If you’re a mum, you’re busy. It comes with the territory. Beauty and self-care are an important part of our daily routine, and not just from a vanity point of view. You might have some sort of balance in your average week when the kids are at school or nursery. But when they’re not, everything goes out the window.
If you’re working from home, balancing childcare, housework and your day job, the pressure can spin us into a frenzy. And there goes your me-time in a snap. So, we’ve looked to our fellow mums and key sources on mum’s beauty and wellbeing to find the answer to round-the-clock self-care mum problems.
Struggle #1 – Making your hair look good!
This came up time and again with the mum’s, I spoke to. Pre-kids, many of us indulged in extensive haircare routines that include regular washing, straightening, or curling. Trying intricate new hairdos.
An article in Glamour highlights a great and sensible approach from the Beauty Director at Goop, Jean Godfrey-June. She says, “I'd always blow-dried my hair because I just assumed I should. The brilliant hair genius Sally Hershberger told me to stop, and that my wavy hair was like Gisele's. When I think of the years of my life, and particularly time with my kids, this one sentence saved me.” The lesson here is acceptance. Whatever your hair type and texture, go with it. Find ways to work with it rather than battling against it.
Struggle #2 – Keeping your skin healthy head to toe
As a mum myself, I know that I often rush my skincare routine at the end of the day, because I’m trying to get a belligerent toddler to bed! It’s not just the issue of keeping to a skincare routine, but also enjoying a quiet moment to yourself.
One solution is to go for the overnight approach. This might be a quieter time to indulge in some self-care too. Find the best ingredients for your skin types, slather them on pre-bed, and let them work as you sleep. And use this fabulous advice from celebrity facialist Joanna Vargas, “as you apply your nighttime products, spend two minutes massaging your face upward and outward toward the ears. This will stimulate the lymphatic system and help keep you de-puffed when you wake up.”
For your body care, go for something natural like cold-pressed virgin coconut oil, and do the same pre-bed slather. As top Mayfair dermatologist Dr Frances Prenna Jones sums up, “coconut oil contains Vitamin E, essential amino acids, and lauric and caprylic acid which form part of the barrier function of your skin and help maintain your skin's natural flora aka the good bugs!”
Struggle #3 – Finding time to put on makeup
Who has time to put on makeup when you’re looking after a gaggle of kids from 6.30 am onwards? But how good do you feel when you do? If you’re a fan of the French simplistic and au natural way, tweaking your routine isn’t such a task. If you are more of a layering-a-multitude-of-products person, it might be more of an all or nothing issue.
Either way, there is a solution! Look for products that multitask to remove steps from your makeup regime. Stylist, Creator and Designer of THE GREAT Meritt Elliott advises, "I use a tinted moisturiser with sunscreen, so I’ve combined three skin steps into one. I am loving the Honest Beauty Everything Tinted Moisturiser. I cannot live without at least one swipe of Chanel black mascara, and always have a white ponytail holder on my wrist to secure my unruly hair into a neat topknot." Our hero!
Treat yourself to a beautiful vegan lipstick from the All Tigers range
Struggle #4 – Finding clarity of thought
Looking good is intrinsically linked to our self-esteem. But without caring for your emotional wellbeing, you could slip into feeling shoddy in the busiest moments. Mums we spoke to highlighted a lack of time to order their thoughts. That means we’re cannonballing from one moment to the next, feeling less in control with each stumbling block.
Jennifer Hargreaves, Founder and CEO of Tellent in the US, a community for career women, says, “if you think you don’t have the time, make the time. We are brilliant human beings with infinite problem-solving potential! If your day is packed and you need five minutes, you have the ability to find it. If you can’t find the time, you are choosing to prioritise other things over a task you don’t actually want to do — not because you don’t want clarity but more likely because your subconscious mind is sabotaging your actions.”
To find that time and clarity, keep a journal. Keep it handy, and jot things down as they come to you. You can even explore them and expand on them in the evening if you feel like it. Another method is mindfulness or meditation. Sometimes just a 5-minute session can flick the reset button.
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Struggle #5 – Doing the things you love
Finding time for friends, exercise, or watching anything other than CBeebies might feel like a pipedream most days. But let’s not forget that you deserve and need that time for yourself, to do the things you love. Did you know that mums get less me-time than dads, and spend more time multitasking too? Rather than taking more on, we need to shift the balance and remember that everyone in the household from the littlest to the biggest, needs me-time.
According to a study by Happify, “quality me-time doesn’t necessarily mean being alone. Just doing what you want counts!” They go on to suggest little ways to find that time, including waking up 30 minutes earlier, taking a break for your lunch outside and alone, and making monthly dates with yourself. And ditching the mum-guilt when you do these things!
Struggle #6 – Sleeping well
If like me, you have a mini celebration when you get the kids down for the night, it can be disappointing when you can’t nod off yourself later. Or if your sleep is disturbed. The same study by Happify classifies “sleep-time as me-time.”
Many mums struggle with this because anxiety simmers and builds over the day. The momentum is to go, go, go. When it’s time to turn out the lights, how can we expect to instantly switch to a state of rest? Hadley Seward from Bonne Nuit Baby shares some great tips to tackle this. For starters, “ditch TVs, computers, tablets and phones an hour before bed.” And enjoy your rituals, like, “a bedtime journal or gratitude list; restorative yoga; or even just waking up early and enjoying a cup of coffee in peace.”
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