By Sue Ahmady-Isom, she/her
You hear a lot about how your relationship with your partner will change after having a baby, but you don’t hear as much about how your relationship with time will change. Time becomes this hyper-elusive construct; something that there is never enough of, yet something there is somehow so much of in a day at home alone with a baby. But mainly there's never enough of it. It’s all negotiating and scheduling and pretty much doing advanced algebra and long division on a whiteboard to come up with where it all fits in. (There is also quite a lot of praying for long naps.)
When becoming a new mom two and a half years ago, I discovered that one of the most sacred things I had was my time in the shower. You can do most anything wearing a baby, but a shower is something you can not do (a relief!). So it became a temple of sorts. A place you can be at peace, transformed, cleansed, pampered. For ten minutes a day.
Being a mom has sent me on a journey to make that ten minutes as relaxing, lovely, and pampering as possible—but my relationship with skincare began to evolve before that. When I became pregnant, I started reviewing the exhaustive list of things in my beauty cabinet that were not pregnancy-safe. Latisse, see you later... Retin-A, forget it. Pregnancy is a time you’re really forced to think about your body in a very holistic way, and the way each system impacts another, and long story short, there are a lot of things that negatively impact or have unknown effects on pregnancy, which most notably for me were those beloved retinoids.
Let’s pan back to me becoming a new mom, where I suddenly went from having most of my time to myself to just about none at all (aside from that daily shower in the early days,) paired with what appeared to me to be an alarming loss of skin fullness and the pregnancy glow. This sent me down a path to figure out how I could make myself feel the most cared for, healthy, vibrant—and let’s be real, young and fresh—in a way that was super simple while also safe for nursing. It’s a tall order for a cream when you’re sleeping between two- and three-hour stretches a night but hey, they say to never give up on your creams. (Yes, I did that).
From all of my research, vitamin C completely takes the cake as the all-star for pregnancy- and nursing-safe skincare—and it’s pretty much the single best skincare-ingredient for moms, in my opinion. I must have tried around eight different vitamin C serums or so in two years and for me there’s been an easy winner—Youth To The People’s 15% Vitamin C + Clean Caffeine Energy Serum.
The Energy Serum jumped out at me initially because it came packaged up in a perfectly simple Minimalist 3-Step Skincare Kit, because I’m sure I don’t need to remind you again that minimalist essentials were all I had time for—and I completely fell in love. The serum smells like being awake and freshness bottled up, glides on so smoothly, and well…*chef’s kiss*. It also plays well with makeup, which is nice for the new moms who’d like a little undereye concealer after sleeping so little. The Minimalist Kit also comes with the Superfood Cleanser and the gorgeous Superfood Air-Whip Moisture Cream which replenishes my skin with vitamins and antioxidants from spinach and kale, and has hyaluronic acid for hydration and overall skin health. These products could not have made my life easier, or made my skin look and feel happier in so few steps, which makes it, to me, hands down one of the best options for skincare for moms.
Now that my daughter is a toddler, she likes to indulge in skincare with me—she is a huge fan of a jade roller and massage bar—and she will usually give me two whole minutes to get it all done before yelling “Stop! That’s dangerous!” and trying to block me from the mirror because she wants to play. This is a phrase we use when she is doing something unsafe and we are trying to protect her; she has a clever way of frequently turning this back around on us. In those two minutes she also usually manages to get her hands on some product and slather it all over her body, lips, (and sometimes hair), so with her “close” use of these products, having a small lineup of clean and effective skincare feels more important than ever.
(She also recently tried to eat a massage oil bar, but we’ll save that for another day.)
Figuring out how to make time for everything isn’t much easier than it was two years ago. For now, I’ll continue to manifest that there is something as simple as a cream that’ll make my daughter nap a little longer, or something like a serum that will make maintaining my relationship with my partner effortless… But for now, I’ll just take the time to celebrate and appreciate my few minutes in the bathroom and the products that make taking care of myself—and looking like I slept more than I did—a little more simple and a little more bright.
Written by Sue Ahmady-Isom for Youth To The People
Images courtesy of Sue Ahmady-Isom