Maureen Pollack is many things: devoted mom of a 7-year-old son and 4-year-old daughter, master of Jiu Jitsu, treehouse and rope swing builder, PTA mom, and mikvah-going Orthodox Jew who recently invented something fairly unorthodox: a “pleasure product” called the WaterSlyde, which does double duty as a sexual stimulant and a feminine cleanser. I interviewed Maureen about her newest endeavor and how it fits into her lifestyle of active mom and observant Jew.
How did you come up with the idea for the WaterSlyde?
I came up with the idea when I was 15. I was sitting in the bathtub and I reached for the faucet to sit up and the faucet popped off. The water shot me in my face, so I jumped back and the water hit me somewhere else. I probably took about four baths a day until my father fixed it.
About 15 years later, in my gynecologist’s office, we were discussing sex drive after childbirth, and I joked about how the old “bathtub technique” was the secret to my healthy libido. She was intrigued with the idea that the water could act as a mild stimulant while cleansing you at the same time, but she was concerned about the clumsy positioning.
“What if there was something that could divert the water, so that it isn’t so awkward?” I asked her.
“That’s something I would invest in,” she replied.
This was the inspiration I needed. I designed the product, sent it off to a 3-D printer, refined the prototype based on feedback from friends, launched WaterSlyde, and the rest is history. Doctors love it because it serves the dual purpose of hygiene and personal pleasure, which is an important part of sexual health.
But you are an observant Jew. Is this a conflict?
I actually went to my rabbi to ask if what I was doing was permissible, if it was tznius (modest) enough. He told me that certain sex toys are not sanctioned if they separate a husband and a wife. However, I learned that something you can use with your husband is absolutely fine. The beauty of the WaterSlyde is that it stimulates you and makes you ready to be with your spouse. In addition, one of the mitzvahs before you go into the mikvah (ritual bath) is cleaning yourself, so it serves that purpose as well. The rabbi gave me his blessing, and I get WaterSlyde orders from some of the most religious women in the community.
What has been the reaction from your family and friends?
My husband and close friends have been 100% supportive. In the beginning, some people didn’t want to publicly “like” the WaterSlyde on Facebook, which I totally understood. Recently, that changed after I had a booth at a Health and Wellness Fair at our local Jewish Community Center. Women were curious. In fact, 35% of the women who attended bought one, which is considered hugely successful, and it really sparked something in our community.
Now, everywhere I go, people want to talk about it; it’s like I have the WaterSlyde stamped on my forehead. People stop me in the supermarket and it’s brought up at every PTA meeting. Others privately tell me that they love it. And then they order one for their sisters.
Are you afraid of being “the Jewish mom who invented the sex toy?”
In the beginning, I was afraid of that. The last thing I would want is to ask for a playdate and have the parents say, “No, you can’t go to the Pollack’s house. You know what the mother does, right?” But that hasn’t happened. I also decided to call it a “pleasure product” rather than a sex toy. It’s a little bit more discreet.
[Author’s note: In the three days I interviewed Maureen, her house was a revolving door of 7 and 4-year olds.]
Besides your invention, you also practice Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (a martial art). What inspired you to train in this art?
I began practicing Jiu Jitsu soon after we signed our son up to start. I was training four to five times a week, and eight months after I started, I entered my first competition and won a gold in the white belt competition, after the toughest fight of my life (though interestingly, Jiu Jitsu translates to “the art of being gentle”) After that experience, I went home and felt this high of “I can do anything!” Soon after that, I met with my gynecologist and had the WaterSlyde conversation. Timing is everything. My confidence was there and I ran with it.
Finally, you are, first and foremost, a wife and mother. How do you balance your work, your sport, your religious commitment, and your family?
Two words: dedication and compartmentalization. I enjoy and feel very blessed to have each of those parts in my life. When it’s the “time” to do one segment, that is what I am 100% focused on. I love the term Mom-preneur. I’m a stay-at-home mom who is really involved with my kids’ lives and I get to be an entrepreneur as well. I know that I can’t make this a Fortune 500 company overnight. I just have to take it as it comes.
So to speak?
(Laughs) There’s a lot of puns. But of course, at the end of the day, my husband and children come first.