Being a Mother Shouldn't Hold You Back From Finding Your Sexuality, It Should Fuel It

I came out as a lesbian later in life, after I married a man and we had kids together. It took me a long time to accept who I am and I want other mothers to treat themselves with the same love, patience, and compassion I finally learned.

Linda Fruits family
Photo: Linda Fruits

People ask me all the time, "How did you not know?"

There are three great explanations for this. One is that I grew up in a time where the terms "dyke," "lesbian," and "gay" were used as insults and two, queerness wasn't talked about in the small town of Weston, Florida I grew up in. Three, and this is the biggest one, I was suppressing it.

First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes baby in the baby carriage… add in a house and career, I thought I would be happy after checking off items on the list titled "Things You Need to Be Happy and Worthy as a Woman."

Truthfully, I felt guilty for wanting more.

The guilt was almost enough to keep my feet cemented at the bottom of the ocean. I could see the rays of sun shining through, but I had everything I needed down here… I tried convincing myself that what I had was enough, I should be happy.

I would think to myself, maybe in another life, if anything ever happened to my marriage and how do I even know this is what I really want? The suppressing was so strong that these thoughts of longing would bubble up to the surface only momentarily before I would shut it down.

That is until the thoughts became stronger than my own oppression. That's when the thoughts wanted to become action and I started asking myself how can I navigate this while being a mother? A wife? How did I not know sooner?

Figuring out my sexuality as a mother makes me more fulfilled as an individual. 

Sometimes when I don't know what to do, I think about what I would encourage my children to do. Would I want them to stay in a job that makes them miserable? Would I want them to stay in a relationship or marriage when they felt empty inside? Would I want them to stay anywhere that was dulling their spark?

Since that internal conversation, that moment of reparenting myself, I decided instead of feeling guilt I would greet myself on this journey with love, patience, and compassion. Just as I would do for my children.

It's hard enough to take time as a mom for the parts you already know about yourself, adding this to the mix felt impossible. Until one day you look back and realize damn, Glennon Doyle was right, we can do hard things. Even as a mother. Especially as a mother. We know how to lead with love and understanding, we just need to practice those things more with ourselves.

Ever since I shared my story on social media and here on Parents, I have been contacted by a lot of moms with questions. My advice about coming out later in life while married with children has been this: just take it one day at a time.

I didn't question my sexuality, dissolve a romantic relationship with my husband, navigate back to friendship, establish a new co-parenting situation, find a girlfriend, fall in love, move her in with us, and become a family unit in a day. It takes time, and thankfully just a little bit each day is all I needed (and all I had) to make the changes I needed in my life.

Linda Fruits and family
Linda Fruits

I knew that the marriage I was modeling as an example for my children wasn't what I would want for them. A kiss-less, hug-less, (they didn't know, but also sexless) marriage. I knew that instead of treating motherhood like a barrier that kept me from being myself, I wanted it to be my strength for becoming more myself. I wanted to live my life as an example for my children to ask and answer their own questions about themselves and not just what others expect of them.

Figuring out my sexuality as a mother makes me more fulfilled as an individual. I feel less burnout because I'm getting my basic human needs of love, understanding, and connection—which helps me to be a better mother to my children. I'm more patient. My children see me modeling healthy affection. They see their mother happy. Not only do they deserve that, so do I.

We are human first then we are moms, and it's taken me a long time to understand what that really means. Ignoring your own needs somewhere along the line went hand in hand with being a "good mother." I wouldn't want that for anyone I know and love. Let's also not settle for this for ourselves.

Linda Fruits is the writer behind the Fruits of Motherhood blog whose mission is to normalize motherhood. She has a talent for making mothers feel less alone in the daily struggles of parenting with a side of side-splitting laughter. You can follow her on Instagram @fruitsofmotherhood and Tiktok @fruitsofmotherhood and connect through email:

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles