Putting yourself first is easier said than done. For new moms, it can be nearly impossible. According to a survey of 2,000 parents, most moms get a measly 32 minutes a day to themselves.
Despite a jam-packed schedule filled with meetings, photo shoots, and play dates, supermodel, curve icon, and mother Ashley Graham has officially taken back her ‘me’ time — and she doesn’t feel guilty about it, either. Graham, who welcomed her twin sons Malachi and Roman this January alongside her two-year-old son Isaac and husband Justin Ervin, says that without the enlisted help of friends and family, reclaiming this time for herself would be out of the question.
“We have created an impeccable support team around us,” says Graham, “and for me as a mother to be able to really thrive, that support has been something that I lean on every single day.”
Below, Ashley dishes about her favorite summer beauty staples, how Affirm has helped her on her at-home fitness journey, and how making ‘me’ time a priority is helping her navigate motherhood as a busy mom of three.
Well+Good: Congratulations on the twins! I can imagine that there are times where you’ve got to be in and out of the house really quickly because of your schedule. What’s your go-to beauty routine when you’ve got to be going in a hurry?
Ashley Graham: The night before, I prepare for what’s to come. If I have my bag done, my outfit already picked out, and then whatever prep needs to happen to my hair the night before so that it just makes it easier to get out of the house, I do it. I think the night-before prep is the only way I get out of the house looking like a decent human being and not forgetting anything.
W+G: As far as last-minute beauty, are you throwing anything special in your bag to touch up with on the go?
AG: Yeah, definitely. I’m a lipstick girl. It’s all about the Revlon lipstick and lip liner. I also think good skin can just make you really look put together as well, so making sure I have a rosewater or something with me just to freshen everything up.
W+G: Speaking of skin care: A lot of women experience some skin changes post-pregnancy, whether it’s the texture or the level of dryness. Did this happen for you?
AG: Yes, actually. When I was pregnant with Isaac, that’s when I had rosacea. And when I was pregnant, I started trying this new brand that had just come out but it was really quiet. It’s called Fig. 1. It cleared up my rosacea, and was really helpful post-pregnancy as well, for re-adding hydration, because you’re just so depleted after you have your kid—or kids, in my case. It added this extra layer of foundation hydration, so I am a huge fan of Fig.1. It also has a really accessible price range, and it also is something that you can use with your other favorite products in your medicine cabinet. It’s my fave.
W+G: We’ve got a pretty bad summer heatwave going on right now. What’s your number-one summer skincare product?
AG: Definitely sunscreen. I have a million different sunscreens that I use, but I always go back to my favorite one right now, which is actually from Winnie Harlow. It’s called Cay Skin, and I like it so much because it has a color to it. The color doesn’t rub off. You know how some sunscreens that have a color, that can come off on your clothes? This one does not. Also, Supergoop is fantastic. Anything on a stick is really good for the kids, because they’re not going to sit there and just let me lather them before we jump in the pool. It’s less of a fight.
W+G: You said earlier that you’re a prepper. When it comes to your hair in the summer, what’s a go-to style for you?
AG: I like my hair on day two and day three of not being washed. Usually what I’ll do is part it down the center and do two tight braids. In the morning, I let it go, and it’s kind of like a beachy wave situation. If [the waves] feel a little bit too tight from the braid, I just brush it out a little bit with a Mason [Pearson] brush and throw some dry shampoo in it. And then I just go on with my day. If it’s hair-washing day, I’ve been using the same trick since I was 15 years old. Out of the shower, I part my hair where I want it, and don’t brush it. And then I spray John Frieda Dream Curls all over it and either diffuse it or let it air dry. It’s the perfect waves in my hair. My hair used to be really curly and now, since pregnancies, and blowouts, and birth control, and blah blah blah, it’s gotten a lot less curly. Now, it’s super wavy.
W+G: Let’s talk about fragrance. What’s your go-to summer fragrance right now?
AG: My husband and I went to this great spa in the Hamptons and I found this body oil. I think it’s made in Australia, and it’s called AYU. I also like to keep like a roll-on oil on me. This one, that I’m actually pulling out of my bag right now because I want to get the name right, I love. It’s the Riddle Roll-On Oil, and the jasmine scent is my favorite. This little oil roller perfume roller has been the best. I love it.
“I tell myself, ‘This is a guilt-free workout. You have to be strong for your children.” —Ashley Graham
W+G: Now that you’re a mom of three, how do you make workouts fit into your life and work for your schedule?
AG: I’ll be honest, I put them in my calendar. I tell myself, “This is a guilt-free workout. You have to be strong for your children. Do not feel bad about walking away from them and spending an hour on your workout.” And I really remind myself, that even though it’s very difficult, that this is going to be my guilt-free time.
W+G: You’ve recently partnered up with Affirm, a buy-now-pay-later shopping service. Any at-home gym must-haves you recommend for buying through Affirm?
AG: When it comes to working out, there’s a few things that you can easily buy with Affirm. Because I’m not going to wake up at 5 a.m. to work out before the kids wake up—I’m just not that person—by the end of the day, I’m exhausted from having been a mom all day. It has to be in the middle of the day for me to get a good workout in. That workout could consist of HIIT workouts using the Tonal. The best thing about Affirm is that you can buy the really expensive pieces, the investment pieces, and do the payment plan with Affirm so that you can have what you want in a moment, but know that you’re not going to break the bank, like buying a Tonal, or a Theragun. I now have the Theragun Mini, and it’s really great for traveling. The TRX I just added to my garage gym, I love it. It’s so good, and it’s something that anybody can use. And all the yoga gear from Target.
W+G: When you find other small pockets of time for yourself throughout the day, how do you spend your ‘me’ time?
AG: I create those moments for myself. I know that that can be easier said than done; my mom helps out with our kids, she’s so fantastic. She also understands— she has three kids, and she understands how important it is for you to take care of yourself as well. She even tells me, “Go away, go do whatever you need to do, I’ve got this.” Whether it’s writing something, working on a script, prepping for a job, getting mood boards together, whatever. The biggest thing, I think, for moms is to do it without guilt. That’s one of the things I keep reminding myself, is do this guilt-free. This has to be a guilt-free process, because then I’m really able to pour into whatever it is that I’m working on in the moment.
“It’s okay to cry. It’s okay to scream and feel like you have no idea what you’re doing.” —
W+G: For those new moms who find themselves overwhelmed by how much their life has changed: What words of advice would you give them?
AG: It’s okay to cry. It’s okay to scream and feel like you have no idea what you’re doing. I have been there, and I know many other mothers have been there. For me, what works is just creating systems and a schedule. I wake up at 6:15 before the kids, and even before Justin, and I have my “me” time. Then the kids are up at 6:45, 7:00, and we start the day. As long as I get that time for myself, I feel connected and I feel like I can be a better mom. There’s no handbook, and there are really hard days. But I also remind myself of something my mom has always told me: each one of these stages of life is not forever. I remind myself that this stage will come and go. It’s not going to be stressful forever.