I think I speak for all moms when I say that the one thing we ALL have in common is having very little time for ourselves. I feel so lucky if I get more than 5 minutes a day to spend on myself. Honestly, if you would have told me ten years ago just how much I would treasure peeing by myself, I would not have believed you.
Being a mom doesn’t mean I don’t want to look and feel my best. In fact, when I feel good about myself, I am able to parent better. Therefore, in all seriousness, self-care is important because looking and feeling your best helps your self-confidence.
So, without further ado, here are my best beauty tips, mom tips as well as productivity tips that I have learned to help me look and feel my best that I can do in those 5 spare minutes a day!
Jewelry can transform an outfit
I always thought that if I just bought more fancy clothing then I would feel more put together. However, that wasn’t really true and here is why. First, I hate itchy clothing and I get cold easily so no matter how many outfits I bought out of my usual favorites, I never wore them. If I did, I was never as comfortable. Therefore, I would just spend money on clothing I would never wear.
The best wardrobe tip I ever got was to build a solid basic wardrobe and then spend money on accessories. For instance, take a white tee-shirt and jean shorts. Alone, that is very basic but add a fun scarf, a jean jacket or a necklace and a few bracelets and now you have an outfit. Jewelry has this amazing ability to take any outfit and bring it up ten notches in style.
Honestly, you don’t need to spend a fortune either. Amazon has some awesome brands that I love. Betsey Johnson is my go to colorful and fun jewelry because it isn’t expensive. For classic jewelry, I really love Kendra Scott and Swarovski because the quality is awesome for the price.
Learn your wardrobe essentials
We all have our favorite go to items in a wardrobe so now your job is to figure out what those items are for you. Go through your closet and make two piles. Clothing you wear all the time and items you never wear. This will help you see what styles, level of pattern and colors you like. Shop in your comfort zone for most of your wardrobe. The last 10% can be things you wouldn’t normally wear.
Another way to find out your style or really invest in staples is to use the Stitch Fix Store, a new feature that doesn’t require you to get boxes but instead uses algorithms to show you clothing you can buy that are just in your style. The store changes every few hours depending on what’s available. It’s how I have found a lot of my favorite pieces.
By doing this, my closet is filled with things I actually wear. I then dress up my outfit with accessories. It has made getting ready so much easier and, I love my look more.
I was 100% guilty of not taking care of my skin until I started seeing the signs of aging. I was the person who would go to sleep without washing makeup off. I know, terrible!
I finally decided to book a skincare appointment after I was done having kids. Since you aren’t supposed to use retinol and a lot of other skincare ingredients while pregnant, my skin was really bad after two pregnancies.
At the dermatologist office, I saw an aesthetician and the best thing she ever did for me was explain to me just how much damage I was letting happen to my skin by not using sunblock. If there is any beauty habit you start doing today, then it should be sunblock.
The UV from the sun accounts for 90% of the damage and aging on your skin. Therefore, by wearing sunblock everyday and reapplying it, you could prevent all that damage.
I finally stocked up on some great face sunblock and keep in my purse so I can reapply throughout the day. A year from starting that habit and I can tell you I already see a dramatic difference. Not only am I preventing damage but also when your skin isn’t trying to deal with daily damage it has energy to start to repair all the years of sun damage.
My go to sunblock are ISDIN Sunscreen (most expensive but works really well), elta MD (great if you are prone to breakouts) and La Roche-Posay Anthelios Sunscreen (feels amazing) because they don’t make my skin break out and don’t feel like sunscreen. While they aren’t cheap, just keep in mind they are better for your skin than any other anti-aging product you can buy because you are literally preventing the damage instead of trying to treat it.
Retinol peels are life changing
At my aesthetician appointment, I got a facial and it was nice, but I wouldn’t really say it dramatically changed my skin. However, my follow-up appointment for a retinol peel literally took years off my skin. Just a warning your skin will peel like crazy the week after so plan accordingly. I highly recommend! The lines and wrinkles in my skin improved so much that I wished I had done it years ago.
I also bought a good retinol cream that I use before bed every night. It helps so much with keeping my wrinkles at bay. The aesthetician said that if you are going to buy anything, go for Retinol and Vitamin C.
Quit buying random crap makeup
I absolutely love going to any drugstore and buying makeup. However, I rarely buy the right shade and also changing up your makeup all the time isn’t great.
Whenever you switch hair shampoo, face wash, lotions or even makeup, you have to give your skin time to adjust. When you switch up your product all the time, you are putting all types of different substances on your skin and depending on the quality can make you break out, irritate or damage your skin or fill it with not-so-great chemicals.
You don’t have time for crap makeup and your skin needs the best especially as you get older. I highly recommend finding a spa or dermatologist office that has someone who does makeup consultations. They usually carry high quality makeup, will pick out all the items for you as well as show you how to apply the makeup. These people are also very well versed in skin and know what products would be good for your specific skin needs.
I now use Jane Iredale and I love knowing how to apply my makeup in a way that looks good and is good for my skin. I also loved having someone who has an eye for color pick out my makeup because I do not.
You can also try the beauty stores like Sephora and Ultra. It is always hit or miss depending on the person you get.
Have your hairdresser teach you an easy way to do your hair
Hairdressers are experts at hair so use this to your advantage. Do not just go and get a cut and/or color. Spend time asking your hairdresser the best ways to take care of your hair. Get recommendations on shampoo, conditioners, hair tools and brushes. This is how I have found all of my favorite products including the Agran Magic Shampoo, Steampod Straightener and the Brass Off Hair Mask that makes my color last for months.
One of my favorite questions to ask when I get my hair cut is to ask them to show me how to style it for an easy everyday look. I hate leaving a salon with beautiful hair only to wash it and have no idea how to style it.
This is a very big mom trend right now and for good reason. The time you have every day is finite and it is never enough. The idea behind “buying time” is to free up your time by paying for services or things. For instance, if you hire a weekly cleaner then you have those extra hours you would have spent cleaning to spend in other ways.
For us, a weekly cleaner isn’t really in our budget. However, there are other ways I have found to buy time. The first is that we upgraded our vacuum. I know, it sounds silly but if you don’t have a cordless stick vacuum, you need to consider investing in one. It should be what every new mom gets.
There are expensive versions but there are also good quality ones for half the price. The biggest reason this was a game changer in how long it took me to clean was just how light weight it was. I could so easily vacuum every surface in the house and fast.
Another way we have time is to make feeding our family easier. I know a lot of families use instant pot or crock pots. Our go to now is freezer meals. I spend one day a month planning out four to five freezer meals a week for the whole month. I then buy all the groceries for these meals and spend a few hours prepping all the freezer bags for the month (16-20 meals). Bulk buy and bulk prep saves us so much time and also money!
I use to follow a blog when I started doing freezer meals but now there are so many awesome freezer meal books that I would go that route instead of finding blog recipes. The book also makes it super easy to accumulate grocery lists. One of my favorite books is the Once-A-Month Cooking Family Favorites. You can get a book that matches your diet.
Find ways to get active
I am really terrible at working out consistently and it takes a lot for me to get up the motivation. Once I became a mom I found that I never worked out because now I had to find both the time and the motivation. However, that being said I know I am a happier person when I do something active.
Therefore, I find these three things help me stay active. The first is I do a YouTube workout called Tracy Anderson Mat workout. I requires only a mat and it isn’t about body building but instead toning.
I also will always schedule some type of activity with a friend. The likelihood that I stick to my commitment when I am meeting a friend is insanely higher than if I did it by myself. For instance, I might schedule a walk or bike ride with a friend or meet up with someone for a workout class.
Take some time to find what works for you. Your body and your mind will thank you.
Seriously, treat yourself
Get your hair done, get a massage, buy a gym membership to go hot tubbing and maybe work out, join a book club, or get a manicure. You need to pick one thing that you do weekly, biweekly or at the very least monthly that is for you.
It is so easy to forget about yourself as a mom. However, it is very important that you do something for you. And I am not talking about reading a parenting book or getting some extra cleaning or organizing done. Those don’t count. You have to treat yourself to something that makes you look and feel your best.
I always have a hard time finding time or wanting to spend the money on something that is just for me but once I do it and I realize how much I needed something that like just to feel like my own person again.
Time blocking instead of multitasking
When I am able to be more productive and use my time better, I have so much less stress which means more fun and less acne.
It has taken me a long time to first agree and then change my ways when it comes to being productive. I always thought multitasking was key to my productivity. Also, when you have kids it feels like you are always multitasking.
While kids do mean a certain level of multitasking is always inevitable, it wasn’t until I found a solution to multitasking. The solution for me was time blocking and routines. I use a calendar and block out what I will spend my time during work hours. For me work hours means when I need to do any work or house related tasks.
I know this seems like a very simple idea but it you actually put it into practice, it will decrease your stress and increase your productivity. I have my cleaning chores and routines on the calendar. I have when I grocery shop, when I meal plan even on the calendar. I also put all of my work-related tasks and meetings. They are all on the same calendar. Knowing everything has a time slot to get done. Additionally, it lets you know where you aren’t utilizing your time well. In 15 min slots, you could add in tasks to get more done in less hours of the day.
Another way time blocking has improved my mom life is by helping me reach goals. For instance, if I want to do a project or start something new in my life like freezer meals. I can plan out multiple time blocks throughout a week or even a month to work on that project or goal. Before using a calendar and being consistent about time blocking, I would start so many projects and goals and then forget about them or never find the time to complete them.
End the long To-do List
The most stressful part of my everyday was the ever long mental list of everything that I needed to remember and needed to get done. My mind goes into panic mood when my to-do list gets too long in my head. Additionally, writing it all down didn’t help my mental stress because now I just had a massive, long list that was staring back at me.
The problem was my mind couldn’t stop stressing until it was assured I would have enough time to get it all done.
Another reason time blocking worked so well for me was that I was able to take the continuous to-do list and just add items instead to my calendar. I would fill 10/15 minutes time slots with items like call pediatrician, order new ballet shoes, or pay bills.
Once I started just adding my to-do list items to my calendar, my stress was gone, and my mind was quiet. I didn’t have to continually spend mental energy on what item I needed to tackle every time I got a free second. I also add a time block at the end of my work day to review the next day and move around or add anything.
If the week is really full and I need to add items, I can just so easily switch certain items to next week if something else is more urgent. I just can’t describe the difference it made for me mentally.
The only items I don’t add are ones that I can do in one minute. For one minute items, I do them immediately when I see they need to be done. I learned this from my favorite life changing book The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin.
Develop weekly morning and night routines
Most of us have morning and evening routines in the sense of brushing teeth, packing lunches, waking kids up, have lots of coffee, etc. Those are great. Science has backed the benefits of routines because they lower stress, increase productivity and improve your confidence.
However, I challenge you to add items that occur once a week. Here are a few examples from our family. On Friday night, we have date night. Even if we don’t go out on a date, we do something fun together such as make cookies, drink wine on the porch and chat, etc. On the weekends, I get to sleep in one morning while my hubby takes the girls out for pancakes. One evening is game night.
These type items added to a weekly routine aren’t about being productive. Part of looking and feeling your best is about removing barriers to having more fun. Routines remove part of the planning barrier. I do not fully understand why it is so much easier to play games as a family every Wednesday night but once it was a routine, it was. We do it so much more often and its more fun because it becomes a tradition.
Get a really good basket system down
I have yet to not meet a mom who doesn’t use laundry baskets for everything and that is because baskets are legit awesome. They are awesome for hauling all types of kid crap around the house or even in your car.
Now, take this obsession with laundry baskets and develop a basket system. I bought a bunch of baskets of all different sizes for the house. I then found homes for them that would make keeping our house organized easier. I keep one on the stairs for items that need to go upstairs. I keep one near the door for all the items that get brought in that have yet to be put away. I could seriously go on about this topic for a long time.
If you want to learn more about this organization system, then you can check out my basket organization post here.
Prioritize spending time with friends without your kids
Motherhood can be very lonely at times, and I think part of the reason is because being a mom means you are busy all the time trying to juggle everything. There is no manual, bootcamp or class that prepares you.
So my last tip to looking and feeling your best is to prioritize friends. Friends are key to happiness. But I have come to realize, I need to spend time with friends without my children present. I love hanging out with other moms at the playground, during swim lessons or even at a social gathering. However, it is not the same as spending time with friends. It doesn’t allow you to develop those deeper relationships and support systems you need.
I didn’t realize just how big of a difference it made in my life to go from having mom friends to having a group of friends who I did things with. We would go out to dinner one night a month. We would do fun group trips like go to yoga and wine tasting at a vineyard.
The best place to start with simple beauty tips is now
Mom life is extremely rewarding while at the same time a lot of hard work. Sometimes in the thick of it, I forget to take time to help myself look and feel my best.
My choice of sweats with a messy bun is not as much as a fashion statement but mainly a function of time in the morning when I’m trying to get kids dressed, fed and out the door.
While I am still a total mess some mornings, these tips have helped me enjoy mom life more and look and feel my best.
My improved beauty habits, new vacuum cleaner as well as my time blocked calendar have all made a big difference to lowering my stress, keeping my house running and feeling confident.
I hope by sharing what works for me will help you too. If you have any mom tips that help you live your best mom life, then please share them below!
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I am a wife, teacher, and mother to two awesome girls. I write about what I am passionate about, which includes being a mom, house projects, beauty and skincare. I love to share my experiences, failures, and successes with my readers. Let this space be a resource for you to pursue your very best day.