One of my favorite scenes in the movie Annie is the girls singing along with the radio. Even just writing about it makes me start singing, “You’re never fully dressed without a smile.” (Insert jazz hands.) Funnily enough, a smile is not what’s missing at my house. It’s most often the actual clothes.
Having a “naked house” isn’t something we chose consciously. While my husband grew up in a “fully dressed from head to toe” sort of household, I did not. My sisters and I, ran around the house in various states of undress on a regular basis. My dad and brother abstained, but my mother was on our side of the clothing line. Growing up, we weren’t allowed to bother my mom in the bathroom, but she would deal with us when she was changing. (Bless her, as a mother now I know that is not the best time to talk.) Mommy also didn’t hesitate to come out of her room undressed if she needed something from the laundry room or anywhere else. She didn’t act as if it was anything weird, and it didn’t phase us. It’s probably why we developed such a matter-of-fact approach to being au natural.
Practically, it makes sense to not always be buttoned up. Texas is HOT folks, and it gets hot inside my house. Especially if I’m simultaneously drying my hair and breaking up a fight about who gets to sit in the last seat for breakfast. Even during our two weeks of winter, who can get ready while wearing a sweater and jeans?! The last thing I want to do when applying makeup (okay, tinted moisturizer, but that COUNTS) is sweat it all off before I get out the door, not to mention getting my clothes all gross!
When my husband and I got married, I made myself right at home, with clothing optional. For awhile he seemed surprised, but he quickly became used to the fact that he may walk in the door and find me less than fully clad. Now he doesn’t even blink an eye. After the kids came, my feelings toward being dressed at home didn’t change. Breastfeeding twins actually led to less clothing. I constantly had a baby or pump attached to my body, so why bother putting something on if I was just going to have to take it off later?
Lucky for me, the boys seemed to be on my side. We started “naked baby time” pretty early on, letting the boys crawl around in their birthday suits after bath time. It helped their skin air dry and took care of a few diaper rashes. Swimsuits at the baby stage were only if we were at the public pool. The perk of wearing little clothing is that it creates less laundry — and I am still more than happy to make that trade. Number three joined our ranks, shortly after his arrival, and we’ve been a scantily clad group ever since!
It may seem strange to some, but rest assured that it feels very normal at our home. No one pays any attention if I am naked and I don’t notice if they are either. There is NOTHING wrong with being naked. It allows a level of comfort with our own bodies and occasionally sparks interesting questions which I am more than happy to answer. I want our children know what bodies look like and all the various parts’ accurate names. Comfort with your own body starts young and this is our way of fostering that in the boys.
For those of you wringing your hands over our lack of apparel, we do have boundaries.
- Clothing is only optional at home or while changing for swimming at the grandparents’ house. If there are other people around, then we go to another room to change clothes.
- We don’t sit on furniture (or the floor) without underwear.
- We don’t touch ourselves or other people’s private parts.
- We respect each other’s privacy.
Number four may seem counterintuitive, but occasionally one of the boys will go through a phase of changing clothes in their room, and we respect that. They have yet to have an issue with my nudity, but if they do, I will respect that as well. As in all things parenting, the decisions we make are constantly evolving and changing along with our children. I’m sure the day is coming that I will don a robe around the house like a respectable southern lady. But until then I’m going to enjoy the ability to dry my hair and dance around the house al fresco. I’d invite you to join me, but then I’d have to put some clothes on . . . .