If you had a “naked mom,” you probably remember talking regularly and naturally about period products while sitting on the side of the tub. You also probably remember boobs flying around while she hastily dried her hair for church or work. In each instance, you likely never judged that body. She was your mama: beautiful, strong, and comforting. But that doesn’t mean your mom wasn’t scrutinizing herself — and one TikToker has a gentle message for those of us who may be doing the same now that we’re mothers, too.
“When I was a kid, I would see my mom naked,” says Renee Benes in a recent post to TikTok. “She would be getting ready in the morning, like drying her hair or whatever, and she would just be in her full-on birthday suit. And if she would catch me looking at her, she could go, ‘Take care of yourself so you don’t end up looking like this.’ To this day, she makes fun of it, kinda laughs, and says, ‘That’s why you’re in such good shape. ‘Cause I told you to take care of yourself.'”
And one thing is certain: That negative self-talk did make a lasting impression on Benes.
“Here’s what she doesn’t know, and here’s something I want all moms to know,” starts Benes. “It’s that even though my mom had the full-on mom body, and even though it looked way different from mine — and there were the stretch marks, and there were the wrinkles, and there was the softness — no part of me ever looked at her body in a negative way until she made me think I should.”
Let that sink in for a minute.
“No part of me ever looked at her body in a negative way until she made me think I should.”
In other words, we teach our kids to judge their bodies by letting them hear us judge ours. The best thing a “naked mom” (or any parent) can do for their kids is to show them what self-love and self-care looks like. Want to raise a kind kid who loves their body and doesn’t constantly critique their own looks? Let them hear you talk about the magnificent things your body has done or can do.
After all, we all have bodies. And what better way to normalize what a body might look like than letting your kid see your naked body in all its glory? Being a naked mom can be healthy because of the lessons your kids can glean from seeing a regular body in a regular setting (versus seeing celebrity bodies in highly edited and filtered settings).
Sadly, many of us tend to share negative self-talk with our kids. Even moms who are wildly protective of their children and would come for anyone who comments on their child’s body seem to have no problem dragging themselves in the presence of their kid.
Granted, being kind to your body, naked or not, is often easier said than done — a fact underscored by many moms commenting on Benes’ video.
“My 6-year-old talks about how soft I am all the time, and it takes everything in me to see it as the compliment he sees it as,” admitted one.
Another heartbreakingly confessed, “I’m so conditioned to hate my body; it’s all I’ve ever known! Now I have a daughter, I’m trying my hardest to stop, but it’s hard! 💔”
As Benes’ story proves, though, the way we talk about our bodies around our kids can teach them to dislike their (and other) bodies and hold them to unrealistic standards.
“Mamas, our babies think we are beautiful,” Benes reminds the world. “I know it’s hard, but when we put ourselves down, we also are putting down any future version of them that might look like we do.”
One commenter agreed, reinforcing the power of practicing positive self-talk. “I heard someone on here say, ‘They’re going to grow up hearing they look like you, so you have to call yourself beautiful too,’ and I absolutely ❤️ that,” wrote @mus1kg33k.