At university, I earned the nickname Naked Vix – a moniker I still have today (if only on Twitter). It wasn’t for any outlandish exhibitionism, I hasten to add – but simply because, when I grew up, I was used to my family walking around naked, and went on to do the same in my halls of residence (admittedly in the privacy of my bedroom).
Nudity was normal when I was a child. My parents would stroll from the bathroom to the bedroom to get dressed, utterly unselfconscious. They didn’t hide the warts-and-all realities of post-baby bodies, or stretch marks, or what it means to grow older and increasingly silver-haired.
And I learned an important lesson – that it doesn’t matter what you look like because everyone has a body and it’s nothing to be ashamed of. That we’re all different. That we’re all beautiful.
It’s a lesson I’ve found myself mirroring to my kids in turn – they’re used to me wandering from the shower to their rooms to grab their school uniforms in the morning, before I’ve got dressed myself.
Sometimes I’ll skip downstairs to boil the kettle and put toast on for them, or to turn the heating on, still starkers (though I do the winter morning dash fast, because it’s... freezing).
I want them to realise – in an age where our children are watching TV shows like Love Island – that real bodies aren’t always perfect. That mine isn’t. And that that’s okay.
It’s an issue that’s fraught with contention, of course, much in the same way that David Beckham kissing his seven-year-old daughter, Harper, on the lips provoked a whole host of reactions, from outrage to support.
Right now in the US, a woman whose step-children witnessed her walking around topless at home is fighting a case that could force her to register as a sex offender (her husband who was also topless, has not been charged).
My own kids are just three and seven so perhaps their ‘body boundaries’ are different. They still take baths together, and happily run around afterwards without getting dressed.
When they’re a bit older and going through puberty, they may not want to do that anymore – and they may not want me to do it, either.
And if, or when, that time comes, then I’ll respect their wishes, even if it means putting on my dressing gown. Because other than trying to help them be body-confident, the most important thing I’m teaching my kids?