Why I Walk Around Naked


11150479_630544590414714_184724744336153178_nI frequently walk around the house naked. I know. Big deal, right? Well, for me, it has become quite a big deal. First things first, though: cards on the table. I am 32 years old, a wife of almost a decade, and the mother of a rambunctious two-year-old girl (remember her, she’s the lynchpin here). I am 5’1 and my weight is currently hovering at 135 lbs. Is my body perfect? No. It’s why I work out at home just about every day, try to eat better than I have in the past, and hit Planet Fitness with a friend a few times a week to run and strength train on the weight machines. No, my body isn’t perfect, but it’s healthy and getting stronger as I continue to work. More importantly than even that, I have a daughter to whom I want to teach a positive body image and comfort, as well as healthy habits. I want my girl to grow up at ease with herself, to find her body strong and capable, to find herself beautiful. Who will she learn that from but me? Whose voice will battle all the others that will bombard her from society, television, movies, toys, etc.? Mine. Mine is the voice she hears all day. Mine is the body she sees working, playing, exercising. Mine are the reactions and self-talk she will learn from. Therefore, accepting, working on, and speaking kindly to myself are not only for me for but for my Elizabeth as well.

Not too long ago, I watched a video from my belly dance class that my teacher had posted in the class’s Facebook group. We were drilling portions of choreography and my posture was wrong, terrible even. And I told my husband:

“I hate the way I look in this video! I look like I’m still pregnant!”

I immediately regretted and kicked myself for the unkind statement, as Elizabeth was sitting nearby playing with her toys. I maintain that, though she’s only two, she understands everything that is said to and around her. So I have to check the negative self-talk, both inner and outer. If I want my daughter to learn to accept herself, love herself, and see the beauty in every curve, line, and angle of her unique body, I have to do the same. She won’t learn or develop a sense of body comfort if she hears me constantly bad-mouthing my own body. My unique, maddening, triumphant body.

So I walk around the house naked, and I let Elizabeth run around in her diaper, especially now that the weather is warm again. Together, we work on her learning that everyone has a body beneath their clothes and that it is nothing to be feared but everything to be respected and appreciated. At the same time, I am working on my own comfort level with being naked around her and explaining the differences between my body and hers, even at her young age.

“Yes, those are Mommy’s breasts; some mommies feed their babies that way. Yes, you have nipples, too.”

We teach our children to name the parts of their faces, their arms, legs, fingers, toes, and tummy as a necessary benchmark of their development, but I think that it is also important for children to see, from their parents, what those bodies will look like as they grow. I want to be comfortable enough with my daughter and her with me that she can ask me questions about my body and her own as she grows older. I want her to see her body as beautiful, no matter what the voices around her might say. She is strong and brilliant, energetic and curious. I want her mind and body to exist and work together, not against each other.

When I was a girl, I marveled at my mother’s waist. She had a stunning curve to her waist that her A-line dresses gorgeously accentuated. I would trace my hands over her silhouette and hope to be as lovely as her when I grew. When she’d let her hair down, I would hold its weight in my hands and stand in awe. I saw my mother’s beauty, even when she couldn’t, but I struggled for a long time to find my own. I would dearly love to protect my daughter from that uncertainty and for her to always be assured of her unique loveliness and brilliance. Even better if she will then, in turn, remind others of their own.

So I stand naked before the mirror, deny the negative self-talk, and call myself beautiful. My little girl comes to stand beside me, as tall as my thigh, and leans smiling against my leg. I hug her close and call her beautiful, and, somewhere in that little child brain full of all things new and amazing, I think that she thinks so, too.

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Hold On


From a Mother to her Daughter:

“Home” by Phillip Phillips

Hold on, to me as we go
As we roll down this unfamiliar road
And although this wave is stringing us along
Just know you’re not alone
Cause I’m going to make this place your home

Settle down, it’ll all be clear
Don’t pay no mind to the demons
They fill you with fear
The trouble it might drag you down
If you get lost, you can always be found

Just know you’re not alone
Cause I’m going to make this place your home

Settle down, it’ll all be clear
Don’t pay no mind to the demons
They fill you with fear
The trouble it might drag you down
If you get lost, you can always be found

Just know you’re not alone
Cause I’m going to make this place your home

= = = =

1/14/13 – And because I took it today and found it gorgeous, here’s a pic of baby girl and Daddy. hold on to daddy

Time Marches On


Today is the first day of September. A little hard to believe that summer flew by so quickly and that I have already been back at work for almost a month now. It’s been a bit stressful, a new batch of kids, but, at the same time, I am looking ahead and forward to the end of the semester, to when I can finally meet my little girl. I won’t lie, the thought of labor and giving birth (vaginally or c-section) frightens me. I’ve always been afraid of pain, though I suck it up when I have to. It doesn’t stop me from crying when it happens. I worry about not being strong enough to do what I need to do to birth my child, even though – yes, I know – mothers have been doing this since the beginning of time and we have seven billion people on this planet to prove it. Still, that doesn’t stop the fear entirely. But that’s a whole other rant entirely.

I am doing my best to enjoy these moments of closeness with Elizabeth, feeling her move around inside me, kick and stretch and root. Last night, she was quite active as I laid down to go to sleep and turned over on my side; it felt like she was trying to walk or something. So I hummed to her. I hummed “Baby Mine” and, by the time, I finished the song, she had settled down and I could fall asleep. I have a list of lullabies that I have begun compiling for our little girl, songs that I want to resonate in her heart forever, sung by both me and her daddy.

My mother used to sing “Jesus Loves Me” to me, starting every night since I was born prematurely and in an incubator at a hospital in Miami. And, to this day at the age of 29, hearing that song still makes me cry and want my Marmee. I want my daughter to long for me when she gets older, to remember that I was there to sing to her, cuddle her, comfort her, sort out her thoughts and put her heart back in order when needed. I want my daughter to think of me when she’s ill and want me to be there to soothe her and take care of her. I want her to miss me when we are apart, more and more each time we part, just as I do my Marmee. I want my Elizabeth to know that I love her and am always there for her, no matter what.

And to think, for me, all of that began with a lullaby.