Like Mother, Like Daughter: Here's What Our Moms Taught Us About Self-Care

For many of us, it’s hard to think of anyone who has influenced us as deeply as our moms. These women have dedicated most of their lives to keeping us happy, healthy, supported, and safe—to the point words often fail us when we try to express how much they mean to us. The lessons they’ve taught us didn't always come in the form of long speeches, but rather moments they might not remember (that we so clearly do). We’ve seen their successes, and even their mistakes; we’ve watched them make their way through difficult times and saw them fully experience joy. They've taught us about dealing with toxic people, handling family emergencies, and learning how to find and maintain confidence. As well as things that are as straightforward as applying mascara, making a healthy breakfast, or riding a bike. Speaking with the team at Byrdie, most of us have also been heavily influenced by our moms when it comes to treating and caring for our minds, bodies, and souls, too.

We wanted to recognize these wonderful women by rounding up all that they’ve taught us about self-care. We’re going beyond ordinary lessons, and discussing how our moms encouraged us to make our overall wellness a priority. My mother's always been the most selfless person I’ve known, and much of that is due to her masterfully balancing her own wellness. She introduced me to all kinds of self-care methods, from therapy and kombucha (before it was cool) to pranic healing and proper skincare.

Our gratitude for them is endless, and to our moms: we thank you for everything. Read on for the best self-care lessons Byrdie editors have learned from their mothers.

Always Stand Up For Yourself

Hallie Gould

"My mother has never been one for beauty or wellness—at least not in the traditional sense. She never wears sunscreen, barely wears makeup, and she works constantly to this day. That said, she taught me so much about passion and support. She has always been fiercely feminist, and, from a very young age, I watched her demonstrate how to advocate for yourself. To me, that’s a huge part of the way I practice self-care now, as an adult. I learned to make sure my needs are met, even when my people-pleasing personality pulls me in the opposite direction. For that I am so grateful." —Hallie Gould, editorial director

Beauty Rituals Aren’t Superfluous

Selfie of mother and daughter

Olivia Hancock

“The biggest self-care lesson my mom has taught me is that our beauty rituals aren't superfluous. Instead, she's always viewed them as practices that can help us feel our best. Even if she has a million things on her plate, my mom will find time to paint her nails or get her hair done. Her mother was the same way. While engaging in these beauty practices boosts her outer confidence, it also has a deeper impact. Taking the time to care for herself has a positive emotional and mental impact and allows my mom to show up as the best version of herself at work and home. This is something that really resonates with me now. Our laundry list of responsibilities in life can cause us to easily neglect our needs. But, seeing how the women in my life have used beauty as a form of self-care has been powerful.” —Olivia Hancock, editor

Make Alone Time a Priority

A picture of a mother and daughter smiling

Leah Wyar

"The greatest gift my mom ever gave me—besides her amazing skin!—is her spirit of resiliency. She has lived through some really tough moments: losing her parents at the age of 22; as a result, raising her two pre-teen sisters; and being diagnosed with MS in her early thirties. Watching her fight through those times taught me the importance of a healthy mind and spirit. I specifically remember her booking a last minute trip to the Bahamas with one of her girlfriends when I was in middle school—she just needed a minute! While fighting her MS diagnosis, she adopted what I like to call the 'Whole 30 of the '80s.' In a way, she was my personal pioneer of self-care and clean living during the decade of excess. Stepping back and owning what she needed during those overwhelming moments allowed her to get to the other side stronger. At 40, I haven’t experienced a quarter of what she went through. Regardless, there have been tough moments, which is when I fully lean into all things self-care: an hour of alone time at the spa, acupuncture, a cleanse, meditation, exercise, a nap. Resetting in all its many forms is not weak—it's the first step to bouncing back with strength and a sound mind. My mom set the stage for that." —Leah Wyar, SVP/GM

Exercise Can Be Enjoyable

Selfie of mom and daughter

Kathryn Vandervalk

“My mom has taught me that sometimes the best way to relax is to get moving. This doesn't mean forcing yourself to exercise when you don't want to, or pushing yourself when you're tired, but going for a walk to release some dopamine, because you'll probably feel better afterwards. One of my mom's favorite pastimes is tennis, and she'd give me and my siblings lessons when we were growing up. I admire not only her racket skills, but the way she keeps physical activity a fun, sustainable part of her life.” —Kathryn Vandervalk, editorial & strategy director

Invest In Your Skin

Jessica Mahgerefteh
Jessica Mahgerefteh

"When I was younger (pre-beauty editor years), I wasn’t as diligent with my skincare as I am now. There were times—yes, plural—I fell asleep with my makeup on, times I skipped sunscreen even on the sunniest of days, and times I invited breakouts in by neglecting my cleanser for days on end. Even though I knew better than all of that, life happens and laziness strikes. I’d try my hardest to cover up the effects of my poor choices, but I could never pull a fast one on my mom. Call it a mother’s intuition, but my mom always knew when I was slacking on my skin, and she held me accountable. She warned me of premature wrinkles, of acne scars, and everything else that can come with skincare neglect. It wasn’t to scare me or make me feel guilty, but rather to motivate me to do better because she knew I could. Fast forward to today, I’m super particular about caring for my skin and I have my mom to thank. And even though we’re no longer living under the same roof, I still picture my mom on the fleeting occasions where I find myself making excuses to not wash my face before bed, and you bet I’m making that trip to the sink. Thanks, mom!" —Jessica Mahgerefteh, commerce editorial director

Always Find Small Moments of Joy

Lindsey Metrus and her mom
Lindsey Metrus 

“My mom didn't necessarily teach me about self-care in the sort of pseudo-commercialized way that we know it today, but growing up, she'd always champion finding moments of joy, whether it be treating ourselves to an after-school ice cream cone, blasting music throughout the house and dancing in the kitchen, or drinking a cup of coffee on the front stoop as the sun set. She's always down for a fun adventure or activity no matter how big or small to help level up the day, and is ever the champion of rewarding yourself just because.” —Lindsey Metrus, associate general manager

Cherish Every Moment

Mother and daughter smiling

Karli Bendlin

“The best self-care lesson my mom taught me was to make the best of every free moment. She worked full-time while also raising four children, and yet she found a way to make every moment with us special and fun. She would treat our family dinners as an occasion rather than a necessity, filling them with laughter and topping them off with dessert—even on weeknights. It’s something I always try to remember when I’m struggling to unplug with my to-do list constantly in sight. In those moments, I try to think back to how special our ‘off’ time was growing up, and will do something small for myself instead of staring at my laptop. It doesn’t always happen (sometimes the to-do list wins!), but it at leasts serves as a reminder to thank my mom for putting us first.” —Karli Bendlin, senior editor

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