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'Motherhood vs. Womanhood' - The Report

Can Motherhood and Womanhood Co-Exist?

New Report Reveals 77 Percent of Moms Don’t Do Enough to Take Care of Themselves.

For many women, an important rite of passage for womanhood is becoming a mother. However all too often, after the baby is born, the focus quickly shifts and the routines that were once rituals are buried in the bottom of the family laundry basket. While it’s not surprising that their children and families come first, a new report of 3,000 U.S. moms reveals that although most (76 percent) agree it’s just as important for mothers to take care of themselves as their families, nearly eight in ten moms don’t do enough.

One of the biggest things falling by the wayside is her sense of feeling and looking beautiful. A whopping 84 percent admit they’ve let their appearance slide since becoming a mom and that taking care of their appearance has become more of a wish than a reality. The majority (66 percent) say guilt is one of the barriers to self care.

So, can motherhood and womanhood co-exist?

Beauty brand Suave developed the Suave Motherhood vs. Womanhood Report to understand the many tradeoffs women face when they become moms and the consequences for their sense of womanhood. The study, conducted in partnership with Dr. Kathleen Gerson, New York University professor of sociology, also probed the benefits that occur when moms do put themselves back on the to-do list.

Motherhood vs. Womanhood
The Suave Motherhood vs. Womanhood Report reveals about one third of moms believe that being a mother and being a woman actually conflict. Furthermore, one in four moms (23 percent) can’t remember the last time they did something that made them feel like a woman – while 42 percent report it was more than a month ago.

More evidence that moms’ needs are low on the list:
Although 67 percent of moms would rather get their pre-baby body back than their pre-baby sex life, exercise opportunities are tough to come by. After shopping for themselves, exercise is the second most desired activity to pursue during coveted “me” time.
66 percent admit they sometimes don’t have enough time to take a shower or bath
Some 80 percent have gone weeks or months without a haircut (even though they felt they needed one)
Over half (53 percent) say that they’ve forgotten to brush their teeth in the morning

“I’ve studied women and family dynamics for more than twenty years, and I’m not surprised that there’s a conflict felt between being a woman and being a mother,” says Professor Gerson. “Despite the rise of busier lives, mothers remain key family caregivers who are relied upon heavily by the whole family. So it’s not surprising that moms often set aside or even forget their own needs. But moms also need to look out for themselves, which means doing things that help them keep an identity of their own apart from the role of mom.”

The Benefits Abound

When moms do take care of themselves, an overwhelming 93 percent say it makes them feel good. Moms who take care of themselves report they feel happier (76 percent), more attractive (76 percent) and more self-confident (72 percent). Furthermore, taking care of themselves made 60 percent feel more feminine and just over half feel like they are setting a good example for their children.

What else makes moms feel good? According to the study, eight in ten married moms admitted nothing made them feel prettier than a compliment from their husband.

Professor Gerson adds “Mothers are caregivers, and taking time for themselves will not change that. Yet it’s important for moms to find opportunities to put themselves on their list of priorities. It comes as no surprise that moms feel happier when they do take this step, and that doing so can have huge benefits for the entire family.”

Say Yes to Beautiful

Suave believes motherhood and womanhood can co-exist and the brand is on a mission to wake up moms and encourage them to take care of themselves and get their beauty back. The brand’s 360 degree “Say Yes to Beautiful” integrated marketing campaign reminds moms that beauty has a place amongst the dirty dishes and piles of laundry that are an inevitable part of motherhood.

“We know that these women love being moms, and that family is always a top priority,” says Sarah Jensen, Director, Unilever Hair Care. “But we want to issue a wake up call to remind moms to look in the mirror, think about their beauty and put themselves back on the to-do list.”

The campaign’s message and new advertising executions are lighthearted, and use startling statistics to nudge moms into action. Beyond its advertising, Suave has an exclusive partnership with the Hot Moms Club, an online community of empowered, confident mothers of all ages and walks of life who are committed to redefining motherhood. The Suave brand and its products are integrated into the content of the mom-to-mom online community and e-newsletter. Additionally, Suave and the Hot Moms Club are co-sponsoring events for moms in 2007.

Suave has also partnered with Sprint to create “In the Motherhood,” the first-ever web series by moms, for moms and about moms. The program involves real moms submitting stories about their everyday lives on, and webisodes starring actress Leah Remini are created from the winning entries. The webisodes debut online as well as on national daytime television in May.

Visit for program details.

Suave offers moms a guilt-free beauty solution, providing a wide variety of great performing hair care, skin care and deodorant products at a great price.

For more information on the Suave “Say Yes to Beautiful Campaign” visit