This morning, on my browse through social media, I came accross a post that shames parents for bathing with their child.
I have bathed with N since he was born. I get undressed in front of him and I often walk about naked in front of him. How long will I do it for? Until he’s uncomfortable I suppose. I’m not sure what I’m inflicting on him other than I am not embarrassed or afraid to show my true self to him.
My mum and I have always had a close relationship in the fact that we would share baths together. In fact, some of my fondest memories are of me sitting in front of her whilst she shampooed and conditioned my long hair and washed my back for me. With my mum being so open with her body to me, I learned about puberty and menstrual cycles without embarrassment at what most would consider a young age. My mum didn’t hide or change the subject when I asked her questions about where babies come from, why ladies bleed down there and why she had breasts and I didn’t.
It helped me take ownership of my body. I was informed and prepared for what would come when I began puberty. I wasn’t afraid to tell her when it was sore downstairs. I was comfortable with my body, and I still am. Even now, I’m more than comfortable to get undressed in front of her, and talk about things that ladies talk about.
Maybe it’s different for boys, I don’t know. So, when exactly is the right time for me to not be naked in front of my child? And why is there such a stigma around it? Surely N seeing Daddy and I naked will help him distinguish the difference between men and women, and allow him to open up to us about his own body. I’m not sure if it’s because of the media bringing child abuse situations to light… But are we too quick to cover ourselves up for fear of scarring our children?
Whilst we are on the subject, what do you call your privates to your children? We’re a big fan of willy here in the Tepid Tea house. Again, I have learned that children of about 5 years old will be having watered down sexual education on what to call their private parts. I’m just not sure if I’m okay with saying to N ;”now then darling, I just need to wipe the excrement from your testicals and penis”. But, saying that, it would be so much easier to catch potential abusers when a child confides. If a child says “they touched my moomoo or my doodah” that could mean anything. If they say “they touched my breasts, vagina/penis” there’s more of a chance that the potential abuser will be prosecuted (thrown into prison and the key thrown away).
It’s so sad for me, to feel that it’s wrong for me to show the beauty of the human body to my child and educate him on it in a private and safe environment. But, that’s society for you, and I’ll do anything to keep him safe.