A recent Dear Abby column had a letter under the title of "Mom Lets It All Hang Out in Front of Grown Sons." COVERED UP IN THE MIDWEST wrote...
I am 30 and my husband, "Brent," is 35. We have had some financial troubles lately and recently had to move in with my mother-in-law.
So her MIL is doing her a favor.
My question is, how old should a child be before his mother quits walking around naked in front of him?
There isn't really a "should." Some people, some families are naturists or nudists and even some who aren't prefer to be nude at least some of the time in their own home.
My mother-in-law still walks around completely nude in front of Brent and his 39-year-old brother.
Is there a problem? Is she in better shape than the letter writer?
Although she is in good health, she always seems to need Brent's help getting in and out of the shower.
There could be any number of things going on:
1) Even though she appears to be in "good health" she has some trouble getting in and out of the shower. Many people do, and many people are injured getting in and out of the shower.
2) Maybe she wants to talk with her son alone and it is the only chance she gets, other than inviting him into the bathroom when she urinates or defecates. Would the letter writer prefer that?
3) Something else.
4) Brent and his mother have some sexually affectionate moments around her showers (which seems unlikely), or mom wants that.
She also parades nude in front of me, and it makes me very uncomfortable.Parades? The letter writer can move.
I have talked to Brent about it a few times, and he said she's been this way his whole life.
So she isn't doing it to bother the letter writer, and even though she's been that way all along, Brent married the letter writer, who doesn't seem to have any complaints about Brent. So what's the actual problem?
Is this normal behavior?
Normal for some.
Am I overreacting?
I have a daughter, and I don't get naked in front of her.
How do I approach this without causing hurt feelings?There's nothing to approach with her. If the letter writer wants to talk with her husband about what he may actually be doing with his mother, she should.
Dear Abby responded...
Because her nudity makes you uncomfortable, the most tactful way to approach this would be for Brent to explain to his mother that you were not raised this way, and that you both would appreciate it if she'd wear a robe when you're around. It's worth a try.
At that point, the mother-in-law has every right to say "no."
There are many comments left after the column, some expressing their disgust with the mother-in-law, some calling her an exhibitionist, and some defending her.
It's sad that some people are so uptight about other people being nude in their own homes. It is also sad that anti-consanguinamorous sentiments would cause people to dislike it and get suspicious about it when family members help each other.
Yes, the worst case scenario in this case is that Brent and his mother have a bit of an affair going on, violating his agreements with his wife. The odds of that are slim, though, I think. They probably would have been a little more discrete.