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contact The lipstick lens


is a verb.

Jessica Ordonez Barnett
The image of me sunbathing in a bikini with my tattoo from another lifetime on my skin while playing with one of my daughters caught me off guard. Why did something so normal seem so foreign to my own eyes?

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about motherhood and how there is a fine balancing act between being a mother and being me. How do you split the two when they feel so intertwined? On this platform I have opted to keep my family life off of the grid, probably in an effort to maintain ‘me’ and not ‘me’ as a mother or ‘me’ as a wife. But what good am I doing celebrating women being multifaceted all while concealing one of my most complex facets.  

A perspective I’m evaluating now is this- one of the crux’s of modern society is to tell women to be who they want to be and do it independently, but when it comes to women who choose to be mothers they somehow fall under the umbrella of caving into the patriarchy. There is a certain belittling that goes on when a modern woman chooses to have a family and to talk about it openly. I’m guilty of being one of those critics but in hindsight I was just mirroring one of the layers of my own internalised misogyny. “I’m not like other Mother’s” was just a more grown up version of saying “I’m not like other girls.” 

I stand corrected. Just because I have opted to hide this side of me which is constant, it by no means makes me more interesting, more complex or more unique than any other woman who has had children. 

The truth is my life is centred around being a mother. My day to day life is monotonous at times with the constant background of nursery rhymes playing on repeat. I don’t sleep very much because I have twin toddlers and a 7 year old who still doesn’t sleep through the night. I change nappies (diapers) often, I am exhausted emotionally and physically because I sometimes don’t know how to manage the stresses of raising children, the stress of every day life and building a business. I am constantly questioning myself and my parenting, worrying about their mental, emotional and physical health during a time when we are forced to stay away from other people. I bathe them, make sure they brush their teeth, make sure they all feel loved and that they feel as though their needs are met. Mothering is a complex dance of mundane tasks mixed with very real teaching moments that shape little people’s lives. 

It’s actually wild that this very important part of my life is something I don’t speak about. Why did modern society/feminism convince me that I was only worthy of having a voice if I hid my life as a Mother? Is it because the stereotype of a Mother is someone who loses their edge and becomes the doormat for their children and their partners? It becomes more and more clear to me that you are damned if you do become a mother and damned if you don’t. There seems to be an opinion from all angles on every aspect of our decisions even amongst liberal feminists who seemingly champion a woman’s choice.  

In the beginning of motherhood I did lose myself, my edge and my sense of identity was totally thrown. With that being said once I found my sea legs the exponential growth that occurred BECAUSE of motherhood isn’t something I talk about often enough. I would not be who or what I am with out having had children. I’ve never admitted that my children are the glue that hold my family together and rightly so. Having children has forced me to evaluate my own sh*t and how it reflects onto my relationships, particularly my relationship with myself as well as my relationship with my husband. If I didn’t have them I wouldn’t fight so hard to work on myself and be so willing to swim through the ocean of sh*t in order to improve myself in a way that not only nurtures who I am but nurtures the foundations of my relationships with everyone in my life. I am a constant work in progress with a never ending goal of self development. I strive to be better every single day because I have 3 pairs of beautiful blue and hazel eyes watching my every move and absorbing it all like little sponges. It is both petrifying and exciting to see how I am responsible for how they see and understand the world around them.

Why aren’t we talking about this more? Maybe we are and I have chosen to ignore these conversations because they hit too close to the bone for me. Maybe with age and experience am I able to be aware of just how multifaceted women really and how our influence can affect such a wide array of topics. And with that reader, I am finally able to celebrate a side of me which is as much apart of me as my beating heart and lungs. There is no such thing as separating 'me' from being a Mother. It's apart of my ever changing and ever evolving identity and with out it I wouldn't be who I am today.

I am me. A Mother.

In The Lens

Jessica Ordoñez Barnett