Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Naked Truth?

So, I was, as I am apt to do now and again, perusing the Offbeat Mama site the other day.  And I stumbled upon a wee blurb asking parents about how they deal with nudity around their kids.  And it made me think about how our family's queerness adds another layer to the whole to bare or not to bare issue.

Now, let's be clear from the outset.  I'm lean more towards being a 'to bare' kind of mama.  Not a nudist (naturist?) by any stretch of the imagination, but a more utilitarian sort of disrober.  I walk naked to the shower or to the basement to find clean laundry when the need arises.  I shower with the kids from time to time because that way I get to shower without worrying about the mayhem taking place outside of shower land.  In short, I don't drop trou as soon as I get home from the outside world, but it's not big whoop for the kidlets to see me in the buff.   It's led to some interesting discussions, arising from the odd nipple grab or similar occurrences - but these things I think are largely positive, because we can hammer home the issue that 1. everyone gets to say what happens to their own bodies, and 2. nudity does not equal a free-for-all.  I also think that setting a body-shame free example is the best possible way to encourage those values in our small-fry.   Moreover, nudity can sometimes allow for happier tots.  For example, I find that on those really awful tired days, hopping in the bath with small fry eager to play 'hair-dresser' and letting them shampoo, condition, dump water over my head and back comb to their hearts content can allow for up to 45 minutes of shut eye.  I kid you not.  I did it this very morning, after yet another crap night of 4-ish hours of sleep.  (And I actually nodded off, while having said 'quality time'.  Can't do that with your clothes on ;).  And post-bath, Boy-o has been playing in the buff for a good two hours.  Happily.  And Girlio's favourite daily tradition is streaking through the house post-evening bath shouting 'STREAKER'!!!  Beyond cute.  Much happiness.  And, I think it goes without saying that I have and will continue to teach them that skinny dipping is the best way to swim in a lake... :)

Now, of course, we aren't beyond setting nudity boundaries.  Boundaries are good.  Important, even.  No nudity in public (generally speaking), no nudity if it makes folks feel weird, the kids can't just through off the shackles of clothing in the local grocery store.   But overall - I don't care if the kids are naked, or if, in the right contexts, they see me naked.  Bodies are good.  Bodies aren't shameful, blah blah and all that jazz.
That's just how we roll. (You know, right now, when the kids are 2 and 4).  Of course there are times and will continue to be times when the kids will develop their own issues around nudity and their absolute right to privacy (a concept we've also tried very hard to instill), and times when we parentals draw lines around our own privacy.  All important things.

But, of course, not everyone feels this way.  Lots of people see bodies (all bodies) as sexual, private, etc.  To each their own, I guess.  But I think our families queerness adds a whole other dimension to the issue of parental (and probably kid) nudity.  Many folks would argue that it's damaging for kids to see parental nudity, and I would surmise that many more still would argue that it's problematic that our Boy-o sees only female nudity (other than his own, naturally), and that this will screw up his growing sense of himself as male, his sexuality, etc. etc.  Now - I think this is a load of poppycock, but it's certainly an ideas that's floating around out there.

And then there's the whole nakedness = sex and queers = oversexed.  In this context, my tots seeing my naked body becomes less about being comfortable in my own skin and more about having, well, perverse skin.  Think this is a an attitude of bygone eras?  Not so!  I have friends who, as recently as two years ago, were forced to write an extra addendum to their adoption application about their policy on parental nudity.  Straight couples are not required to write this addendum.  Queer couples are.  Barf-O-rama.

Anyhow.  I guess that's my take on nudity in the household.  Like the folks at Offbeat Mama, I am curious to know how other people deal with this sort of thing around their households...

1 comment:

  1. Interesting question. We're more private here, although it's not my original choice. My husband had a mom who was drunk about 90% of his life, and she bounced him around with her from man to man and place to place, and she didn't much care what was hanging out or who saw it, including any friend of his he was foolish enough to allow into his home.

    So it's HIS issue, and although I push the boundaries a little more, I understand why he's been that way and prefer to allow him that and respect it.

    The kids are older now, though. 18 and 24. They've developed their own idea of what's modest, and sometimes they're not. Very.

    He's okay with that.

    One of my best friends has an entire family who will run around with nothing on, they're all quite comfortable with it, but they do dress if someone comes over.