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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The Truth About Birthdays


Pinterest is a fantasy world, in case you haven’t noticed. For the heck of it, I looked up ‘baby first birthdays’ (check it out for yourself) and looked through the pins that showed up. And I almost laughed out loud. Elizabeth’s first birthday looked NOTHING like these elegant, magazine-glossy affairs.

I had planned a simple, laid-back day with snuggles and cuddles and reflections on the past year, to be culminated with an afternoon nap to be fresh and ready for a family dinner at Johnny Carino’s that night. Yeah, that is NOT what happened. The morning was filled with errands, what should have taken perhaps two hours, took four, there was no nap when we got home, there were presents to wrap amidst amusing a rightfully sleepy baby. Then it was bathtime and getting ready time. The birthday girl did NOT want to get dressed, comb her hair, etc. Mommy ran through three outfits before she found one that she didn’t feel ridiculous in. Once we got everything packed and loaded up, including Elizabeth, we were fifteen minutes late leaving the house for dinner. She wasn’t happy being back in the car, naturally, and the rush hour traffic had begun. Even my husband beat us to the restaurant, coming from work, and he works about an hour away.

When we got to the restaurant, Ben took Elizabeth inside while I got the stuff out of the car. Naturally, as I’m getting out of the car, I drop her birthday presents. On the ground. In the mud. I could have cried right then and there, as I could have at many points that day. My mother handed me some tissues and I brushed them off as best I could. We got inside and found out that some family friends who had come had to leave at 6pm (it was almost five). We got Elizabeth situated and our drink orders placed (our server was patient and wonderful, thank you!). When Elizabeth’s milk came, I overfilled her sippy cup so when I went to screw on the lid, milk shot up into the air, only splishing her rather than soaking. Her bag got most of the wet. I sat there and just covered my face, again almost crying. Throughout dinner, Ben and I fed Elizabeth lots of bread and bites off our plates, though I know that she wasn’t getting as much food as she might normally. But she really seemed to like the bread and the milk at least.  Elizabeth suddenly decided that she had had enough of being in her high chair so I managed to free her and give her to our friends so they could cuddle her. They soon had to get ready to go so I had to rush along opening her presents from them, singing happy birthday and giving Elizabeth her birthday cupcake (we didn’t bother lighting it).

And there was my moment: watching Elizabeth stick her fingers in the frosting and eat bites of the cupcake as well as tasting her fingers. For a few minutes, I got to sit there and tape my girl and watch her enjoy her cupcake and frosting, eating far more daintily than I think I have ever seen a one year old eat cake. She did try to smoosh it towards the end but there was no huge mess.

On the whole, the day was not the best. I felt a great deal like a failure as a mommy, weary as a woman, and a shadow of a person, run off my feet and brain-weary. It was a ‘the universe hates me’ sort of day. But there was that moment and that moment made all the difference.

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