Putting yourself first is easier said than done. For new moms, it can be next to impossible. According to a survey of 2,000 parents, most moms have 32 minutes a day to themselves.
Despite a jam-packed schedule filled with meetings, photo shoots, and playdates, supermodel, curvy icon, and mom Ashley Graham has officially gotten her “me” time back, and she’s not feeling guilty about it, either. Graham, who welcomed her twin sons Malachi and Roman this January along with her two-year-old son Isaac and her husband Justin Ervin, says without the help of friends and family, reclaiming this time it would be impossible for her.
“We’ve built an impeccable support team around us,” Graham says, “and in order for me as a mom to really thrive, that support has been something I lean on every day.”
Below, Ashley talks about her favorite summer beauty staples, how Affirm has helped her on her at-home fitness journey, and how making “me” time a priority is helping her navigate motherhood like a busy mother of three children.
Good+Good: Congratulations on the twins! I can imagine that there are times when you have to get in and out of the house very quickly due to your schedule. What is your favorite beauty routine when you have to be in a hurry?
Ashley Graham: The night before, I prepare for what’s to come. If I have my bag packed, my outfit picked out, and then whatever prep I need to do to my hair the night before to make it easier to get out of the house, I do it. I think preparing the night before is the only way to leave the house looking like a decent human being and forgetting nothing.
W+G: As for last-minute beauty, are you throwing something special in your bag for touch-ups on the go?
AG: Yes, definitely. I’m a lipstick girl. It’s about Revlon lipstick and lip liner. I also think good skin can make you look really good so I make sure I have a rose water or something to freshen everything up.
W+G: Speaking of skin care, many women experience some changes in their skin after pregnancy, whether it be the texture or the level of dryness. Did this happen to you?
AG: Yes, actually. When I was pregnant with Isaac, that’s when I got rosacea. And when I was pregnant, I started trying this new brand that had just come out but was very quiet. It’s called Fig. 1. It cleared up my rosacea, and it was also very helpful after pregnancy, to add back hydration, because you’re so exhausted after having your child, or children, in my case. It added this extra layer of foundation hydration, which is why I’m a big fan of Fig.1. It also has a really affordable price range, and it’s also something you can use with your other favorite products in your medicine cabinet. It is my favorite.
W+G: We have a pretty strong summer heat wave right now. What’s your number one summer skincare product?
AG: Definitely sunscreen. I have a million different sunscreens that I use, but now I always come back to my favorite, which is actually from Winnie Harlow. It’s called Cay Skin, and I really like it because it has a color. The color does not fade. Do you know how some sunscreens that have a color can come off on your clothes? This not. Also, Supergoop is fantastic. Anything on a stick is really good for kids, because they’re not going to sit there and let you soap them up before they jump in the pool. It’s less of a fight.
W+G: You said before that you are a prepper. When it comes to your hair in the summer, what is your favorite style?
AG: I like my hair on day two and day three without washing it. Usually what I’ll do is part it down the middle and make two tight braids. In the morning, I let it go, and it’s like a beach wave situation. Yes [the waves] I feel a bit too tight because of the braid, I just brushed it down a bit with a Mason [Pearson] brush and add some dry shampoo. And then I go on with my day. If it’s hair wash day, I use the same trick since I was 15. When I get out of the shower, I scratch my hair where I want it and don’t brush it. And then I spray John Frieda Dream Curls all over and blend it out or let it air dry. They are the perfect waves in my hair. My hair used to be very curly and now since pregnancies, blowouts, birth control and blah blah blah it has become much less curly. Now, it’s super wavy.
W+G: Let’s talk about fragrance. What is your favorite summer fragrance right now?
AG: My husband and I went to this great spa in the Hamptons and I found this body oil. I think it’s made in Australia and it’s called AYU. I also like to keep it like a roll-on oil on me. This one, which I’m actually pulling out of my bag right now because I want to get the name right, I love it. It’s the Riddle Roll-On Oil, and the jasmine scent is my favorite. This little oil roller perfume roller has been the best. I’m lovin ‘it.
“I tell myself, ‘This is a guilt-free workout. You have to be strong for your children.” —Ashley Graham
W+G: Now that you’re a mother of three, how do you make exercise fit into your life and work for your schedule?
AG: I’ll be honest, I put them on my calendar. I tell myself, “This is a guilt-free workout. You have to be strong for your kids. Don’t feel bad about walking away from them and spending an hour on your workout.” And I really remind myself, that as hard as it is, this is going to be my guilt-free time.
W+G: You recently partnered with Affirm, a buy-now-pay-later shopping service. Any home gym must-haves you recommend buying through Affirm?
AG: When it comes to exercise, there are some things you can easily buy with Affirm. Because I’m not going to wake up at 5 am to exercise before the kids wake up, I’m just not that person, at the end of the day, I’m exhausted from being a mom all day. It has to be in the middle of the day to get a good workout. That workout could consist of HIIT workouts using the Tonal. The best thing about Affirm is that you can buy the really expensive parts, the investment parts and make the payment plan with Affirm so you can have what you want in no time, but knowing that you’re not going to break the bank. , like buying a Tonal, or a Theragun. I now have the Theragun Mini and it’s great for travel. The TRX I just added to my garage gym, love it’s. It’s so good, and it’s something anyone can use. Y everybody Target’s yoga team.
W+G: When you find other little pockets of time for yourself throughout the day, how do you spend your ‘me’ time?
AG: I create those moments for myself. I know that can be easier said than done; my mom helps with our kids, she’s so fantastic. She understands too: she has three kids and she understands how important it is for you to take care of yourself too. She even tells me: “Go away, go do what you have to do, I have this.” Whether it’s writing something, working on a script, preparing for a job, organizing idea boards, you name it. I think the most important thing for moms is to do it without guilt. That’s one of the things I keep reminding myself, is to do this without guilt. This has to be a guilt-free process, because then I’m really able to throw myself into whatever I’m working on at the moment.
“It’s okay to cry. It’s okay to yell and feel like you have no idea what you’re doing.” —
W+G: For those new moms who feel overwhelmed by how much their life has changed: What advice would you give them?
AG: It’s okay to cry. It’s okay to yell and feel like you have no idea what you’re doing. I have been there, and I know many other mothers have been there. For me, what works is just creating systems and a schedule. I wake up at 6:15 before the kids, and even before Justin, and I have my “me” time. Then the kids get up at 6:45, 7:00 and we start the day. As long as I have that time to myself, I feel connected and feel like I can be a better mother. There is no manual, and there are very hard days. But I also remember something that my mom has always told me: each of these stages of life is not forever. I remind myself that this stage will come and go. It’s not going to be stressful forever.
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