Do not be ashamed. I think we have all done it. We never put that much thought into it. Our children are born and our lives go into survivor mode. We just want to bathe, so we bring the baby in their carrier just to be near us. We are trying to do the simple things, but our baby will only stop crying if they are near mommy.
They are getting older. They turn one. We are trying to get ready for the day. We are rushing to put our clothes on and their clothes on, walking around half-dressed. It becomes a habit that we don’t even think about. We are just doing what we can, trying to get out the door and to where we need to be on time. Most of us have been there.
Now, time has gone by, and they are age three. Is it appropriate for them to still be in the same room with us while we are changing? While we are in the bathroom?
What age do we tell them no?
This topic came up recently when my preschool-age son was in the bathroom with me. He came in the bathroom to ask mommy a question. I remember his dad asking me, “When will your son stop being in the bathroom with you?” The question really caught me off guard because I honestly did not think about it. I just stopped and asked myself “what age?”
I decided to think more about it and to start having “the talk” with my son.
This talk may be different for every family. For me, I focused on the issue of privacy. I was very consistent and firm and explained to my son why he cannot be in the room or bathroom if I’m getting dressed or taking a bath. He is still young, so I approached this situation very slowly and patiently with him. But even though he is young, I wanted to bring the topic up instead of surprising him one day telling him to “get out” when we never had that talk about respecting each other’s privacy. As our children get older, I want them to know that mommy respects their privacy just as they should respect my own.
It’s good that this question came up because now I can begin to look at other things that I might need to stop doing. Things that have just been a habit that I don’t even think about. These are things that we just do as moms to get through. This was my time to stop and make a change and, hopefully, at the age of ten, my son won’t be barging in on me unannounced.
I don’t share the same need for privacy I guess. My dad used to walk around in boxers and my mom still is naked around me after showers, while changing etc. There are many cultures around the world that family bathing and nudity is the norm though adulthood. I think it’s important to be open so that we can try to prevent the transfer of body shame. I’m proud that my body looks like my mothers, and that my daughter’s looks like mine at her age. I don’t think I should cover up, it leads to great discussions like why I have pubic hair and she doesn’t or why I have big boobs and she doesnt(she’s 3). Though I will admit I’d like to pee by myself.
I don’t see us every having a single instance of the Privacy discussion, just like I don’t plan on having a single Sex talk. I want to have consistent and gradual awareness, questions, and observation of privacy, modesty, sex, and navigation of self and relationships. I know my brother remember’s seeing my mother naked but it isn’t scaring or gross or perverted, It was just his mom, and she was changing or something. And he is very respectful of himself and his girlfriends as far as I can (or wish to) tell.
My son is 8 and he stills sees me naked all the time. If he comes into my room after I get out of the shower or when I am changing, I don’t scramble to cover myself. It is natural for him to see me undressed and I would rather his first images of a woman’s body be real, unaltered, and un-photoshopped.
My daughter is 8, and we’re both regularly naked around our house. It would be different if there were men/boys in our house, but it’s just us. I do request privacy while using the restroom, and we talk about personal space, respect, etc.. I think you’re right to just start having a conversation. It’s different for every family, and it’s probably different for each child in the same family. You’ll find a happy place that works for you.
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