Putting yourself first is easier said than done. For new moms, it can be nearly impossible. According to a survey of 2,000 parents, most mothers get 32 minutes a day for themselves.
Despite a jam-packed schedule filled with meetings, photo shoots and play dates, supermodel, curve icon and mom Ashley Graham has officially reclaimed her ‘me’ time — and she doesn’t feel guilty about it either. Graham, who welcomed her twin sons Malachi and Roman with her two-year-old son Isaac and husband Justin Ervin this January, says that without the enlisted help of friends and family, reclaiming this time for herself would be out of the question.
“We’ve built an incredible support team around us,” Graham says, “and for me to be able to really thrive as a mom, that support is something I rely on every single day.”
Below, Ashley talks about her favorite summer beauty staples, how Affirm has helped her on her at-home fitness journey, and how prioritizing ‘me’ time is helping her navigate motherhood as a busy mom of three.
Well+Good: Congratulations on the twins! I can imagine that there are times where you have to be in and out of the house very quickly because of your schedule. What’s your go-to beauty routine when you’re in a rush?
Ashley Graham: The night before, I prepared for what was to come. If I’ve got my bag done, my outfit already picked out, and then whatever prep my hair needs the night before to make it easier to leave the house, I do. I think getting ready the night before is the only way to get out of the house so I can look like a decent human being and not forget anything.
W+G: Speaking of last-minute beauty, is there anything special you toss in your bag for on-the-go?
AG: Yes, of course. I’m a lipstick girl. It’s all about Revlon lipsticks and lip liners. I also think good skin can really pull you together, so make sure I have a rose water or something to freshen everything up.
W+G: Speaking of skin care: Many women experience some skin changes after pregnancy, whether it’s texture or level of dryness. Did it happen for you?
AG: Yes, actually. When I was pregnant with Isaac, I developed rosacea. And when I was pregnant, I started trying this new brand that had just come out but it was really cool. This is called Figure 1. It cleared up my rosacea, and was really helpful for re-hydrating post-pregnancy too, because in my case you’re depleted after you have a baby—or babies. It adds this extra layer of foundation hydration, so I’m a huge fan of Fig.1. It has a really accessible price range and is something you can use in your medicine cabinet along with your other favorite products. This is my favorite.
W+G: We’ve had a pretty bad summer heatwave right now. What is your number one summer skincare product?
AG: Definitely sunscreen. I have a million different sunscreens that I use, but I go back to my favorite right now, which is actually from Winnie Harlow. It’s called Kay Skin, and I love it because it has a color. The color does not rub off. You know how some sunscreens have that color, that can come off your clothes? Not this one. Also, Supergoop is fantastic. Anything on a stick is really good for kids, because they won’t sit there and just let me trap them before jumping in the pool. It’s less of a fight.
W+G: You’ve said before that you’re a prepper. When it comes to your hair this summer, what’s a go-to style for you?
AG: I like my hair to not be washed for days two and three. Usually what I’ll do is center part down and do two tight braids. In the morning, I let it go, and it’s like a beach wave situation. if [the waves] Feels a little tighter than the braid [Pearson] Brush it with some dry shampoo. And then I just go on with my day. If it’s hair wash day, I’ve been using the same technique since I was 15. Out of the shower, I part my hair where I want it and don’t brush it. And then I spray John Frieda Dream Curls over it and either diffuse it or let it air dry. It’s the perfect wave in my hair. My hair used to be really curly and now, since pregnancy, and blowouts, and birth control and blah blah blah, it’s a lot less curly. Now, it’s super wavy.
W+G: Let’s talk fragrance. What is your summer perfume now?
AG: My husband and I went to this great spa in the Hamptons and I got this body oil. I think it’s made in Australia, and it’s called AYU. I like to put 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. This is the Riddle roll-on oil, and the jasmine scent is my favorite. This little oil roller has been the best perfume roller. I love it.
“I tell myself, ‘This is a guilt-free workout. You need to be strong for your kids.'” – Ashley Graham
W+G: Now that you’re a mom of three, how do you fit workouts into your life and work into your schedule?
AG: I’ll be honest, I put them on my calendar. I tell myself, “This is a guilt-free workout. You need to be strong for your kids. Don’t feel bad about walking away from them and spending an hour on your workout.” And I’m really reminding myself, even though it’s so hard, that this is going to be my guilt-free time.
W+G: You recently partnered with Affirm, a buy-now-pay-later shopping service. Are there any at-home gyms you recommend buying through Affirm?
AG: When it comes to working out, there are some things you can easily buy for sure. Because I’m not going to wake up at 5 a.m. to work before the kids wake up—I’m not that person—at the end of the day, I’m tired of being a mom all day. I need to be in the middle of the day to get a good workout. That workout can include HIIT workouts using tonal. The best thing about Affirm is that you can buy really expensive pieces, investment pieces, and plan payments with Affirm so you can get what you want in an instant, but know you’re not going to break the bank, like a Tonal, or Buy Theragun. I have the Theragun Mini now, and it’s really great for travel. Just added TRX to my garage gym, me the love It is very good, and it is something that anyone can use. And all Added gear from Target.
W+G: When you find other small moments 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 us with the kids, she’s great. She understands too—she has three kids, and she understands how important it is to take care of yourself. He even tells me, “Go ahead, do whatever you need to do, I got it.” Whether it’s writing something, working on a script, preparing for work, getting a mood board together, whatever. The biggest thing, I think, is for mothers to do it without guilt. One thing I remind myself to do is to release this guilt. It has to be a guilt-free process, because then I’m able to really pour into what I’m working on in the moment.
“It’s okay to cry. It’s okay to scream and feel like you have no idea what you’re doing.” –
W+G: For new moms who are overwhelmed by how much their lives have changed: What advice would you give them?
AG: It’s okay to cry. It’s okay to scream and pretend you have no idea what you’re doing. I’ve been there, and I know many other moms have been there. For me, what works is simply creating systems and a schedule. I wake up at 6:15 before the kids, even before Justin, and I have “me” time. Then the kids get up at 6:45, 7:00 and we start the day. As long as I get that time for myself, I feel connected and I feel like I can be a better mom. There is no handbook, and there are really hard days. But I remind myself of something my mother always told me: Each of these stages of life is not forever. I remind myself that this phase will come and go. It will not stress forever.
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