“Jaw With John” – Clothing Not Always Optional

I’m a godmother to a wonderful 7-year-old girl. Her mother is my best friend of 20 years. She is an excellent mom. I do not have any children.

Recently the three of us and a group of girlfriends celebrated a “ladies weekend getaway.”

When we got to our destination, I overheard my goddaughter ask her mom if she was going to “get drunk.” My heart broke a little.

Later I was getting ready to join everybody in the pool, when the child came running to me, hysterically crying that her “mama was taking her clothes off.”

I peeked out the window and sure enough her mom was topless. Honestly, it’s not that big a deal among the adults, and not so much out of character for my best friend, but her daughter was freaked out. I told her that Mom was being silly and that she should talk to her about her worries. She said she couldn’t because she would get in trouble. She didn’t want to return to the pool and so I stayed inside with her.

Her mother came in about 20 minutes later. She told her daughter she was disappointed in her and that nude bodies were nothing to be ashamed of. (What was upsetting to the girl was seeing her mom drunk, removing her swimsuit and behaving foolishly.)

I chimed in (bad idea?), saying I couldn’t stand seeing this young girl be silenced about something that was bothering her.

My best friend said, “I’m trying to teach her that nudity is not shameful. She’s very dramatic and freaks out about everything.” I replied, “You should have an internal barometer about what’s minor and major in regards to her ‘freak-outs.’ “

She basically told me when I have kids of my own and am a perfect mother I should talk to her then.

I understand this logic, but I felt like I had a responsibility to my goddaughter.

Did I overreact? Did I do the right thing? What do you think? — Godmother

Dear Godmother:

If this is how she behaves around her own daughter – drunk and partially nude – then I don’t think she’s an “excellent mom”. She can set a better example regarding nudity without being drunk THEN maybe her message will get across. Right now there is a huge negative connotation with it.

You were right to chime in and speak up for the child because she felt afraid to do so.

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