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 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. 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

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, VP/GM

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, group editorial 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, senior commerce editor

Giving Is Selfish—In a Good Way

Lindsey Metrus and her mom
Lindsey Metrus 

"My mom has always been a giver—of her time, of things, of unconditional love. She's taught me to err on the side of always doing more than you should, even if you don't think you'll get much in return. It's a difficult line to walk: Spending more of your own energy with a low return of investment feels disappointing, but on the other side of the coin, making someone else happy or knowing that you helped contribute to the greater good is immensely fulfilling, regardless of what comes back. I heard a saying recently: 'There's nothing more selfish you can do than give to others, because it feels so good.' I thank my mom for helping me be 'selfish' in that respect. It's the best piece of wellness advice she's ever given me." —Lindsey Metrus, senior editor

Related Stories