The human body is a beautiful thing — so why hide it?
I have no qualms walking around in the buff in front of my daughters. And they do the same with me. We even take showers together if we're pressed for time. My girls are now 14 and 11, but we've taken baths together since they were born.
I was raised in Spain, a country where nudity in beaches and pools is normal. But this doesn't mean we'd do it just anywhere.
Now that we're a blended family and because we live in the U.S., I tell my girls to cover up when walking around the house and, of course, I do the same. (There is such a thing as common sense.)
If I were with my father-in-law or with my husband's employer, of course I'd wear a top. Otherwise, I'm happy to report my girls and I are comfortable enough with our bodies that, given the chance, we'll quickly undress and enjoy a wonderful sense of freedom.
If we had the chance to lounge around in a beach in Europe, we'd be quite comfortable going topless. Heck, I even sleep naked if I can.
In Spain you can see toddlers running around the beach naked and nobody bats an eye. Girls don't wear bikini tops until they really need to for support, and maybe not even then.
Are there oglers and rapists behind a bush ready to pounce? Well no, not really. I'm sure men look but when there are so many breasts to gaze at, it's just not that big of a deal.
The human body is a beautiful thing, and yes, there's a time and place for everything. But breastfeeding in public or baring your breasts at the beach doesn't need to be sexualized. In Scandinavia, families hang out together naked in the sauna or the jacuzzi.
My eldest was very aware of this difference between Spain and the United States even as a little girl. So up until she started puberty, she wore her hair in a bob and went to the beach or the pool wearing boy's swimming trunks.
Most of the time she'd be mistaken for a boy, but sometimes people asked. I would say, "Yeah, she's a girl."
She was, of course, as flat-chested as a boy. This whole deal of wearing swimming trunks came about after she was told at 4 years old to wear a top at a public pool — at four years old!
I remember asking the pool manager why my daughter had to cover up because she didn't even have breasts. He said it was a rule. Well, unless you find a way around it, when in Rome ...
I'm glad my daughter did find a way around it: boy's swimming trunks. And for that, I'm proud of her.
Lorraine C. Ladish is the bilingual author of 17 books, writer, editor, speaker & social media maven. Founder and CEO of Viva Fifty! a bilingual community that celebrates being 50+. Before this she was Editor-in-Chief of Mamiverse.com, the award-winning online hub for Latina moms. She's contributed to People en Español, La Palma of The Palm Beach Post, NBC Latino, Babycenter, Redbook & Huffington Post. Read her Babycenter posts here.
This article was originally published at espanol.babycenter.com. Reprinted with permission from the author.