The Sensual, Overburdened Mother
By The Editor
The two themes we explored this week in Mom Group could be seen as diametric opposites: Sensuality, and, the unequal weight of responsibility that falls on mothers — specifically with regard to the labor of childcare and managing a home. At first glance, we might wonder what the overburdened mother has to do with a woman who feels sensual and sexy. Well, I think it has a fucking lot to do with it. The more weight we carry — in our responsibilities to our children, our homes, our marriages — the less freedom we have or feel to express ourselves on this feminine level.
I asked Mom Group if posting sensual photos (or, more specifically, #sensualselfies for the #sensualselfiechallenge) was something moms could partake in, or if the days of sexy selfies have sailed for us now that we are “nurturers”. I loved the responses I got from members. Quite a few of you revealed that you opened up separate Instagram accounts for the express purpose of having a special place to express this other side of yourself. If you haven’t searched the hashtag of #sensualselfiechallenge, you are missing out. Here are some quotes from Mom Group, that I loved:
“Being a woman and having the status of a mother are for me, not mutually exclusive. It can be even more important to intentionally find your sensuality within motherhood.”
“It would be great to see mothers not afraid of being only mothers. We are women in every way and sensuality and sexuality are part of who we are.”
“I am a mother of two beautiful babes and I did this challenge. I created a new account so I could really embrace it and I didn’t show more than I was comfortable with. It actually helped me regain my sensuality after motherhood had overwhelmed me and taken over my identity for the past 3 years. I have find it very liberating and healing.”
One of our members wrote in last week with an all-too-relatable quote about the strange duality of feeling like you want to crawl into bed and hide, but at the same time acknowledging you have this gorgeous smiling baby who is waiting for you. When I posted her quote about how she feels unappreciated by her partner — who doesn’t seem to understand the landscape of her day in the least — it got a lot of Mom Groupers talking about the disparity in partnership responsibility and not feeling valued by our partners. A theme that consistently emerged in these conversations was the never ending work of motherhood: The meal prep, the laundry, the car rides, the emotional work that a marriage takes, etc. And this goes for all moms, in every kind of situation. Whether we are SAHM’s, part-time working moms, full-time working moms, SAHM’s with businesses — literally, any way you mother — the simple fact of motherhood places responsibilities upon us that no one fully understands unless they’re in it, too.
Some quotes that stuck out for me:
“I just think it's different being a mom and a woman and trying to reconcile all our roles and who we are, especially who we are outside motherhood. Often, it's our mom friends who get this, not our partners.” — Brooke and Jen, Motherhood Understood
It's like holding roses with your bare hands. It's beautiful to have, but it hurts like hell to keep it together. — Edil, Rockaway Baby
“Running a household with a baby or kids is a full-time job, and any bit you can't do yourself because you're going out to do another job, needs to be outsourced. It is the most undervalued, underpaid job going . . .”
“I think I ate breakfast at 1pm, and I'm not kidding . . . I'm like a damn referee for half the day. I think I work harder physically than [my husband] and I'm three years older, so I get wiped out! Not gonna life. I think it turns into a competition.”
I hope you got a chance to engage with some of these wonderful conversations. There is so much to talk about, and I appreciate everyone’s bravery and candidness.
Image of Stella McCartney by Bruce Weber, Vogue, November 2010