Jems Loves MILFS: Jems Co-founder Whitney Geller on Putting Herself First
Jems Loves MILFs is a series in which we ask moms of all kinds what gives them life. From art moms to aunties, grandmothers to Godmothers, single moms, queer moms, pet moms, and the mother within—Jems honors mothering as an energy and a force, as a mode of service and protection, as labor (hard work!), creativity, love and dedication, and as a very sexy thing.
Often seen in meetings with a baby strapped to her chest as more young voices play in the background, Jems co-founder Whitney Geller, mother of three plus a burgeoning company, shares her paradoxical secret to nurturing success: putting yourself first.
Tell us about the last time your baby made you laugh.
"It’s been a bad streak for sleep. Being my third baby I know that the four-five month mark is the absolute hardest (at least for me). They become more awake and demanding, just as their sleep regresses. I have this weird thing where when the baby is up in the night and you’re exhausted and they’re crying, it sort of feels like you’re in a fight and you went to bed angry, but then in the morning they wake up and look at you with this huge smile and it really makes me laugh."
When have you defied “conventional” wisdom as a mother?
"I put myself first. It sounds insane and selfish and horrible, but someone I trust told me in the early days of having a baby that you need to put yourself first, your partner second and your kids last because intuitively it’s the opposite of what you will do. I didn’t really understand why this was wholly necessary until I was in the thick of trying to do “everything” for my kid and feeling completely empty and joyless on the inside. When you reverse the order and put yourself first, you ensure your needs are met so that you are a functioning, joyful and well rounded person which means you are a functioning joyful, well-rounded mother. The positive energy radiates outward to make everyone around you feel better and, counter-intuitively, your kids are much better off."
In what ways do you feel sexier or empowered more by your body now since becoming a mom?
"I think before having a baby I was much harsher about my apparent “flaws” and what my body “wasn’t.” After having a baby, and then after having 3 babies, I’m certainly more “flawed” but feel more confident and beautiful. I am constantly in awe about what my body was able to do and how strong I am. How did I make these three people who have their own thoughts, feelings and bodies? It helps that I have a great partner who echoes the way I feel about myself. After becoming a mom he has a deeper respect and love for me that is palpable."
"I am constantly in awe about what my body was able to do and how strong I am."
What’s your favorite toy?
"I actually just bought a Mini Theragun massage tool for myself and I’m obsessed. The constant hunching to nurse and picking up various kids wreaks havoc on your body. But I guess my number one is still my bathtub. No matter the day I’ve had, a soak in the tub, a couple candles, Epsom salts, a podcast or a magazine, and I’m done. It gives me the mental reset I need at the end of the day. Plus there is a lock on the door which may be the best part."
What is your mom fantasy?
"Wow, so many things here! I think at the top of my list though would be the power to go back in time. I would love the ability to always be present in the moment and appreciate all the little things. In reality though it is so hard while your kids are little and you’re in the thick of it. Days can often feel like survival. When you look back on photographs, your heart aches to go back and feel the softness of their bodies."