The Picture I Hesitate to Publish

Lord knows that I am not the type to hold back from sharing “sensitive” photos. I got more than a little kickback the time I shared my “real motherhood” photo because it featured a hugely engorged breast exposed to my three kids. Apparently that was an unacceptable thing, despite the fact that I was exhausted from breastfeeding at the time. I didn’t let it bother me.

Last summer, I shared photos of myself in a bikini, trying to reiterate the importance of exposing my three boys to different body types. The reception was overwhelmingly positive, but again I was lambasted by a small minority who thought it was inappropriate and attention-seeking. I ignored those people, too.

Now that 2017 is here, I teamed up with a friend from the UK to start a photo project, whereby we’d share a family photo every single day for a year. Neither of us has enough photos of each of our families, so we wanted to try and fix that. Our project is called #FamilyPicADay2017 (feel free to join in!), and we are sharing photos on Instagram and Facebook.

#FamilyPicADay2017 - Family photos every day of 2017

#FamilyPicADay2017 - Family photos every day of 2017

Remembering to snap a whole family photo each day is difficult, I’ll be honest! Sometimes it gets to the end of the evening, and we’re putting kids to bed, and I finally remember. We’re only a week into the year, and I’ve already stressed out a bit. But mostly, it’s been really awesome. I’ve taken more family photos in the last week than I probably have in the last year! That’s worth the price of admission right there!

#FamilyPicADay2017 - Family photos every day of 2017

#FamilyPicADay2017 - Family photos every day of 2017

We’ve discussed what to do about taking pictures when Mark or I is out of town. Both of us travel a lot for work, but this project is a priority. So our plan (which we actually have to put into action tomorrow as Mark is away for much of this week!) is to facetime or skype and then take a screenshot. We’ll all technically be in the picture, though it won’t be a traditional photograph.

#FamilyPicADay2017 - Family photos every day of 2017

#FamilyPicADay2017 - Family photos every day of 2017

We’ve managed to catch several candid photos in the last week. Some of them have funny stories to go with them, and some are just getting the job done.

#FamilyPicADay2017 - Family photos every day of 2017

But today, I have suddenly been presented with a conflict. Our family photo today is definitely non-traditional. At the time it was taken, I gave no thought to it – I just thought it was a fun photo that would depict a sweet moment between the five of us. But a few hours later, I suddenly started having doubts. The photo in question… is of a family bath.

#FamilyPicADay2017 - Family photos every day of 2017

You may remember a couple of years ago when Perez Hilton made headlines for sharing a photo of himself bathing with his kid. He was called out for child abuse, accused of being a child molester, and it was insinuated that his child would grow up gay. I was shocked by the outrage over this sweet photo. Until I remembered back in 2013 when I posted an instagram photo of my husband showering with our then-baby boy. The baby laid gently on his shoulder, half asleep, as the water sprayed them both gently. My husband hugged him, covering his cute little butt, and nothing untoward was shown. However, the photo was reported and instagram removed it. I was shocked and saddened. So when Perez Hilton was demonized for a natural parent/child moment, I couldn’t really be too surprised.

The Washington Post published an article later that year by a mom who insisted it was perfectly normal to bathe with your children. She discussed body shame, desexualizing nudity and more. Once again, many of the comments were in disagreement, trying to shame her for nudity and seeing something wrong with bathing with children.

PopSugar Moms published an article last year entitled Showering With Your Child: When You Should Stop. Instead of offering an actual recommendation, they simply offered four viewpoints and left it up to the reader. However, I do agree with them that there WILL eventually come a point when it is no longer appropriate to bathe with kids. If I was to become uncomfortable, or my kids didn’t want to do it, then there would be an immediate cessation. But right now, I can’t take a bath without my kids running into the bathroom and begging to join in. As annoying as it can sometimes be, I cherish the fact that they want to be with me.

Being totally honest, it’s really rather rare that I actually allow them to come into the tub with me. Generally, I prefer the alone time. I send them back out of the room and yell at Mark to entertain them so I can have my short respite. And in actuality, I can count on one hand the amount of times we have EVER bathed together with all of us in the tub. In fact, I think the grand total is 2, including today. It’s just not something we really do. But it happened today, and we captured a photo, and I was pretty tickled about it.

But now… now I hesitate. The photo is totally innocent. Smiling faces with bodies hidden by a foamy layer of bubbles. There is nothing obscene or untoward about the photo itself. But the underlying message behind it will be “they are all naked together.” Some people can’t help but sexualize that. And I kind of understand. It’s hard for some folks to separate. There are some who won’t breastfeed for the same reason. Modesty is ingrained in some people, and that is fine. They can look away – choose to avert their eyes. But my goal in sharing it is to normalize the idea. It is okay to bathe with your children. Nudity is not equivalent to sensuality. And basically… if you don’t want to do it, don’t. If you don’t want to look at it, don’t. If you feel like it’s your duty to say something condemning… don’t.

We all come into this world naked, and we are completely innocent, after all.


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Katie Reed

Katie Reed

Katie Reed is a 38 year old mom blogger from Salt Lake City, UT. She is married to the man of her dreams and together they have four beautiful boys. Dexter is 9, Daniel is 7, Chester is 5 and Wilder is 2. She writes about living with mental health issues while navigating motherhood. Her blog focuses on tips and tricks for moms, information and parenting news, kid-friendly recipes and crafts. She loves to reflect on the humorous side of parenthood and shares the reality of her life, with a "warts and all" attitude.

23 Responses

    1. OH. MY. GOD! Are you serious with this comment?? Her kids will be RAPISTS because they bathed with her?? You are insane!

  1. Beautiful! Nothing wrong at all with bathing with kids! They are so little and don’t have any clue that there could be anything wrong! Enjoy it while you can!

  2. Sure. There’s nothing wrong with you taking a bath with your kids. But why the hell would you publish photos of it? Attention seeking and really rather disgusting to use your kids for fame. I’m so tired of seeing blogs like this.

    1. Maybe because she is trying to NORMALIZE the idea?? The photo doesn’t show anything it shouldn’t. And look at the conversation it started! We NEED people to normalize this!

  3. Grow up to be rapists. What a small minded pratt. (The comment above) whats wrong with this… the answer is nothing. My kids are 2 and 5 and they see me naked all the time. Katie dont let the comments affect you. Love the pic, love you, love your family and love all your pics so far!! Some people are just so ignorant. Xxxx seriously though who thinks kids grow up to be rapists because they bathe with their parents!! Get a life!!!

  4. What I find disgusting is you AND your husband being in there with them. One or the other could be acceptable but both is making it sexual. How will you explain to them why mommy doesn’t have a dangle? They are going to put it together and figure out sex before they should know anything about it. And you don’t know what they will do in private! It is disgraceful. You are opening yourself up to making them turn into sex crazy deviants and that will scar them and tar them with the wrong brush. There is a pornography epidemic in this world and this is why! You give them access to nude men and women and they’re imaginations run wild! Suddently they are trying on satisfy themselves and watching pornography instead of going to school. You seem like a good mother but you haven’t thought through the consequences from this. They’re going to come to you with questions they shouldn’t be asking until they are older. I hope you are ready.

    1. ARE YOU KIDDING?! WHAT is your damage lady! Kids are SUPPOSED to ask questions and you are SUPPOSED to answer them honestly! How is both parents making it sexual???? Parents bathe with their kids ALL THE TIME. Men AND WOMEN. And a PORNOGRAPHY EPIDEMIC?! WHAT! There are REAL epidemics in this world, and you are focusing on PORN!? Your mind is the one who made this sexual. The photo is completely natural! Ugh. It boggles my mind how such people like you can exist.

  5. Wow. I came here thinking how wonderful this was and imagining how many nice comments you would have. But instead it’s a bunch of small-minded sad-living little people with too much time on their hands.

    This is a beautiful photograph and you can see how happy all of you are. All I see is love. Thanks for sharing. My kids are older and I wish I could go back to this stage.

  6. Some of these comments are insane! I’m completely in shock at how some people think! I mean – the lady who worries they’ll come and ask questions they aren’t ready for?? I got news for you lady! If they’re asking questions, they are ready for answers. Jesus. You don’t have to give them a graphic x-rated sex talk. There are age appropriate ways to discuss these subjects. And the guy who said they’d all be rapists?? What the hell are you smoking?? That is asinine! Rapists are not made through loving families bathing together. These are clearly young kids who have zero interest in anything but the bubbles and water. Plus – just by looking at the photo there is no way of knowing if they are actually naked. They could just as easily be wearing swimsuits.

    People astound me.

  7. Wonderful article and a great idea on the family photos, I hope you don’t take the trolls to heart.
    Unfortunately they have very twisted minds and opinions but remember they have an problem not you and their opinion is truly worthless .
    I love that you are a very real person that posts interesting blogs. Keep up the good work!

  8. There is NOTHING WRONG WITH THIS! I can’t believe these comments! People are genuinely sick in the head to think that kids bathing or showering with their parents is wrong. They are LITTLE KIDS! I am so angry! I bathe with my kids ALL THE TIME and there is NOTHING WRONG WITH THIS!

      1. Just had to chime in and offer support here to help drown out the crazies, like Donna, Gary, Ronald, Hazel, and Dan. Totally nothing wrong with this! I love the family picture and the picture a day idea, what a great way to capture these moments when they are growing so quickly. As the mom of 2 young boys, I am fully aware of how time-strapped we all are as parents today, this to me looks like a brilliant pooling of time and resources!

  9. Wow. I don’t normally comment on blogs but just wanted to throw some support your way. I’m shocked at the things people are saying. Our kids and 6, 4, and 2 and I shower with them. Sometimes it’s just quicker and easier. And I have boys and a girl. Of course they know that boys have a penis and girls have a vagina… they should. This is a cute photo. People are truly insane. It’s one thing to not feel comfortable bathing with your kids yourself, it’s another to lash out and accuse you of being a child molester and saying your kids will be rapists. Utterly ridiculous. Bodies are bodies. Those same people making inane comments probably have no issue with scantily clad Victoria’s Secret models but yet want to turn something sweet and innocent into something it’s not. They’re the sick ones.

  10. I couldn’t believe my eyes with some of these negative comments. Disagree if you shall with the whole “bathing with your kids” (your family, your choice) but refrain from taking thing out of place and context. I can only hope the horrible comments come from either attention seekers or (i beg) people who are not parents and in no way influence any kind of children education.
    You go, Katie! These precious moments are few and short. Bond with your boys so they become strong balanced adults who will lead healthy happy lives and do some good. And good luck with your project!

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