  • Some{BODY} to LoveKate Wicker has faced her own inner demons when it comes to a poor body image and even a clinical eating disorder, and now she wants to help her daughters to be strong in a world that constantly puts girls at risk for losing their true selves. This is Kate’s love letter to her daughters reminding them to not only accept their bodies but to accept themselves as well in every changing season of life.
  • They Make Creams For That, You Know — Destany at They Are All of Me writes about celebrating her natural beauty traits, especially the ones she passed onto her children.
  • New Shoes for Mama — Kellie of Our Mindful Life, guest posting at Natural Parents Network, is getting some new shoes, even though she is all grown up…
  • Raising boys with bodily integrity — Lauren at Hobo Mama wants her boys to understand their own bodily autonomy — so they’ll respect their own and others’.
  • Sowing seeds of self-love in our children — After struggling to love herself despite growing up in a loving family, Shonnie at Heart-Led Parenting has suggestions for parents who truly want to nurture their children’s self-esteem.
  • Subtle Ways to Build a Healthy Self-Image — Emily at S.A.H.M i AM discusses the little things she and her husband do every day to help their daughter cultivate a healthy self-image.
  • On Barbie and Baby Bikinis: The Sexualization of Young Girls — Justine at The Lone Home Ranger finds it difficult to keep out the influx of messages aimed at her young daughters that being sexy is important.
  • Undistorted — Focusing on the beauty and goodness that her children hold, Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children watches them grow, loved and undistorted.
  • Off The Hook — Arpita at Up, Down and Natural sheds light on the journey of infertility, and how the inability to get pregnant and stay pregnant takes a toll on self image…only if you let it. And that sometimes, it feels fantastic to just let yourself off the hook.
  • Going Beyond Being An Example — Becky at Old New Legacy discusses three suggestions on instilling healthy body image: positivity, family dinners, and productivity.
  • Raising a Confident Kid — aNonymous at Radical Ramblings describes the ways she’s trying to raise a confident daughter and to instil a healthy attitude to appearance and self-image.
  • Instilling a Healthy Self Image — Laura at This Mama’s Madness hopes to promote a healthy self-image in her kids by treating herself and others with respect, honesty, and grace.
  • Stories of our Uniqueness — Casey at Sesame Seed Designs looks for a connection to the past and celebrates the stories our bodies can tell about the present.
  • Helping My Boy Build a Healthy Body Image — Lyndsay at ourfeminist{play}school offers readers a collection of tips and activities that she uses in her journey to helping her 3-year-old son shape a healthy body image.
  • Eat with Joy and Thankfulness: A Letter to my Daughters about Food — Megan at The Boho Mama writes a letter to her daughters about body image and healthy attitudes towards food.
  • Helping Our Children Have Healthy Body Images — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now shares information about body image, and her now-adult daughter tells how she kept a healthy body image through years of ballet and competitive figure skating.
  • Namaste — Kat at Loving {Almost} Every Moment shares how at barely 6 years old, her daughter has begun to say, “I’m not beautiful.” And while it’s hard to listen to, she also sees it as a sign her daughter is building her self-image in a grassroots kind of way.
  • 3 Activities to Help Instill a Healthy Self-Image in Your Child — Explore the changing ideals of beauty, create positive affirmations, and design a self-image awareness collage. Dionna at Code Name: Mama shares these 3 ideas + a pretty affirmation graphic you can print and slip in your child’s lunchbox.
  • Beautiful, Inside and Out — It took a case of adult-onset acne for Kat of MomeeeZen to find out her parenting efforts have resulted in a daughter that is truly beautiful, inside and out.
  • Mirroring Positive Self Image for Toddlers — Shannon at GrowingSlower reflects on encouraging positive self image in even the youngest members of the family.
  • How I hope to instill a healthy body image in my two girls — Raising daughters with healthy body image in today’s society is no small task, but Xela at The Happy Hippie Homemaker shares how choosing our words carefully and being an example can help our children learn to love their bodies.
  • Self Image has to Come from WithinMomma Jorje shares all of the little things she does to encourage healthy attitudes in her children, but realizes she can’t give them their self images.
  • Protecting the Gift — JW from True Confessions of a Real Mommy wants you to stop thinking you need to boost your child up: they think they are wonderful all on their own.
  • Learning to Love Myself, for my Daughter — Michelle at Ramblings of Mitzy addresses her own poor self-image.
  • Nurturing An Innate Sense of Self — Marisa at Deliberate Parenting shares her efforts to preserve the confidence and healthy sense of self they were born with.
  • Exercising is FUN — Amy W. at Me, Mothering, and Making it All Work talks about modeling for her children that exercising is FUN and good for body and soul.
  • Poor Little Chicken — Kenna at A Million Tiny Things gets her feathers ruffled over her daughter’s clothing anxiety.
  • Loving the skin she’s in — Mama Pie at Downside Up and Outside In struggles with her little berry’s choice not to celebrate herself and her heritage.
  • Perfect the Way I Am — Erika at Cinco de Mommy struggles — along with her seven-year-old daughter — at telling herself she’s perfect just the way she is.

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22 thoughts on “The Naked Family”

  1. I really love and appreciate how open you all are. I think it’s beautiful andwonderful for your child. I’m not comfortable walking around naked (though moreso now than ever before). But I know all about the privacy thing. My daughter was with me for everything. And you’re right that one day it just changes. On her timing. I never shut her out, but when she was ready she didn’t need to come in the bathroom with me anymore. And now sometimes she even wants a little privacy. Not all the time, but sometimes. And now she can understand if I need a bit too.

  2. I love the natural & simple approach. It sounds very familiar to our home. My girl loves playing with my cloth pads – they have flowers on them! 😉

  3. Great post! It’s amazing what a fight it would be otherwise to keep the little ones away, lol. Otherwise, as soon as they can open the door, it becomes much more challenging.

  4. I love how you think of your kids seeing your body as part of their education. I’m pretty open with my toddler about my body, but I don’t know that I could deal with my period in front of him. I’m not criticizing you, more wishing I could reach that level of openess!

  5. I love how open you are! My daughter is also learning about my “moon” and is fascinated with the entire thing! We sit there and tlak about it openly as I am changing my mama cloth. She knows what the whole thing means and can be often found telling her grandma the ins and outs of periods. I love it! There is no reason to shy away from what is natural in our bodies!

  6. OMG, same here….I have and 11 y/o daughter, 9 y/o boy, and 3 y/o boy. My 3 y/o asks me almost every day, “Mommy, you pee red?” because he’s seen it in the bathroom with me. I don’t hide. With my older two, I have tried to be more private and modest just because, well, puberty changes things, and I totally respect their privacy for themselves, but….they are not embarrassed to walk in on me in my bedroom whilst I have nothing on. Which I am glad for that, but at the same time, wish that I had some boundaries they respected 😉 Mom gets no time to herself!

  7. You are a good mama! I love how you are raising your son to be proud of bodies and not ashamed of nudity. You are providing him with very age-appropriate sex ed, too.

    Nudity is pretty much a given around our home too. With three girls I don’t question if I should ever cover up my body, but my husband does wonder if/when he’ll need to be more modest. I personally don’t think he needs to worry about this but given society’s knee-jerk reaction to things like this I understand his hesitation as they get older. I figure we should go with their cues and if they show a need for body privacy we should honour that. So far at 8, 5 and 2 this hasn’t come up.

    Wonderful post!

  8. Well said! My daughter has seen it ALL I don’t hide anything from her. She saw her baby sister being born when she wasn’t even 2 1/2 years old. She’s not yet three and just the other day, she asked to have a really good look in between my legs. I thought… ew… this is a little weird… but ok, why not? I explained to her the different holes and what they do, etc. At two, she was taking a shower with my husband and STARING at his penis and asked, ‘what does daddy have?’. So, I gave her the correct name, and all my friends were impressed that she can talk about a penis without a smirk on her face… to her there’s nothing strange about it!

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