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

Updated 07/24/19

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 that 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 complicated as 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. Below find the self-care lessons the 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. She stood up for herself always. 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, senior editor

Skincare is self-care.

 Faith Xue

"The best beauty advice my mom ever gave me is that skincare can be self-care. I grew up watching her go through a meticulous eight-step regimen as a nightly ritual. She never treated beauty as a frivolous thing or something to be rushed through. Her nightly routine was time she took for herself and no one else, and I have such vivid memories of watching her go through every step before bed. She would give me mini facials with her microcurrent devices, and even had a mask that acted as an at-home microdermabrasion (she was very ahead of her time!). Of course, when I was younger, I took it for granted. But looking back, I appreciate her attitude towards beauty and skincare—that it's not something to be frowned upon or rushed through, but something that can positively impact your mental health and well-being." —Faith Xue, editorial director, creative

Make alone time a priority.

A picture of a mother and daughter smiling

"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, general manager

Confidence and strength go hand in hand.

 Elspeth Velten

"My mother epitomized body confidence when she went through chemotherapy for breast cancer. She wore a beautiful wig on the day of my wedding, but bravely rocked the bald look on pretty much every other occasion. I will forever find inspiration in the strength and courage she demonstrated during such a physically and emotionally difficult time." —Elspeth Velten, editorial director, growth

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