At this point in my parenting career, I'm pretty good at taking others' opinions in stride. Think cloth diapers and home schooling are the way to go? Fine. Neither are for me, but who cares?
But every so often, I kick myself for not addressing a remark more clearly (or at all). So, behind the shield of the Internet, consider exhibit A...
What? You shower with your son? Gross.
As a person with generous sebaceous glands and kids that wake before dawn, I was thrilled to discover I could kill two dirty birds with one stone by taking Gunnar into the shower with me during Annie's morning nap. To my delight, he wasn't afraid of the "rain," as we called it, and would happily practice washing his belly and arms and neck while I indulged in basic self-hygiene. I would have just enough time to clean and dress us both before the baby woke up.
Proud as punch to be able to leave the house without the signature baseball cap, I bragged about my feat to fellow moms. I never saw the flack coming.
One person gravely warned me about an experience she had staying at a friend's house, in which the friend's children unexpectedly joined her while she was sudsing up--because "they were used to showering with adults."
Caught off guard, I think I gave a lengthy nonsensical response.
What I wish I'd said:
Kids who barge in on house guests in the bathroom are just rude, not warped by family showering practices. I would not tolerate that kind of obnoxious behavior from my kids, so no need to worry about how we get clean.
Others seemed offput by the notion of a little boy seeing an adult woman's body. I likely changed the subject, thinking:
Our kids see us naked. So what? Nudity in your own home is not sexual unless you make it that way. If an infant can drink from my boob, why can't a toddler play with a washcloth beside me while I happen to be nude? Trust me, I'll be thrilled when both of us can bathe alone.
As a kid old enough to remember, I accompanied my mom in Marshall's changing rooms and spied my dad peeing with the door open. I asked questions and got short but accurate answers. When I was nine, they gave me a copy of some children's anatomy book from the '70s, let me read it on my own, and made themselves available for questions. Seemed reasonable at the time and still does. I think I turned out okay.
But what do you think? Is changing clothes, peeing, or showering in front of your kids a big deal? Does age matter? Does the gender of the parent or child matter? How do you field your kids' questions about bodies--theirs or yours?