These are my pyjamas. I have various pairs that look something like this and I love them. They are so warm and cosy, especially now winter is setting in. For the summer, I have pyjama shorts and vest tops. I have two silk negligees somewhere in the depths of my wardrobe but with three children under five, I couldn’t tell you the last time I wore them. And they always annoy me by riding up to my waist in the night, anyway.
I presumed this was the kind of attire all my mum friends wore to bed. So you can imagine my shock when two friends recently admitted they and their husbands sleep naked. Now, I’m no prude. Pre-children, of course there were nights I wore nothing to bed.
These days, my children regularly see me in the shower and using the bathroom. I want them to know what normal human bodies look like, rather than the airbrushed versions you see in magazines. I know everyone has different opinions on what level of nudity is appropriate in a family. I know people who won’t let their toddler children see them in the shower, and other friends who were still happy to walk around naked in front of their parents and siblings in their teenage years. Both of those are too extreme, if you ask me.
I love my children’s inhibitions and total ease and acceptance of their bodies but I figure there will come a time when they naturally start asking for more privacy and when it does, I’ll respect that and practice appropriate boundaries.
And for me, that includes not sleeping in the nude when my children are in the house.
Some of the mums I know who sleep nude have children close to secondary school age. They didn’t quite know how to answer my question about what they do if their child comes into their room in the middle of the night because they feel sick or have had a nightmare. You might have a knock-before-entering rule in your house, which you think will give you time to cover up, but etiquette goes out the window when children are ill or scared.
Some of my friends are completely fine with nudity in the family. ‘I’m a bit of a naturist at heart,’ says one mum friend. ‘If my son (currently a baby) is fine walking in on me in the bathroom when he’s 12 then that’s fine with me.’
And I think that’s a key point. Just because you are happy with your child seeing you sleeping nude, it doesn’t necessarily mean your child feels the same, especially as they get older. A couple of my girlfriends tell me they are still traumatised after bumping into naked parents in the night when they were teenagers.
Regardless of your preferred bedtime attire, and your stance on nudity within a family, surely children need to understand that it’s etiquette to put on nightwear if you have guests or are staying at someone else’s house?
My friend Liz, a mum of two, was mortified when she bumped into her brother – a married father of two who always sleeps naked – in the middle of the night while staying at his house recently. Both she and her brother had come out of their bedrooms at the same time after hearing a child’s cry and being unsure as to who it was. “He covered his bits and ran into my niece’s room,” she says.
“Don’t get me wrong,” she continues. “I have no problem with my kids seeing me naked in the shower and I have no privacy in the toilet, but I wouldn’t want them to necessarily know I’m in bed in the buff!”
Another friend, mum of two Becky, tells me she has another simple reason why she no longer sleeps naked. “In my old age,” she says (she’s in her mid-30s), “I feel the cold too much!”
What about you? What do you wear to bed? Do you think you should cover up at night if you have children or guests staying? I’d love to know your thoughts.
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