Why My Boys Don’t Need to See Me Naked

Did you see this floating around the interspaces?

Rita Templeton and her adorable brood.

Rita Templeton and her adorable brood.

Did you marvel at the loveliness of this honest, conscientious, nice lady who wants her four little boys to be accustomed to a “real” body before they are inundated with perky cantaloupe boobs and thigh gaps? Did you applaud her and share her article and feel a tinge of guilt that you aren’t quite broadminded enough to use your own baby-ravaged body as an edifying tool?

Not me. I recoiled faster than my deflating pocket hose.

The message to her bathroom-barging boys is a good one, but the language saddened me. Look at her in the photo, surrounded by adorably healthy children she clearly adores and enjoys. This woman–this goddess who birthed four times and still has the energy to pen ten paragraphs about raising them to appreciate women kindly–she can only describe her own body with a jumble of smushes and jiggles and marks and sags and flab. By her own admission, she is lying through her teeth to fake a positive body image. And then, even though she is “dismayed” by her post-baby body, she’s putting it on display for some sort of greater good? Blech. I couldn’t read this without fantasizing about a warm, thick terry robe and doors that lock.

Me, I don’t give a shit about ensuring her boys will become sensitive men who shun silicone or tolerate ass dimples. Whatever, little dudes, you’re going to see movies and find dad’s Playboys and meet TriDelts and develop your own ideas of Beauty no matter how many times you’ve seen mommy poo or reposition a leaky breast. What I want is for your mom to know she’s stunning, to feel it in her bones, to own it in her sometimes-too-squeezy jeans. And I want her to know it NOW. No more stretch mark explanations and false bravado. Kids smell phoniness more keenly than sharks in chummy water. A far more challenging task than feigning pride in our muffin tops is to assert an honest confidence… which, for me, would be impossible to attain while allowing an incessant, pinching reminder of my jiggly bits by chubby little fingers.

Gorgeous Mommy has earned her privacy. Beautiful, lively, full-of-love and giver-of-life Mommy also deserves her right to modesty. If that is what she chooses, of course. I marvel at any number of Naked Families who don’t mind open doors and full frontal-ness. But these homey nudists seem comfier than Rita, who eschews personal boundaries to personally champion the ptotic breast and poochy belly so that her sons won’t be duped by Photoshop someday.

My dear friend Nicole has four children, too. They’re girls. When they tumble out of her minivan and skip into my house, they transform it into a bouncier place peppered with songs and stories and hair and accessories and tears and cheers and dancing. All of them are psychically–and often physically– tethered to their goddess mommy whose actual body is still their safe place, their re-charging station, their home. I hope her girls overheard her when she dropped this gem:

“Ugh. Aren’t we just too old to not know we’re awesome?”

At the time she was probably exasperated with the petty grumblings of a perfectly perfect mom who wasn’t feeling up to snuff. Nicole’s children (and her lucky, lucky friends) are privy to this sort of confidence that hails from deeper places and has a much stronger effect than an exposed belly roll flapping over a c-section scar.

For me, there was something sort of demeaning–something that made The Goddess Mommy somehow lesser—in her exposure. Certainly, Rita handles it well, and it’s easy for the reader to imagine the cacophony of cuteness that surrounds her every day. I already like her so much, I want to peel the small boys off of her, send them outside, pour this gal a Prosecco, and remind her she’s awesome. And because she’s awesome, her boys will be, too. And they’ll turn out that way without seeing all of her bits and pieces.

My boys know I’m off limits behind a closed door… and I protected my privacy long before my body was transformed into a different shape plumped with silicone and marred with scars. I still look great naked, and the only one who is granted the privilege of audience is Bernie. The kind of beauty I want my little boys to appreciate right now is that of a girl with great posture in a pretty dress, a young woman who would rather swim than maintain her perfect ponytail, a mom who respects her body enough to protect its exposure (if that is what she honestly would prefer), a lady who knows she’s awesome.

Me and my little guys (photo cred: http://drewkids.com)

Me and my little guys (photo cred: http://drewkids.com)






24 responses

    • So did my 10 and 11 year old sons. They were NOT fans of the Naked Mommy. And my older son wondering why they “wouldn’t get to make their own judgements” about beauty.

      • Hoho – very astute young man you have there Britt. I love it. Why should parents get to determine what their children view as beautiful? Nice shot – your young ‘un is going to grow into a force to be reckoned with. They are certainly on the right track when call their mother “Cinderella”. Wouldn’t you agree Britt?

        • You betcha. Actually, the little one joked, “… depends on what the mom looks like!” when I told them about the article. He was JOKING, of course. But it did bring to mind the corollary argument to Mrs. Templeton’s stance. If we’re to immunize our small boys to flawed bodies, what is Kate Upton to do?

  1. I think this is an admirable stand here Britt. I started my modesty campaign with my son as soon as he was old enough to say, “Look at mommy’s butt!!!” I don’t really think I thought much of my nakedness before then. While I’m not convinced that seeing a naked woman is going to scar her boys for life, I am curious about the effect it will have on their sexuality thoughts later on in life after constantly seeing their mother naked. I’d love to see a follow up post from her in about ten years. Maybe you should challenge her… If you don’t I will. 😉

    • I do think whatever is “normal” in your home is “normal” for the kiddos. My boys wouldn’t want to see me naked because that would be weird. But the idea that we can somehow impart a different idea of beauty on our boys through exposure of our own perceived imperfections… well, I’m not buying it. Our boys should only see us in our Goddess Mommy splendor! Some moms can do that naked. I cannot.

  2. Yeah… But no. My son stopped seeing me in the nuddy many years ago. My daughters and I may get changed together at the swimming pool or something but not otherwise and they would be absolutely aghast at seeing Daddy nude. It’s not appropriate, not even if I had the most ‘perfect’ body. But I’m far more concerned about my kids seeing pictures of scantily clad women on the front pages of magazines in shops and supermarkets – *that’s* the issue that needs to be addressed, not the other way round. Talking to our kids about this crazy world is what parents need to do, being honest with them. It’s too dangerous not to!
    Good post, may I say.

    • Thank you, Sandy! And the “perfection” of our bodies has no bearing on the argument, right? It’s like that ridiculously catchy summer song all about the bass: every inch of you is perfect blah blah blah. And if you know that, and feel that, and live that— THAT is what your little boys will learn is Beauty. Alternatively, I’m vain and delusional and my boys are destined to desire lofty orbs of silicone. Thanks for reading, sweet girl.

  3. For all of you who weren’t lucky enough to know Britt in her formative years and are wondering if she managed all this amazing confidence back in the day, she did. What’s more, she insisted that all the rest if us were fabulous too. Whine about whether or not a boy was interested and Britt’s reply was generally, “you’re awesome, you have boobs, of course he’s interested”. I walk around naked a lot, not for the education of my little ones, but because I’m too lazy to put on a shirt before I run down to the laundry room. But I owe a lot of the confidence of my teens and twenties to Britt. Because she showed me how.

  4. Excellent post Britt! So well written. I half expected to see an old pic of your mom at the end with you and Paige and Patrick jumping all over her. She is the epitome of beauty and confidence… And great posture.

    • Mom is All Things Pretty. And although she has always been quick to hug, she would never have tolerated us jumping all over her. It might mess up her hair. Thanks for sharing these little musings. Lots of traffic over here today as parents weigh in on their nakedness! xoxo

  5. I agree with you. I feel that home should be a preparation for life, and in the society we live in, we don’t all walk around naked, and we learn to respect that people need some privacy. There are boundaries in life, and where are they going to learn them if not at home? I was laughing a little in the article when she said something about it being ok for her boys to squeeze her flab and ask about it, and I just thought – well that’s going to go down well later in life if they’re taught it’s ok to do that to woman!

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