This week I have been busy making Mother's Day products all while mothering my two kids and working my full-time job. During one midweek, much-needed bath, I began to think (I do all my deep thinking there) about how Mother's Day and bath and skincare products are specifically linked.
This, of course, shouldn't surprise anyone, as women and skincare have ancient connections, especially in regards to beauty and worth. I, therefore, had a moment of fear that as a producer and seller of skincare products I was perpetuating a stereotype and I began to doubt myself (this also happens a lot in the bath).
What struck me as I laid naked in the quiet warm water, was instead of sneering at the easy and stereotypical option of a Mother's Day gift of bath products, maybe they aren't given in a way to objectively beautify women, maybe they actually represent something more powerful - a sanctioned declaration that mothers deserve "sacred alone time."
"I am going to take a bath!"
The subtext of these words is of course "leave me alone!" Because let's be honest as mothers this is what we crave most of all: an undisturbed moment alone preferably behind a locked door.
As I have already explored on this site, bathing for health and relaxation have ancient foundations and connections to hygiene and ritual purification throughout the world. The shift from communal bathing to it being a private affair is rooted not just in engineering advances but also social status and class, and a little bit of scandal when bathing was seen as a sensual and perhaps sinful activity! It seems appropriate then that Mother's Day is intertwined with this activity. For what better way to honor the multi-faceted nature of motherhood: sensual, practical, nurturing, and sexual, than with the keys to a quiet moment of nakedness.
This, of course, doesn't have to be a bath (although as I have preached before, they are remarkably good a relieving stress), it also applies to showers. Personally, I am lucky to have a beautiful bathroom. I use it daily for refreshment and renewal and it was there that my passion for creating products that make daily moments practical and joyful began.
I also remember some deeply intense bathing moments: seeing the water shimmer around my pregnant mound, riding the crests of contractions in the hospital tub, the conflicting emotions of the first shower and later bath after childbirth, the relief of the desperately needed shower taken with the door open in order to hear if the baby cried, the searing hot shower loud enough to cover the sobs of my feared failure, the time I fell asleep in the tub during toddler sleep training and woke up in a splashing panic, watching kids grow from being held kicking in water to being able to sit up then play, and now the slight sadness that I don't need to move aside toys to make way for the candles, wine glass, and scrubs for my Sunday night ritual! In many ways, the bathroom is where my motherhood happened!
So maybe these gifts of scrubs, soaps, and salts should be embraced and cherished for what they symbolize - the gift of time and space. Time to silence the world, space to let go of the mental load, and take a small moment of joy. The challenge we have as mothers is to take this moment out of the bathroom and find additional ways to honor our version of what my friend Marie Levey-Pabst calls "sacred time." To cultivate a confidence and feel worthy enough to seek out silence, joy, and connection in whatever form that calls to us, whether sanctioned or not.
Of course, my advice would be if you are going to give your mother the gift of bath, body, or home products, then give her something she might make for herself if she had the time. Something, handcrafted with love, made with natural ingredients good for mind and body - the good news is that I have just the thing!
So from one mother to another - bath or shower in joy and renew your goddess strength!